In the eyes of some Bees fans I spoke to in the pub on Saturday, tonight’s clash with Watford is every bit as tasty as the trip to Craven Cottage at Easter… old rivalries live long in the hearts and minds of reds of a certain era and The Bees versus The Hornets produces more of a buzz than even Fulham and QPR. Ok, maybe not as much as Rangers!
Younger fans may not realise the significance and importance of the derby, but in the mid-late Seventies, with Graham Taylor’s Watford on the rise, the matches against the Hertfordshire outfit produced some intense games …
And in an age that was marred by hooliganism, the fixtures were often as hard fought off the pitch as they were on it. ‘Watford W@nkers’ silk scarves were made and sold on the Griffin Park terraces at one stage… And the lyrics of ‘The Famous Graham Taylor Went To Rome To See The Pope’ ditty, that is sung at matches even now, underlines the ‘slightly bizarre’ depth of the dislike.
Tonight’s match at Vicarage Road will not have the same undertones – but the stakes will be just as high – as two of the best footballing sides in the division go toe to toe just like the old days.
The 3-3 draw at Griffin Park in February 1979, that was so brilliantly commentated by Brian Moore on The Big Match (the first part of which can be seen above), was my first ever big Bees game as a nipper – Bill Dodgin’s Red and White Army coming back brilliantly against the league leaders with the mighty Royal Oak stand packed… Who’s to say tonight’s match won’t end with the score-line?
Essential reading…. The Great Brentford Song Scam that includes The Graham Taylor v Pope ditty