QPR’s visit to Griffin Park on Friday night is the match which most people looked for first when the fixtures came out in June.
Rangers come to TW8 for the first time in 11 years knowing they have not lost to Brentford in recent years.
The sides met in three consecutive seasons in what was then Division Two (now League One) at the start of the last decade (match reports below) – and the Bees failed to win any of the six encounters, which saw four draws and two wins for the R’s.
The last time that Brentford beat Rangers was before lots of current Bees fans were born.
The occasion was the first match of the 1965/66 Third Division season and the Bees romped to a 6-1 victory at Griffin Park – a match I remember my late father often recalling – which included a hat-trick by Mike Block.
However that was the undoubted highlight of a season which saw the Bees relegated to the Fourth Division and the R’s just miss out on promotion after finishing third.
Rangers are back in the Championship for the second time in three seasons – as they have bounced between the top two divisions in recent years.
Promoted after winning the play-off final in 2014, they came straight back down from the Premier League in May.
They spent two seasons in the top flight from 2011 to 2013 after a seven-year spell in the Championship.
They were founder members of the Premier League in 1992 and played in the competition’s first four seasons.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
As mentioned above, the sides have met six times in recent memory – here are potted reports of each encounter.
24 November 2001 – Brentford 0-0 QPR
Brentford were knocked off top spot after dropping two points at home to mid-table QPR.
The Bees had the better chances with Paul Evans blasting over in the 19th minute and Lloyd Owusu’s 20-yard shot hitting the outside of the post six minutes later.
Kevin Gallen had an effort scrambled away at the other end in the 33rd minute.
The game continued to be scrappy after the break although Ole Gottskalksson tipped a Danny Shittu header over the bar before Evans hit the outside of a post with a free-kick.
Brentford: Gottskalksson, Dobson, Powell, Ingimarsson, Gibbs (O’Connor 88), Rowlands (Sidwell 88), Evans, Mahon, Hunt, Owusu, Burgess. Unused subs: Paul Smith, McCammon, Hutchinson.
QPR: Digby, Forbes, Shittu, Rose, Warren, Bignot, Palmer, Bonnot, Connolly, Gallen, Dodou (Thomson 56). Unused subs: Bruce, Wardley, Paquette, Evans.
13 April 2002 – QPR 0-0 Brentford
Steve Coppell’s Brentford earned a point that ensured their chances of promotion would be in their own hands on the final day of the season – but they should have picked up so much more.
The Bees missed a catalogue of chances to secure the three points.
Lloyd Owusu fired Stephen Hunt’s 42nd minute cross over the bar and then after the break substitute Mark McCammon, who had replaced the injured Ben Burgess at half-time, twice could have won it.
In the 66th minute his shot from 18 yards was pushed on to the post by QPR goalkeeper Rhys Evans and then nine minutes later he somehow headed down and over the bar from close range.
Matthew Rose shot just wide for QPR, whose play-off hopes were ended by the result.
QPR: Evans, Forbes, Shittu, Palmer, Bignot, Langley, Rose, Peacock, Thomas, Gallen, Foley (Thomson 74). Unused subs: Griffiths, Murphy, Digby, Agogo.
Brentford: Paul Smith, Dobson, Powell, Ingimarsson, Anderson, Sidwell, Paul Evans, Rowlands (Boxall 85), Hunt, Burgess (McCammon 45), Owusu. Unused subs: Gottskalksson, O’Connor, Theobald.
21 December 2002 – QPR 1-1 Brentford
Goalkeeper Paul Smith earned Brentford a point in a pre-Christmas clash at Loftus Road.
Smith saved a free-kick from Richard Langley and then superbly tipped away Clarke Carlisle’s header from the resultant corner just before the break.
Late in the second half, Smith was called into action again to thwart Terrell Forbes.
Both goals arrived in the first half hour with Marc Bircham heading in Lee Cook’s left wing cross from close range to give Rangers an 18th minute lead.
Kevin O’Connor replied on the half hour mark with a shot which deceived goalkeeper Nick Culkin, after Martin Rowlands had headed Stephen Hunt’s cross into his path.
