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Big Book of Griffin Park: Cup Upset

In the first instalment of an online series, we reveal extracts from the recently-published Big Book of Griffin Park

22 March 2018

Regular readers of our programme column will have hopefully enjoyed the gems that we have taken from the Big Book of Griffin Park.

The book has received some amazing reviews and we thank all those who have told us how much they have enjoyed what is a very special publication about a very special football ground. The column for the recent Middlesbrough programme is a personal favourite: selected extracts from a stunning piece of writing that tells the story of Brentford’s first big Cup upset 111 years ago. It was an afternoon where 21,296 crammed in shoulder-to-shoulder and, as you will read, roared The Bees on to victory. 

“The sun shone out from a blue sky and the crowds surged along in their thousands towards Middlesex’s squalid capital, capered with glee. In break-loads, tram-loads, cart-loads, bicycles that were countless, any and every sort of vehicle that moved more swiftly than the human foot, they poured in from the outlying districts, for the attraction was great. The visit of a first League club to Brentford is an event with a capital E. And such a club too. Middlesbrough! The name passed from mouth to mouth with something like awe, for even the smallest boy in a Church Lads Brigade knows that Middlesbrough paid Sunderland a thousand pounds for their centre-forward.

“It was a purple and yellow crowd. Brentford’s colours filled the air. And the earth. If loyalty was going to win the match the Brentford team were right home. Men, women and children, horses and dogs, even the legs of mutton in the butcher’s shops, were resplendent with purple and yellow favours. Brentford’s worthies were armed with a weird collection of noise-makers – bugles, rattles and human lungs. At half-time the pitch was again taken possession of by the band, who marched round and round in the delivery of inspiring music and excited partisans debated the events comprised in the first forty-five minutes. ‘Oh, come and take your licking!’ yelled a man from Middlesbrough. ‘It’s not your lot as can give it!’ snapped out a Brentfordian.

“A free-kick to Brentford and in far less time than it takes to write ‘winner’, there was a yellow and purple figure flying towards the Middlesbrough goal and still with the ball bobbling ahead of him, Pat Hagan plopped it into the net on the goalkeeper’s right. The word ‘goal’ might have been heard at Kingston. Almost indescribable was the scene of frenzied excitement as the spectators sought to give utterance to their exultation. A purple and yellow umbrella was hurled into the air and battered to atoms as it fell. Bugles and rattles were almost indistinct in the volume of sound, which greeted the goal by which Brentford triumphed.

“The tension became almost painful. Could Brentford hold out! The referee ever-and-anon glanced at his watch. Whistle! The end! And thousands streamed into the enclosure to give Hagan a friendly pat. Fortunately for him they were not all successful. What a triumph!”

This is just a small extract from a book that contains hundreds of short stories and photographs collected during the Club’s time at Griffin Park. For the full collection, buy a copy today. 

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