We’ve only gone and done it.

30 May

We. Are. Premier League. Said we are Premier League. My word. It happened. It only went and actually happened !! Brentford beat Swansea City 2-0 at Wembley to reach the top flight of English football. Not a typo. It was a game which was as comfortable as the scoreline suggests, following a blistering start from the Bees. Ivan Toney from the spot and Emiliano Marcondes putting us as good as there within twenty minutes. But for the woodwork it would have been three moments later and once the Swans were reduced to ten men in the second half (straight red for Jay Fulton) it was a game over, man. Game over. A few heart stopping flurries aside, our opponents weren’t in it. Or, rather, the Bees were dominant. Calm. Composed. Deadly on the counter attack. Now, our West London derby will be with Chelsea. Will be at Stamford Bridge. Not Loftus Road or Craven Cottage.

Sunday morning. Wide awake. By all medical logic kidneys, liver and other internal organs should have packed up a few hours ago yet. Brain should not be functioning given lack of sleep. Instead, there’s a ludicrously oversized Joker-esque smile across the face and espresso being mainlined. The minute Mrs B and our Harry wake up, we’ve a date with the Skybox and a rewatch of the game. I’ve not seen any of it back yet. The night was a procession of beer and more beer. First at The Box Park and the The Griffin before back at home. Celebrations that have been SO long coming given our well documented record at Wembley. Success that we have been slowly building towards over the last few years. If it felt amazing after Alan Judge got the winning penalty against Preston to help us leave League One, this was ten times better.

The season has been a crazy one. All but a handful of games played behind closed doors. The gates to our new home at Lionel Road padlocked for so long. The heartbreak of last season and the inevitable sale of Ollie Watkins to Aston Villa a blow to test the firmest of resolves. The subsequent departure of Said Benrahma another sad, sad day for many. Questions over David Raya’s future seeing Luke Daniels beginning in nets. Our Championship campaign starting at a sedentary pace, albeit the league cup run kept things ticking over nicely until league form finally kicked in.  And when it did. My word…..

Ivan Toney has grabbed most of the headlines. Understandably. 31 goals in the regular campaign will make him the number one transfer target for just about everyone else over the summer. His penalty technique the stuff of legend. And heart attack. He didn’t miss one all season though. Yesterday at Wembley, under the pressure of the richest game in English football and the albatross around the neck of all that had gone before, he did it again. Calmness personified. Freddie Woodman coming close but no cigar. The stadium erupting as ten minutes in, the scoreboard reflecting a strange stat – Brentford actually ahead in a play off final.

But it is not just about Ivan. Sergi Canos has copped dogs’ abuse at times. Something he spoke about publically in the end. However, he used it to get better and better. Stronger and stronger. His performance in the final few games, the semi final especially, up there with the very best of them. His hat trick at Cardiff over Christmas pushing him and us on to bigger and better things. 

Bryan Mbeumo was immense. He never stoped running. He won the penalty for the first goal and was the architect of our second. Energy levels finally back to what they were before that bought of Covid last season. Whether they were related, who knows, but he hadn’t seemed himself in the earlier part of the season. Yesterday, we got the M of our our much touted BMW (remember when that was a thing) back in some style.

Matthias Jensen was imperious at Wembley. He, Mads Roerslev – given the freedom to break with abandon thanks to Henrik – and Emiliano the candidates for man of the match. Imagine saying that a few months ago? Marcondes scooped the honours in the end but it could have been anyone. To a man, the team were magnificent. Thomas Frank sticking with the same starting XI as that which beat Bournemouth. Swansea City unable to answer the questions which, after an understandably cautious opening few minutes for both sides, came at them thick and fast.

We could name check everybody. Brentford were magnificent. There aren’t enough superlatives. If there were any nerves they weren’t showing. Any thoughts of the pressure or the past form then they’d been consigned to the dustbin of history. Previously unseen levels of bottle discovered. It may not have felt like it watching back home or in the pubs but, for the lucky few granted entry the roof was raised and the atmosphere incredible. Fans united. Voices raised. The impossible becoming possible with every inch towards full time. 

Even an additional six minutes added to the clock at the end insufficient for Swansea to do anything of significance. Then came the whistle. Then came the tears. Then came the numb feeling of actually having done it. Celebrations on and off the pitch a memory to keep forever. The smile on Sergi’s face saying it all. Thomas Frank tossed into the air by his players. The sight of a trophy being raised is certainly one for the record books. Brentford have done a win at Wembley. Brentford are in the Premier League. The Premier F’ing League! We’re just a bus stop in Hounslow. We’re also a top flight club. We’ll be hosting some of the biggest names in English football. And also Arsenal. It feels like we’ve gone down the rabbit hole and into a next level world of craziness. Forget the Begovic Frustration hole. I just hope the club retain the damage at Lionel Road, get it framed and turn it into part of club history.  

