FOLLOWING on from the last couple of columns, from the week after QPR's shock attempted takeover bid of Brentford was announced, this one is from the following week (Febraury 3, 1967), when the Third Division Bees travelled to First Division Sunderland for an FA Cup tie. As Middlesex Chronicle legend George Sands reported, Brentford put their financial woes behind them to put in a stirring display on Wearside. Unfortunately, some of the text form out archive copy is missing, but we have pieced together what we can.
BRENTFORD did not manage a giant-killing act at Sunderland, but they gave the Wearsiders two big shocks, and more than an hour passed before they could be sure of their next possible opponent. The record boks of the future will show Sunderland beat Brentford by five goals to two, but these figures, in cold light, convey little of the pulsating nature of a struggle which brought Brentford cheers from the 36,908 people who left £9,260 at the Roker Park turnstiles.
With the Bees in blue turning out as expected, Mr J.A. Caitlin took charge of the following:-
Sunderland: Montgomery, Irwin, Harvey, Todd, Kinnell, Baxter, Kerr, O'Hare, Martin, Herd, Mulhall.
Brentford: Phillips, Hawley, Jones, Higginson, Gelson, Thomson, Docherty, Richardson, Etheridge, Lawther, Ross.
Incidents? The game was chockful of 'em. They came thick and fast in the first ten minutes, with a couple of corners at each end; a splendid low-down save from Baxter by Phillips, who must have been unsighted until the last split second; a shot from full-back Hawley, who combined with Lawther in a run into the Sunderland penalty box; and a bang on the knee which took Etheridge temporaririly into touch for running repairs.
All that led up to the first goal. Baxter sent a free-kick into the goalmouth; Martin, leaping high and twisting in the air, headed into the net. Brentford's repsote was immediate and effective. Almost from the restart, Allan Jones put over a long forward cross, and a deft back-glance by Docherty sent the ball swirling past Montgomery. Thus Brentford, in the 11th minute, had done something Chelsea couldn't manage in one and a half hours on the same ground a fortnight earlier.
So it went on, back and forth, with the Bees matching the First Divisioners in all phases of football. Docherty was at his impish best, frequently bamboozling Harvey; once he pushed the ball between the left-backs legs. Etheridge might have scored from a Lawther pass; Martin missed an easy chance for the Reds; and the 1-1 half-time tally summed up the merits of the rivals to a nicety.
The second-half had a sensational start. Docherty, taking a free-kick for a foul on Higginson half a dozen yards outside the box, sent the ball on a banana-shaped course into the corner of the net,completely nonplussing Montgomery. And that was wee Johnny's 15th senior goal of the season - not to mention two match-winning ones in the London Challenge Cup.
But less than a minute later it was all square again. Kerr put the ball into the middle, and then came the father and mother of a goalmouth muddle so hectic that even in an 'inquest' in the train on the way back to London no player had any recollection of the sequence of events. Phillips, off balance, appeared to drop the ball; Gelson appeared to fall; Thomson might have cleared if his path hadn't been barred by his colleagues; and the upshot was that Martin put the ball into the net from very, very short range.
Just as the game passed the hour, Sunderland took a 3-2 lead. Irwin, who did more forward running than any No.2 I've seen for a very long time, put the ball ove to Mulhall, who cracked home a tremendous cross-shot.Ross and Docherty made things look dangerous for Sunderland; ocne Richardson slewed a ballf rom Richardson intot he arms of his own goalkeeper. But the Wearsiders practically round game when Martin hit a perfect penalty in the 70th minute. The alleged culprit was Hawley, who whose late tackle brought down Mulhall. Brerntford protested. In vain. And they did some more protesting, also in vain, when Todd handled a few minutes later. The Bees claimed that the infringement had taken place inside the main punishment zone. But, as usual in such circumstances, the home team's penalty area must have shrunk a little, and a free-kick one inch outside the 18-yard line was Brentford's only award.
They might have made it 4-3, and a hat-trick for Docherty. As it was, the game, for all practical purposes, was over. Hawley cleared off the line from Mulhall; Richardson put the ball over the bar; Martin hit a post; and in the closing seconds Lawther's diagonal header missed the far upright by the length of a cigarette.Then it was all over, with Brentford earning the paludits of the crowd and the home officials. Bobby Ross skippered a band of football heroes. To round off the day, even a ploce escort faild to get our coach through crowded Sunderland in time to make the hoped-for train connection at Durham. So, after taking a 'local' to York, we broke our journey for a meal, and arrived at Kings Cross when Sunday was three and a half hours old.
ALSO IN THE NEWS THAT WEEK:
Brentford FC general manager Dennis Signy reveals he has discussed with manager Billy Gray the matter of his resignation, but that he had been persuaded by many sympathetic calls from players and fans not to make a hasty decision in the midst of an explosive situation. Signy said: "We are both family men, and it is an insufferable position position to work in an atmopshere of suspicion, not knowing who is going to pay the wages next week, if indeed you are going to get any wages. We feel most sorry for the players and supporters. The players have been magnificent under trying circumstances; the fans are obviously more bewildered than we are by the turn of events, but have rallied around splendidly."
Brentford Supporters Club respond to the crisis by by forming an Appeal Fund to help in the short term, and a Trust Fund with a target of raising £25,000 for the purchase of 50,000 ten-shilling shares. Meanwhile, a syndicate of businessmen agree to take over chairman Jack Dunnett's financial obligations - Frank Davis, Eric Radley-Smith, Edward Rogers, Walter Wheatley, Leslie Davey, Ron Blindell and David Brooks. They assure that Brentford will be playing league football at Griffin Park next season, but under which circumstances, it remains unknown. The syndicate would like to share Griffin park with QPR on a 50-50 basis, using it for home games on alternate Saturdays. But Rangers would prefer to take over the ground completely, with Brentford as tenants.