Scoring seven goals to progress in a cup competition and breaking records along the way, as Brentford did this week, should always be a cause for celebration. However, in this case, it should certainly be a cause for reflection too.
As it is, the Bees played the game taking time out from a Premier League campaign in a brand new shiny stadium – both of which would have seemed unthinkable when Brentford and Oldham were regular league opponents less than a decade ago.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to go off on a ‘where were you when we were sh*t’ rant, and I’m not one of those who believe you shouldn’t be able to enjoy the good times unless you’ve frozen on the terraces at Boundary Park. But for most of the three decades I have been supporting the Bees, us and Oldham have pretty much been third tier bedfellows.
If anyone, it was Oldham who should have been higher up in my mind’s eye, having watched as an enthralled youngster as Joe Royle’s Latics made cup semi-final after cup semi-final and took their place as founder members of the Premier League we now find ourselves the newest members of.
But as our upward curve started on the path to glory, so too Oldham started to sink – first into the basement division of the Football League (doesn’t seem so long ago we were there!), and then to the very bottom of it, with the Latics propping up the entire League when Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup tie was played.
But it’s not just bad news on the pitch for Oldham, with their fans also protesting against the ownership of Abdallah Lemsagam. Again, we’ve been there before, and it doesn’t seem too long ago either that we were gathering in the Braemer Road forecourt to demand David Webb, and then Ron Noades, give up a club dying under their ownership.
It may be an oft-used cliché now, but this is definitely a case of ‘it could have been us’, and should serve as a useful reminder when the moans and groans start up if we’re not putting Liverpool – yes Liverpool – to the sword on Saturday.
But very best of luck to Oldham fans in their fight, and back to the celebrations. Brentford may still be putting their ‘B team’ out for the Carabao Cup, but no longer is it a team suffering abject humiliations by lower league opponents like Oxford United, Cambridge United and Exeter City.
Instead, after dispatching an impressive Forest Green side in the last round, the Bees were in a record-breaking mood on Tuesday night. It was the club’s biggest-ever League Cup win, and Marcus Forss, scorer of four goals on the night, bagged the Bees’ first-ever League Cup hat-trick.
The club were also into round four (where we face a trip to Stoke City) in successive years for the first time, and I’m not sure if this one is a first or not, but it’s the third season in a row they have scored seven goals in a single game. Perhaps, more importantly, it was both valuable game time and a confidence booster for fringe players who will no doubt be needed at some point as the season goes on.
Who knows where our Carabao Cup adventure will take us this year – maybe one step further and to Wembley? It doesn’t seem so unthinkable these days. And who knows where our debut Premier League season will eventually take us? But once again, let’s just be thankful it was us that took that journey, and we’re no longer protesting bad owners while nervously eyeing the National League. Thank you Matthew, and good luck again, Oldham.