QPR: Culkin, Forbes, Carlisle, Palmer, Murphy, Langley, Bircham, Rose, Cook (Thomson 83), Furlong, Gallen. Subs: Day, Padula, Daly, Angell.
Brentford: Paul Smith, Dobson, Marshall, Sonko, Somner, Rowlands, Fullarton, Evans (McCammon 75), Hunt, O’Connor, Vine. Subs: Jay Smith, Williams, Julian, Hughes.
19 April 2003 – Brentford 1-2 QPR
QPR kept their play-off hopes alive thanks to a last-minute winner from Marc Bircham.
Danny Shittu had headed the visitors into an early lead from Gino Padula’s corner.
Brentford played their part in an even first half but failed to trouble visiting goalkeeper Chris Day until after the break.
Day was called into action to tip away Stephen Hunt’s 50th minute shot and he also denied Kevin O’Connor, who later headed against a post, and substitute Steve Evans.
Evans did play his part in the Bees equaliser however as his 81st minute cross was fired home by Mark Peters.
But Bircham had the final say when he drove in a corner.
Brentford: Paul Smith, Dobson, Sonko, Marshall, Somner, O’Connor, Tabb, Fullarton, Hunt, Antoine-Curier (Evans 68), Peters. Unused subs: Julian, Williams, Fieldwick, Frampton.
QPR: Day, Kelly, Carlisle, Shittu, Padula, Langley, Palmer, Bircham, McLeod, Furlong, Gallen. Unused subs: Culkin, Rose, Pacquette, Thomson, Williams.
11 November 2003 – QPR 1-0 Brentford
Tony Thorpe struck just before half-time to put QPR joint top of the table.
Richard Edghill’s free-kick was headed into the path of Thorpe, who headed home from close range.
Former Bee Martin Rowlands hit the post and side-netting with shots as Rangers came close to extending their lead.
But Brentford also had their moments with Jay Tabb forcing a superb save from Chris Day and Eddie Hutchinson shooting just wide.
QPR: Day, Edghill (Palmer 75), Forbes, Carlisle, Padula, Rowlands (Ainsworth 69), Bean, Bircham, McLeod, Thorpe, Gallen. Unused subs: Culkin, Sabin, Pacquette.
Brentford: Paul Smith, Dobson, Kitamirike, Sonko, Somner, O’Connor (Wright 66), Hutchinson, Tabb (Evans 66), Hunt, May (Harrold 81), Rougier. Subs: Julian, Jay Smith.
14 February 2004 – Brentford 1-1 QPR
There was little love shown between the rivals as they shared the points on Valentine’s Day 11 years ago.
QPR were hoping to go level with Plymouth at the top of the table with victory – but had to settle for a draw.
Paul Furlong put Rangers ahead from a rebound after Bees goalkeeper Alan Julian blocked his original shot in the 20th minute.
Kevin O’Connor levelled six minutes after half-time from another rebound as he drove the ball home after his free-kick had come back to him off the wall.
Both sides had chances to win it with Kevin Gallen coming close for the visitors before Rangers goalkeeper Chris Day pushed Stephen Hunt’s header over the bar.
Brentford: Julian, Dobson, Sonko, Kitamirike, Somner, Rougier, Tabb, Hutchinson, Hunt, May, O’Connor. Unused subs: Peters, Frampton, Wright, Blackman, Nelson.
QPR: Day, Forbes, Rose, Carlisle, Padula, Rowlands, Palmer, Bircham, Sabin (Cureton 75), Gallen, Furlong. Unused subs: Thorpe, Ifura, Culkin, Marney.
Chris Ramsey took over in February on a caretaker basis when Harry Redknapp stepped down – and was made permanent manager during the summer.
He had only arrived at Loftus Road three months earlier as head of player development and manager of the club’s academy.
Ramsey previously had a similar role at Spurs where he went on to become first team coach before leaving last year and has also worked for the FA.
As a player, Ramsey was a right-back with Bristol City, Brighton, Swindon and Southend.
