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Are We Nearly There Yet?


So much so that, with the kid already at Florida, banging on the door to go out and being told to calm down, I’m kinda running out of situations this analogy can bring up. I should maybe just put the kid on its bed and tell it to sit on its hands until, back in Brentfordian reality, Charlton Athletic take to the Griffin Park field for their Championship Season 14/15 opening day whooping.

However, on Tuesday night, the kid was looking out of his hotel window and spotted some clouds. They then heard a crashing bang, the branches on the trees across the street started swaying like a Brentford fan on Good Friday and rain started to fall. It fell hard.

That child, so looking forward to hitting Disneyland and the other theme parks, was hit with worry. Maybe life isn’t the perfect dream we thought it was after all and maybe, after coming all this way, it’s just going to be a complete nightmare not being able to enjoy what we had imagined.

Ok, so Tuesday night, let’s see the 4-0 home loss by Spanish side Osasuna (or Osatsuma going by their bright orange shorts) as the storm. The limited feedback I heard from others, plus my own view from Ealing Road, suggests it was more like an April shower to be honest.

The crux of the analogy now being the kid should possibly even welcome the storm as their parents continue to unpack. In all likelihood it will all be over in no time and then they can get on with enjoying themselves with it out of the way. Much better it happens now than when they are out looking for Mickey and Donald.

For us, let’s get a nil-four at home out of the way before the real season starts. Call it the storm before the calm.
It was a rather surreal evening if truth be told.

On Saturday, the starting eleven against Nice must have nudged at the crowd as being pretty close to Warbs’ opening day gambit. Possibly one or two changes but you would expect the majority to be kicking off against the Addicks.

Three days later and those of us choosing to watch Spanish over French opposition were given an opportunity to assess the depth of our strength.

In the first half, I thought the Bees looked tidy enough on the ball but there was nobody able to deliver an end product as well as Simon Royce’s rocket past Jack Bonham in the pre-match keeper kickabout.

Having arrived on the terrace early, straight from work, via the club shop to finally purchase that new bespoke adidas home top (back in love with it now and hoping to justify the yellow away jersey as a November birthday present), I did enjoy listening to some younger fans shouting out at Jack for his autograph.

“Oi Button,” was probably always going to fail in getting his attention.

Back to the game and Marcos Tebar in particular oozed the class reports of the earlier games had intimated. The ball just seems to enjoy dancing to its destination after hitting either of his boots.

Other standouts for me included Harlee Dean, who as well as some excellent distribution, made one great tackle that reminded me of a Javier Mascherano block in the World Cup.

Watching Raphael Calvert from behind meanwhile gave me flashbacks of Danis Salman and he did nothing wrong in that first forty-five. If two out of Craig, Tarkowski and Dean are out, then I think Le Calv could cope coming in.

So goalless at half-time, it was great to see Adam Forshaw in red, rather than blue, and white stripes as he warmed up ahead of a first pre-season appearance. I do think everyone should savour all of his time in a Brentford shirt because, soon enough, someone will offer more money than those comedians at Wigan.

Alongside the announcement of Whelan’s Most Wanted entering the foray, I was rather confused as to why Peter Gilham was going through the whole of the Osasuna team again. Maybe he just wanted to show off his Spanish pronunciation. It took a few moments for me to realise they were in fact fielding a whole new eleven.

It proved to be a sanguine set of senors who went on to steal the show, scoring a quartet of second half dispatches into a lonely looking Brook Road net. With only three sides of the ground used there were no fans either floor in the wendy house. A stark contrast to what it can expect on Saturday when Crystal Palace bring their sold out fans.

This site, along with many others, has already described the match in detail and it’s hard to add anything new. Nobody really struggled as much as the score suggests but you think the likes of Jake Reeves and Toumani Diagouraga missed an opportunity to grab a golden ticket into the forthcoming league matchday squads.

After a final whistle blown while the scoreboard showed 89 minutes underneath the ugly looking scoreline, it was by no means panic stations as I and others trundled out towards the train station.

Are we actually there yet?

Well, no.

Not until Charlton arrive.

Therefore it’s alright to accept a little perspective. Although relegated last year, Osasuna, were all technically close to Tebar on the ball in the second half. Each of the goals was nicely converted. So, to kick those doubts not just into touch but over the new Matchbook advert on the New Road stand, just consider the difference in the quality of opposition each team had in their last league campaign.

While they were playing the likes of Barcelona, Real & Atletico Madrid and Valencia, we were coming up against those pillars of European Football: Leyton Orient, Peterborough United and MK F***ing Dons. I think even Sladey, DMac (Darragh MacAnthony) and Moody Fat Scouse Git (aka Mr Robinson) would all agree there is more than just a subtle difference in calibre there.

Also, let’s get back to getting the storm out of the way.

The penultimate pre-season game is the ideal one to lose. If you’re going to take a tad of a tonking, take it in the second to last pre-season game.

Palace, especially after the way Pulis pulled them away from the drop zone Fulham were just too intent in occupying, will be a tough test. In Dwight Gayle, they have a player I’d love to see join us on loan, especially while Hogan is carrying his knock. Despite the sterling efforts of young Montell Moore in his pre-season shows, you sense he needs some Luke Norrisesque experience on loan before he will be ready for the Championship.

Hopefully, before we get there, there will be at least one more striker added to our ranks. There was a moment in that second half on Tuesday when I wondered whether Steve Evans’ philosophy of get in whatever you can might actually have stood us in better stead than waiting for the right player to come along. It was only a very brief moment though. Always quality over quantity.

So, are we nearly there yet?

We are getting ever closer.

There is one more task to get out of the way before the fun and excitement of the 2014/15 Sky Bet Championship can really kick in. It’s Palace at the Park before Athletic are made to look pathetic.

As Ben Hamer has left for a well paid job sitting on the Leicester City bench, I wonder who will be in the opposite goal to David Button when the team from SE7 rather than SE26 arrive for their pasting. Butts himself will obviously be wanting to impress, as he will be facing his last employers where he didn’t really get the chance afforded him here.

Back in Florida, the storm has passed. The kid is watching the sun burst through the clouds just like Moses Odubajo will burst through the Charlton defence. The storm came but more importantly it left before anyone decided to give a shit. It was nothing to worry about at all. The excitement levels continue to rise and, already at a Spinal Tap eleven, let’s see where they are after Palace have given us their best.

Are we there yet?

So very, very nearly.

Ps. Have I mentioned I think we’ll get off to a great start against Charlton?

Luis Adriano