Part four of our series commemorating 50 years since the thwarted takeover by Queens Park Rangers
Brentford fans are normally known for their loyalty over their passion, but when the news broke that Queens Park Rangers were potentially moving to Griffin Park, they decided something must be done.
After the news broke on 19 January, Supporters’ Club Chairman Peter Pond-Jones, Secretary George Hutchinson, and committee member Lionel Green, decamped to scriptwriter Alan Simpson’s office the next afternoon to discuss what could be done. An action committee to stop the takeover was then formed. They had already received a combined offer of £20,000 from businessmen Les Davey and Bill Wheatley that morning, but much more money would be needed to buy out Dunnett. That evening a board meeting, held at the Houses of Parliament, voted against the proposal to sell Griffin Park to Queens Park Rangers.
The meeting held at Griffin Park on 23 January produced two fine quotes, with a pensioner present claiming what Brentford needed was “cash and goals” plus scriptwriter Alan Simpson proclaiming that “in a few years’ time we will be able to take over Fulham, Chelsea, AND Queens Park Rangers”.
George Hutchison wrote the following letter to the Middlesex Chronicle with a plea to supporters to save the Club:
“I am sure we will do better than survive, but to make this a certainty, we need time. The immediate problem, of course, is the weekly loss of £400. I am unashamedly asking local business men and factories, including the giants on the Great West Road, to give Brentford, for six months, a weekly donation of £1 upwards.
“To the fans, we say, attend every home game religiously, and in addition to anything else you are doing, give a 2s. 6d. donation at every match until the end of the season. If, as I anticipate, the response is excess of £400, we start reducing the overdraft.”
In a packed supporters meeting held at Griffin Park on Monday, 23 January, Supporters’ Club Chairman Peter Pond-Jones told the assembled audience that he wanted as many Brentford fans possible to own shares. This had a dual set of objectives: to raise money for the Club and also that the future ownership of the Club should be one of plurality rather than a single figure dominating the future direction of Brentford FC. So, the notion of supporter-owned football clubs is not new.
Peter came head to head with Jack Dunnett on BBC TV’s Grandstand on 4 February and challenged him on the programme to re-negotiate with the syndicate that had been formed to save the Club. Ten days later, Dunnett agreed to sell, subject to contract. Supporter power had won and new shares were issued shortly after Dunnett sold his controlling interest in late February 1967, enabling the supporter on the terrace to own a stake in their club.
It should not be underestimated that the actions of Peter Pond-Jones were vital to Brentford being saved. However, after the takeover was completed, the Supporters’ Club was barred from Griffin Park in 1968, with the Brentford FC board not wishing to work with him. He honourably resigned from his post of Chairman in order to again facilitate good relations with the parent club. Peter also served on the Board of Directors twice in the 1970s. He died, aged 68, in 1998.
Don’t miss out on a piece of history: help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the fans saving Brentford by booking tickets now for The Bees’ home match against Rotherham United on 25 February. Prices are just £1 for Juniors, £5 for Young Persons, and £20 for adults all over Griffin Park.