Get it framed

A few seasons back, as a League One club, we were paired with Chelsea in the FA Cup fourth round. It was an amazing time and we came ‘that’ close before eventually losing the replay. The build up was full of that ‘Champions of Europe, we’re coming for you’ song. With the Stamford Bridge club once again lifting the trophy last night (their 1-0 win over Manchester City feeling almost like an after thought amidst our own celebration), it is a song we will no doubt sing again. Yet this time it will be on an equal footing. This time it will be as members of the same league rather than two clubs thrown together by nothing more than the fortuitous paring of two balls plucked from a velvet bag.  

There are a million other amazing thoughts and things to consider about where our footballing journey now takes our club. By bus, obviously.  We’ll be on Match of the Day. We’ll be in the Panini sticker book. That’s going to cost me a fortune. For Harry, obviously. There are apparently something called ‘Match Attax’. Then we’ve got Fantasy Football selections. Sh*t – who do you go for? We can only have three per team. This is before you even get to the amazing stuff like who we will see in the flesh. Like where we get to visit (and when – hurrah for televised fixture chaos).

I apologise. I’m all over the place today. It is the most incredible feeling of happiness. Of relief. Of incredible calm following all the stresses we’ve been through over the years. As a fan since 1979, the highs have been incredible but they have been fleeting. Disappointment and frustration have so often been our more regular bedfellows. It doesn’t matter, in the grand scheme. The reason I’ve kept coming back. The reason Mrs B and Harry have bought in to Griffin Park and Lionel Road. The reason we were all there together yesterday is down to the amazing sense of family that is part of being a Brentford fan. 

Everyone knows everyone. From the chairman down to Thomas and the players, come Saturday afternoons we are all part of the same group. Everyone treats everyone equally. We all know each others faces. We all talk to people whose names we may not even know but who are wearing red and white. It is our Friday night dinner but on a Saturday afternoon. Wonderful time spent in the company of friends, regardless of the  90 minutes on pitch. An adopted family we have been thrown together with but whom being separated from over the last 15 months has been horrific. 

That the club goes to such lengths to incorporate the supporters is , frankly, ridiculous. Yours truly inflicts a programme column on readers. H has done, well, just about everything from reading out the teams to kit launch photo shoots to having the players over to ours and he’s still only 7( seven). We’re not alone. Woody is a hero. As is Jumper Man. Harry Potter. Why-aye Mister Partridge. Courier bag early exit man. Mark Burridge. Greville Waterman. Billy Reeves. Kitman Bob. Trevor. Eamon. Billy Grant and his selfie-stick. The cry of ‘Push Up, Brentford’ one I am only looking forward to hearing in the top flight. We all know each other, even if just by face. I’m buzzing at the thought of seeing all this continue next season.

Woody does his thing at Wembley

Peter Gilham. Cripes Peter Gilham. He’ll be doing his thing with the mic in the Premier League. He’ll have all manner of new names to wrap his tongue around. He’ll be even louder than ever before. He’ll be utterly bonkers. In the nicest sense. If ANYONE deserves to enjoy this moment it is him. If anyone deserves all the excitement of what now lies ahead it is him. Everyone knows Peter. Everyone loves Peter.  

Oh, I can’t wait. I can’t wait for any of it.  Forgive the lack of cohesion on this one. It’s words thrown down with abandon, Even less thought to structure than normal. Perhaps we can be more considered down the track but for now, I’m still in shock. Happy, happy shock. 

We’ve only bloody well done it!! 

Nick Bruzon


15 Responses to “We’ve only gone and done it.”

  1. Rod Davidson May 30, 2021 at 8:37 am #

    The curse of statistics was finally thrown off the players shoulders yesterday – and what a difference it made.
    Everyone was playing for each other with a free abandon, a high energy and excellent decision making.
    Players who had been inconsistent had gradually been getting back to form. The playing system was reformed. The substitutions became more versatile with different players getting the chance to show – what their ‘ABILITY’ could do. And thank goodness for that !
    And so it all came together on the one glorious afternoon, one that I had been waiting for, for so many years.
    Well done Thomas Frank for stepping up to the plate and for changing the system when it desperately needed it.
    And finally well done, and thank you ! MATTHEW BENHAM for creating a club and an environment for which we can all feel justly proud.

  2. Rob May 30, 2021 at 8:50 am #

    Simply put……….WOW! Fairytales do happen! One thought the stage was set last year, with a fairwell hat tip to Griffin Park and a playoff against the old enemy, but no, that wasnt to be. Then in a season where no fans were allowed to have attended most matches, we get to another final, andfinally, FIALLY! deliver. Got to be a Hollywood lockbuster of a documentary of the future, a metaphoric David slaying Goliath.
    Ill say it again…WOW!
    “Its Brentford innit”

  3. Peter Hills May 30, 2021 at 9:01 am #

    A memorable afternoon and can still hardly believe we have made it to the Premier.

