Beesotted contributor, Tim Street, looks back at some life defining and football life defining moments!
It’s often said that everyone of a certain age remembers where they were when JFK was shot. A more recent example, perhaps, is everyone knowing their whereabouts when they first heard of, or saw the live pictures from, the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre.
Last weekend, of course, saw the 20th anniversary of that horrific day which changed the way we see world forever, and people quite rightly reflected and remembered those affected by the tragic events. I can certainly remember where I was that day when we all huddled round whatever device was available to make sense of the news filtering through from New York – sat at my desk in the former offices of my then-employer, the Hounslow Chronicle. But I also vividly remember travelling up to Newcastle the following day to watch Brentford’s League Cup tie, which we ultimately lost 4-1 after being undone by Craig Bellamy’s extra-time hat-trick, having earlier taken the lead through Lloyd Owusu. I recall digesting the news on the long train north, but strangely, I don’t remember much chat about the seismic events happening on the other side of the world once I found my pals in the pub – all focus was on whether we could pull off an upset against the Geordies. Perhaps it hadn’t quite all sunk in yet.
It certainly hadn’t when the reports first started coming through the previous day, as among my first thoughts were the weekend in Brighton a load of us had booked for a Friday night top-of-the-table clash, and whether a forthcoming Armageddon would now put paid to those plans. Don’t get me wrong, I had plenty more rational and sympathetic thoughts too, but I was really looking forward to that trip! As it happens, the end of the world wasn’t nigh (perhaps only the end of the world as we knew it), and goals from Martin Rowlands and Ivar Ingimarsson saw the Bees sweep aside a Seagulls side which would ultimately pip them to promotion. All of which got me thinking of how many people out there have Bees-related memories intertwined with their recollections of major world events.
The only other one I can recall is news of the death of Princess Diana filtering through the morning after a 3-1 victory over Grimsby in August 1997, one of two wins in a row which suggested the Bees may finally be getting their act together under Eddie May’s ultimately futile leadership. But what of other major world events since that fateful day in 2001? The invasion of Iraq in March 2003 happened between back-to-back defeats at Port Vale and Plymouth for Wally Downes’ Bees, but I couldn’t have told you without looking it up.
The Indian Ocean tsunami was happening as Martin Allen’s side were falling to a 3-1 Boxing Day defeat at Torquay, but the two aren’t linked in my mind. Neither is the December 30, 2006, execution of Saddam Hussein and the Jo Kuffour brace against Chesterfield the same day, which gave Scott Fitzgerald’s beleaguered Bees a first win in 19. Riots flared across London for almost a week beginning on August 6, 2011, the day of a 2-0 opening day win for Uwe Rosler’s Bees over Yeovil, but the two aren’t synonymous in my mind. I’m sure there’s many other examples, but none spring readily to mind.
Instead, in my experience, it’s usually big events in my personal life rather than on the world stage which have Brentford memories attached. I got plenty of stick from my Bees mates when my wedding fell during the football season, but in the end they were thankful that it made them miss a miserable 3-0 Terry Butcher-era home defeat to MK Dons. And the day my daughter was born in April 2012,
I can distinctly remember checking my phone in the hospital corridors for updates as Rosler’s men ground out a goalless draw at Hartlepool (with apologies to my son, who was born during the off-season in 2009, and so no Bees game to infiltrate the memory). I’d be interested to hear if any older Bees fans have interlinked memories of Brentford games and historic world events – what were our heroes doing during the moon landings? When World War Two was declared? When the Berlin Wall came down? When the king died? When Elvis passed away (I remember reading we played Palace in the League Cup that day)?
Please do share your thoughts in the comments below.