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Big Book of Griffin Park: ‘Happier Times Ahead’

As another season comes to an end, we relive a match with last weekend’s opponents, Hull City, from 1968

10 May 2018

The fixture occurred just after the proposed takeover from Queens Park Rangers, a time when the Club was still struggling for its life. These rousing words from Bees Manager, Jimmy Sirrel, sum up the situation, yet offered hope of happier times ahead. Times like we are witnessing now.

“To the future – this is a great club, Brentford will go to the top eventually, these things go in cycles. Seven seasons ago the position was somewhat similar from the playing point of view, although I cannot imagine the financial aspect being worse than it is today. It is difficult to find young mobile players, who are capable of playing first team football, at a small fee; you can obtain older experienced players on these terms – and if the team is winning they will do a good job.

“However, should the results go against you, that is an excuse for the supporters to stay away from your games. You, the supporter, can live up to your title by backing the team in their efforts, for their aim is mine – better football. This is a great club, with a great past, and it is this spirit that will lift us to Division One. You deserve what I strive for – Brentford with honour.” 

Sirrel was a much-loved and a respected figure in the footballing world, and it was under his charge that The Bees produced a fantastic cup upset against today’s visitors, Hull City, as told by George Sands, the great Middlesex Chronicle reporter, in September 1968:

“Eleven thousand, four hundred and eighty-six people – nearly twice the average home league attendance for last season – saw Brentford put on a sparkling display on Wednesday evening to knock Second Division Hull City out of the Football League Cup. For Griffin Park fans, it was a night of nights with hardly one of the 90 minutes ticking away without bringing its thrill.

“Three great goals? Yes they were. Since missing a couple of Christmas matches in 1953, I’ve seen 631 Brentford league and cup games without a break, and although memory is apt to play tricks with the most vivid recollections being the more recent ones, I cannot call to mind a single one of those matches in which the Bees netted three goals of such high quality… In the eighth minute came the goal that sparked Brentford’s victory. From what, until a couple of years ago, would have been called a right-half position, George Dobson sent a perfect pass into the centre-circle where Allan Mansley neatly collected it, nonplussed Wilson with a quick dart and sped on to lift the ball over McKenzie and into the empty net which seemed almost eager to receive it.

"In the 38th minute a 2-0 scoreline became more than a Brentford dream. John Richardson took a throw-in opposite the penalty area and Bobby Ross back-headed to Ron Fenton who nodded into the net. And at the interval the Bees trooped off to an ovation that shook the Griffin Park stands. The clincher came early in the second half. Simpkin made a hash of an intended back-pass and Mansley wasn’t in the mood to miss a chance like that. Accelerating immediately into top speed (he seems fast enough these days to head in goals from his own centres) Allan raced to the penalty-line and hit a snorter which lifted the netting before McKenzie could even shape to meet the shot.”

If you are yet to secure your copy of the Big Book of Griffin Park, or the 125 Year Anniversary book, pay a visit to the Brentford Club shop after the game, or purchase online here. The 400-page books are crammed full of amazing photographs and stories from each year of the club’s life at Griffin Park and have received amazing reviews from fans.



Words of wisdom: Brentford Manager Jimmy Sirrel speaks with new signings Dennis Hunt (left) and Pat Terry (centre)

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