If you are queueing up to buy tickets for the fourth round FA Cup tie with Chelsea over the next few days, make sure you prepare properly. You need time, warm clothes, patience and plenty of Brentford banter to keep you going – and remember the prize when you get to the front of the line is very much worth having! Season ticket holder Ian Westbrook has queued for his tickets and come out successfully the other side. Here he tells Beesotted his experience.

TALES FROM THE QUEUE

Less than 24 hours after having a tear in my eye at the end of a football match for the first time in years I have my tickets for Brentford v Chelsea.

But life as a Bees fan is never easy – and I am still thawing out as I type this into my phone on the tube home.

Fortunately for me I was working locally to Griffin Park on Wednesday otherwise things could have been a lot harder for me.

After an hour’s queueing during my break in early afternoon during which it was obvious I wouldn’t get tickets, I prepared for a cold evening.

I got to the end of the queue outside the doors of the Princess Royal at around 6.20pm and that was when something worrying happened.

The stewards politely but firmly said that I and the people who had arrived just before me may not get served.

We were about 10 to 15 people behind a notional line of people they estimated would definitely reach the ticket office by its definite closing time of 9.00.

They said it was taking around three hours to be served and that the office would shut on time so anyone behind their line was not guaranteed to be able to buy tickets.

The nightmare scenario began to unfold of missing out and not getting back in time after working elsewhere on Thursday. That could have meant losing the seat I have occupied for nearly half my life to somebody else for the game.

I was determined not to go home without the tickets and decided to stick it out and see what happened and apart from the biting cold things quickly improved.

There was some good chat flying around between the seven or eight of us around the same place in the queue.

They included a supporter of 60 years, 19 more than me, a guy who said he would give it an hour but stayed on, someone else who hadn’t eaten since breakfast and a teenage daughter and her mother, who I think said she was queueing to get a ticket for her ex-husband.

There was a lighter moment, at least for those of us watching, as a woman emerged from the office clutching her tickets and loudly threatening to divorce her husband.

“He told me I would only be here half an hour,” she yelled before jumping into her car parked opposite the turnstiles. (Apologies to her if she is reading this!)

A man coming home to number 36 Braemar Road, the last house before the ticket office entrance, smilingly refused offers to bring out a round of teas and then spirits were quickly lifted twice.

Firstly by the news that Tranmere were losing at Coventry and then by the sight of the ticket office windows for the first time as we reached the entrance.

From there on in it was plain sailing for us who had formed into a friendly little group – and each time someone had their turn to walk to up to the ticket window, they got a quick cheer from the rest.

Having those tickets in your hand is a great feeling and I know that many reading this are having plenty of problems booking up.

Hopefully everything will get sorted out for those people, so we can get the 10 or 11,000 (whatever the capacity for home fans is) true Bees fans into Griffin Park for the game.

Finally a quick word for the three staff who were on duty selling tickets.

They were Rosina and the guy (sorry I don’t know his name) who both usually work in the ticket office and Alison from the club shop.

They looked worn out but despite serving me more than ten hours after opening up this morning, they were all still in good spirits, smiling, friendly and polite.

The three of them deserve a lot of credit.

IAN WESTBROOK