If they dished out honours for speaking your mind, my old man would have had one decades ago. It didn’t always end well, but he was forthright, wore his heart on his sleeve and you always knew where you stood with him.
Unfortunately in the modern, corporate world the long, more diplomatic game is more likely to achieve the best outcomes.
So it was probably just as well that in the moment when our new ground was little more than a pipe dream, we had a character like Brian Burgess in our corner.
Measured, calm and assured, he knew how to play the game and played it efficiently… a Norgaard of the business world if you will.
So it’s absolutely wonderful news that he’s been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Birthday Honours List for years of voluntary service to our club.
My dad spoke in almost reverential terms about Brian and shared his passion for the move to Lionel Road, a fact that has been of great comfort to me in the difficult days since we left Griffin Park.
For anyone who doesn’t know – he is an incredibly modest man – Brian started working on the project way back in 2002 and was instrumental in raising the money needed to refinance the club as Bees United chairman.
Crucially in terms of our evolution, his quiet, unassuming and meticulous work behind the scenes paved the way for the initial funding from Matthew Benham. The rest, as they say, is history.
Brian spent five years working towards his and our dream on a purely voluntary basis before taking up a paid role on the Brentford Community Stadium project in 2008.
He saw it through to almost to the very end, resigning in 2017 with the job virtually complete and a more important role looking after his wife, to add to his CV.
That she left us almost to the day the official handover took place is poignant in the extreme, and I hope and pray that she knew of his honour. If she didn’t, I’m sure she does now.
In recent years I, like many others, have probably tired of the meaningless honours handed out to pop culture stars for whom the accolade is arguably quite meaningless.
The BEM is, as Thomas Frank would say, a top top award.
My grandad, one of the dockers featured in Bees fan Sav Kyriacou’s excellent film www.thamesdockers.org.uk was awarded one for his services to the nation at St Katharine’s during the war, once famously refusing to get down from his loading crane during the third air raid of the day.
He, like Brian, was an incredibly humble man who would eschew any fuss and will probably cringe if he happens to read this piece.
But it’s refreshingly uplifting, especially right now, to celebrate those selfless people who make a difference to our lives without seeking favour.
I’ve often joked with Brian that they should name a stand after him knowing full well that politics will prevent that, and he’s laughed it off.
But once we’re allowed back into the ground, I’m sure there will be many Brentford fans who will say a quiet word of thanks to Brian for helping us on the next step in our incredible journey.
Thanks Brian… and congratulations.