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They played for both: Bristol City

15 April 2016

We look back at five players who have represented both The Bees and The Robins

Dai Hopkins, Brentford 314 appearances (80 goals); Bristol City 27 appearances (0 goals)

Dai was an ever-present in the mid-1930s as Brentford rose from Division Three South to top of Division One. The determined inside forward made 160 consecutive appearances as Brentford established themselves as one of the top clubs of the era under Harry Curtis. Capped by Wales 12 times, Dai’s career was cut short by the advent of the Second World War, although he was part of the Brentford side that won the London War Cup at Wembley in 1942. Dai returned to The Bees after the war aged 38 before joining The Robins a year later where he ended his career. The Welsh winger was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame in 1989 and died in 1994, aged 83.

Bill Lane, Brentford 123 appearances (93 goals); Bristol City 30 appearances (11 goals)

After a career that looked to be on the slide following spells with Tottenham Hotspur, Leicester City, and Reading, Bill joined up with former manager Harry Curtis in 1929 and instantly made an impression. He scored four goals in a 6-0 win over Merthyr Town in only his fourth game for the club on his way to a club record 33 goals that season as The Bees won all 21 home matches. Bill scored 32 goals in all competitions the following season and added another 28 in his final season before moving to Watford. His seven league hat-tricks is only behind Jack Holliday in Brentford history. After a brief spell with Bristol City he returned to Griffin Park as a coach before managing Brighton and Hove Albion to the Division Three title in 1957/58.

Len Bond, Brentford 130 appearances (0 goals); Bristol City 30 appearances (0 goals)

Len was an apprentice at Bristol City, turning pro in 1971. After six years at Ashton Gate, which included just as many loans spells away from the club, and having made just 30 appearances for The Robins, Len joined Brentford in 1977. He played all-but one game in his first season as The Bees were promoted from Division Four, keeping 14 clean sheets, and remained a regular in the next two Division Three seasons. Len picked up the Player of the Year award in 1979, despite missing the first two months of the season after a car crash. Len returned to Bristol City in the 1990’s as an Academy goalkeeping coach and now runs his own sportswear company.

Keith Millen, Brentford 380 appearances (20 goals); Bristol City 60 appearances (4 goals)

Keith was a mainstay of the Brentford backline for more than eight years with his pace and positional sense endearing him to the Griffin Park faithful. The Croydon-born defender helped Brentford to the 1985 Freight Rover Trophy Final, the 1989 FA Cup Quarter-Final, and promotion to Division One in 1992. Keith picked up the Players’ and Supporters’ Player of the Year award in the 1991/92 promotion winning season and joined our Hall of Fame at the 125th Anniversary Dinner in 2014. After a successful spell with Watford, Keith joined The Robins in 1999 and captained them to the Football League Trophy final that season. Post retirement Keith spent nearly a decade as a coach, assistant manager, caretaker manager, and finally manager with The Robins. He is now assistant manager to Alan Pardew at Crystal Palace.

Carl Hutchings, Brentford 214 games (10 goals); Bristol City 52 appearances (5 goals)

Carl made his debut on the opening day of the 1993/94 season aged just 18. Over the next five years the utility man would be used in a variety of defensive and midfield positions as The Bees reached the Play-Offs in 1994/95 and 1996/97. After a spell with Bristol City, which saw The Robins drop into the third tier, Carl briefly returned to Griffin Park in 2000 but then dropped out of professional football. After retiring in 2004 Carl became a stock market trader and is involved in sports management.

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