    It has been a long time since I first went to GP on a cold February midweek afternoon 1952 replay v Luton with 30,000 others!

    Thank you to Nick for keeping our spirits high during such a long and finally magical season.

    • Ken Luckett May 30, 2021 at 12:09 pm #

      I was at that Luton game. It was an FA cup replay and on the day the king died. I remember waiting with bated breath to see if it would be called off. I also remember good old Billy Dare missing an open goal having rounded the goalie. It was a draw and we lost the 2nd replay at Highbury. If I had seen you there I would have said hello.

  4. Les Steggles May 30, 2021 at 9:17 am #

    Does this now mean no more Keith Stroud? Asking for a friend.

    • nickbruzon June 1, 2021 at 4:52 am #

      Well, perhaps our paths will cross again. Word on the street is that Mr Stroud is being short listed for the top flight

  5. Canary Martin May 30, 2021 at 9:38 am #

    Well done to all at Brentford FC. And hopefully a new ground for us Yellows to visit as well!

  6. Brighton Bee May 30, 2021 at 9:45 am #

    What a day. Fifty years of supporting Brentford through thick and thin ended in a glorious conclusion yesterday afternoon. All the years of going to places like Workington, Darlington, Hartlepool and Rochdale etc finally paid off. What a season we have to look forward to next year when our West London derby will be Chelsea and not Fulham or the other lot from Shepherds Bush. My journey with Brentford has been torturous but I have enjoyed every minute, it’s been such an important part of my life. I am particularly pleased for Peter G, what a legend. I think it was great that he got to be part of the celebrations as he is Brentford! Onwards and upwards, I can’t wait for the fixtures to come out, someone pinch me I must still be dreaming Brentford are in the PREMIER LEAGUE!!!!

  7. Jonathan Simons May 30, 2021 at 10:01 am #

    Great piece Nick. I am so happy for you and all other Bees fans. My first game was home to Bury in April 1954. Since then, Brentford in the top division meant looking back at newspapers from the 1930’s and looking at the scores and thinking” if only”.
    From being used to being pleased if a national newspaper actually mentioned Brentford to wall to wall coverage is something I never thought I would happen.
    My celebration yesterday when I returned home from Wembley was not in a pub or getting drunk but a period of quiet reflection and thinking about how proud my late father would have been.
    I echo Peter’s thanks to you for your interesting and heartfelt colums over the years. Your headline for todays piece is brilliant and reflects the views of thousands of Bees fans.

  8. Eddie Hutchinson May 30, 2021 at 11:12 am #

    According to Billy Reeves on BBC Radio London, it took until 89 minutes and 20 seconds before the Bees fans finally believed it and started singing “We are going up”. When “Hey Jude” rung out, I burst into floods. What a performance. What a day. What a magnificent bunch of people at the club. Drink it all in – like I will my next celebratory bottle of London Pride!

    • Martin O'Brien May 30, 2021 at 12:22 pm #

      I think the effervescent Mr Reeves was having some fun at our expense. The infantile (but very enjoyable) Bees up Fulham down was ringing out much earlier – a bit too early for my tastes.

      It is great to be in the Prem, though I used to say it was a great place for a holiday, but I would not want to live there. I wonder if I still think that come the end of next season. Despite that BB, I hope I never forget that I actually enjoyed trips to Darlo and the Deadly Dales: hey, how can you not love a club where the nearest pub was called The Cemetary

      • nickbruzon May 31, 2021 at 7:16 am #

        Bees Up Fulham Down AS IT STANDS !!! was more the refrain form our stand. Way , way too early but, you know what, it all worked out

  9. Simon Sapper May 30, 2021 at 12:07 pm #

    Drifting back home with the boy from Wembley yesterday, in-between involuntary giggles as the thought of all the glorious matches next season will bring, we did ask each just how you’d be able to capture it all in words – but you’ve done it perfectly! Thanks Nick.

  10. Andrew Anderson May 30, 2021 at 4:06 pm #

    Nothing incoherent about your piece Nick. A nice well written piece summing up how every fan of your club must feel this morning. Delighted for you and the club. Well deserved reward to a club who look from this outsider’s viewpoint to be run in exemplary fashion.
    Will be interesting to see how you do in PL. I think you could match Leeds this season for sure.
    Congrats again and you’ll be my favourite 2nd team next season 🙂

    • nickbruzon May 31, 2021 at 7:16 am #

      Thanks Andrew. Can’t wait to catch up in person and chew the fat

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