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A few short weeks ago, the Brentford-Fulham derby was looming large on the calendar as a day when one of us could be potentially relegated to League One.

The Bees had been sliding down the Championship table for the best part of two months while the Cottagers have been hovering above the trapdoor for most of the season.

Then the international break happened – and something that occurred in that fortnight resulted in each team picking up nine points in the first week of April.

Not only did those runs, which continued to six unbeaten games in our case, banish any fears of dropping into the third tier – they also meant that Saturday’s game would be played purely for local pride and bragging rights.

Fulham’s safety was mathematically secured by our 4-1 win at stadiummk last Saturday – a victory that relegated MK Dons to League One along with Bolton and Charlton and saved everyone else.

But they still look set to finish in their lowest league position since the 1998/99 season when they were champions of the old Division Two (now League One).

After two seasons in Division One (now Championship), finishing ninth and as champions, they were promoted to the Premier League to start a 13-year spell in the top flight.

They mostly finished in the bottom half of the table, although they did have four seasons when they came between seventh and ninth and in 2010 reached the Europa League final, where they lost 2-1 to Atletico Madrid after extra-time.

Last season was a struggle for Fulham, as they adjusted to life in the Football League once again and, despite 17 Championship goals from Ross McCormack, they finished 17th.

This season has also been hard going again – but really because of their defence rather than their attack.

McCormack has continued his good form to score 21 league goals and Moussa Dembele has contributed 15 as Fulham have found the net 65 times to make them the Championship’s joint third highest scorers with Derby and only behind Brighton and Burnley.

However the 76 goals they have conceded is the joint second worst in the division – the same number that Charlton have let in and a figure that is only exceeded by Bolton with 80.

Away from home they have only won four times – at Rotherham (3-1 in August), Bristol City (4-1 in October), QPR (3-1 in February) and Preston (2-1 in April) – but they have drawn 10 matches, which is the second highest figure in the Championship behind Brighton (11).


Despite our successes against Fulham last season, they won their previous three visits to Griffin Park.

They earned league wins in 1997/98 (2-0) and 1993/94 (2-1) and also beat us in the second round of last season’s Capital One Cup (1-0).

However it’s the three recent Championship encounters which we are going to recall here.

This season’s first meeting was in December at Craven Cottage and was Dean Smith’s second match in charge.

An early Alan Judge penalty put us ahead but James Tarkowski’s own goal levelled things up before the break and Moussa Dembele put Fulham ahead midway through the second half before Jack O’Connell equalised with his first Brentford goal.

We thought we had won it through another late goal by Jota but a linesman’s flag meant that the strike was ruled out and the game finished 2-2.

Both last season’s league encounters were memorable for Bees fans – thanks to “Jota in the last minute” and the very Good Friday at the Cottage.

The Sky cameras were at Griffin Park on a Friday night in November to show the first encounter in which all the goals were scored in the second half.

Hugo Rodallega put Fulham ahead in the 57th minute but Harlee Dean equalised with nine minutes to go and then Jota scored the goal which earned him cult status among Brentford supporters to earn us a dramatic 2-1 win.

The away game is one that will never be forgotten by the 6,000+ Brentford fans who filled the away end on that Friday afternoon.

Two goals from Stuart Dallas either side of half-time put us in command but Ross McCormack put Fulham back in it with a 67th minute penalty.

However Alan Judge curled in a 90th minute free-kick before that man Jota scored another late goal to wrap up a famous 4-1 win.


Fulham manager Slavisa Jokanovic is determined his side maintains their unbeaten record in London derbies in the Championship this season.

The Whites did the double over QPR (4-0 & 3-1) and picked up four points against Charlton (2-2 & 3-0) and drew 2-2 against us in December.

He told the Fulham website: “We’ve had good results in London derbies. Saturday is an important game in front of us and for our supporters.

“After the disappointing performance we showed in our stadium last week [against Nottingham Forest] this is our chance to try and show some positive habits.

“Brentford play very good football. I like the kind of game they try to play. If we aren’t aggressive, we will pay an expensive price.

“We have to be focused. Okay we are safe, but I know how important this derby is for our supporters.

“It’s a chance for us to give our supporters something, we haven’t given them much this season.”

Full-back John Fraser, who played for both clubs during the 1970s, has been telling Fulham’s website of the culture shock he experienced when leaving the Division Two Cottagers to sign for the Bees, who were then in the Fourth Division.

“I wondered what I’d done,” he said. “It was like a whole different world. The first day walking into the dressing room there was a pile of old training kit which we had to take home to be washed.

“It was like Fulham were first-class, and Brentford were third-class. Without sounding disrespectful, it was a real eye-opener for me.”


Slavisa Jokanovic was named as Fulham manager just after Christmas – nearly two months after they had sacked their previous boss Kit Symons.

The former Chelsea player led Watford into the Premier League last season but left the club after contract talks could not be resolved.

He started this season managing Israeli side Maccabi Tel Aviv before moving to the Cottage.

He has managed in six different countries having also been in charge of Partizan (Serbia), Muangthong United (Thailand), Levski Sofia (Bulgaria) and Hercules (Spain).

Slavisa played for eight clubs, with Deportivo La Coruna among them, while he won 64 caps for Yugoslavia/FR Yugoslavia.


Fulham are another team to have used a large number of players this season – with 33 men making at least one substitute appearance for them in the Championship.

Ross McCormack has started 43 of their 44 league games and Moussa Dembele has been involved in 42 (five as substitute) – showing just how crucial their two star players are to the side.

Apart from midfielders Tom Cairney and Jamie O’Hara, who have only missed a handful of games between them, nobody else has started 30 or more matches.

Former Brentford loan defender Ryan Fredericks, who made one full and four substitute appearances for us in 2012, has been involved in more than half their matches, as have fellow defenders Tim Ream and Richard Stearman.

Last Saturday against Nottingham Forest, they lined up in a 4-1-3-2 formation.

Marcus Bettinelli, back in the side recently after a long injury lay-off, was in goal behind a back four of Fredericks, Michael Madl, who misses out today with an ankle injury, Fernando Amorebieta, who scored Middlesbrough’s last-gasp play-off winner at Griffin Park last season, and Ream.

Former England international Scott Parker sat in front of the back four, with Cairney, Rohan Ince and Emerson Hyndman in front of him, behind the front two of McCormack and Dembele.



Drinking in Brentford

For Fulham fans coming to the game, you are probably aware there are 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 Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) 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 minutes 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.

Parking is pretty easy away from the ground going up towards and over the A4 Great West Road (ie. North) via Ealing Road or Windmill Road.