Thomas Frank


Nemone Sariman, a Beesotted writer, recently wrote a piece in which she reflected on Brentford’s tie with Crystal Palace and posed some very intriguing mathematical queries.

A wise man once said, “Nobody likes a draw.” I was not aware of this at the time. After all, a single point is preferable than none at all. Okay, sure. However, no.


Do I seem logical so far?


Now, most people are equally adept at using words and numbers, though some may lean slightly more one way than the other. But I enjoy using words. I must have been preoccupied at the time they distributed the numeracy skills—probably looking for my calculator—because I can’t function when someone asks me a number question.

When I watch The Apprentice, I already forget the first team’s number by the time Lord Sugar announces how much money the second team has made. And I once had to oversee the invigilation of a math exam, but I got absolutely lost attempting to determine the exam’s end time given that it began at 9:06, lasted for an hour and a half, and had a 25% additional time allowance owing to the student’s special requirements. Additionally, the fact that an hour had sixty rather than a comfortable hundred minutes didn’t help

brentford player
Brentford’s Said Benrahma (left) celebrates scoring his side’s third goal of the game and his hat-trick with team-mates Josh Da Silva and Ollie Watkins during the Sky Bet Championship match at Griffin Park, London.

Finally, after explaining the situation to the student, I requested his assistance in determining his end time. No idea, Miss,” he replied. I’m not good at math.

Seven contests without a victory seems quite bad. And an eight-game winning streak seems pretty good. Who would have guessed that the former, depending on things like goal differential and how other teams perform, could actually help a team move up the table more than the latter? The better outcomes are better for the soul, while the better results are better for the table.

Conversely, being in a winning position and having the adversary catch up vaporizes any pep as if it never existed, making us feel like we’ve lost. However, equalizing after falling behind provides the soul a little of pep (no, not that pep). (What, exactly, is a pep’s opposite? The klopp?

So, is a defeat preferable to a draw? even a GOOD thing? One advantage is that it compels a team to analyze, consider, and alter tactics. When we draw, it can be easy to think, “Let’s just keep doing what we’re doing since we’re unbeaten.” Okay, but if you’re just using one point per round while others are using three, it will take you a while to get up the table.

Since I am number-blind, concepts like stats and formations have no significance for me. In fact, I’m pretty sure that someone once said “4-5-3” to me, just to see if I was paying attention, and I nodded sagely as if I knew what they were talking about.

The optimist in me claims that we ought to be grateful for those few points, and I even penned a piece to that effect following our home tie with Leicester in the previous campaign. But as our outcomes improve, so do our expectations. Perhaps we’re entitled spoiled brats who are complaining about something that used to make us happy a few seasons ago? Or is it just that we’re setting higher standards and being more ambitious?

On Saturday, the weather was not on our side, as if it were a sign of doom. No water at the first home game. Too much water: the second home game.


Fortunately, The Bees didn’t let this discourage us—and it resulted in some incredibly beautiful photos—but Crystal Palace battled just as hard, appearing to stop us whenever our passing reached any degree of flow. And, as much as it hurts me to say it, Eze frightened me.

However, Schade, who scored his richly merited league debut goal, was faster, more skilled, and more graceful than Crystal Palace. On the field, it appeared fantastic, and the slow-motion replays looked even better. Sadly, Andersen ended the laughter after 76 minutes. I’m sorry. We came away with a point, but it hurt a little since Palace’s souls were pepped while Brentford’s were klopped.

Kevin Schade deserves praise, though. The West Stand chorus from the Schade song, which is the longest player song I’ve ever heard and whose lyrics I only know the last line of, was inspired by his magnificent goal:

He’s wearing the number 9, too.

We’re back to numbers once more, yes.

This brings me to the exchange below, which I had with the spouse at one point, and which shows how I can now add shirt numbers to my growing list of inconveniences:

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