From Tinky Winky to top of the Prem. What a journey.

14 Aug

Get the heck in and when you are done, get in some more. That was just magnificent. Immense. Amazing. There aren’t enough superlatives to describe how incredible it felt as Brentford beat Arsenal 2-0 on Friday night. As Sergi Canos scored our first goal at this level. As Brentford went top of the Premier League. Top. Of. The. Premier. League. Don’t @ me. The table doesn’t lie.  The Bees flying high at the top. The Gunners rooted to the bottom. Champions Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and the rest of the chasing pack now left having to play catch up. This self-proclaimed bus stop in Hounslow now having half an eye on their crown already. Whether we can retain these lofty heights remains to be seen but that’s a conversation for another day. For now, we’re waking up with sore heads and even sorer throats. The noise in the Community Stadium so loud as to be positively deafening. The smiles on the  faces before, during and after nothing but beaming. Enough about Thomas Frank though.

Thomas. No words needed.

We got to the ground almost an hour before kick off. As much to do with wanting to be part of the build up as, being honest, not quite trusting the new fangled ticketing system to work. Oh me of little faith. It was seamless although a good thing we did arrive early. The crowds outside were huge ; the atmosphere building. Lionel Road everything it had promised to be in pre-season and now, finally full for the first time, it was just the most fantastic arena. Peter Gilham giving it his all on the microphone. Stu Wakeford his partner in p.a. crime barely able to contain the excitement. So this is what it’s like with a sound system you can actually hear? Except, of course, we couldn’t. The noise was through the roof. If it had felt loud for Bournemouth this was off the scale. Reports coming in from back home suggesting that the interviews couldn’t be heard above the crowd. Sergi Canos unable to hear the questions by the moment full time came around.

As for the game? Wow. Just wow. Much like our last competitive match, the play-off final, the opening exchanges were cautious. Brentford taking a few minutes to find feet. To absorb what little attacking intent could be mustered. Yet Arsenal, missing Aubameyang and (as Prince almost once sang) the prolific Lacazette, had little to offer up front. Both reported as ‘sick’. Presumably like the dog that had just eaten the homework

Slick passing and breakaway speed are all well and good but if you can’t do anything with it then what’s the point? Toothless. Impotent. A spent force. But enough about Piers Morgan, whose griping from Twitter was a quite beautiful sideshow. It wasn’t until the 85th minute that I recall David Raya having anything meaningful to do. A quite magnificent save from the Gunners’ one danger source, Emile Smith Rowe, which he had no real right to get even half-way close to. Yet when called upon, there he was. Up until then the most he’d had to do was make himself a delicious Löfbergs coffee. Mmmm, Löfbergs. Apparently. 

With Brentford settling into the game, the chances started to come. Bryan Mbeumo having the best of the early opportunities with a run and shot on the angle that was only kept out by the woodwork. With threat building, it was the unofficial king in our house, Sergi Canos, who opened proceedings. Oh, Sergi Canos. You absolute beauty. Little over twenty minutes on the clock and the roof came off the Community Stadium. Bernard Lemon in goal for Arsenal close but no cigar as our beautiful number 7(seven) slammed one past him to send the place nuts.

No? No? Yessssssss!!!!! Not even a hint of VAR referral. Straight in and straight back for kick off. I’m still grinning like a lunatic now thinking about that moment. Top of the blinkin’ league. A goal up in our first Premier League fixture. Playing Arsenal off the park. Stroking it about like pros. Just having a blast. Mbeumo back to his best. Ethan Pinnock colossal when needed. Vitaly Janelt pulling the strings.

My good friend (with apologies for going all Ian Moose) Annette summing it all up quite beautifully on Twitter:

I remember when Sergi Canos posted a r.i.p tribute to the Tinky Winky teletubby when the actor died, and now here he is scoring our first Premier League goal. What a journey.

The Bees’ threat continued to build but failed to turn into a second goal. The doubts, perhaps, starting to build that we might come undone. It’s Brentford innit? Except it isn’t. Not any more. Wembley should have taught us that and what a feeling when Christian Nørgaard popped up to do his thing on 73. Powering through a crowded defence to head home a trademark long throw from the newly abbreviated Mads Bech.  If the place had gone berzerk for Sergi’s opener, this was next level.

Not only another goal but now with the safety buffer of going two clear and little more than a quarter hour left on the clock. F me. The ears are still ringing even now. Lionel Road erupted.  £50m Ben White left floundering as the Danish midfielder doubled the lead.  Surely not even Brentford could blow it from here? Surely…?

