Still A Bee! – Part Three – 29/8/14

curranSome of you seemed to really enjoy and identify with the two columns I wrote recently about former Bees striker Richard Poole.

They seemed to touch a cord as he exemplifies everything that most Bees fans hold dear.

A local boy made good who succeeded in actually getting to play for the team he had supported from childhood, and who also retains to this day his affection for Brentford and fond memories of his spell at the club.

It doesn’t really get any better than that does it?

And, in truth, isn’t it exactly what we all hoped and dreamed would happen to us?

Some of us continue to have the same pipe dream to this day, even if youth, a flat stomach and what modicum of football ability we once possessed are all long gone.

For my part, my hopes of football fame and fortune turned to dust and received a firm reality check one unforgettable Autumn’s day way back in 1972.

I was a decent young goalkeeper who had played at a reasonable and respectable level for Corinthian Casuals and had trials for the Great Britain Maccabi Games team, but I was small and a bit frail and, if truth be told, a bit too keen on self-preservation, and was totally unprepared and unable to cope with the physicality of the massive Scotland International striker Hugh Curran who turned my trial at Oxford United into a personal nightmare.

He bashed me around unceremoniously throughout the entire morning and then thumped some twenty yard howitzers that I barely saw, grateful indeed that I hadn’t got a touch to them as they whistled past me.

In truth, he did me a favour as he totally disabused me of any misconception that I could compete at this level.

It really was a totally different game to the one I was used to!

I learned the hard way about the gaping chasm in ability, speed of thought and fitness between a talented amateur and a seasoned professional and I now totally understand why it is that so few of the multitude of faceless trialists who seek their fame and fortune every preseason actually have their dreams realised and fulfilled.

team-picture-1974-751As for Richard Poole, it was very sad to discover from him that his early promise and enthusiasm were largely unfulfilled as injury cost him the career that he deserved and at one time promised to have.

Fate had dealt him some heavy blows as it seemed so likely that he would become a star, but it just wasn’t meant to be and fate took a hand.

Rather than being bitter and twisted as would have been totally understandable, Richard came over as a positive, modest and well rounded man who had made a new life for himself abroad and had just got on with things and ignored everything that life had thrown at him in terms of injury and illness.

He also appreciated the two columns I wrote about him and sent me a few additional memories of his life and times at Brentford:

I remember like it was only yesterday.

Brentford had just gone up to the third division and they had this Open Day in July at Feltham Arena.

I had my fifteenth birthday and the Friday was my last day at school.

The Summer holidays were here and I said good bye to my school friends (and my girlfriend too) and the following day I was a proud fifteen year old apprentice at my Brentford, and all my school boy dreams of playing and scoring for Brentford were coming true.

pooleHow little did I know that a mere six years later my dreams would be in tatters.

I well remember the photo you used where Jesse Willard and Mike Everitt were consoling me after I was injured on my debut by Ian Branfoot.

I remember he clobbered me from behind and it really hurt me.

Mr Blunstone used to tell me that when I was clattered I should just get up and smile, and most of the time I did.

I think Mr Branfoot remembered my first tackle in my debut game where he ended up in the stand.

Andy Woon came on after I was hurt and I think Mr Branfoot will remember the game well as my team mates paid him back, but the only important thing to me was that my Brentford won the game by two goals to one.

I loved the comment from another fan who has kept a programme from my debut which is signed by the young man himself – well this young man is now fifty-seven years old, but it does still go to my heart that real fans still remember me.

As I said, I could go on and on.

In my few years with the club I had great times as well as some that were not so good.

At the time money was not as important and even now I am sure there are youngsters out there who want nothing more than to play for their local team.

team-picture-1973-741I hope their dreams come true.

Mine did for a while and that can never be taken from me.

To me it was just like being Roy of the Rovers but it was Richard Poole playing for Brentford – yes a Fourth Division team – but my team.

I would like to thank through this great blog Mr Brown and Mr Tyler, two neighbours who took me to Brentford games when I was a young boy, as well as to say sorry to my young brother who, when he was very young, had to come to all those away games when Brentford Reserves played at places like Southend, Peterborough and Cambridge city on cold and wet Wednesday nights because my mother and father followed me everywhere, may they rest in peace, and thank you Mr Waterman for helping me relive these memories, even the hard ones.

So to all true Brentford fans – come on the Bees!

Richard, we will never tire of hearing from you and we look forward to more of your memories whenever you would like to share them with us.

 

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One thought on “Still A Bee! – Part Three – 29/8/14

  1. Well all i can say with a few tears in my eyes (yes grown men do cry) thanks and i do hope brentford can stay in this championship which should had been there place years a go ! Well i imagine people would say its normal i say that as a EX bee but as a person who has had the chance to this game we all love from both inside and out Brentford and there fans dersrve a least this

    Liked by 1 person

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