7(seven) year old calls Championship play-off winners….

26 Jul

Here we go, again. The play-offs await. For Brentford, the Premier League is just three games away. Blocking our path, a Swansea City team that host the first leg this evening following their quite incredible overtaking of Nottingham Forest during the week. The other side of the draw sees Fulham and Cardiff City lock horns. That’s their problem, of course. All focus here has to be on the game at the Liberty Stadium.

Screenshot 2020-07-26 at 08.11.08

Brentford lock, yesterday. Swansea 0….?

Let’s be honest. Spirits can’t have been more contrasting following the end of the regular Championship campaign. For Brentford, the chance of automatic came so close and we had to be content with third place. A quite remarkable achievement over the course of a season yet still a night which ended, for so many, washed away on a sea of ifs, buts and maybes.

That’s only natural in the immediacy of the moment. Totally understandable. This is football. A place where the glass is so often half-empty and the thought of what might have been, red-raw as the referee blew for full time. Most hurting but empathising with their heroes. The odd few choosing to..well, let’s just say that perhaps rather than wallowing in self-pity and the apparent divine right to slag off their heroes some need to take a look at themselves.   

Swansea, on the other hand, will have been absolutely buzzing. Again, only natural. To be three points and -5 GD behind Forest heading into that last round of fixtures yet to still make it in to the final four will be an emotional high like no other. Moreso, given how late that final swing happened. 

Like us, they’re here on merit based on the season’s performance as a whole. Of course game 46 is that final, final chance to alter the table. But the table has been forming since August. And now it is locked in. Emotional highs and lows have been and gone. Both teams have been back on the training ground. Neither side is now beholden on other results. Control is back with us once more. We don’t need the thought of favours at the back of our mind. 

That element bemoaning the results at Stoke City and Barnsley are playing the ultimate disrespect to both teams. Stoke were turgid, no question. The ref was horrific, true. Yet they still did for us then went out and put four goals past Forest in the next game. This was a side out to prove some points and wreck some parties. As for Barnsley, look how they played in the run in. Matching Leeds United where only an o.g. separated them. Taking Forest all the way until their late, late winner. Playing with confidence and a never say die spirit against us. 

Yes, one might have expected us to win one of these ( I did, and even predicted brackets against Barnsley  – being quite truthful) but that’s not how football works. The final game was one played out in the horrible knowledge of matters elsewhere being ultimately responsible for our fate. Whether we’d won 7(seven) – 0 or lost 1-2, had West Brom got their win then it would have been the play-offs regardless. None of us are professional footballers. It’s so easy for any numpty on the terrace to say “Just concentrate on your own game” but you wouldn’t be human not be aware of the broader situation. I can’t imagine what that must have felt like.

Anyway, that’s all been and gone. We are no longer reliant on West Brom. On Huddersfield Town. On Mark Warburton and QPR. This is now done to us. We’ve two games against Swansea to focus on. If league form teaches us anything it is that Brentford have the advantage so far. Our 3-0 win at the Liberty Stadium in October was followed by a 3-1 victory at Griffin Park on Boxing Day. Quite how that translates will only be seen at full time on Wednesday night once the second leg has concluded. One of these teams will be going to Wembley to face Fulham or Cardiff City.

Will it be a West London derby? An all Welsh affair? Or some combination of both. Well, for what it’s worth I’m taking comfort from the words of a seven year old. In the days leading up to the Barnsley game, all H would say to me was, “Daddy, QPR are going to draw 2-2 at West Brom”. He was utterly convinced it was going to play out like that. Now, he’s calling a Brentford – Cardiff City final. “Daddy, it’s going to be my team versus Iwan’s in the final. What a shame they can’t come up with us though.” 

DSC06416

H – knows his football.

Is he on to something? Or just trying to see the positive? To help out a dad who has been through every one of our previous play-off campaigns and explained them all in excruciating detail. From Tranmere to Middlesbrough via the horrors of Stoke, Huddersfield and Crewe. Martin Allen’s double stab against Sheffield Wednesday and, err, Swansea. The frustration of Yeovil Town. My word, Yeovil. How did that work out for everyone longer term? 

Ok. So our record is worse than than the The Very Best Of Simply Red . We all know how things have turned out since our 1991 trip to Prenton Park but history counts for nothing. Not when you have the season and the players that we’ve all had the privilege to enjoy over 2019/20. In a campaign which has been the most crazy on record, wouldn’t it be just like us to finally break the ultimate hoodoo. Hey, if we can win a game after a visit from Clem or receiving the Manager of the month award then anything is possible.

Bring it on !!!! 

Screenshot 2020-07-11 at 07.49.28

Thomas and Clem prove that positivity can triumph.

Nick Bruzon

Advertisement

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: