Don’t @ me. This isn’t even close to 94-95.

19 Jul

Where do you even start? It could have been dreamland for Brentford but instead we have to fight on. The dream of promotion from the Championship still well alive but one which is now reliant on either West Bromwich Albion dropping more points on Wednesday or us going through the play-offs. In a high pressure game at Stoke City the combination of brutal opposition, terrible refereeing from Geoff Eltringham and hosts set up so intent on smothering us that penetration was nigh on impossible all saw us slip to 1-0 defeat. The usual attacking flair booted out of us by a team boasting more kickers than a French exchange student. If Friday’s win for Huddersfield Town had felt like some cathartic relief from the 25 year pain that has gnawed away since the 94-94 play-off semi-final ( a moment for me which was way worse than ‘that’ penalty) yesterday brought the heartache of the 2002 play-off in Cardiff flooding back.


You see, they’re also a brand of footwear popular with…

We’ve all seen it. There’s no point in going through even the briefest summary of the highlights beyond saying that our hosts had clearly done their homework. Brentford tried but had no way past. Eltringham and his team missing two blatant penalties (the second especially). Ethan Pinnock coming oh-so close at the death.

Much like the Doncaster game, going through the carcass of this one won’t change a thing. Pawing over the dead duck that was Crewe or Yeovil at Wembley doesn’t help. Nor does whining about the players, the team or their apparent ‘bottling’ it on social media. 

Sure, we’re all hurting. I am, and as much because I’ve followed this team through devastation and lowpoints since the back end of the 70s. My son, too. He only knows  Brentford set to ‘amazing’ mode and was in tears as this one reached a heart breaking conclusion.

Heart breaking as much because of the most incredible way this team have come together over the last few months. The team spirit and desire shown as they’ve caught up with our rivals through nothing more than guts, determination and win after win after win. Eight in a row, to be precise. The excitement and happiness they’ve engendered in a fanbase doing their best, and usually struggling, to get through the awfulness of lockdown. They’ve kept many of us going in a way more incredible than they  probably realise.

Screenshot 2020-07-19 at 07.28.39

For half an hour, the dream was on…

There’s been some nonsense spouted on social media about their apparent bottling it yesterday. Justified in the guise of: Oh, I’m hurting – I can say what I want. Now shut up and f*ck off.

Yes. We’re ALL hurting. Aghast to have missed out. It was the most amazing opportunity and, you know what, this time it wasn’t able to be taken. Couldn’t be taken. But to even get into that position is an incredible achievement.

To still be well alive with two more bites at the cherry is not to be sneered at or overlooked. 

Of course people are gutted. They have every right to be – it’s the natural emotion at a time like this. Our entire fanbase should be. I am. Beyond belief. But as much because I know how close we’ve come and how hard we’ve worked to even get into that position.

It was always going to be fragile opportunity, given how far off the pack we’d been when this amazing run started. Moreso, when in a game of few chances and bus parking opposition, we needed the help and protection of the officials. Not their failing an eyetest. Now, destiny is out of our hands as quickly as it had got there.


You can’t blame Stoke for setting up as they needed to

This one feels different though. The season is still alive. We’ve not been relegated or lost a final. We’re still in with a huge chance to get promoted.

If not directly (and I’d hate to picture the scene in the Gilham household this morning, knowing that we are in the hands of West Bromwich Albion not winning when the Loftus Road mob visit on Wednesday) then via the play-offs. In all likelihood, needing to get past Cardiff City or Fulham in the final. Football. A cruel mistress.

For me, there has been no lower point than standing in the paddock, watching the celebrations amongst the Huddersfield Town players and staff back in ’95. I remember it still. Numb. Devastated. Shell-shocked. A glazed feeling washing over me. Not able to move but just stare out across Griffin Park and into space. Something made even worse by our actually coming second that season and the reason, in part, of my loathing Birmingham City so much.

Screenshot 2020-07-19 at 07.10.51

94-95. The all time kick in the nuts

Yesterday wasn’t that. It wasn’t even ‘that penalty’ levels of awfulness. It was brutal. Devastating. But it’s not the time to be slagging off the players and the team for not winning a game. If that’s your thing and way of coping then fair enough – I can’t argue with that mindset but would also ask this…..

