Brentford 2.0 – Here we go again.

6 Sep

It seems barely five minutes ago that the Covid interrupted season came to a close. The Griffin Park auction has only just completed and my nerves still feel shredded after reliving the agony of Stoke, Barnsley and the Craven Cottage outfit. The most painful play-off campaign out of our nine attempts still sore. Still niggling. Still a sense of incredible frustration after coming so, so close. Yet now we are back underway as fellow Championship stablemates Wycombe Wanderers visit in the first round of the League Cup. The first ‘competitive’ game at our new home, Lionel Road. 

The end to last season was horrible, for all those well documented reasons. Shut out of our home (as were fans of all clubs) in an attempt to control the pandemic. Denied the chance to say goodbye in person. Having our hopes raised by that most amazing run in before that heart-wrenching conclusion. We know what happened. We won’t overly rake over it anymore after today (although if you would like to read more then news incoming…) because it won’t change anything. Except, perhaps, provide inspiration. The desire to know how good we are and to go one better this time.

If anything, it may have been frustration of a different sort to actually reach the top flight and then remain locked out. Perhaps, in an odd sort of way, it’s better to take the long route around? Ok, I’m clutching at straws but the point being that the green shoots of optimism are returning. 

The pain IS still there but now it is more of a reminder than a cloud of doom hanging over the head’. ‘Supporters’ abusing Thomas and the team after they had  “bottled” it, they had “choked it and worse (not my words but let’s not forget all that nonsense, it did happen) now more a historical reminder about the nature of football fans. It’s emotional stuff. 

I get people were upset. I was too. Hugely. As were my family. Having to answer a hundred questions of “What happened?” or respond to condolences from well meaning colleagues nothing more than something designed to illicit a response of “F**k the f**k off and then f**k off some more” . But it didn’t. Lips bitten and friends were politely spoken too.Just as our on pitch heroes were  – even if a few morons may have coped a bit in return..

That was then. This is now. It may feel like mere minutes have passed but progress has been significant. Charlie Goode and Ivan Toney have both joined the squad. Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahama are both still Bees. For now. I can’t see either player staying but would love if it somehow happened, of course. Josh Dasilva is our latest international U-21 and Lionel Road has opened for business.

One has to say it looks magnificent. Today is our first proper chance to see it when Sky TV host the game with Wycombe. It is sure to be a different Brentford team to the one which travel to Birmingham City for next weekend’s Championship opener (also on Sky). As much given the international games taking place at present. 

The list of absentees is a huge one, with Pontus and several assorted Danes (not a prog rock band) amongst those joining Josh and Bryan Mbeumo in representing their countries. Whatever happens I’m not going to read too much in to this one – certainly in terms of who may start next weekend. Who Thomas sees as his first choice, starting XI when the squad is fully fit. 

Yet at the same time it will give a steer as to how well we may go. As to who might want to stake an early claim for a place. Most importantly, it is a competitive football match. A chance to prove that last season’s denouement has done nothing more than serve as a reminder how important EVERY point is. 

People point to the final few games but let’s not forget the opening day disappointment at home to Birmingham City. Some of the turgid 0-0s and home reverses in the first few months. Once we hit form we were amazing. But it took a while to get going and, ultimately, that’s what saw the team fall just short.

It was amazing fun getting to that point. I can’t wait to start the next stage of the journey. I can’t wait to get inside Lionel Road. Perhaps next month a few of us may be afforded that privilege.Here’s hoping, Until then, it’s TV, radio (where BBC London have today’s game) and whatever I-follow deal may be offered up.

Off-field, the conclusion to the Griffin Park auction has seen supporters now collect their wares. This Kit-nerd has been left well happy, having picked up a couple more mid-90s efforts for little more than the price of a club shop replica

Paul Stephenson’s long sleeved ‘away’ was pick of the crop – for this kit nerd

There were admiring eyes, out of respect, cast at the pick up time when the winer of the KLM cheque arrived at the same time as yours truly in order to collect his purchase.

Oh my. This was incredible in the flesh. Much bigger than expected (as all novelty cheques should be) and fully framed. I have to be honest that I’d had eyes on this when the catalogue was published but, like the Gary Blissett player board and the turnstiles, it moved out of my price range way too fast. 

.

That’s life. That’s money. That’s not to be bitter. Anything but. Personally, I’m ecstatic with what I’ve been able to pick up. I just can’t wait for the chance to wear one of these in anger at a game. The only downside to this being that Kevin Dearden’s shirt fits quite nicely. Hey, I’m 50 next month and let’s say it was from early in his career.

The GPG has a cracking thread on the auction pick up already. You can find that here to see who has started to put what, where. Do take a look and please add to it.

As for Griffin Park, the clean up has begun already. Jota has been taken down from the gates whilst the ticket office and many external fitting have been removed. It won’t be long before the bulldozers move in and then we really are doing nothing more than living in the past. Albeit, plenty of happy memories. Barnsley, perhaps, aside….

As for Griffin Park, the clean up has begun already. Jota has been taken down from the gates whilst the ticket office and many external fitting have been removed. It won’t be long before the bulldozers move in and then we really are doing nothing more than living in the past. Albeit, plenty of happy memories. Barnsley, perhaps, aside….

Now, the only way is forward. The past is just that. The season is here and the bookies have us 6-1 favourites for the title. On a personal note, the club have been generous enough to keep the Park Life column going in the matchday programme. I don’t get paid for that and don’t want to. I love the club, I love being involved and writing still needs to remain personal . Or, where needed, probing. 

However, it is mentioned more to reflect how the ongoing interaction with our supporters is continuing. This is something which had been a huge part of Griffin Park life and, personally, I’m so glad we are continuing down this track. The fans are what make a club. The relationship with them what defines us.  There are so, so many involved behind the scenes.  

Sorry. It’s been a bit rambling today. Not hugely structured. A few thoughts thrown up in the air and let’s see where they land. I’ll be on the sofa at mid-day and can’t wait for it all to start again. It’s going to be different but it’s still going to be Brentford.  

Here’s to 2020-21 being the best season yet.

Supporters have always been involved – despite the size of their novelty cheques

THE main item has now been collected

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