Not these days….

It was never in doubt. The one real scare coming with the aforementioned save from Raya. Had it gone in then who knows what would have happened to our nerves. But it didn’t. The ‘keeper showing just why Arsenal had coveted him so openly last season. Their loss, on and off the pitch, very much our gain. The five minutes of time added on passing in a blur and then.. the moment !!!

Full time. One final orgasmic eruption of noise to greet Michael Oliver calling an end to proceedings. Arms held aloft, voices raised and flags waved. Hey Jude sung led and proud. A moment we’d dreamed of now turning into reality. Those Arsenal fans who hadn’t already slunk off, left to trudge out in brutal despair. Their side propping up the rest of the league. Brentford sitting at the top of the pile.  

With full time came a lap of appreciation, as we’d become so used to at Griffin Park. Thomas Frank and the players enjoying the moment with the fans. Woody, in particular, coming in for the mother of all celebrations from our head coach. My word, that grin, You could see what it all meant to Thomas. To both of them. To all of us. 

And to the players aswell. Christian leading the charge to the supporters, one amazing boy in particular, with the rest following.

I want to be humble right now. To stay grounded. Let the Arsenal fans pick over their own performance. Brentford were just incredible last night. Nobody can deny that. The Premier League shaken up. For sure we’ll take beating at some point but you can only play who you are up against and what a way to do it.

For now, we are up and running. For now , we are top of the Premier League. Whether that is still the case at the end of the weekend remains to be seen. Manchester City aren’t going to just hand over their title and their top dog status. Quite frankly, I don’t care. This is all about the moment and they don’t come much better. 

Now bring on Crystal Palace. See you there! 

Nick Bruzon

8 Responses to “From Tinky Winky to top of the Prem. What a journey.”

  1. Rod Davidson August 14, 2021 at 7:45 am #

    A quite wonderful experience. The atmosphere electric – the sound system booming out with ‘Hey Jude’ upon the entrance of the players with Arsenal waiting twiddling their thumbs. The man management of the whole event spoke volumes for the total professionalism of everyone behind the scenes who created such an evening.
    The strobe lighting effect created by the floodlights was something I had never experienced before – this was a total show brilliantly executed.
    Tears were in the eyes – What a night !
    Fantastic team performance on the pitch with every sinew of effort given, and guided by a manager who has created such a terrific empathy with the Brentford family.
    And what can you say about Matthew Bentham without him none of this would have been possible.

  2. bocbrent12 August 14, 2021 at 8:37 am #

    Congratulations ! Whatever will happen in life : nobody ever can take away these moments you witnessed yesterday evening.
    Keep it Up !!!!

  3. Brighton Bee August 14, 2021 at 9:02 am #

    Wow, wow, wow

    What else can you say

  4. newroadkasualfirm August 14, 2021 at 12:45 pm #

    I really hope that we beat Crystal Palace when the Bees head South of the river on Saturday. Jolly good show

    • nickbruzon August 16, 2021 at 6:41 am #

      I couldn’t agree more. And so wonderfully phrased

  5. Colbee August 14, 2021 at 3:12 pm #

    In sixty-five years of following the Bees I have never experienced an atmosphere like last night. Hopefully we can make our home a fortress which will keep us in the Premier League and looking upwards.

  6. Mearnsy August 15, 2021 at 5:41 am #

    That’s my shirt!! It’s a tribute not a smear, similar to the self-deprecating adoption of “Just a bus stop in Hounslow.” My poem below sums it up.
    My brother, Mike, watched the last match at GP on the box in Canada and let it run on at the end; he mentioned the poignancy of watching the groundsmen’s final ritual.

    Just A Bus Stop In Hounslow

    They’re rolling up the nets at Griffin Park,
    The hope, the hurt, the joy, the broken heart.
    Draped on the bar where Trotta made his mark,
    I know this end is just another start.

    At the corner of Ealing and New Road
    I watch Micky Block’s pearlers curling in.
    The old man stands there, swaying the with the crowd,
    His “Up the Bees” rings clear above the din.

    The resurrection dream is coming true,
    Two stadiums, the future and the past.
    And as I bid the old girl fond adieu,
    I tip my hat to praise the current cast.

    There are no givens in this game, no limit
    But I am always proud to say, “It’s Brentford, innit‽”.

    • nickbruzon August 16, 2021 at 6:40 am #

      A wonderful tribute – I loved it (btw). Love the poem, too. Stand by…

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