He played for the Seagulls in the 1983 FA Cup final, but not the replay because of injury, against Manchester United, and enjoyed successive promotions while with Swindon.
Chris Ramsey has vowed that his side have learned from last month’s 4-0 defeat at Fulham ahead of tonight’s game.
He told GetWestLondon: “From a match point of view against Fulham, we took lessons.
“We want to make sure we start quickly (at Brentford) and be more diligent early in the game (than at Fulham).
“In a derby, the formbook goes out the window. We’re on the up, they’re on the up. From a neutral’s point of view it should be a good game and all derbies are full-blooded.
“We need the points because we want to stay in the pack.”
QPR come into the game on the back of a 3-0 win over MK Dons and wide man Leroy Fer said: “What we did against MK Dons, we have to do against Brentford.”
Meanwhile Clint Hill, who helped the side keep two clean sheets in their last two games, has told QPR’s official website that he is desperate for the points.
“It is very important to the fans that you do well in these derby games by putting in a performance and getting the bragging rights,” he said.
“These are the big games that at the start of the season you look at first on the fixture list. I do and I am sure the fans do as well.
I’m expecting a real tough game that is a little bit edgy. We have got to go there and give it a go. We let the fans down the last time against Fulham and no-one wants a repeat of that.”
Charlie Austin may make his comeback from injury in the Griffin Park clash.
The striker suffered a hamstring injury in the defeat at Fulham and if fit, will probably start tonight’s match on the bench.
Former Bristol City striker Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, who joined Rangers in the summer, will definitely start but fellow front man Jamie Mackie and defender Armand Traore are both sidelined.
QPR have four Championship ever-presents in their squad who are expected to continue their run of appearances tonight.
They are experienced defenders Nedum Onuoha and Paul Konchesky, midfielder Tjaronn Chery and winger Matt Phillips, who, like Austin, is still at the club despite summer transfer speculation.
Former England goalkeeper Rob Green has only missed one league match while midfielders Karl Henry and summer signing from Massimo Luongo have also been regulars.
Drinking in Brentford
For QPR fans coming along, you are probably aware there plenty of pub options pre-match and all are most welcoming. Colours are fine and there is no ‘bouncer culture’ on the doors of our boozers – not yet anyway. All fans are welcome and most fans usually cite Brentford as their favourite away-day which we’re quite proud of.
As is etched in common folklore , there were four pubs around the ground until a few weeks ago – unfortunately one closed down to leave only three now. The Griffin is closest to the away end (like 30 secs walk) and is very popular with away fans – but also very very busy. The New Inn is on the other side is also popular with away fans. The Princess Royal is the other option (The Royal Oak was the one that closed down).
Other pubs slightly further afield for the more creative amongst you include (and this is by no means a definitive list) the … The Globe (Windmill Rd) is the Beesotted fanzine main pub – a very friendly pub indeed. The other boozer is The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) – both incredibly friendly and cozy away-frienly pubs and 30 seconds walk from each other .. frequented by ‘away fans in the know’. Boro fans and Bees fans had one hell of a party before and after the match in both these boozers (despite us losing)- and The Plough (Northfields Ave – 1 minute walk from the tube) in Northfields is a decent stop-off if you are coming by tube to Northfields before making your way down to the ground (normally stopping off at The Globe and Lord Nelson en route on the Northfields pub crawl).
There is also a pub right by Brentford station always referred to as … er … the Pub by Brentford station.
For ale head to the Magpie and Crown pub on Brentford High Street. The Royal Horseguardsman can probably hold 15 of you at a push. The Brewery Tap is a cosy boozer by the river. And if you are super adventurous, get off at Kew Bridge and visit the brand new boozer One Over the Ait right on the river – beside the bridge. Great views over The Thames. It’s around 15 mins walk to the ground from here.
There are loads more too. A quick Google search and you’ll find them all. There are many many more too if you have a look around.
The police have said they are happy for Brentford and QPR fans to mingle in the pubs as usual with home and away supporters at Bees home games – details here.
Parking is pretty easy away from the ground going up towards and over the A4 Great West Rd (ie. North) via Ealing Rd or Windmill Rd.