The Brentford 125th Anniversary Book has just been published and, to answer the question that is surely on all of your lips – yes, it was certainly well worth waiting for.
We had a photo shoot with Mark Warburton at the training ground yesterday lunchtime, and afterwards he was so engrossed in the book that it was extremely hard to get it back from him at the end of the proceedings.
Managerial icon Harry Curtis features prominently on the front cover and we suggested to Mark that given the way he has started in the job we very much hope that we will have to find room for him too when we come to print a second edition.
Let’s all just hope that this is the case!
Producing the book has been a true labour of love, and has necessitated hours of delving and research in the local libraries as well as unearthing clippings, memorabilia, programmes, photographs, poems, cartoons and all sorts of other ephemera from private collections and all the other hiding places where they had languished and lain dormant and undiscovered for so many generations.
What we have ended up with is a gorgeous and breathtaking book which exactly follows the style, design, format, layout and typeface of the three previous Big Brentford Books which I very much hope that some of you enjoyed – (copies of all three titles are still available at a special discounted price from http://www.legendspublishing.net).
The new book is a large and meaty publication, jam packed with articles, match reports and photos that will fascinate and engross every Brentford supporter young and old, but, at just under three hundred pages, it is around half the length of the Nineties book, so it is far more manageable and easy to carry around and peruse.
I salute and pay homage to David Lane and Mark Croxford for all their tireless and relentless endeavours which have resulted, in my biased opinion, in what I truly believe is the most original, fascinating and beautifully designed and produced book that has ever been published about the club.
Unlimited praise and thanks must also go to all the guys at HM Printers in Park Royal, life-long Brentford fans to a man, who have done a superb and painstaking job of printing and binding the book as well.
All in all I hope you will all share my view that it is a fitting tribute to mark such a worthy and important milestone in the club’s history.
The book simply meanders through the byways and tributaries of the past one hundred and twenty-five years.
It is not a chronological history but more a reminder, acknowledgement and recognition of the key games, events and personalities involved with Brentford FC both on the field and off.
As we stated in the Introduction to the book:
This book celebrates Brentford Football Club’s 125th Anniversary with a sentimental and often emotional excavation of club landmarks throughout the years.
From the events surrounding the formation of the club by its founding fathers, right through to the euphoria that surrounded the promotion celebrations in May 2014.
But even more than that, it also provides a wonderful snapshot and social history of Brentford itself, and emphasises just how important a part the club has played as a focal point within its local community and how the town of Brentford itself has evolved.
The language, equipment, clothing and playing kit might change over the decades, but what remains the same is the unabashed enthusiasm, dedication and, indeed, devotion displayed by loyal supporters and club servants alike throughout every decade of the club’s existence.
You will learn about how the club was formed, its great triumphs and disasters, the relentless rise through the divisions under the direction of Harry Curtis and its equally speedy and catastrophic fall from grace after the Second World War, culminating in near oblivion not so long ago in 1967.
Fittingly the book ends of a note of optimism and triumph as it celebrates last season’s momentous promotion to the Championship.
The early pioneers are depicted in all their glory, and you will marvel and rejoice at the length and verbosity of many of the early match reports which range far and wide and go well beyond merely describing the match in question.
You will discover so much fascinating detail, not just about the club and the matches it played, but also concerning the actual times and milieu and what else was taking place in the world.
We have rightly used the terms “unusual” and “quirky” to describe the book, but what should not be in any doubt is the depth and breadth of material that has been discovered and which in most cases is being shown for the first time for many decades.
I found the history of the early years particularly fascinating, and the sense of local pride engendered when Brentford won the Middlesex Junior Cup in 1892 by defeating Westminster Ponsonby was moving in the extreme.
I also never really grasped until now just how incredibly good our team of All-Stars really was in the late 30s, and how a dynasty was being created at Griffin Park.
Quite how far they might have gone had fate not intervened so cruelly and cut short their progress, can only be conjectured.
There is something here for everybody and you will all find your own personal favourite passages and features, and I hope that you cherish them as much as I do mine.
The book is a true work of art and an act of homage and love and I simply hope that you enjoy reading it as much as we have in creating it and putting it together.
The Official Brentford 125th Anniversary Book is published by Legends Publishing at £29.99 and will be available later today to order online via the Brentford website and copies will also be on sale in the Club Superstore from tomorrow morning.
Please let me know what you think of it and I suppose David, Mark and I will soon be looking for another project to get our teeth into!