Yesterday’s blog on Clayton Donaldson brought about an interesting question from Andrew Potter who asked where Clayton stands on Brentford’s all time list of top goal scorers.
A really good and apposite question and one totally beyond my limited capabilities and knowledge.
When in doubt ask for help so hopefully one of my many – or should that be “any” readers will supply this interesting titbit of knowledge. Another option in the meantime is to undertake what used to be called “Desk Research” which has now translated into cribbing stuff from Wikipedia – so here goes with Brentford’s Top Ten all time goalscorers:
Jim Towers 163 (153 lge 9 FAC 1 LC)
George Francis 136 (124 lge 12 FAC)
Jack Holliday 122 (119 lge 3 FAC)
Gary Blissett 105 (79 lge 7 FAC 9 LC 10 other)
Dave McCulloch 90 (85 lge 5 FAC)
Bill Lane 89 (79 lge 10 FAC)
Lloyd Owusu 87 (76 lge 4 FAC 3 LC 4 other)
Billy Scott 86 (83 lge 3 FAC)
Jack Lane 86 (74 lge 12 FAC)
Idris Hopkins 80 (77 lge 3 FAC)
Clayton with his fifty-three goals for the club is nowhere near the top ten but I still fervently hope that he will remain with the club and start shooting further up the charts over the course of the next few seasons. All will, I am sure, be revealed over the next few days.
I was lucky enough to see three of the top ten play in Gary Blissett, Steve Phillips and Lloyd Owusu and GeoffBee and many others still around would of course have seen the “Terrible Twins” Jim Towers and George Francis in action.
There is no way of course of comparing them in terms of their ability and style of play given the differences in the game over the decades but I would love to somehow create a Brentford FC “Back to the Future” and be in a position to see Jack Holliday and Dave McCulloch in action.
What were they like, were they big and relied on their strength, were they great in the air, how fast were they, were they goalhangers or did they have defensive responsibilities too, what was the quality of the goalkeeping and defending like?
So many questions and so few answers with so little newsreel film remaining. The newspaper accounts of the time don’t really help either as despite being packed full of wordy and flowery descriptions of the action and atmosphere they are frustratingly short of tactical information of how teams and individual players performed.
On an aside, I was fortunate enough recently to pick up a copy of Mark Chapman’s fascinating book of facsimile editions of the 1935/36 Brentford FC First Division match programmes and what staggered and amazed me was how small footballers were in those distant days.
You think of some long lost and half-remembered heroes from that period and your imagination (or certainly mine) conjures up images of giants striding the pitch like a veritable colossus – in reality think again!
Stanley Matthews – 5ft 9ins and 10 stone 10 lbs, Arsenal legend and hardman Wilf Copping – 5ft 7ins, England centre forward Ted Drake a whopping 5ft 10ins, immortal International goalkeeper Harry Hibbs – a mere 5ft 9ins and most amazing of all, goalscoring legend from Everton, Dixie Dean also at 5ft 10ins.
These were by no means the exceptions, it was rare to find a goalkeeper or centre half in those days who was over six feet tall.
Does anyone remember the Bantam Divisions in the First World War in which the normal minimum height requirement for recruits was reduced from 5ft 3ins to a mere 5ft?
I don’t want to divert into a sociological study of height and diet in Edwardian Britain but as you can see – times were different and things have to be judged in isolation as comparisons are pretty meaningless.
So to finally get back to Andrew Potter’s question, if anyone can supply that missing list of Brentford’s leading goalscorers, he and I would be extremely grateful.
I would also be happy to try and answer any other questions that you would like to raise – just don’t expect a direct answer!