There will no doubt be plenty to talk about over the next few days with Brentford and Bolton both knowing a lot more about where our respective clubs will be next season following Tuesday night’s clash at Griffin Park. Yet that same evening many of us will likely have a fair bit of interest North of the border where Mark Warburton is, for the second successive season, on the brink of taking his team into the Premier League. This time though, it will be his Rangers side rather than our beloved Bees.
For us, the weekend results have all but (officially) doomed Wanderers. The end to both their Championship status and our relegation fears could come at full time should the Bees make it two wins in a row. It won’t be easy of course. Brentford’s position is by no means a false one (tables don’t lie) and indicative of a sub-par 2015/16. Of course the reasons for that are numerous and have been well documented – although the answers as to whether there have been more rights or wrongs this campaign remain to be seen.
Indeed, despite the huge disappointment felt as Mark Warburton and Matthew Benham parted company after coming ‘so close’ (do Brentford ever do anything but ‘so close’?) is it fair to even call this campaign ‘sub-par’?
Well, only after our fate is assured either way will we be able to answer that question fully but whichever way you look at it, glass half-empty or half-full, to be facing the prospect of this third season in the Championship can only be viewed as a stunning positive.
And yes, I know I’ve made this point a lot in recent weeks but it is needs to be acknowledged. Cripes, we’ve spent enough time analysing all the frustrations, problems and ‘if onlys’ that have got us to this point. Safety first, please, and then we can properly take stock of all that has happened. And all that might have had we not switched models.
We all loved Warbs. To see him and Rangers storming it in Scotland hurts, but not in a bad way. Not like ‘that penalty’, Ray Biggar or any of our play-off campaigns. It is great to see Warbs continuing his success and is something I can only wish him well on.
With the greatest of respect to Marinus, Lee Carsley and Dean Smith, I’d love to have seen Warbs able to stay on at Griffin Park. That’s not a dig any any of the candidates who came next but, simply, me wondering where we would have been had this most loved of men (and potentially more than just a handful of his squad) been here still. Yes, there were things he might have done differently but to finish fifth in your first full season managing, in the Championship, after getting us promoted from the First Division, is the sort of stuff you could write a book about or two…. (hey, if I can’t be unsubtle in my own blog then when can I?)
Instead we can only wish him well for Tuesday night as Rangers host Dumbarton, standing on the brink of a return to the Scottish Premiership. Warbs left with an incredible reputation as a debutant manager yet also as a man who carried himself with dignity in some very trying times.
Of course, my head and heart will be at Griffin Park hoping we can secure another win that will put us in a position we’d have taken with arms wide open three or four years ago. Yet, at the same time, I’ll have half an ear pressed to the terrace tranny, wondering if Mark can continue the fantastic start to his managerial career.
Good luck Mark. There’ll be thousands down here wishing you well.
As a final thought, and totally unrelated, who remembers the Brentford FC phone card? For that matter, who remembers phone cards full stop? Given these days of mobile phones, it seems crazy to think we’d even use call boxes or have pre-loaded ‘credit’ cards to allow us to make phone calls when on the move.
But we did. 1990 seems like only five minutes ago to me and, back then, Third Division Brentford were at the heart of the ‘mobile’ revolution. Digging through the back of the cupboard this morning I’ve stumbled across a few old membership packs – how I wish we could bring back the ‘funky bee’ in some form – and our own venture into the ‘phone card’ market.
Mercury didn’t last that long. Having the card was great. Having a Mercury phone to put it into was an altogether different prospect. But stumbling across this has brought back some fond memories. If nothing else, just seeing popular club physio Roy Clare as part of this squad.
We’ve come a long way since those days. Mostly down but, now the Bees are back on the rise once more, I’m desperate to see us carry on our climb to new success.
Here’s to three more points on Tuesday night and then we can, barring disasters, start to make some plans for the biggest Championship season yet.