I have been in France for the past thirty-seven years and had two hip and knee replacements before I was fifty and quite a few health problems too.
I do remember my league debut at home to Lincoln City in February 1974 and I still treasure the telegram I received from Alan Hawley that day, such a great man on and off the field.
And yes, I scored against Bradford City in the last home game of that season with the other goal being scored by Dave Simmons.
He was such a great help to me and I was so sad to learn of his death in 2007.
The only thing I do regret was in my third year at Brentford when I refused Frank Blunstone’s offer to join Manchester United’s youth team.
Richard then went on to talk about his managers and team mates as well as some of the characters behind the scenes at Griffin Park.
There is so much to say about Mike Everitt and Mr Blunstone.
Well Mr Blunstone was a great manager for the years before I signed as an apprentice as well as the season when we went down to the Fourth Division.
The problem from my view was Mr Piggott, not to slay him, but as apprentices, Kevin Harding and I had to take the first team training kit every Friday to the local laundromat in Brentford High Street and you can just imagine how we felt when we had to walk there!
When we were in the Third Division we were given a leather bag marked with “Brentford FC” on it to put our playing kit in.
Well when I was released four or five years later he asked for it back!
Anyway Mr Blunstone used to give Kevin and I extra training sessions in the afternoon with a football, which at that time was unusual.
I was so sad when he had his car accident as he used to give the apprentices a lift to the training sessions held away from Griffin Park.
Mike Everitt gave me my first team chance and it was not as easy as you might remember.
I got injured on my debut and came back on Easter Friday away to Colchester who were then top of the league.
I was twelfth man but at the meal before the match Roger Cross – well how can I say!
So I played all the game and the following day we played away to Chester and I played all the second half and the following Tuesday we played Colchester at home, which I think was my best game, and it finished 0-0.
I could go on, but now looking back, there were some differences of opinion between some senior players I think and Mr Everitt.
I prefer not to say who, but I think every Brentford fan could see, in particular, a certain one who became a manager afterwards.
Mr Everitt had to fight the Gods in the Boardroom, for they awarded me appearance money when I played in the first team as well as a bonus like all the rest of the first team players.
When I signed professional terms with Brentford I was earning, I think, £20 a week or a bit less, and a year after, when I was at Watford I was on £60 a week.
Yes of course I would have played for nothing for Brentford.
When I made my debut that season Mr Everitt brought some experienced players in like Jimmy Gabriel – well what more can a young sixteen year old at the time ask for?
As for Stan Webb, I do think you were hard on him.
He was a gentleman, always willing to help us youngsters and he always tried his best in a struggling team getting on in years and I never heard an angry word from him, and us apprentices heard a lot in our time!
When I was in my first year in France Mr Everitt phoned me as at that time in 1977/78, Southampton wanted to sign me, but Toulon would not let me go and six months later I had my career finished by my cruciate ligament injury.
In all my time at Brentford though, I am not sure there was another person who helped me more than the groundsman, John Stepney, who was very important to Brentford behind the scenes.
He was a really great man.
Well that’s enough for now.
I could go on and on though, and thinking back, there was one person who I looked up to who left me feeling disappointed to this day and I think finished me at Brentford and certainly turned a small section of the crowd against me.
I remember coming back the year after I left for Watford and getting stick from the crowd of about ten people who were watching a reserve match.
Anyway that apart, I think you can see my love of Brentford both at the time and to this day.
You can quote me, no problem there, and I’ve still got lots to tell about my beloved Brentford .
I am still living in the Southern French Alps, but always look out for Brentford’s result first and I am sorry about my English but after thirty-seven years abroad I muddle things up!
Keep up with the good work on Brentford FC
Thanks once more.
Mr R J Poole.
Still a BEE!
I hope Richard’s account has left you feeling as emotional and moved as I am.