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Interviews

First, Best, Worst: Marcus Bean

From a short-lived debut to a belter against Bradford, we talk to Marcus Bean about his first, best and worst moments in football

25 April 2018

A man who knows what life is like on each side of the West London divide, Marcus Bean made his professional debut for Queens Park Rangers in 2002.

Following a four-year spell at Loftus Road which included time on loan at Swansea City, the energetic midfielder headed north for Blackpool in 2006. Eager to return to the capital, London-born Marcus made the switch to Brentford two years later. Back on home turf and enjoying his football, Marcus says that his arrival in TW8 saved his career at a time when he was wiling to turn his back on the game.  

Having helped The Bees to the League Two title during his first season at the club and an EFL Trophy Final in 2011, Marcus would take his leave from Griffin Park in 2012. A well-known figure on the Football League circuit, the 34-year-old is looking to add another promotion to his CV this term with Wycombe Wanderers. 

 

FIRST…

Game in professional football

My professional debut was for Queens Park Rangers against my current team, Wycombe Wanderers – it’s funny how things have come around full circle. I came on as a second-half substitute and was sent off within five minutes of stepping on the pitch. I got in an altercation with a big striker named Andy Rammell who was a bit of a bully. We were caught in a grapple off the ball, the referee saw the incident and showed us both red. We went on to lose 4-1 so you can imagine what was going through my head as I sat back down in an empty dressing room. Fortunately, the manager at the time, Ian Holloway, gave me another chance - he told me to use the incident as a lesson. Ian was really good with me as a young player.

 

Memories of life at Brentford

I remember signing for the Club and how happy I was to be back in London. I’d spent three-and-a-half years in Blackpool which was miles away from home, and went through what I can only describe now as bouts of depression. I’d experienced some tough times so when I got the call from Brentford I was over the moon. As a footballer you always perform best when you’re happy and feel at home and I knew that Brentford would give me that platform. It was great to be back home and around the people I love.

With my history at QPR, I knew I’d have to do more than the average player to win over the Brentford fans – that was always something in the back of my mind. You can’t let these things consume you as you won’t perform on the pitch, but it was something which drove me on to make the move a success.

 

Person you called once you came off the pitch at Darlington

It would’ve been either my mum or dad because they’ve been the pillars of my career in football. They travel to a lot of games, home and away, and took me to Sunday League and Academy games. 95 per cent of everything I’ve achieved I owe to my parents. One of my main memories from that day was the journey home. It was a long drive home from Darlington and a lot of alcohol was consumed on the coach! The celebrations were amazing.

 

BEST…

Game you were involved in at Brentford

On a personal note, my best game for Brentford came against AFC Bournemouth in April 2009. Karleigh Osborne and Darren Powell got in a fight which resulted in Darren being sent off. We were down to ten men against a good side away from home, and I remember the way in which we battled for those three points. I don’t know where my energy came from - I was like a man possessed that day. Another game that stands out is Luton at home on the final day of the 2008/09 season. The sun was shining and it was a great atmosphere at Griffin Park – the fans made that day.

 

Goal you scored at Griffin Park

That came against Bradford City in December 2008. The ball came out to me on the edge of the box and I opened up and slotted it in the bottom corner – that was a great moment. It was a dramatic end to that game with my goal being cancelled out a minute later in the 89th minute before Nathan Elder got the winner for us in stoppage time.

 

Thing about the Brentford-QPR rivalry

I was at QPR from the age of ten. There was a definite sense of arrogance when it came to Brentford – they were looked down upon at the time. The Brentford fixture was never really seen as a derby for QPR players, it was almost like we took our foot of the gas when we played them.

Every game was very competitive. In the early to mid-2000s the rivalry was heightened because Martin Rowlands had crossed the divide in difficult circumstances – there was a bit of bad blood there. The rivalry has spun on its head now with Brentford edging ahead of QPR. The games have always been very close and a real battle for the players involved.

With players moving around so much nowadays it can be difficult to get a grasp of the rivalry, so it’s down to the management team and the fans to let the players know how much these games mean. I love both clubs, QPR because they nurtured me as a kid and Brentford because they basically saved my career - I would have walked away from football had I not been able to come back down to London. They’re both great family clubs.

 

Thing about playing for Brentford

It’s an ageing stadium but the atmosphere at Griffin Park, particularly under the lights, makes it a special place to play football. I can’t speak highly enough of the Brentford fans. They’re a patient bunch that let you take to the pitch and play your football; I’ve been at other clubs where there’s booing at half-time if it’s still 0-0. The Brentford fans appreciate good football and acknowledge when a player is giving their all. There’s a real humbleness at Brentford. 

 

WORST…

Feeling on a football pitch

I’ve been to Wembley twice and lost on both occasions – it’s impossible to enjoy the day out unless you win. Losing at Wembley is a horrible feeling that sticks with you throughout your career, so I’d have to say the defeat against Carlisle United in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Final was one of the worst experiences I’ve had in football. I expected to start the game having played in every round prior, but I found out in the hotel on the day of the game that I’d be on the bench. My head was all over the place. Nicky Forster had brought in a few loanees who were chosen to start ahead of myself and some of the other senior players. I came on at half-time and, due to the fact that I was so angry, felt that I did myself justice on the day. That said, if you lose there’s no positives to come away with.

 

Decision given against you

The worst decision I’ve witnessed actually worked in my favour. When I was at QPR we played Gillingham away in late August 2004. It was our fifth league game of the season and we were still looking for a first win to get the campaign up and running. I scored a goal by punching the ball over the line with my hand. I had a cheeky look over my shoulder to see if the linesman has seen it, and when I realised he hadn’t I celebrated like I would for any other goal!

I remember coming off and taking a lot of abuse from their manager, Andy Hessenthaler. Then I came into the changing room and Holloway asked: “Did you do it on purpose?” I said: “No,” and he said: “Oh, don’t worry about it, we needed that win anyway.” I did actually do it on purpose, I just didn’t think the referee would give the goal!

 

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