A tale of two Sams as next season takes shape

24 May

Brentford find out over the next few days who out of Newcastle United and Hull City; Swindon Town and Preston North End; Middlesbrough and Norwich City will be joining us in the Championship. But before we even get on to those there can only be one place to start – Wycombe Wanderers, at Wembley, in the League 2 play off final.

Specifically the two Sams – Wood and Saunders. We all know about the huge contingent of former and current bees at Wycombe but these two, along with Marcus Bean, have been heroes to many of us in recent seasons. So to see Sam Saunders forced to leave the pitch after the game began, quicker than you could say “And this is Saunders territory” was heart breaking stuff.

He has been my favourite Bees’ player for years and I was gutted to see him go out on loan earlier this year. Moreso, because it was a time when the team might really have benefitted from the option of somebody with enthusiasm, impetus and ability.

However, with hopes of Toumani style resurgence, there was also the thought that a good run with Wycombe would see him back at Griffin Park bigger and better than ever before. Instead, his play off final lasted what was initially declared as under a minute and then down graded from 6 to 2 seconds after Will Atkinson inflicted a calf injury on our man immediately after kick off.

A day that had started so brightly for Sam Saunders ended in heartache

Sam’s twitter feed shows a day that  had started so brightly ended in heartache

Never have I seen such an outpouring of sympathy on social media for one player – and as much from Brentford fans and top brass. Sam’s likeability has been proven, yet again, and who knows if this could be the catalyst that sees him break back into our own setup next season. Here’s hoping.

As for Sam Wood, he has the mantle of seeing his decisive spot kick saved in the shootout by Southend ‘keeper Daniel Bentley. Like Sam Saunders, I was gutted to see him leave Brentford back in 2012 after four seasons but, to be fair, he has continued his great form. One of the nicest guys in football, he came back (with Marcus) for last season’s ‘legends’ game and proved to be as popular as ever.

Sam Wood, Marcus Bean and Glenn Poole at the previous 'Legends' game

Sam Wood, Marcus Bean and Glenn Poole at the previous ‘Legends’ game

So heart was in mouth as he stepped up with the scores locked at 7-6 and, despite hitting a powerful shot, saw Bentley dive to his left to keep it out. Given the Brentford contingent amongst the Wycombe set up, it was inevitable there would be some form of Bees connection in the headlines but who could have predicted these two events?

Chin up, lads. It’s been a stunning effort to get that far. Hope to see you both at Griffin Park again soon.

As for today’s action, the League One play off final sees Preston (a team who, incredibly, have a worse play off record than us) and Swindon Town do battle for the final place in the Championship. I’ve got a soft spot for Preston, given their own place in our history – being the team we beat last season to secure our own promotion. That aside, I’m just hoping for a good game of football with no specific preference as to who joins us.

And I say ‘final place’ because the play off takes place at the ungodly hour of 17.30, after the Premiership has played out. By then we’ll know if it is Hull City or Newcastle United who will be coming to Griffin Park next season. And whilst probability suggests it will be the latter, the way Newcastle have ‘hit the skids’ in recent months, rule out nothing.

One thing’s for sure, if this season was exciting then next year is already shaping up to be even better.

Sam Saunders with numpty - on the day we sealed promotion against Preston

Sam Saunders with numpty – on the day we sealed promotion against Preston

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One Response to “A tale of two Sams as next season takes shape”

  1. RebelBee May 26, 2015 at 8:23 am #

    Sad for both Sam Saunders and Wood, plus the other current and former bees who were involved at Wembley. Still at least Wycombe turned up, which was slightly better than our recent attempts at the PO’s. Talking of no shows, Swinny’s efforts on Sunday took some beating.

    So we know how the championship looks next season, to me it will be stronger than ever, and watching Norwich yesterday reminded me of how far we’ve come to even participate in the same play off process. We will really need to step again up to compete I feel, sorting a new coach is critical, by the way some bloke doing punditry on Sky yesterday seemed to know what he was talking about – bloke called Warburton, he’ll do perhaps? 😄

    Anyone see Harry Redknapp have a little rant in support of Warbs at the end of the game, Warb’s seemed a bit embarrassed – I’m no big fan of our “Arry” but he was spot on with his remarks. All academic now I guess as we seem destined to go Dutch this week.

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