My name is Chrissie Ellis (nee Watson). I was born at West Middlesex Hospital on 27 April 1974 and grew up in West Ealing. My dear dad, Gordon Watson, was a proud Brentford fan and never ever missed a home game. In fact, our whole family are Bees fans, so I always say I was a Bee from birth as I could never support any other club.
Saturdays were always football days in my family. My dad had two daughters, so when he didn’t have a little boy to take to Griffin Park, I was the next best thing. I think I was about five-years-old when he took me to my first match along with my Uncle Bill and cousin David.
Griffin Park has flipped round from when I was a kid, I used to sit on the red and white bars against my dad in the old Royal Oak Stand, which later became the Brook Road End and I just loved it. I’ve got so many happy memories of those early days, even though I went to school in Acton, where I was surrounded by QPR fans.
One that sticks out for me is when one of my favourite players, Tony Mahoney, broke his leg during a game. I was absolutely heart-broken and cried all the way back home.
I also used to go to all the five-a-sides with Dad and watch players like Terry Hurlock, Francis Joseph and all of the real old-school 80s players. I was there to witness our final against Millwall in 1983 and I remember my dad having to find a phonebox to call my Mum to say we would be home very late that night. Oh, how times have changed!
That was also the year of the fire that decimated the Braemar Road stand. My sister and I did a sponsored swim and raised just over £150 towards the repair - my first appearance in the programme! The club gave us a tour of the dressing rooms to say thank you and we went on the pitch at half-time one Saturday to present our cheque.
My mum always says that if you cut me, I’ll bleed red and white and she’s not wrong. But, again, I owe that to my dad. When we reached the Freight Rover Trophy final in 1985, he made sure we were in attendance at Wembley, even if that meant cutting our family holiday to North Wales short. When we lost to Wigan, it’s safe to say there were more tears on the way home.
Sadly, my dad is no longer with us. He passed away at the age of just 63 following illness, but his funeral was a sea of red and white flowers and paid tribute to his days supporting the Bees. He’d be so proud that his love for Brentford lives on in me.
I live in Lymington on the south coast now and, for a time, supported the Bees from afar, but my husband Shaun and I purchased season tickets for the final season at Griffin Park as there was absolutely no way we were going to miss it. I introduced him to the club and the first game I brought him to was the Bristol City game last October, when Thomas Frank took over.
We lost 1-0 that day, which was unfortunate, but the second game got him hooked; it was the home game against Blackburn back in February. It was a treacherous journey up the M3 due to ice and snow and, once we got to the game, it couldn’t have got off to a worse start when they went 2-0 up after seven minutes.
I was wondering if I’d put him off with two losses in a row, but then there was that excellent comeback and we ended up winning 5-2. Funnily enough, we look forward to that drive up the M3 now!
Leaving Griffin Park will be emotional but I really bee-lieve this club is going places. We’re both looking forward to moving to the new stadium but, whatever happens, I’ll always support Brentford and they will remain in my life forever.
I’ll tell you what would cap it off perfectly, though: If Saïd Benrahma was to throw his gloves in my direction when he takes them off mid-game. I’m three rows up just left of the halfway line in Braemar Road if you’re reading, Saïd!
Chrissie's story was first published in this season's matchday programme against Cardiff City on 11 December 2019. To get your Brentford Story online, email Programme Editor Chris Deacon on [email protected] and we'll get back to you.
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