Maybe it’s because I often see myself as one, but I’ve always been one to back an underdog.
So when I read on Twitter this morning that Sergi Canos is set to leave Brentford to join Greek Super League side Olympiacos on a permanent deal, I was struck by a feeling of sadness.
Admittedly, the writing has been on the wall for a while now. The Spaniard has clocked just 73 minutes in the Premier League this term and he was left out of the squad altogether for the recent trip to Leeds, following a thinly-veined dig posted on Twitter, where he alluded to the fact the same game last term was the only time he played in his favoured position.Embed from Getty Images
Thomas Frank played it down when questioned about it, but the perceived damage had already been done.
If this is how it ends, it is a sad way to end an affiliation that started more than seven years ago – yes, really.
Sad because from a statistical perspective, Canos is just one appearance away from 250 for the club at just 25-years-old. Sad because he has provided us Brentford fans with memories that will last a lifetime and more. Sad because he so evidently holds this club so dearly in his heart.
But, above all, sad because of the vitriol he has – and continues to – receive on social media.
I first interviewed him in March 2021, all too aware of the criticism that had been directed his way for the fact there was no instant response on the pitch when he returned from a serious knee injury. I slipped in a question about it and completely flipped the angle of my feature as a result of his honesty and openness.
“I’m not going to say it didn’t affect me because I was aware of it because we all have social media,” he told me.
“Normally, when you are not injured, you are playing and you manage that criticism during the season, but because I was going from zero to 100, it did affect me a little bit because it wasn’t only coming back from injury, it was also handling that pressure and that criticism from everyone.
“It was quite shocking because it was all at once. It didn’t help me, I’m not going to lie.”
Players do not tend to speak out on this topic and Canos is a perfect example as to just why. He may have silenced his doubters at that point, but it was only a temporary fix. Time and time again, they have reared their heads. If I was given £1 for every time I’ve seen ‘passion merchant’ on my timeline, I’d be a rich man.Embed from Getty Images
The thing is, I just don’t get it. Yes, maybe we have moved on as a club and Sergi’s future lies elsewhere – that’s football, it happens. But directing such malice towards someone who has never given anything but 100 per cent for our club is beyond me.
It’s at times like these you have to remind yourself Twitter is often a vicious echo chamber and not a true representation of real life, as much as it may coax you into believing so.
Whether you like it or not, he is, and always will be a club legend.
So if this is farewell, Sergi, good luck and thanks for the memories. Thank you for your passion, thank you for your honesty, thank you for our first ever Premier League goal, thank you for that goal against Reading – we still want to know how you did it.
I, for one, wish you nothing but the best.