Beesotted contributor Lewis Holmes shares what many of us would have experienced following Saturday night’s win over Manchester United and provides some laughs along the way.
At my age, a good hangover lasts a couple of days. After such a triumphant Saturday evening kickabout, yesterday was basically a write off (although I did make an incredible cheese toastie at one point and I will claim that as a small victory). With a clearer Monday morning head on I can finally get my thoughts written down. And I do need to get this out because something seismic is happening. I’m not gonna talk about the match that much, I want to talk about what happened after it was all over. The glorious, heartwarming, ego stroking fallout.
I had to leave early on Saturday (don’t you pull that face, you all do it) so while everyone else was giving Freed From Desire a good workout, I was already on the 65 bus heading over Kew Bridge. It was on the 65 bus that it started: I took out my phone to read a few early match write ups but instead found myself checking those little social media notification dots. Because, my pedigree chums, I was getting @’d all over the place. WhatsApp, Facebook, Insta (not Twitter, I ain’t on it) – all of them lighting up with people congratulating me on our historic win.
Now, this did happen twice last season: the home draw with Liverpool and that immense trip to Stamford Bridge. But they were nowhere near the response on Saturday. Arsenal fans, Villa fans, Liverpool fans – all of them giving me a little digital pat on the back. Not quite sure what I did except for shouting myself hoarse and downing a flat but blissfully cool pint of cider at half time, but I’ll take the plaudits nonetheless.
The reason for my early exit was my friend’s birthday party. 80s themed fancy dress. So I booted it to the venue, threw on my Mama Fratelli costume (if you want to see that, you can buy me a pint) and prepared to bask in the warm adulation of a truly brilliant outfit. But no, everyone wanted to talk to me about the afternoon’s already-famous result. Everyone wanted to talk about Brentford (well, not everyone, there was one Man United fan there). Friends, if there’s one thing I love talking about it’s Brentford, so I downed more lovely cold alcohol and ran my already ruined vocal cords through the ringer.
It continued on Sunday. My Chelsea supporting brother asked me if I had any photos, because his Chelsea supporting son had watched the game, was ‘captivated by it’ and wanted to see how happy Uncle Lew was. My dear old mum, who I can remember being vaguely interested in football precisely twice in my entire life – Germany tonking Brazil, the Lioness’ recent triumph – asked me about it. My missus is not a football fan but she is definitely a details girl, so when she asked “Okay, so were Man U just rubbish, or were Brentford really good?” I knew that something momentous had happened. And yes dear, Brentford were fucking tremendous.
The headlines are all about how far the famous Manchester United have fallen, but in every single headline you see our name. “Manchester United humiliated at Brentford”, “Manchester United annihilated by Brentford”, “Manchester United blown away by Brentford”, By Brentford. By Brentford. Brighton gave the mighty giant a bloody nose last week, we took him out at the knees and roundhoused him into unconsciousness. The narrative may be all about Man United but our name is absolutely everywhere. Everyone from the football obsessive, through the casual observer, all the way down to those who legit don’t care (weirdos) will have noticed Saturday’s result and our rampaging, dominant performance.
I write this on Monday morning and it’s still going on. I have talk radio on while I work (fantastic background noise) and there was a government minister being interviewed about the cost of living crisis. Out of the usual back and forth babble Nick Ferrari suddenly thundered: “Come on now, let’s be honest: you lot are Manchester United and the Labour Party are Brentford”. Saturday’s heroics have leapt out of the football world and into the wider national narrative. 10 years ago people would often mistakenly think I supported “Brentwood” but there’s just no chance of that mistake these days. When you become the go to metaphor for an abject humbling, I think you can rightly claim to be #bigtime.
From a purely footballing POV, there are so many details from that result that put a big sloppy grin on your face. Thomas Frank basking in a tactical masterclass; the continued rehabilitation of Josh Dasilva; Aaron Hickey’s beautifully impetuous bodycheck on Ronaldo; the real Matthias Jensen standing up; that fourth goal, which I’ve seen 167 times and it keeps getting better every single time I see it.
In the wider context though, Saturday’s result sees little old Brentford making more friends and influencing more people. Expect to see a few more stories about clubs who aspire to “be like Brentford”, expect to see a lot of juxtaposition between our happy, harmonious little club and the absolute skip fire we played off the park on Saturday. Don’t hold your breath for all those experts who predict “SEConD sEAsOn sYNDromE!” to backtrack any time soon, but they’ll have seen that masterclass and they’ll be quietly reassessing their rash decisions.
Where does it end? Who knows, certainly not this guy. Our lord and saviour Matthew Benham talks about continual progress, and after only two games we’ve already improved on last season – taking points off two sides who last season gave up nothing. Are we going to go one better when Liverpool show up? Could we even humble the mighty Manchester City? I don’t know. But in an era of so many great memories for Brentford supporters, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit – and the rest of the footballing world will continue to sit up and take notice.