Monday, 20 May 2013

There is a light that never goes out.

It all went so wrong Sunday.

I was really sad that I couldn’t go to Wembley Stadium with the Bees (Brentford Football Club), a team that has always lived in what was once called the ‘third’ division. I don’t really support them, but I lived in Brentford so long, worked there, fought so hard for Brentford people and I used to go to home games. And if you have a soft spot for an underdog, this dog is down on its luck.

So, I was listening to the commentary on BBC Radio London, following the build-up and the match. It was good but not the same as being there.

Twenty years ago they were promoted to the old ‘second division’ and I was there. We lined the High Street with everyone else, cheering the open topped bus carrying the team with the cup and the Mayor of Hounslow wearing his golden chain. Then we marched behind them into the ground and I stood in the centre circle with the old men, weeping. That’s the old men, not me. It was 50 years since they had last ‘gone up’.

Next season, in the old ‘second division’, they sold their best player as soon as they could and were relegated by one point – ONE POINT!

Since then they reached the promotion play-off matches six, make that seven times now and lost each time. Yesterday they lost again – that’s seven times.

The Bees journey hasn’t been an easy one – have a look at this from a fortnight ago: 'hyped up, laid back and knocked out'.

When teams run out onto the pitch they play an anthem like ‘We are the champions’ or ‘We will rock you’. I think the Bees should probably chose something by The Smiths – I’m not yet decided which.

‘There is a light that never goes out’.

– almost any of them would do.

Then at 4pm it was time for the last games in the premiership. From 1967 I supported Tottenham Hotspur (come on you spurs). I stopped going to games in the 1980’s when I discovered the corruption in top flight football, but that’s another story (say it ain’t so, Joe). Childhood dreams never really leave you and I still always kept an eye out for them.

Spurs had to beat Sunderland to snatch the last place qualifying for the Champions League, while rivals Arsenal were chasing the same spot – they just needed a draw at Newcastle.

So, listening to the commentaries on the radio (parallel games) was pretty exciting I can tell you. Arsenal scored, Tottenham were firing off shot after shot. Sunderland had a man sent off – then at last we scored. It wasn’t enough, Arsenal won too and got the place.

In the morning I was mowing the lawn. Wheel fell off the mower. It wasn’t the best of days.


Neil Harris

(a don’t stop till you drop production)

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