Brentford FC are my local football team. Most of the time they are in League One, English football’s third tier, though back in the 1950s they spent time in what was then known as the First Division. A few years ago they had a great season, including an FA Cup run which peaked with the defeat of Sunderland.
That January, poised to win their league, they sold their star player, DJ Campbell, in the transfer window for a pathetic £1/2 million to Birmingham. He spent the rest of the season in Birmingham reserves, while for Brentford the goals dried up. They missed out on the automatic promotion places and flopped in the play offs. Never really had a sniff since.
Always a finger on the self-destruct button.
Until this season, under the management of German Uwe Rosler, who starred for Man City in his playing days. He’s got them playing decent football, and they excelled against Chelsea in the FA Cup, before being knocked out in a replay. (See my Sportsthoughts 60). And it all came down to the last game of the regular season yesterday. Against Doncaster. A winner-takes-all-game. Automatic promotion for the victor. Play-off agony for the losers. The draw would favour Doncaster.
What happened in added on time, after a tense 0-0 struggle, was scarcely believable. I wasn’t there – I was watching Man City beat West Ham on Sky and then flitting between Leinster v Biarritz in the Amlin Cup and cycling’s Tour of Romandie. Before settling down to the Clermont – Munster clash in the Heineken Cup semi final.
But I switched to the Sky Sports football news as the final scores approached. This is the programme where we watching people watching football on a screen! And get reports from key games. The ex Luton and Liverpool striker, Paul Walsh, was at Griffin Park, Brentford’s ground. He was getting very agitated as the final whistle approached…. and then Brentford got a penalty! Score it and Brentford were promoted. Surely, it was going to happen? The anchorman, Jeff Stelling, was going bonkers. (He always goes bonkers, but maybe goes up a gear for the season’s denouement).
This is what happened next, with thanks to Youtube. The penalty and subsequent events begin just before 1.00 on this video.
Disaster for Brentford, ecstasy for Doncaster!
Playoffs for the Bees, starting with two legs against Swindon. More agony. But Brentford must hold their nerve, remember they are better than the other play-off teams.
Come on you Bees! You can do it!