Feature by Rich and Nick Hester
Updated Saturday, 22nd December 2001
Now I have some more time on my hands having finished for the Xmas period at Uni I will be putting the articles from the last TITS online over the next few days. Check it out here
I've got to admit that it's been years since I enjoyed a visit to Griffin Park as much I have done so this season. It's probably because I, along with four thousand others, expected so little this time around, and if I'm totally honest I seriously believed that our battle would be at the opposite end of the table rather than dreaming of play-off's or even better.
Alright so it's still extremely early days, but my 'enjoy it whilst it lasts' type attitude that accompanied my visits to Griffin Park in August and early September has changed somewhat. I now have a gut feeling, although I'm petrified to admit it, that just maybe this run will continue and that we'll go into 2002 still looking down on the majority of sides in this division. Wouldn't that just be wonderful after everything we've all been through?
One things for sure though, the players have certainly shown that they're good enough to compete with the best in this league. We've now come up against many of the sides that are regarded as serious promotion candidates and have either matched them or in certain cases surpassed them - so with a little bit of luck on the injury front and presuming Mr Noades doesn't decimate the squad come Christmas, there's no reason why the lads shouldn't continue the high standards that they've achieved so far!
For some reason our deadline for edlines has been brought forward a week by our printers and we're typing these notes following the excellent result away at Brighton, so the couple of weeks between me typing these pages and you reading them much can happen and our optimism may appear somewhat premature by the time you've got this in your hands, but sod it, the way we've performed so far I'm not going to sit on the fence and change my stance on our chances this season.
After all, If that result and performance at Brighton alone isn't enough to convince everyone that we at least have a fair chance of being in the shake up come April then I don't know what is? I also think that it would be an injustice to the players and management to say that things probably won't last and that we will start to plummet down the table.
From what I've seen so far this season Bristol City have been the strongest outfit that we've come up against, and by comparing them to promotion sides from past years, I'm fairly confident to say that they're a quality side who will be in strong contention come the end of this term.
So it was not only comforting to take a share of the spoils on that wet Tuesday night but even more rewarding to witness Brentford literally rip them apart for a twenty minute spell in the second half - So despite being happy with cancelling out one of the better teams in the division, I walked away a little disappointed that we didn't kill the game off when we had the opportunity to steal all three points - That's how far we have come in such a short space of time.
In my opinion that's the big difference between teams that will succeed and fail. I walked out of three games during the early months of the season and put them into the 'Could have won' category rather than 'Should have won.' These being the away match at Notts County and the Bristol and Oldham matches.
Not wanting to undermine the massive achievements of anyone in a red and white shirt so far, after all, all those aforementioned results were not only good results on paper but also extremely fair results, yet I still felt that there were periods in each of those matches that if we'd have managed to take the game by the scruff of the neck and maybe bully the opposition then we could have well taken maximum points, even if perhaps it wasn't a fully deserved result.
That was probably one of the only question marks I had hanging over the current Brentford team - that being whether we had the mental strength to win games that perhaps we shouldn't have. However that result at Brighton a few weeks back swept the last doubt from my mind. Brentford were absolutely brilliant and beat a side that had won their last twelve successive home matches - To have the mental strength and belief to win such a match, especially after being under the cosh for such long periods, is an asset that very few clubs possess, so lets hope that we can keep that belief going because the longer this season goes on with us towards the top, the harder the games are going to get.
Sadly though It still seems that the Brentford faithful are still holding back and refusing to accept that everything will last, mainly because of the uncertainty with regards to Ron Noades' future. Nobody knows what his next move is going to be and It sends a chill down my spine just thinking about what may happen in the coming months.
I suppose you can't blame us for taking the negative stance, after all we're Brentford supporters aren't we? and if the past twenty years is anything to go by then surely disappointment is lurking so cruelly around the next corner.
This feeling is no doubt down to the fact that relations between the supporters and Noades has now reached an all time low. The Football League's decision to block the Woking move has been met with absolute silence from the football club and although it's been lovely to come to Brentford to simply watch and talk about the football side of things, that silence is mighty deafening and in my eyes considerably more dangerous than if Noades had come out all guns blazing slamming those that helped fight the cause!
Although the Football League's decision to block the Woking move was a massive result I now believe, certainly from the Noades corner anyway, that it's turned the whole situation into a 'them and us' scenario - and anyone who now believes that the Woking threat has receded then I suggest that they seriously think again.
I believe it's extremely important to mention now that Thorne In The Side have decided to totally sever any ties with Ron Noades.
One thing that both Nick and I are extremely proud of at this fanzine is the confidentiality clause that we've always strongly maintained when dealing with anyone in conjunction with the football club during our time doing TITS.
Whether it be whilst interviewing players in the past such as Dean Holdsworth or Andy Sinton right through to when we've sat down to listen to Martin Lange and even Mr Noades on a couple of occasions during his reign at Griffin Park, and not one person can ever accuse us of putting in print something that has been said 'off-record' so to speak, and that we are mighty proud of.
Having said that though I don't think it would be acceptable for us to stay silent on a matter that could well be to the detriment of Brentford Football Club, hence why we no longer wish to communicate with Noades.
There have been many occasions over the past few months that TITS have considered approaching Noades, especially after the Football League blocked the Woking move, but after reading several pieces from Noades in the form of interviews or replies to rumours elsewhere since the season got under way, we're strongly against giving him a soap box to peddle what we feel is his propaganda rubbish - After all, if he hasn't the decency to address the regular five thousand as to what his future plans hold then I find it totally unacceptable that he should address a couple of lads at a fanzine who have been hounding him for a few simple statements that should have been put out in the public domain months or even years ago!
It really is up to all Brentford fans to make their own minds up and take a strong stance on their belief's, and I know for fact that not everyone is of the belief that we hold, and that is something we also respect.
From the past couple of paragraph's you can tell what our angle is on Mr Noades but it would also be extremely unprofessional of us to start printing every rumour that we've heard from a mate of a mate that has a mate very close to an insider at the club, and whipping everyone up into a frenzy, especially as I doubt even Ron knows what he's going to do with the club from one day to the next, so we're not naive enough to believe or print everything that we hear via the grapevine. All we are prepared to say though is that we don't trust the man and want to have absolutely no contact with him until he can conduct himself in a manner that the supporters of this club rightly deserve.
One things for sure, we're certainly not going to be his 'nodding dog' just because the man has a fierce temper and has a tendency to make individuals scapegoats for his own shortcomings - Rich and Nick.
Enjoy the read,
Rich and Nick.