Busting every sinew to make the abnormal seem normal

27 Jun

No pressure Fulham and Leeds United. Brilliant Brentford battered Bilic’s Baggies – (c) The Middlesex Chronicle big book of 80’s aliteration – at a packed (sounding) Griffin Park last night to move within five points of table topping West Bromwich Albion. With the second and fourth placed teams due to play this lunchtime, something has to give in our way as the Bees continue this dogged pursuit of promotion. At a time that others are starting to fall apart around us, Thomas Frank saw his team make it three wins on the spin, unbeaten since March and 8 goals for whilst none conceded over that period. Ethan Pinnock was a colossus at the back. Ollie Watkins proving he still has the golden touch up front. Peter Gilham giving it his all on the tannoy – his dulcet tones reverberating all around TW8. Screams of Brreeennttfffoooorrdddddd drifting over the neighbourhood. His one man mission to make Griffin Park sound as loud as ever leaving our man-with-the-mic hoarse at full-time.

If it wasn’t the same match day experience for those of us mere mortals usually allowed inside the stadium, the club did the very best to make it feel as normal as possible in the circumstances. The compact nature of our home allowing us to fill the ground with supporter banners and flags to quite wonderful effect. A sea of faces filling the paddock as the 3D effect of the banners gave the look of a large crowd to those of us watching on TV i.e. everybody except those few whose names had appeared on a guest list of journalistic credentials that was nigh on impossible to gain access to. And I did try. Ian Moose would have had more luck walking in to a McDonalds to buy a Big Mac at the moment than Joe Public did of busting in to Griffin Park.   

But with Sky getting better and better at the ‘fake crowd’ noise, to the point of club specific chants, appropriate cheers and the usual boos for Keith Stroud  ( perhaps I made that last one up  – our man in the middle once again belying his reputation) it wasn’t as odd watching it on TV as it should have been. Moreso when we were lucky enough to spend the evening camped out with friends in their back garden that nestles in the shadow of the ‘away end’. Whilst the West Brom supporters may have been so loud they sounded like Aldershot, PG more than made up for it on the home side.

Screenshot 2020-06-27 at 09.27.51

You’re so loud you sound like Aldershot…

If anything, his bellowing was even more ferocious than usual. There was no breaking his stride. No deviation from the norm. He gave it everything with all the regular stylings. The prematch music remained the same. Likewise at full time with another three points in the bag, thanks to our 1-0 win. Even down to his “Have a safe journey home tonight”. There’s no one there and he don’t care. He could have been the last man on earth and I get the feeling he’d have carried on as though there was nothing untoward.

Honestly, it was life affirming. If ever you wanted to describe to somebody what it feels like to support Brentford. To show them true passion and utter devotion to a team.  If ever there was a living embodiment of a club, our club, then it is Peter. And last night it was demonstrated more than ever. 

As it happens, H and I popped out for some fresh air some time after the game had finished. Who should we bump in to but PG himself. From a safe distance, of course. My word the grin and the croakiness said it all. The enjoyment in what had played out before clear. We’d heard every scream from the garden – including the goal announcement 30 seconds before seeing Ollie guide the winner home on TV with little more than a quarter hour gone. We’d felt every moment. Now we had the quite perfect denouement to a quite wonderful evening. 

Honestly, being trapped outside a locked stadium is not the way to watch a game. We were lucky enough to be sitting within a few yards of the goal. Just the slight problem of a twenty foot fence separating us from seeing the action. The TV coverage is definitely improving and, all being well, it won’t be long until we are allowed back in to the ground. The players are, I am sure, as keen as the fans to have full houses. The full time celebrations showed what it meant to them. Imagine doing that with our usual sell out crowd roaring them on? 

Screenshot 2020-06-27 at 09.22.39

Close but no cigar. Never has a few yards felt more like a few miles

For now, it remains a case of locked doors. Of wall to wall TV coverage. Of having crept to within touching distance of Leeds Untied and West Brom.

Dare I say it, but could a win for Fulham be the best outcome today? Or a draw? Leeds are five points ahead. We’d need two wins to overtake them, obv. Should the gap become six then it would still be the same, given the huge goal difference in our favour over everybody else in the division. Perhaps it is best just to focus on ourselves. We can’t influence that game and have our own trip to mid-table Reading on Tuesday night. With the games coming thick and fast, perhaps we’ll see a few changes coming on that front. Could Bryan Mbeumo start? His own recovery from the positive Corona virus test confirmed by his place on the bench last night.

Still, all that’s to come. We were immense last night. It was weird to watch but magnificent at the same time. Our club is incredible. Busting every sinew to make the abnormal seem normal. We’re beating our rivals on the pitch. Looks like we’re doing the same off it. Just 7(seven) games to go. Can we close the gap? Roll on Tuesday when we find out ….

And if Leeds could fall apart, again, that would also be appreciated.

Nick Bruzon

3 Responses to “Busting every sinew to make the abnormal seem normal”

  1. Rod Davidson June 27, 2020 at 9:14 am #

    There is no praise too high for the way this club is being run. The total professionalism of everybody involved, is there to see.
    The recent interview with Josh DaSilva is an example of the dedication to the cause that would be envied by many.
    With a manager who is both astute and articulate we are setting new and improving standards each and every day.
    The greatest praise must go to Matthew Bentham. A seemingly quiet man, who doesn’t go out of his way to seek any kind of limelight at all.
    How lucky we are to have him and the players and staff he has built around him.

    • nickbruzon June 27, 2020 at 9:25 am #

      Spot on all round, Rod

    • David Carney June 27, 2020 at 12:11 pm #

      You are so correct with everything you said.
      What is quite remarkable is that Benham has found and surrounded himself with so many great minds that are all on the same page, all seemingly working together and focussed on the same goal, none of whom has the ‘look at me’ mentality and all, who I am also certain do not just want to be in the Premier League but want to return Brentford to its position of the mid to late 1930’s as one of the leading clubs of England.

      Also, at this stage of progression almost every other club has a financial time bomb around their neck, a short term strategy to reach the Premier League and then use the TV Rights as a cash stream to bail them out, which has resulted in so many disasters.
      Brentford on the other hand are now profitable and will enter the Premier League in a financially sound position and with a depth of playing quality that every other club can only dream about.

      When I was a small boy and my Late Dad bought me to Griffin Park in the first season in Division 3 South, he told me that Brentford had gone through an unlucky period since the war and would soon be back in the first Division once they had reorganised themselves. I believed him, I still do and 66 years may be a little longer than he envisaged, but he was right, that they just had to reorganise and would be back in top flight football as one of the best teams in the Country.
      My dear old Dad never prescribed to little old Brentford tag because he had grown up as a teenager and young man watching Brentford being one of the top handful of successful teams in England.
      I look forward to seeing the same, even if it is a long distance view from Australia.

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