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Opposition Watch: Brentford

Learn about the history of Saturday's opponents.

20 November 2020

Brentford are set to visit Wycombe in the Championship on Saturday 21st November 2020. We take a deeper look at the men from West London.

The Club
Brentford FC is a professional football club based in Brentford, Greater London and are nicknamed "the Bees’ - more on that later! The club was founded in 1889 and played home matches at Griffin Park for 116 years from 1904 before moving to the state-of-the-art Brentford Community Stadium in 2020. 

The club is owned by Matthew Benham. After revealing himself as the ‘mystery investor’ that bailed the club out of a hole to the tune of half of a million pounds, Benham became the owner of the club in 2012 and has so far pumped over £90 million into the first team and club infrastructure. Benham is a lifelong Bees fan, attending his first Brentford game as an 11-year-old in 1979 against Colchester, a game that the Bees won 1-0.

When Brentford FC was originally founded in 1889, they chose club colours of salmon, claret and light blue, the same as Brentford Rowing Club who were formed at the same time, although the salmon was dropped from the colours even before a ball was kicked!

Their first game took place on a field behind the Wesleyan Chapel, covered today by Clifden Road. The early Brentford Football Club players would use the Griffin pub to change into claret and light blue striped shirts and white shorts. In those days Brentford for a short spell were known as the Bonny Boys, but Griffin Park, their previous stadium, was named after this pub. 

Brentford's nickname is "The Bees". The nickname was unintentionally created by students of Borough Road College in the 1890s, when they attended a match and shouted the college's chant "Buck up Bs" in support of their friend and then-Brentford player Joseph Gettins. Local newspapers misheard the chant as "Buck up Bees" and the nickname stuck.

Brentford’s main rivals are fellow West London clubs Chelsea, Fulham, and perhaps most fiercely, Queens Park Rangers. Brentford and QPR played each other frequently in local cup competitions and leagues from the foundation of both clubs. In 1920, the Football League absorbed many clubs from the Southern Football League, including Brentford and QPR, who competed in the old Third Division (South) regularly in the 1920s, until Brentford’s rise up the leagues in the 1930s.

After the Second World War, they spent practically every season in the same division for the next 20 years. At the time, the fixture was each side’s biggest game of the season and always attracted a big crowd. However, in 1966, despite an opening day 6–1 thrashing of their local rivals, Brentford were ultimately relegated whilst QPR were promoted and went on to enjoy many seasons in the upper leagues.

The bad feeling between the two clubs does run considerably deeper than just locality, however. In 1967, QPR attempted a takeover of Brentford, which would have resulted in QPR moving into Griffin Park and Brentford F.C. ceasing to exist. Jack Dunnett was the chairman of Brentford at the time and had initially agreed to the sale but 38 days of demonstrations and protests led to the sale collapsing and Dunnett selling his shares in the club. 

Since then, relations between the clubs have been somewhat frosty. The rivalry resumed in 2001 and continued for several seasons until Rangers were promoted. During this time, the rivalry was intensified by Brentford player Martin Rowlands leaving to join QPR. He then went on to kiss his badge on several occasions in front of the Brentford support when the two sides met in 2003 at Loftus Road.

The most recent meeting between Brentford and Queens Park Rangers was on the 11th January 2020, with Brentford winning the final West London Derby at Griffin Park by three goals to one. 

The Brentford Community Stadium
The Brentford Community Stadium is a stadium in Brentford, West London, that is the new home of Brentford Football Club from 2020, replacing Griffin Park. It has a capacity of 17,250 and is used for both association football and rugby union matches, since it is also the home of London Irish Rugby Club. The new stadium is at the heart of plans to regenerate the surrounding area, including new homes and commercial opportunities.

BREvWYC (1).jpg

Work on the new stadium officially started on 24 March 2017 with site clearance and preliminary works. The main works began in spring 2018, and the club played their first game there on Saturday 6th September 2020 for a Carabao Cup First Round match.

Do you remember who the opponent was that day? Yep, it was us! Ethan Pinnock gave the home side the lead and had the honour of scoring the first competitive goal at the new stadium, only for Daryl Horgan to equalise on his Chairboys debut after midfielder Dominic Gape was dismissed just after half-time. The Bees would go on to win 4-2 on penalties.

Fun Facts about Brentford FC
When Brentford were formed in 1889 at the Oxford and Cambridge Hotel public house, there was a vote held by members of the Brentford rowing club. They needed something to do during the winter months and had to pick between football and rugby union, and football narrowly won by 8 votes to 5. They played their first game against Kew FC at the Clifden House Ground.

