Much has been written about the proposed take-over attempt of Brentford Football Club by QPR in 1967, and many Bees fans of a certain vintage are still scarred by the threat posed to our club’s existence and identity, however, very few people recall how, a little more than two years before that, in November 1964, it was reported that Brentford were in talks to buy Loftus Road as a training ground.
Here is a letter from Brentford fans, Bill Pharo and JF Paine, that appeared in the Middlesex Chronicle in January 1967, which encapsulates the passion and outrage at take-over proposals.
“What sort of people does Mr Dunnett think we are? Does he really believe that, at the stroke of a pen, he can deprive me, after 43 years as a most ardent supporter and the thousands of others like me, of Brentford Football Club? We supporters cherish the happiness the club has given us over so many years and in this, my Golden Wedding year, I make an impassioned appeal to all those supporters we have lost in the past to return to Griffin Park and attend regularly; also to become members of the Supporters Club, so ably led by Mr Pond-Jones. Above all, become shareholders and have a voice in the way the club is run.”
“As a life-long supporter of Brentford I was shattered to hear the news of the proposed takeover. Public opinion surely can’t let the Bees die like this? Is it not possible for a local appeal to be made for funds through your paper? There are still many thousands of Brentford supporters, even if they don’t watch them very much because of poor performances and I am sure an appeal would meet with a big response. The club are reported as losing up to £500 per week. If 5,000 people gave 2/s each week the club would survive. I would not have thought it would be difficult to find that number of subscribers. I would certainly be one.”
Thankfully, the merger that was being brokered by Rangers Chairman Jim Gregory and Brentford Chairman Jack Dunnett was avoided, thanks to the stirling efforts of Ron Blindell, Peter Pond-Jones, and the countless Brentford fans who came together to see off the threat, and Brentford fans today should never forget their magnificent work in our hour of need. This is best summed up by the comments made in the Brentford match programme shortly afterwards.
“This seems to be the occasion to give you, the Brentford supporter, a pat on the back. The number of people who have come forward with offers of help, the gestures from all over the country, the letters to management and players – it has been magnificent. Skipper Bobby Ross, who has been far more than a captain in name through the recent upsets, asks us to praise the vocal backing for the lads in the last few games.”
“Let us hope that emotion is not shelved when the dust settles and that we can get back to the primary job of concentrating on football and enjoying the sport. Let us not forget, though, that the eyes of the soccer world will stay on Brentford; that results and gates figures will be analysed; and that the good name and image of a great club must be preserved. The one sure sign is that Brentford is far from down and out. We must guard our proud Brentford heritage.”
Perhaps we should all raise our glasses to those people on Monday evening.
Thanks to Steve Smith and Paul Briers for the cutting.