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Sometimes people really have to be a little more careful what you accuse people of.

Only a few days after a , a small section of Brentford fans accused Benham of acting like previous Brentford owner Dave Webb.

Drawing such insulting parallels, one can only presume that these people obviously have somewhat warped and inaccurate perspective  regarding Brentford FC history.

As one of the people who camped outside Dave Webb’s house in an advertising truck with the words: “St Valentines Day Massacre. Why are you killing Brentford FC” emblazoned across it, I certainly am not someone who just accepts anything that is served up to me without questioning it.

As disappointed as we may be that there has been no Warburton resolution to date (Tuesday afternoon), we thought it may be worth while taking a look at the differences between then and now – just in case anyone is feeling a little hard done by.

Fans old enough to remember the late Nineties will remind you of the bad olde days, days when we had people in charge of Brentford football club who didn’t care a flying hoot… and worse still, running the club into the ground.

We currently have some fans moaning about the possibility of Brentford missing out on the Premier League at our first attempt. Back in those days, the questions being raised were were more like “Which one of our best players were we going to sell?”

It was 1997… Dave Webb had led Brentford to the Division Two (currently League One) play-off final after finishing third in the league. We faced sixth placed Crewe Alexandra and lost with such an abject performance, quite frankly it was embarrassing and not worth further discussion. In fact it was not even worth me staying awake in the second half!

After failing beat Wembley’s old Twin Towers, and another season in the third tier ahead, the close season was a busy one for Webby, who was quick to sell Brentford’s key players. Top scorer, Carl Asaba, went to Reading for a club record fee of £800k, whereas Barry Ashby, Brian Statham and Paul Smith all went to Gillingham (hence the name Gilling-Ford was created).



Webb then bought a majority shareholding in Brentford for £23k. He appointed Eddie May – a manager who’s biggest achievement was just guiding Torquay to bottom spot of Division Three with a gap of 11 pts between them and the next highest team and appointed a Fulham legend, Clive Walker as his assistant. Webb clearly wasn’t an owner looking to take the club to the next level, and his consortium board members, Tony Swaisland and John Herting, lacked the clout to stand up to Webb’s methods.

He invested very little of any of his own money into the club (I’m not sure he actually had any) and, quite simply, was looking to make a fast buck. Needless to say, Eddie May didn’t pull up any trees and he was sacked after two months. In came the liable Micky Adams, who, in reality, didn’t stand a chance of avoiding relegation to the basement.

Of the £1.2m earned in the summer, Webb authorised a spend of £75k on Andy Scott, £55k on Paul Watson, £75k on Danny Cullip and £50k on Warren Aspinall. Meanwhile he continued to make strange decision after strange decision off the pitch, which seemed at the time only to benefit one person. Himself.

The club was being taken the cleaners. Fans got angry. There were protests. Beesotted was central to the fight against Webb and our front covers from from that era are legendary (some of them reach upwards of 50p on eBay these days)…  WEBB OUT became a rallying cry.

A supporters group was set up – BIAS (Brentford Independent Supporters group) – in an attempt to rally people to combat Webb. It got a bit ugly it had to be said. Griffin Park wasn’t a nice place to watch football… fans felt their very lifeblood was being ripped from them in front of their very eyes. They certainly had a point.


At Beesotted we even designed an advertising truck for the Valentine’s Day home match, which we drove to Webb’s house near Southend before being chased away… eventually ending up outside the FA Headquarters in Lancaster Gate. Things got worse for the Bees that season. Results didn’t improve.

Needless to say, Brentford were relegated that summer to Division Three. This was 12 months after nearly achieving automatic promotion to Division One.

In the summer, Ron Noades bought Dave Webb’s Brentford shares for £750k and ran off into the Essex sunset. Things momentarily got better before getting even worse ….. Noades using his power as chairman to run up colossal debts that he had underwritten rather than used his personal money to pay for, which left us truly on the brink of oblivion. Jamie Bates was enjoying himself though!

After years of Bees United bucket rattling, and several ‘life support machine’ moments, Brentford got back on the right track… but the true life-saving shot of adrenaline only truly arrived when lifelong fan Matt Benham eventually took the helm.

And with Benham investing a reputed £90 million into the club, we are where we are now?  Within spitting distance from the Premier League.  A far cry from the days of Dave Webb wound’t you say?

Beesotted remembers those dark, dark days …. and although the last week or two may not go down in history as the most enjoyable in Brentford’s history, they could have been a lot worse. I mean … we could be supporting Blackpool.

So before anyone else starts slinging mud around the place, just have a look at where we currently are …. we’re not in a bad place at the moment.

That doesn’t mean we can’t question things, though, not at all… but we certainly won’t be dusting off the lorry quite yet!

But let’s not get too complacent.

Billy ‘The Bee’ Grant and Dave Lane