Would you have the balls to say it to their face? To tell Thomas Frank or any of the players that you thought they bottled it. Bottled it. Were a team of bottlers. To actually say those words ? In person?  Hmm. It’s not so easy being a keyboard warrior for real.

That’s me done. @ me all you want. I don’t really care. From this point on I’m only focussing on the game with Barnsley. The thought that, as it stands, we are a possible 90 minutes away from the Premier League. I just wish I could be there on Wednesday night to join in.

As the returning Sergi Canos ( itself, a cause for celebration) noted last night: “Disappointing result but there’s no time to think about it. We are an amazing club as a whole on and off the pitch and we are going to keep fighting until the end. 


Screenshot 2020-07-19 at 06.59.24

Sergi and his fighting spirit are back

Nick Bruzon


15 Responses to “Don’t @ me. This isn’t even close to 94-95.”

  1. VT July 19, 2020 at 7:09 am #

    Not bottling it but maybe wanting it too much? nerves towards the end – Marcondes’ corner and Baptiste’s throw in. But it is what it is and great to be where we are and whatever happen it’s been a fabulous season on the pitch. All fingers crossed for our last turn at GP – and, for what it’s worth, Come on you Hoops!

    • nickbruzon July 19, 2020 at 7:34 am #

      Absolutely the desperation to win and realisation of what it could mean was there. No question. For me (Clive) that’s more lack of experience than ‘bottling’ though. We forget how young this squad is

    • Adrian Harris July 19, 2020 at 4:20 pm #

      It was the nerves at the beginning as well. They didn’t (didn’t that is) bottle it, to face the expectation and pressure for the first time is a difficult thing. Other professions (military, emergency services, other sports as well) train and train to handle the pressure of the real thing and its tough and until you face it its an unknown. They did feel the pressure though, but as has been said its a young team and they are well beyond any criticism for what they have achieved throughout the season. Before the Preston game they came out of the tunnel smiling and ready to play football, yesterday you could see the tension in the players. Look at the replays if you can of both those occasions and you will see what I mean.

  2. Simon Sapper July 19, 2020 at 7:18 am #

    Well said Nick, very well said.

    • nickbruzon July 19, 2020 at 7:34 am #

      Always appreciated – especially from yourself. Cheers Simon.

  3. Peter Hills July 19, 2020 at 8:33 am #

    Despite being a fan since 1952 I hope – as an ex qualified referee – to take a reasonably balanced view. The level of officiating yesterday was dreadful. Apart from two obvious penalties and the unchecked time wasting, artificial diving to get fouls etc by Stoke there was more than a suspicion about the goal which looked clearly offside, wasn’t it?

    Not over yet!

  4. David Carney July 19, 2020 at 8:59 am #

    Why so much disappointment. The Brentford journey with Benham, Frank, the whole group, is still very much in the early days. the future is scary for all competitors. No one buckled under pressure, but do give credit to a guy at Stoke that has moulded a group of players in quick time to play the the spoilers game very well. Add to the mix, as is so often the case, third rate officials and it is a dangerous combination. I would like to know he odds against any team going 9 on the spin, let alone 8. What a great bunch of guys we support in red and white stripes.

  5. Paul Ridley July 19, 2020 at 10:19 am #

    The nerves were showing in the first minute, some rushed clearances and passes and nobody seemed to want to take responsibility of sitting on the ball for a few seconds. Stoke sniffed that out quickly and went for the kill. It worked.
    We’ve had no pressure on us and it’s been great. Said to my lad Friday after the WBA score came through “problem is, pressure is now on us. Would rather go into Wednesday knowing we HAVE to win so want a draw tomorrow, and don’t expect any more than that at Stoke. Might even be lucky to get that there” And the pressure did tell. We didn’t have that same no problem swagger about us.
    I hope we can get past that in the play offs. But I fear maybe we are not so invincible when the heat is on us. I hope I am wrong. I really do.

