No. It wasn’t a dream. I’m awake. Brentford really did come good in the most incredible style to turn a 3-1 HT deficit into a 5-3 win at Burton Albion. Back on 3rd May 2015, the Last Word published a column entitled: Was this the craziest day in Championship history? as the Bees secured a play-off semi-final with Middlesbrough and Bournemouth pipped Watford to the league title in the most dramatic of denouements. But yesterday saw all that come crashing back to the forefront of the memory for many reasons. Nonemoreso than the return of Middlesbrough fan and Last Word cult hero Clem. Of Clemwatch fame.
But we can only start up where we left off last night and the result from Burton Albion. If not as significant as that afternoon back in 2015 where our own defeat of Wigan, matched with just about every possible result going our way, saw the Bees reach the play offs for the Premier League, this was one that is at the very top of the list of “I was there” games, Purely in terms of what was a ridiculous afternoon it was from a Brentford perspective.
If you’ve seen yesterday’s post-match column we’ve done that one. What a quite spectacular game of football to have witnessed. Following it from home was stressful enough, I can only imagine what it was like being there. An afternoon reminiscent of celebrating like we’d won the FA Cup at Leyton Orient? Winning the fifth round of the FA Cup at Blackburn in 1989? That game against Wigan in 2015?
Only those in Burton will truly know how good this one felt but if social media is anything to go by then it can only have been up there with the best of the best. There’s been plenty for those missed who out on this one to look at via the world of Twitter and other sources although, perhaps, in retrospect it was always going to be a special afternoon when Burton gifted Brentford an omen such as this.
Billy (Grant) of Beesotted fame wasn’t just spotted on the side of a building. He was one of many loving the moment Sergi Canos popped up at the railway station on the way home. As you do.
Billy and Sergi. The afternoon’s excitement showed no sign of stopping.
Billy wasn’t alone. Just when you thought Sergi couldn’t be any more excited to be back at Brentford, his impromptu photocall proved us all wrong on that front. How Norwich City must be kicking themselves at acquiring, then falling too use, such incredible talent and incredible enthusiasm. Presumably the Spaniard has now got home or is he still obliging the supporters with more photos?
Bees photographer Mark Fuller caught the moment below as sweetly as one could hope. The next best thing to actually being behind the goal.
Whilst his partner in media crime (not literally) Sean Ridley proved that sometimes, three words are all you need.
But perhaps it was the EFL themselves who hit the nail on the head in regards to yesterday’s events.
Yet to truly call yesterday incredible we also need to look at Bournemouth. Specifically because Eddie Howe’s team beat Swansea City 2-0 at Dean Court/The Vitality Stadium.
On paper, no great surprise given The Swans precarious position but dig a bit deeper and it might not have been such a ‘gimme’ as first imagined.
Back in that 2014/15 season, aswell as charting Brentford’s first Championship campaign the Last Word ran a side feature called Clemwatch. It was a feature borne out of the sudden realisation made, as most are, in The Griffin.
Namely, that whichever team ever popular BBC roving reporter Clem (Mark Clemmit) featured on The Football League Show would subsequently fail to win that afternoon’s game.
Clem – never shy to mix it up in terms of reporting locations for The Football League Show
Was there any truth to this? Being the jinx conscious football fan (magic pants, lucky shirts, not shaving over a winning run are all par for the course) this needed study. And so over the course of that season Clem’s form was observed from the first week. Surely it wouldn’t be true. But it was.
Aside from some genuinely entertaining features, Clem finished up with a record of 7(seven) wins from 30 reports.
He started with short term Leeds United manager David Hockaday (who saw his new team lose 2-0 at Millwall) and finished with the consummate example of the Clem effect as Bournemouth scooped the Championship title at the expense of promotion rivals rival Watford.
Clem was at Vicarage Road to see if the Hornets, entertaining Sheffield Wednesday, could match Bournemouth’s result to be crowned champions. Both teams were winning with the BBC clock showing 90 minutes. Then, it happened.
Sheffield Wednesday proved themselves the ultimate party poopers as Atdhe Nuhiu levelled things up for the Owls in stoppage time. And there it finished at 1-1.
Whilst I’m sure that Watford fans will be more than pleased just to have gone up, I do hope Eddie Howe sent a big thank you to Clem. The effervescent reporter may have doomed Watford although, and it has to be said, he brought a lot of joy to viewers along the way.
Clem finished his season at Watford – who lost the title in the 90th minute
And that was it. With The Football League show disappearing from our screens the following season to be replaced by Football League Tonight (please, please, please never forget what was served up as replacement to Manish and Clem on that first episode) his work in that particular field was done. TV rights meant the BBC would focus on the Premier League and with Brentford failing to beat Middlesbrough in that play off semi final (or any game. Ever. It seems) we went our separate ways. Until yesterday.
With Clem finally on Twitter (@MarkClemmit) he’s been a recent ‘follow’ and, mid-morning, popped up with the announcement that Eddie Howe would be his interview subject on that morning’s Football Focus.
Cue good natured banter to a TW8 based Bournemouth supporter and Mike Grella fan about her team’s upcoming fate. The jinx would surely strike again? Yet the response was a surprising one. Not from Carey but from the man himself, defending his own recent record with the tongue in cheek note that times are changing.
That’s me told, then. Clem is on better form than ever .
And sure enough, they are. Bournemouth’s win sees Eddie Howe now joining the ranks of Sam Allardyce and Paul Lambert in being blessed by Clem. The jinx has reversed.
What can you say, but:
i) Sorry, Clem.
ii) Congratulations Clem.
iii) Thanks for being a great sport, and
iv) Should the worst happen to Middlesbrough then we can’t wait to see you at Griffin Park next season. Just make sure that if you have a mic with you, it’s pointing at Dean Smith.
And, of course, if you’d like to read more about our past three campaigns and the full Clemwatch story, then you can do so here.
Talking of Dean (puts crowbar back in pocket) we couldn’t finish without going all Ian Moose. Except without the pre-match catering obsession. It simply remains to say Happy Birthday to Dean Smith. Have a great day, my friend.
Happy Birthday Dean Smith. Have a great day my friend.