Brentford Football Club
The Early Days
Brentford Football Club was founded in 1889 by members of the Brentford Rowing Club, who wanted a sport which would keep them occupied during the winter months. Official evidence of the club’s formation can be seen in the 9th October, 1889, edition of the Thames Valley Times.
The article advertised an impending meeting at the Oxford and Cambridge Hotel at Kew Bridge and all those interested in playing football were invited to attend.
The meeting was a success and the club was officially born. Subsequent meetings were held to decide the colour of the kit and the initial decision resulted in salmon, claret, and light blue strips, to match the colours of the Rowing Club.
Brentford’s first match was played in a humble field behind the Wesleyan Church near Griffin Park. They managed to win the West London Alliance in 1893 and the club moved to a ground in Windmill Road. However, the following season saw another move, this time to Cross Roads, South Ealing. At this point, Brentford started to become known as The Bees.
During the 1899/1900 season, Brentford suffered a fate which had befallen many other football clubs. They were fined and suspended for a month by the Football Association, who accused the club of paying players. Subsequently, Brentford decided to turn professional and they moved to their present day home ground, Griffin Park, in 1904.
The Bees spent a mediocre 12 years in the Southern League’s first division and were unsurprisingly relegated in 1912. The two years prior to the First World War saw the team compete in the Second Division.
The era of the two World Wars
Brentford competed in a reconstituted First Division after the first World War war ended, and finished in 15th place. 1920 saw them promoted to the new Third Division (South) of the Football League.
Their inaugural season in this new league was a disappointment, as the club finished second-bottom. Harry Curtis’s arrival at Brentford in 1926 signalled the start of a new era for the club, as they became one of the best teams in England during the 1930s. During the 1929/1930 season, the Bees managed to win all their home games and scored 66 goals in the process.
This record still stands today. They then managed to go from the Third Division to the First Division in just 3 seasons (between 1933 and 1935), which set another impressive record.
Many fans worried that Brentford’s quick rise to the top tier of English football would prove to be their downfall. However, some impressive performances soon put their minds at rest. A highlight of the season was a 2-1 win over title-winners, Arsenal.
Furthermore, their first season in the First Division resulted in a 5th place finish, the club’s highest ever league finish. Brentford were now regarded as one of the top teams in the country. They repeated this success during the next two seasons, finishing in 6th place twice. 1938 also saw the team reach the quarter-final of the FA Cup, which they lost to Preston North End.
Brentford were even successful during World War Two, as they won the London War Cup final, after beating Portsmouth at Wembley in 1942. The first season after World War Two started brightly for the Bees but inconsistent form led to a shocking relegation from top-flight football at the end of the season. In February 1949, Brentford once again reached the FA Cup quarter-final but they failed to beat Leicester.
Brentford’s poor league form continued and they were relegated to the Third Division in 1954, before falling down to the Fourth Division in 1963. They ended the following season as champions but were relegated once again in 1966.
Furthermore, the Bees suffered a huge scare in 1967, as Queens Park Rangers announced plans to take over the club. After several weeks of extended negotiations, Brentford narrowly escaped this takeover and a new board was formed, headed by Ron Blindell.
In 1972, Brentford finally won promotion back to the Third Division but were relegated once again after just one season. Their promotion in 1978 signalled the long-awaited end of Brentford’s days in the Fourth Division.
1985 brought some heavily overdue excitement for the Bees’ long-suffering fans, as the team reached the Freight Rover Final. Unfortunately, Wigan proved to be too strong for Brentford but the fans undoubtedly enjoyed a special day out at Wembley.
1989 brought an exciting FA Cup run to Brentford, as they reached the quarter-final stage for the first time in 40 years. However, Liverpool beat them and went on to win the Cup. It was clear that Brentford were beginning to improve, though, and the club won promotion to the new First Division of the Football League in 1992.
Typically, Brentford managed to last just one season in this new league and they were relegated on the final day of the season. In 1995, they were desperately unlucky not to be promoted, following bad luck in the play-offs.
This bad luck struck again two years later, as the Bees lost to Crewe Alexandra at Wembley. This defeat hit the club badly, and the following season, Brentford suffered relegation once again.
In 1998, Ron Noades became manager of the club and led Brentford to a Third Division title. Further mediocre seasons followed from the Bees and the club suffered until the appointment of Martin Allen, in 2004.
Brentford transformed themselves into real title contenders and enjoyed a long FA Cup run. They finished the season in an impressive 4th place but unfortunately lost in the play-offs to Sheffield Wednesday.
This disappointment was repeated the following season and Martin Allen left the club in 2006. The new coaching staff failed to make an impression at the club and Brentford were relegated to League Two in April 2007.
Ken Coote spent his entire career with the Bees, after joining in 1949. He retired in 1964, having made 559 appearances for Brentford. This set a club record which remains unbeaten to this day.
Cross enjoyed two spells with the Bees, making 228 appearances and scoring 79 goals. His first spell at the club started in 1969 and his second after a spell with Fulham.
A favourite with the fans, Hurlock spent 6 years at Brentford, making 220 appearances and scoring 18 goals. He is best known for his combative playing style and was an influential part of Brentford’s midfield. In a somewhat non-PC fashion, the fans nicknamed him ‘Gypo’ due to his earring and long hair.
Forster formed an extremely successful partnership with Carl Asaba and made 109 appearances for the Bees. During this time, he scored 39 goals.
Curtis joined Brentford in the mid-1920s and led them to the Division Three South title and the Second Division title. He also led the team to their 5th place finish in the First Division and guided them to the London War Cup title. He is still Brentford’s most successful manager.
Ticket and club information
- You can buy tickets for Brentford matches online here
- Comprehensive ticket information is available here
- You can phone the club on 08453 456 442, or fax them on 020 8568 9940
- Their e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
By car - Exit the M25 at junction 15 (signposted M4, Heathrow Terminals 1,2 & 3, London (W)) onto the M4 eastbound. After 8.3 miles exit the M4 at junction 2 (signposted A4, N and S Circular A406 (A205), Chiswick A315), onto the slip road down onto the A4, which runs underneath, and parallel to, the M4. At Chiswick Roundabout after 0.7 miles, take the 4th exit (signposted S. Circular A205, A316, M3 Richmond) onto Chiswick High Road/Kew Bridge Road. Straight on for 0.3 miles to junction/lights (Kew Bridge Junction). Here, keep in lane for the A315 and go straight on (signposted Hounslow, Brentford A315), towards 'The Plough'. At the lights after 0.5 miles turn right (by McDonalds) into Ealing Road, which runs past Griffin Park.
By train - The nearest stations are Brentford Station or Kew Bridge Station