Don’t you find that everything is getting so much more expensive nowadays and the extra cost just seems to creep up on you insidiously?
Deep in the mists of time, way back in the late 70s, I can still remember taking my girlfriend out to dinner and spending what seemed to me back in my student days, the eye-wateringly enormous and extravagent sum of five pounds a head for a slap up dinner for the two of us in Chelsea.
You can barely buy a small cup of tea and a sandwich for a fiver today.
I bought one of my favourite Freddo Chocolate bars yesterday and was horrified to discover that it now cost a princely twenty-five pence when I can still remember buying one for ten pence not so very long ago. Mind you it tasted great and is still value for money even at the new price!
That reminds me that if you look hard enough there are still bargains to be had, and one of them can be found at Griffin Park.
Next time you are wandering around the Braemar Road concourse with a few moments to kill before a match I would strongly suggest that you seek out and visit the Brentford Programme Shop which is tucked away in a small cupboard-like room situated underneath the main stand.
Just keep looking and eventually you will find it.
There you will receive a warm welcome as you enter an Aladdin’s cave of riches with hundreds of programmes on display from Brentford home and away matches over the past decades as well as a smattering of programmes featuring other clubs.
Interesting though they all are, what I am referring to is their selection of Bargain Bundles.
For a mere one pound, yes, one pound, you can buy a shrink wrapped luckybag selection of fifteen Brentford home programmes, all from matches played over the last thirty years.
You have to take potluck as, given the packaging, it is quite impossible to tell which games have been included in each bundle, bar the ones on either end, but whatever you end up with I can guarantee that it will be money well-spent.
And, to be frank, what else can you buy nowadays for the same paltry sum that provides as much satisfaction and stimulation?
I have to say that it is rare for me not to visit the shop at every home game and emerge with at least one packet of programmes which I will savour later on.
Occasionally there will also be a bundle of programmes from away matches on display but these are particularly highly prized, and are a rare and special treat which do not remain unsold for long given the fact that there is a long queue of aficionados eager to snap them up.
I find it enormous fun to sit back at home during the following week and read through these treasures which remind me of past matches, players, managers and key incidents and happenings otherwise long-since forgotten.
Sometimes too you read something which makes you challenge your own memory or even probe and question the current accepted truth of an incident that took place in the deep and distant past.
I just thought that I would illustrate my point by noting down some of the things that I found particularly interesting or noteworthy when perusing the latest batch of programmes which I purchased before last Saturday’s match against Wolves.
Roger Stanislaus’s long range Exocet of an equaliser against Fulham in the Littlewoods Cup in 1988 has long since entered Brentford folklore and the distance from where he unleashed his shot has increased with every telling until he was practically in another post code. The Brentford programme for the Second Leg tie against Fulham puts paid to these exaggerations and firmly states that the actual distance was nearly thirty-five yards.
Ashley Bayes starred in goal in a penalty shootout victory over Southend United in the Presidents Cup back in September 1991. After a two-two draw, Brentford finally won by nine goals to eight in the shootout with Ashley making the match winning save from Michael Jones.
The hapless Murray Jones never scored a competitive first team goal for the Bees in twenty appearances in 1992/93. What is not so well known is that he was far more successful in the reserves, scoring twice in a Middlesex Charity Cup win at Edgware Town in January 1993.
In addition, he notched a highly impressive, indeed, almost prolific, six goals in twelve Capital League games which included what was incredulously described as a spectacular close range overhead kick against Gillingham. Normal service was resumed against Cambridge United when a clearance from the goalkeeper hit Murray Jones on the side and flew into an unguarded net. Obviously he had found his level.
A match report of the Brentford versus Cambridge Sunday morning match in 1993 brings back memories of that notorious and frankly bizarre incident when referee Roger Wiseman, having first booked our nemesis Steve Claridge for having his socks rolled down in trademark fashion, then sent off Cambridge midfielder Paul Raynor for arguing too aggressively with his own centre half, Mick Heathcote. Shades of Darren Powell and Karleigh Osborne at Bournemouth in 2009, perhaps.
Anyone who has seen Raynor’s more than animated behaviour on the bench alongside Steve Evans at Rotherham will not have been too shocked at this incident. Oh, and by the way, despite the man advantage, Brentford still lost thanks to a goal scored by another former Bee, Steve Butler.
Brentford beat Welling United by seven goals to nil in a Capital League match in October 1995. A surprising scoreline in itself, but what stood out was our first goal, scored by our new exciting, all-action midfielder, Paul Davis. Now whatever happened to him?
Does anyone else remember the traffic chaos before the Bristol City home game in 1996? The match kicked off late at 3.15 pm after a security alert in the area that caused a massive traffic snarl-up. Many Bees fans were unable to get to the game in time.
Buzz Bee was launched as Brentford’s new mascot back in 1996 and supporters were urged to invite him to attend their youngsters’ birthday party.
The chaotic manner in which the club appeared to be run was highlighted by the following news snippet in October 1997: Dean Holdsworth’s big money move to Bolton Wanderers didn’t earn Brentford any money because there was no sell-on clause in his £720,000 transfer from Griffin Park to Wimbledon. However if Marcus Gayle ever moves on then Brentford will receive twenty percent. So that’s all right then!
Gary Alexander was asked in 2012 which one player he would sign from our division and replied: Bradley Wright-Phillips from Charlton. He’s been excellent since joining them and always looks likely to get on the score-sheet. Gary obviously has a future as a scout when he finally hangs up his boots.
Phil Holder was a guest of honour for the home game against Exeter in 2012. Remarkably this was his first visit to Griffin Park for almost nineteen years since he was sacked after relegation in 1993. Time does eventually heal all wounds.
I will let you know if I unearth any more gems in the near future and hope to see some of you in the programme shop before the Blackburn match.