BillytheBee recalls how the odd tipple has played a pivotal role in getting Brentford supporters through each season and looks forward to the 9am knees-up against Chelsea.
History shows that Brentford rarely steps up to the plate when it comes to the big games. Five cup finals, numerous playoffs and endless key league and cup defeats tells the tale. As a result, Brentford fans have built up a reputation for resilience ensuring they enjoy their football experience in and around of the actual action on the pitch. How many times have we been to games at Wrexham and Shrewsbury where the journey up on the train as well as the pre and post-match drink up are far mor enjoyable than the game itself? I remember drinking in Wrexham High Street in the Thatched roof pub (Horse and Jockey) when one of the regulars we were chatting to was so inebriated, he decided he’d had enough for the day and quite literally staggered out the door … then proceeded to get onto his horse parked outside pub and ride home (photo above of the horse parked outside the pub). We were having such a good time that day it was only when one of the locals asked us “Shouldn’t you be at the game by now?” that we realised we has missed the entire first half and we scuttled off to the ground.
We still chuckle at the days when our coachload of Brentford fans would pull up at some 15th century pub in the most obscure off-the-beaten-track village like Offchurch and Much Wenlock – places that football fans just never go. The initial fear of being invaded by a buncha football loons from London was soon replaced by the whole village gathering in the pub singing Hey Jude with us and accompanying piano player.
Who will ever forget the night in The Nelson after we beat Sunderland in the FA Cup? Or the hour-long continuous rendition of “Oh Andy Scott” in the a Globe the night we were given our championship trophy? The boats to Southend. The cheeseboat to Charlton. And who can forget the open top bus full of Hollywood stars on their way to a boozer in Holland Park all signing ‘Super Brentford FC’ prior to our match against QPR at Loftus Road. My phone rings. Ken the Copper on the other end of the line enters a slightly surreal conversation. “Bill. Just checking. Are you on a bus with Darth Vader, Wookie and Pavarotti? Just I’ve seen one fly around Shepherds Bush Roundabout”. “Yeah. That’s us Ken”. “Oh .. That’s alright then”.
There were days in the Globe and the Nelson when the vibe was so good before the match, you were majorly disappointed when the time came to go to the game. The phrase ‘Shame the football gets in the way of a good day out’ was uttered regularly on a Saturday afternoon. Our premiership-loving mates often LOVE coming down to Griffin Park. Not only because of the novelty of standing behind the goal. But also because they feel that the atmosphere in the numerous pubs in and around the ground is incredible compared to what they are normally used to. Much more of a closer knit community with a more friendly and more carefree attitude to their afternoon out. This is something that we have to make sure we retain when we move to Lionel Road. I’m personally not a huge fan of function room-style club-bars …. I know some people are. I prefer the originality and individuality of a local boozer as a pre and post-match meeting point. And Brentford football club stands to lose a very valuable unique selling point if we fall into the trap that teams like Wycombe and Colchester have done.
Our wait for a top-four premiership team to come to Griffin Park is finally over. Unfortunately, the prospect of Brentford fans soaking up thepre-match atmosphere four of five hours prior to walking to the ground were cut short by ESPN who for some reason decided to make us a noon kick off – the earliest of three televised football games that day. In my experience, midday kick-offs are always dead. The crowd, and sometimes the team, are normally still half asleep. However, turning a positive into a negative, at least three of the Brentford pubs will be opening early on the big match day. The Globe and The Lord Nelson have a breakfast brunch laid on starting from 9am. Whereas the Griffin is ‘officially’ open from 10am. So get to bed early and get yourself down for a bit of an early get-together. And you never know … A thousand or so early risers in lively pre-match mood may inject a bit of well needed oomph into the support come twelve o’clock which could make all the difference in the cauldron they call Griffin Park. Granted this Chelsea lot may succeed in stopping us from playing our sizzling style of football. But one thing these Premiership posers will never succeed in doing is stopping us from having a right jolly knees up.
Since writing this article, it has been bought to our attention than that the drunk in the Wrexham pub with the horse has also been spotted trying to take his horse on a train (after buying a ticket of course) as well as into the A&E department of Wrexham Maelor Hospital to try and get him treatment. Bonkers!!!!!