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Beesotted writer Nemone Sariman looks back at her day out at Craven Cottage and a brilliant away win for The Bees.

As Forrest Gump once almost said, “Life is like a Premier League away day; you never know what you’re gonna get.” A huge part of what I’m gonna get on an away day depends on the person I end up sitting/standing with. Now, if you’re a white bloke, I don’t suppose you give much thought to this, mainly because you don’t have to. But, as a non-white woman, I do; away days have a habit of dredging up the small minority of undesirables whom I’d rather avoid. Luckily most Bees fans are nice people and I have had some incredible away day experiences, but I dread being stuck with someone who doesn’t like non-white women, who shouts awful abuse at players, or who has decided to commandeer my seat so that he can be near his pal.

This time, at Craven Cottage, I struck gold with the bloke in the seat next to me. No, not the husband. I mean Peter, the bloke in the seat on the other side of me. And, what’s more, unlike Forrest Gump, Peter knew exactly what we were gonna get and foresaw before kick-off that Brentford would score three times. 

I knew that we would score, perhaps even more than once, but couldn’t quite visualise three, and I told Peter this. He, however, refused to listen to my protests of “But what about our pre-season versus Fulham?”, “But what about Decordova-Reid?” and “But what about the fact that 80% of the stadium want us dead?” (I thought my last point was very valid; it’s one thing being the visiting team and not having the home advantage, but Craven Cottage is second only to Elland Road in my list of places that I’ve entered without being sure that I would leave alive.)

Peter wasn’t having it, and eventually I settled for a 1-2 prediction (mainly because I was a bit scared of him and hadn’t had enough time to figure him out as yet). As it happened, he and his son were wonderful company, great fun to chat to, and I needn’t have worried. 


And so to the goals: 

The first was a Wissa beauty, with a very helpful Diop assist, into an almost-open goal. We were all yelling “SHOOT!” In fact, if I had to make one minor complaint about football in general, it’s that players hold onto the ball for too long and almost seem to want to walk it into the goal, losing momentum and giving the opposition valuable time to stop them. However, we should have trusted Wissa. In fact, it was laughable to think that we, having never kicked a ball in our lives (apart from when the kid next door asks for their ball back) and watching the action from other end of pitch, would know better than Wissa, scorer of 15 Brentford league goals to date and who actually HAD THE BALL. Wissa timed it perfectly. 0-1. 

A foul by Ream in the penalty area led to our second goal, scored by Mbeumo from the spot. Much debate ensued about whether or not it ought to have been a penalty, with Match of the Day commentators weighing in on the discussion and calling it “soft”. However, there was clear hand-to-shoulder contact. If you know you’re already on a yellow card, keep your hands to yourself. It’s that simple. 

Our third goal was something that passed me by entirely, due to, erm, tall people in front of us. But Match of the Day has reliably informed me that Ajer stepped in for an ailing Dasilva (really hope he’s ok), providing a glorious assist which Mbeumo deftly tapped in. Already on the back foot with ten men, there was nothing Fulham could do. Not even the deployment of Incredible Hulk Traore a couple of minutes prior, and ten minutes of added time, were enough to haul them out of this mess. 

Losing a talisman who had, by all accounts, been vocal for some time about his wish to leave, and losing your first home game to a team that you really hate … oh, and having a badge that’s only one letter off “FFS”. It’s almost enough to make me feel bad for poor Fulham. But not quite. 

Sod’s Law seems to deal me some quite perverse cards when it comes to away day experiences, in that I repeatedly see the people who have previously annoyed me, yet the nice ones seem to vanish into the ether the minute we leave the stadium, like dreams upon waking. I don’t suppose I will see delightful Peter, or his equally delightful son, again. Well, ok, that’s not strictly true – they caught up with us as we walked along the Thames path to Hammersmith and we chatted some more about the whole “having a plan for when your star player is absent” thing, something that we have mastered but Fulham have yet to even acknowledge. 

However, when Peter and his son turned off the path to their destination pub, and we headed in a different direction, that was it. The husband said afterwards that we were silly not to take their numbers, or even their surname, and he was right. But we know that Peter and his son will going to Newcastle next month. I hope that, in some serendipitous way, we will find each other in the same pub, and the husband and I will be ready to buy them a drink and thank them both for a great day. 

I couldn’t be more proud of our little club. Just like Forrest Gump, it feels as if we started with a run to the end of the road, just to see if we could do it. Now look at us.

Nemone Sariman