Matthew Benham is the owner of both Brentford and the Danish club, FC Midtjylland, who won the Danish League for the first time ever in 2015. They are only 17 years old and have built a reputation for finding young talents and developing them before selling them on for a sizable profit. They hit international headlines last year when they beat Manchester United in the Europa League.

One of the prouder pieces of silverware in Brentford’s trophy cabinet is the London War Cup which they won in 1942. The competition was introduced to fill the gaping hole left by the cancellation of association football because of the Second World War. The tournament was only held twice and Brentford reached the final on both occasions losing it to Reading in 1941, but winning it against Portsmouth in 1942.

Famous Bees Fans
Actor and Comedian Bradley Walsh was a professional player for the club, having been on their books in the late 1970’s, but he never made a first team appearance for the first team. 

talkSPORT presenter, Natalie Sawyer, is a lifelong Brentford fan and attends most home matches.

Popstar Phil Collins was a season ticket holder at Griffin Park as a young boy and went to games with his father. Although later, in his autobiography, he says that this was mainly due to proximity, having been raised in Hounslow. He admits to not really supporting a team, having loosely followed QPR, Spurs and Liverpool and various points in his life. 

Ex-Eastenders actor and television personality, Dean Gaffney, is a lifelong Brentford fan. He grew up in the area and was a season ticket holder into his teens. 

Hard-Fi frontman, Richard Archer, is a well-known Bees fan and has been a season ticket holder for many years. He was one of the first people to sign up to the club's #TakeASeat initiative to sell tickets at the new stadium at the start of this season. 

The Badge
The club’s original crest. shows three seaxes, or scimitars, a Saxon crown and a beehive, set against the club colours of red and blue. In an apparent complete overhaul, the current badge is a simple bee encircled in red. So how did that happen? BFC badges.png

In the 1st century BC Belgic tribes had established themselves in southeastern England, and Middlesex formed part of the Catuvellauni territory. Later, the Romans set up outposts at what became Staines and Brentford. In the early 5th century the Saxons began to colonize the area. Positioned as it was between the East and West Saxons, the region soon obtained its modern name,  meaning “Middle Saxons''; the earliest written record of it is in the form Middelseaxan, in a charter of 704.

There is a certain amount of mystery as to why neighbouring Essex adopted three seaxes for its arms. It has been suggested by some writers that the weapons were chosen as a pun on the name of the County, which was called ‘East Seaxe’ in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. 

Although three seaxes on a red field are often quoted as the arms of the kings of the East Saxons, heraldry as we know it today was not established until the early twelfth century, and it is probably due to the fanciful and romantic minds of early historians and heraldic writers in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries that ‘arms’ were attributed to the Saxon kings.

Anyway, the reputed arms with the three seaxes of the Saxon kings appear in various manuscripts. Middlesex and part of Hertfordshire belonged to the East Saxon Kingdom, in fact the arms now regarded as those of Essex can be seen on several older buildings formerly in Middlesex. When Middlesex County Council was granted arms in 1910 the design consisted of the traditional arms with the addition of a Saxon Crown, also in the Brentford crest.

As the nickname “The Bees” became one with the club's identity, the badge evolved to include a Bee more and more. In 2017, the club crest was redesigned to contain only a bee encircled in red with the club name, Brentford Football Club over it in white. 

Social Media
Brentford FC has a wide social media following, being present on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. They have a total of 116,900 followers across these channels at the time of writing, and they use their channels to promote club and player news and team updates as well as commercial and business activations. Check them out:


Club Records

  • Youngest Player: Paul Walker – 15 years, 7 months, 28 days in August 1976
  • Oldest Player: Jimmy Hodson – 40 years, 8 months, 2 days on 7 May 1921
  • Most consecutive appearances: 187 – Gerry Cakebread (1 Novr 1958 – 18 Aug 1962)
  • Most Football League goals: 153 – Jim Towers
  • Most goals in a Football League season: 38 – Jack Holliday (3rd Division South, 1932–33)
  • Most hat-tricks (all competitions): 9 – Jack Holliday
  • Most clean sheets in a Football League season: 22 – Gordon Phillips (4th Division, 1971–72)
  • Record Football League win: 9–0 versus Wrexham, Third Division, 15 October 1963

How you can watch the Game
Chairboys and Bees fans inside the UK & Ireland can watch Saturday's Championship encounter live on iFollow for £10, with passes available for overseas supporters at the price of £7.

Buying match passes to watch Championship games on iFollow is a great way to support your club, with Wanderers retaining 100% of the net revenue after VAT and bank charges/transaction fees (previously 80%).

With special thanks to: 

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