These really are strange days to be a Brentford fan.
First, today, the day after the close of the January transfer window during a successful season we have seen not a single one of our players leave, let alone be poached by a “big” club for a derisory sum. Sure, it would have been nice to have got another striker in to relieve the burden on Andre Gray – having another option off the bench last Saturday against Middlesbrough might have meant that we could have won the points as well as the plaudits- but you can’t have everything all the time. Particularly when the club has signed Glasgow Rangers’ star player, Scottish international, Lewis McLeod.
Second, after that game, Steve Claridge (4 appearances, no goals), who has been roundly condemned by Bees fans for barely being able to mention the team when on the BBC’s Football League Show, let alone to give them any credit, managed to gush enthusiastically about how brilliant, magnificent and great Brentford were against Middlesbrough.
Third, Mark Warburton, in his four years at the club, just over a season of which has been as manager, has the highest winning percentage of any Brentford manager. However, more striking than that for me is the fact that in my 21 years supporting the club I have seen the entire reigns of the top four managers in terms of win percentage. Given that last season was the only season in which I’ve seen the team promoted to the second tier and that the next three (Steve Coppell- 1 L1 play-off final defeat, Martin Allen- 2 L1 play-off semi final defeats, Uwe Rosler- 1 L1 play-off final defeat) all failed at that task it puts into perspective how bad Brentford had been for such a very long time before the 20 years of bouncing between the third and fourth tiers I’d seen pre-Warburton.
With the team in 5th place in the Championship, we’re in utterly uncharted waters where the El Dorado of Premier League football is tantalisingly glimpsed on the horizon. There may be storms and shipwrecks ahead (we really need to make sure that Andre Gray doesn’t get beached) but it really is the most exciting time to be a Bee! Strange days indeed.