Rivalry Resumed! – 16/7/14

fulhamSky Sports announced today that the eagerly awaited derby match between Brentford and local rivals Fulham has been  selected for live television broadcast on 21st November.

Proof indeed that the fixture’s appeal extends far beyond West London.

As soon as the fixtures were released last month the first dates I looked for were for the two matches against Fulham.

I also decided to delve more deeply into the rivalry between the clubs and to my surprise I found that it is of a very recent vintage.

In fact the paths of the two clubs have rarely crossed and it was not until Brentford were relegated from the First Division soon after the war that they played against each other regularly.

Brentford’s further relegation in 1954 meant that hostilities were not resumed until 1980 and it was that decade that saw the rise of the current rivalry between the two clubs.

The Eighties saw a series of ding-dong battles between two fairly evenly matched third tier teams.

We can start with Dean Smith’s volley off the underside of the crossbar which was ludicrously ruled to have not crossed the goal line and denied us a late equaliser in a tight FA Cup tie.

I recall a memorable Sunday morning 3-3 draw played on a Griffin Park skating rink when the kick off was delayed by an hour in an optimistic but unsuccessful attempt to allow the pitch to thaw.

Fulham colossus Roger Brown once scored a perfectly sliced own goal to equalise a Gordon Davies long range cracker at Craven Cottage before an ice cool Barry Tucker penalty gave us a rare win at Craven Cottage.

Referee Kelvin Morton was also at his eccentric best in another tussle disallowing a perfectly taken Andy Sinton penalty for some unknown reason in a 3-1 Bees victory.

Then came the notorious Jim Stannard/Gary Blissett incident which resulted in a red card for the Brentford striker after he struck the keeper.

Why did he do it?

Well I think you’d have to ask Gary that question as many rumours abound.

How about Roger Stanislaus’s long range howitzer equaliser that gets further away from the goal in the telling.

It is now generally described as a forty yarder and I have no intention of re-watching the video and allowing the truth to get in the way of a great story.

I remember Graham Benstead’s world class display in a 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage in 1990 and our wonderful double over Fulham in our 1992 promotion season.

A smash and grab 1-0 away win earned by a towering Terry Evans header and Benstead’s penalty save from Gary Brazil on a day when we kept loanee Andy Cole quiet, was followed by that Sunday morning 4-0 thrashing where the Bees touched perfection.

Four up at the interval with the goals all scored in front of the disbelieving Fulham fans, we toyed with the visitors after the break and the thrashing set us up for the last day of the season title win at Peterborough.

Boosted by Al Fayed’s investment, Fulham left us far behind them after the end of the 90s and this will be our first encounter since Bob Taylor limped off in a lame 2-0 home defeat in 1998 that saw Fulham promoted and the Bees relegated.

Oh, there was of course that disastrous meeting in Kevin O’Connor’s Testimonial Match in 2010 when Fulham emphasised their superiority, strolling to an effortless 5-0 victory.

The tables have finally been turned and we will meet again this coming season on equal terms.

That is to say that we are both in the same Division but hardly competing on an even playing field, given that Fulham have been buttressed by their enormous Parachute Payment after relegation from the Premier League and that has allowed them to splash out a reported £11 million for Ross McCormack from Leeds.

But as they say it’s not necessarily how much you’ve got, it’s how well you spend it that counts.

Marcello Trotta is another recent link between the two clubs but I suspect he will have found a new team and will not be involved once hostilities resume.

The Brentford/Fulham rivalry is neither as deep seated nor as long lasting as that between the Bees and our real deadly enemies in Queens Park Rangers, but its resumption is still something that we are all looking forward to with relish and I cannot wait until the 21st November and suspect I will have no problem finding a suitable home for my spare season ticket that night!

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3 thoughts on “Rivalry Resumed! – 16/7/14

  1. I can not wait for these games, I really do not want to lose either. Bliss did tell me why he punched Stannard, I think it’s inb the book.

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