  6. Aussiebee53Richard July 19, 2020 at 10:24 am #

    It’s often said that it’s the hope that gets you. I see that Brentford Hope is having his second start in race 2 at York today, All you lucky people who won a quid on his first start should re-invest a bit.

  7. Aussiebee53 July 19, 2020 at 10:35 am #

    On the bright side a minimum of two extra games watching the best Brentford side in living memory.

  8. Stephen O'Brien July 19, 2020 at 12:32 pm #

    Mixed emotions all round after yesterday. To be in that pole position needing only a point after not even being certain of a play off place once the league resumed was unreal. To then play as poorly and nervous as that was hard to watch as we know they are all soooo much better. Normally if 1, 2 or even 3 players have a quiet off day, the others come to the fore and shine but it seemed like no one wanted the ball and instead actively looked to avoid it by not showing for it to help out an under pressure colleague. But its gone now & with it, realistically the chance of the top 2. I really really hope I’m wrong but don’t think so. Then it’s the play offs and regardless we might be the best team in it, it’s a 1 in 4 chance lottery and we all know how history has panned out for us in them too. But the biggest galling gut wrenching feeling of yday is not just has the chance slipped for this season. Once we sell and replace player stock in the summer, start off slow and not achieve it next year, how long does the ambition last to really go for it and if it became 4, 5 or 6 seasons does a slide away from it and ever further happen and then you look back on ‘that’ Stoke game in the weirdest of all years (not just football wise) of 2020, we might all say as Brentford fans, “we realistically needed 1 point from the game & a win against an already relegated Barnsley & we would have been in the Premier League & who knows where we would be now”…… But who knows, time will tell but history and Brentfords seemingly shockingly good ability at messing things up, might well mean that yesterday trumps all levels of previous hurt we’ve all suffered and I honestly think that that’s why, really why we feel sick to our stomachs knowing how close it was but how far it might ever be now for all of us.

    It still hurts and is raw as anything this morning but and it’s a huge but, we either forget yesterday ever happened on Weds this week with elation and ecstacy that we have never experienced in over 70 years (I’m 46 but you know what I mean) by gaining promotion to Benhams dream of the Premier league (not everyone’s I might add, I’d be OK with Championship and 3pm Sat kick offs each season) or we head in to the play offs, inevitable heart ache and a what might have been feeling and then how many other seasons of pain and hurt and looking back at Sat 18th July 2020 as a day we were realistically a point from going to the Premier League and we didn’t get it.

    Think I’ll go and cry a bit more now and try to get it out of my system before Weds this week. And for all our pain, imagine, just imagine how Mathew Bentham feels right now?!? Poor man.

  9. Charlie the bee July 19, 2020 at 1:45 pm #

    This is the best team we have had in my lifetime i’m disappointed about stoke but thats life we live to fight another day and shall do our best again on wednesday when you’ve been at the bottom of div 4 thats a bad day the only bad thing about this wednesday is we need the quarter pounders to avoid defeat come on you bees 🐝

  10. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) July 19, 2020 at 3:41 pm #

    The pressure showed. Misplaced passes, wayward corners, and foul throws. Poor refereeing and a goal from a side willing to sit on its 1-0 lead.

    But we cant look to yesterday and say thats where we lost it. I remember leaving GP nearly a year ago now having seen one of the most one sided games ever. We absolutely battered Birmingham City, yet we came away losing. I remember the drive home that day, just knowing that that game would eventually bite us on the arse.

    It would have been wonderful to seal promotion at our very last game at GP, yet there is still a chance. Surely, Shepherds Bush dont want to end the season on a whimper. With ex-Bees in the Bread Man & cult favourite, Barbet, and one of the most talented players in the league in Eze…who knows.

    • Hobbo July 19, 2020 at 6:49 pm #

      The one Bees fan i feel most sorry( i’m a fan of 55+ years so i know all about suffering) for is Benham, the man who has done so so much for our football club, he deserves a crack at the prem and the dosh that it provides. plus on another day with the correct decisions having been made we should have won if we converted the pens.

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