An American travels to see Championship playoff between Brentford and Middlesbrough

But then out of almost thin air, a failed clearance from a free-kick led to another cross being whipped in and turned in by Middlesbrough’s Jelle Vossen and the visitors were one up. Three sides of Griffin Park went absolutely silent; it was as if the collective air of all the Brentford supporters’ was deflated like Tom Brady’s footballs. The fourth side went absolutely mental, the celebrations were so wild that some fans were almost forced over the barrier and onto the pitch by celebrating fans on the terrace. The Wembley and “going up” chants soon returned. Soon after the goal a Brentford shot went out for a goal kick and a young Middlesbrough fan in the front row of the terrace got hold of the ball and threw it to the back of the terrace to waste time in the first half. The goal did bring an increase in tempo to the match and in the 30-second minute Middlesbrough appeared to have scored a second goal that was not given (no goal line technology in the Championship). Brentford then raced up the pitch and within 15 seconds of the disallowed goal Brentford had a penalty shout that was also turned down. The match got more and more fast paced as half-time approached and that was just to serve as an appetizer for what was to come in the second half.

During the interval I found out that Mourinho was in the house and was sitting in my stand but I was unable to locate him and I settled back to get ready for the second half. By this point the sun had set and the match was now being played under total floodlights, which added to the atmosphere. As the second half started the lights in all the stands were turned off and the Middlesbrough fans started singing, “we’ll sing in the dark” before a large group of them turned on their iPhone flashlights. The Brentford terrace responded by singing “what the f*cking hell is that”. In the 54th minute, Brentford equalized and Griffin Park exploded into a cauldron of noise. All of a sudden the promotion and Wembley dreams that had seemed gone when Middlesbrough went a goal up were back. They really could do this – two successive promotions and 150 millions pounds of cash were within striking distance. Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge and Anfield were now creeping into the collective minds of the Brentford supporters. They chanted “who are ya!” at the Middlesbrough supporters and then exploded into their own chorus of “Que Sera Sera” as the place slowly came back to life and the stage was set for a sizzling final 35 minutes.

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