Why Thousands Of Rangers Fans Were At Griffin Park Supporting Brentford !

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Yes folks (I kid you not) much gloom and doom from the multitude of QPR supporters at Griffin Park during the end of the 1961/62 season when Brentford lost a midweek fixture 2-0 to Grimsby Town. Strange but certainly true and here is an explanation of events seen through the eyes of a devout 13 year old schoolboy Rangers fan…I still get a twinge of sadness thinking about it forty six years later. This was the second season running when the R’s were in at the death fighting for promotion from the old Division 3. We just missed out previously in 1960/61 (behind Bury and Walsall) following a Spring ‘dip’ in form after selling our star left winger Clive Clark to West Brom….talk about selling your promotion chances !!!

In 1961/62, Portsmouth were home and dry as Champions but the runners up spot was down to the wire…contested between Grimsby, QPR and Bournemouth. The Brentford versus Grimsby Town match was crucial. Brentford HAD to win to keep Rangers hopes alive. A win for Grimsby would see them promoted on the night and seal our fate. The omens were not good, Brentford were total garbage that year. They were already relegated before kick-off. Furthermore, I remembered just how bad they were when we thrashed them 4-1 at Griffin Park earlier on in the season.

The Bees gates averaged around 7,000 but that night I think there were approximately 14,000 inside the ground…thousands of R’s fans swelling the attendance with plenty of ‘blue and white’ on display. There were virtually no Grimsby supporters…people tended not to travel away so much in those days, especially long distance and midweek. Although roared on by the large R’s contingent, Brentford quite frankly, were pathetic, even George Francis the ex-QPR centre forward proved hopeless in front of goal. Grimsby were smooth and clinical and of course had everything to play for. 

The writing was on the wall after half an hour and Grimsby easily won 2-0 and hence were promoted. Boos and jeers rang out from our section of the ground at the final whistle. We were all stunned, gutted…sick as a parrot etc. This was the second consecutive season we had fallen at the final hurdle. When were we EVER going to get promoted out of Division 3 ? Virtual silence punctuated by a few moans on the number 657 trolley bus was followed by total grief at Ashchurch Park Villas, Shepherds Bush ! Oh well, there is always another season. Perhaps 1967 will be our year ?

Bernard Lambert (Kerrins)

Portsmouth finished on 65 points, Grimsby were the runners-up on 62 followed by Bournemouth and despite scoring an amazing 111 league goals, the R’s were in fourth place. A further 18 goals were scored in Cup matches which included a 7-0 thrashing of Barry Town in a FA Cup replay and a 5-2 victory against Crystal Palace in the League Cup. In fact there were an incredible 213 goals scored in all Rangers League and Cup matches that season !!!

Brian Bedford was top scorer with 39 goals followed by Bernard Evans on 22. Apart from the departure of star-winger Clive Clark to WBA, Mark Lazarus was sold to Wolves during the season. He returned five months later though and still chipped in with 12 goals. Mike Keen was ever-present and Ray Drinkwater missed only one game. 

The R’s fortunes were to dip in the next few years. Gates plummeted and there was another unsuccessful move to the White City but it could have been even worse if John Bloom had taken control of the club. His well known washing machine company was to go bust but in November 1964, Jim Gregory joined the Board…….. 

Steve Russell



6 Responses to Why Thousands Of Rangers Fans Were At Griffin Park Supporting Brentford !

  1. jj says:

    ‘Virtual silence puntuated by a few moans on the 657 trolley bus was followed by total grief at Ashchurch Park Villas’. What a proud history we have, be it not all about winning.
    Some great names there, but more than that, some truly brilliant fans. Good read.

  2. Steve Zico says:

    Great read Bernie.
    R’s at Griffin Park.
    R’s everywhere.

  3. Kerrins says:

    Goals Galore in most games that R’s were playing during that 61/62 season!How can you score 111 times and NOT get promoted?

  4. Colin Woodley says:

    Thanks for that memory Bernie. I think I did go to the match but you will no doubt correct me!

  5. Kerrins says:

    Yes Colin you were there…you me and Alan Poole on that 657 Trolley bus journey to dashed hopes!

    Geoff Murrell joined us later behind the Ealing Rd End. He was taken by his dad in their Car..A rare sight indeed for Geoff’s father to be seen in ANY Football ground.

    I recall on the trip to the ground on the Top Deck of the trolley bus having a conversation about the merits of Bob Lord the Burnley Chairman who for some reason was prominent in the news….You thought he was a straight talker..I thought he was a loud mouth. After all this time I still cant make up my mind who was right!…Of course on the way back from Griffin Park nobody was in the mood for talking!

    I can still hear Geoff Murrell’s loud cry bellowing out in my ears at the Final whistle…”What a load of old rope!”

    Regards Bernard

  6. Colin Woodley says:

    Thanks Bernie. Yes..the 657 bus to Brentford provided one of the more convenient methods of travelling to our away matches. Obviously there was no ‘Let’s do it for West London’ spirit shown that evening!


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