If you’re a Brentford fan concerned that Xmas Day morning could end up being another ‘new socks disaster’ it’s not too late to make some hints to Santa or the auntie who always lets you down. Fortunately help is at hand and there are some reasonable priced Bees beauties that should ensure you wake up with a smile on your face… here’s a small selection of what’s hot this festive period.
The Big Brentford Book Of Griffin Park
The story of Griffin Park is a long, eventful one and this book aims to capture the essence of Brentford Football Club’s proud home and the place it holds in all our hearts. From the the ground’s first game in 1904, through the rapid rise before the Second World War years, the development of the stadium in readiness to host top-flight football, followed by the subsequent changes to bring about how the ground looks today, this book features hundreds of amazing photographs and stories, as well as personal recollections from some of the heroes who have graced the hallowed pitch. When the gates of Griffin Park finally shut for the last time, this book can hopefully help ensure that the grand old stadium will live on in our memories forever.
Ooh Aah – the Bob Booker story
When it comes to drawing up a list of the best 30 players ever to pull on a Brentford shirt, Bob Booker probably wouldn’t get a look in.
The fact that he’d probably agree with that assessment sets him apart from countless other professional footballers and goes some way to explaining why he will always have a place in the hearts of Brentford fans.
Perhaps it was because he was one of us and always gave us hope that if Bob could make it as a pro then perhaps we could too, that made him such an endearing character.
Greville Waterman’s biography of arguably one of the nicest, most down to earth blokes ever to pull on the famous red and white stripes is a fascinating insight into the club before the scrutiny of the internet.
But what shines through is Booker’s unassuming, self deprecating nature and innate awareness that he had to work damned hard to get anywhere near pursuing the career he loved.
Unlike today, giving up his upholsterers apprenticeship and signing for Bill Dodgin in 1977 meant a massive pay cut but a chance to live the dream was worth every sacrifice for the young Bedmond star.
He joined the Bees with legends Andy McCulloch, the orange T-shirted Steve Phillips and Doug Allder (he of Sheffield United dugout fame) firing on all cylinders and gives an intriguing never before revealed insight into these giants I idolised as a kid.
Ooh-Aah The Bob Booker story oozes humour, warmth and the vulnerability of a man who thought he was always one game away from the boot. It’s a warts and all account of life at a lower league club that sits easily alongside Gary Nelson’s Best Foot Forward and the Miracle of Castel di Sangro as one of my favourite football books.
There are some behind closed doors revelations thrown in too – the real story of Pat Kruse’s record breaking own goal – but perhaps the one that sums up the fragility of life playing the beautiful game is Bob’s recollection of how his debut hat-trick against Hull was possibly the worst thing that could have happened to him.
Fans’ expectation soared and the Griffin Park faithful expected him to score every week. For many he was, as Waterman puts it, “a Marmite figure” – for me he was frustrating but hugely versatile and never ever gave less than everything for the badge. The book reveals his own incredible psychological strength and the support of his dad that kept Bob believing in his game. It is a lesson to us all, whatever walk of life we pursue.
From the arrival of Hurlock, Kamara and Bowles – one of the best Bees midfields never to win anything – to a cameo against George Best, Bob recalls with humility his role in the Griffin Park story.
His Indian Summer came as he considered quitting the game, before Harry Bassett took him to Sheffield United for an fairytale three-year stint where he became a cult hero, friends with Vinnie Jones and surprised even himself… his memories of his time at Bramall Lane will bring a smile to the face of every true fan.
His take on his much vaunted yet anti-climactic return to Brentford in 1991 is tinged with frustration, especially as the realisation dawned that his knee was beginning to fail. That fact was, near the end of Bob’s second spell, not missed by then manager Dave Webb, whose rollercoaster relationship with the club’s Mr Versatile will raise a few eyebrows.
Guts, desire, kindness, tenacity, hard work, perseverance, guile, family. All words that recur throughout this wonderfully told and homely read, from the mouths of Bob’s former team-mates and the managers who saw enough in him to ensure a quarter of a century in the game.
They say that nice guys never win titles or hearts in football. Bob Booker was the exception to the rule. He won both.
Brentford Posters and Prints
An exclusive series of big huge canvas prints features iconic and historic Brentford photographs and images reproduced on first-rate canvas fabric and printed using HP latex ink, stretched over a hand-crafted XXL 4cm wooden frame.
The first is an iconic magazine cover of Sports Budget from 1936 features one of the most significant players in our club’s history. Between 1932 and 1947 and Dai Hopkins made 314 appearances, scoring 77 goals and added over 200 appearances and 49 goals during the war for Brentford, and was capped 12 times for Wales whilst at Griffin Park.
Next up is a brilliant photograph show legendary Brentford striker, Andy McCulloch, swigging from a Champagne bottle in front of thousands of celebrating Bees fans massed on the Griffin Park pitch after clinching promotion following a 2-0 win over Darlington on 22 April 1977. This is one of our favourite ever Bees photos and captures the real Seventies vibe – Bill Dodgin’s side has a very special place in a lot of Bees fans’ hearts still.
And last, but not least, is a stunning, atmospheric mid 1960s black and white photograph of Griffin Park just prior to kick off, shows the New Road and Royal Oak stands full and really captures the terraces of our proud old ground perfectly.
Teams Like Brentford T-shirt
Excellent quality cotton red t-shirts with Teams Like Brentford (as in”We should be beating teams like Brentford”) printed on the chest with Beesotted Brentford Brentford supporters Bee logo on the back and the sleeve. For the Bees fan with a sense of humour. There are lots of other t-shirts in the range which you can check out here.
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