Beesotted contributor Jim Levack pays credit to the paramedics and the quick reaction of supporters in helping a fan in distress last night – a night that the Brentford players did us all proud too.
“Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it’s much more serious than that” – Bill Shankly.
Like countless other football fans I’d heard that quote and considered it a tongue in cheek view of the beautiful game. Liverpool fans and those who knew him insist he was serious.
But at just after 8pm as the Brentford and Reading midfields played an enthralling cat and mouse game with few chances created but the promise of some to come, his words seemed shallow.
A man five feet from me dropped to the floor of the terrace and was instantly surrounded by a handful of fans who calmly and assuredly began working on the business of saving his life.
The game went on as paramedics and stewards – who operated with a steely cool efficiency – did what they are trained to do as the crowd fell silent, the game going on before them unimportant.
Hours later as I left the ground I asked a lady paramedic how the chap was doing. Her response: “He’s in hospital thanks to the quick response of the supporters around him.”
A 4-1 win with arguably some of the best football I’ve seen under Dean Smith just felt even better.
But it was something Smith said in the post match press conference that really made me think after an evening of such contrasting emotions.
Asked if Bees fans and players should keep their feet on the ground, his reply was unequivocal: “No, why should we. I’m excited about being fourth. I’m excited by watching good football so let’s get carried away now we have a little bit of momentum.”
That, in a nutshell, is the beauty of Brentford being in the Championship. We’re a small club, flying ludicrously low under the radar with none of the so-called media pundits giving us a hope in hell, so let’s enjoy this while it happens. Note to Beesotted Ed – I predicted fourth.
I know without even asking that one of the first thoughts on the poorly chap’s mind when he comes round will be ‘how did the Bees get on?’ His family will hopefully be able to tell him that they did him proud, because they did us all proud.
The reason for mixing up football and the reality of life is to emphasise the point that Brentford are a small side in a big division, but we are currently packing a punch and that’s something we should enjoy every minute of in this blink of an eye existence.
Smith is a grounded man, strong on family and values, and he understands the position of football in the grand scheme of things and is more interested in performances than results (one follows the other).
A defeat to Wolves felt bad, but sandwich it between two home games where we’ve hit nine and played former Premier League players off the park then you regain a sense of perspective, especially when you consider last night’s off field emergency.
The Reading performance was a masterclass in intelligent pressing, dropping off, pressing and counter attacking football and showed that Brentford do have a squad worthy of sustaining a bid for a top half finish. Don’t forget we have new signings to come in the shape of Judge and Henry.
But whatever happens we should heed the words of Dean Smith and enjoy it now, not get despondent when it doesn’t happen every time and remember… it is just a game.