Sun 27 Jan 2013 12:00 (Attendance: 12,146)
The cup holders travel six miles from Stamford Bridge to Griffin Park this weekend for a rare London derby. Club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton look at the fourth round facts and figures…
Tickets for this rarest of west London fixtures are perhaps the most sought-after for a Chelsea fixture since Munich. It is the champions of Europe versus League One play-off aspirants and Griffin Park is expected to swell with its largest crowd for three decades.
The tie is resonant with the romance of the FA Cup, of which the Blues are current holders. It might be one of those encounters that is talked about for years, though there is very little of the historic enmity that adds bite to meetings with our other neighbours, QPR and Fulham.
The Bees will, of course, be buzzing. They are currently third in their division, the third tier of English football, six points behind the top two. Their striker Clayton Donaldson is second top scorer at that level with 15 and has struck four times in four matches in all competitions.
Yet like Chelsea, Brentford's home form has not been as impressive as away performances. This will be their fourth successive fixture at Griffin Park and only the first of those, a replay in this competition against Southend, produced a win.
That was their fifth game in this competition to date, compared to Chelsea's one, the 5-1 thrashing of fellow Barclays Premier League side Southampton at St Mary's. One of the Bees' victims was Capital One Cup finalists Bradford City, a further reminder to the London's leading lights that in football nothing can be taken for granted.
This is the first occasion we will have played local rivals Fulham, QPR and Brentford all in the same season.
It is in fact our first competitive visit to Griffin Park for 63 years, though there have been plenty of pre-season and benefit matches between our two teams. One amusing incident came during Eddie Lyons' Testimonial at Griffin Park in May 1984, a 6-2 win for the Blues.
Leon Lenik, a former catering manager at Chelsea who had taken a similar role at Brentford, came on as a substitute - a condition on supplying the food for the event.
Lenik had trained occasionally with the Chelsea squad in his time on the Fulham Road and had impressed in Mickey Droy's benefit game against Arsenal a year earlier. Now an opponent, though, when Kerry Dixon called out 'Leon, give me the ball!' familiarity led Leon to pass to his former teammate, who promptly scored one of his five goals that night.
A reserve team final, London Challenge Cup, was also contested on 10 December 1964 with the Bees beating a Blues side featuring a young Peter Osgood among others 2-1 in front of just under 6,000 spectators.
One or two of the Blues' present reserves, or Under-21s, who may be involved on Sunday will know more about this stadium than their senior colleagues as they play some home games there.
It is a charming ground where younger Blues fans will enjoy standing on a terrace for the first time in their lives. Sadly, the early kick off time may prevent a visit to the four pubs that famously stand at each corner.
The Blues, winners of four of the last six finals in this competition, have a proud record against lower league sides to protect. Our only defeat in a situation such as this since Millwall in 1995 was at Barnsley in March 2008.
The draw for the fifth round of the FA Cup will take place on Sunday at approximately 5.45pm and will be covered live on ITV 1 and FATV.
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To complete their cup-tie countdown, club historian Rick Glanvill and club statistician Paul Dutton are joined by former player Clive Walker…
With two Wembley final chances now dashed, Chelsea will be anxious to progress in a competition we defend as champions. Clive Walker runs the rule over our League One hosts.
'Despite the disappointment of losing out in the semi-final against Swansea I don't think there will be a mental issues with the Chelsea players, nor do I imagine they will take any lower league opposition for granted.
'You want the following match after a disappointment to be a good result. This is the perfect opportunity to turn things back around and carry on our defence of a great old trophy we always love to win.
'It is going to be a very different experience for many of our players. It'll be a different atmosphere, the facilities will not be as exotic as some they use, and the opposition will be robust and really up for it. As will the crowd - this is a once-in-generation game for them.
'Rafa Benitez will want to win this and will put out a side to take us a step closer. Whether or not he considers this a good time to bring John Terry back I don't know. The manager will know if it's right for him, bearing in mind who at the back needs a rest or an opportunity.
'Brentford will want to be able to tell their grandchildren they did well against the likes of JT, Frank Lampard, Juan Mata. Rafa will be thinking that he also has two tough away league games coming up soon, so there's a balance to be struck.
'But it's the FA Cup, we want to defend it and may consider playing our full-strength starting line-up and hope we can make a good start and bring on some subs to give people a break.
'Young defender Nathan Ake, who has improved all season, maybe deserves a chance. Then Ryan Bertrand, Paulo Ferreira and other more established but less regular players will be hopeful of involvement.
'I saw Brentford play Leyton Orient this week, a 2-2 draw in which they had defender Jake Bidwell sent off. You can see why they have had a good season in League One.
'Manager Uwe Rösler favours a 4-4-2 formation, which generally offers us the advantage of an extra man in midfield.
'There are a few standouts. Goalie Simon Moore (pictured below) was actually released by Farnborough in 2009. But I have seen him a few times and he looks much improved on last season.
'On a cup day you need your goalie in top form. He's not yet Premier League level but he looks to have good hands and positioning. He's a shot stopper, brave and has good reactions. But he sweeps behind his back four very quickly, and that's something we might be able to exploit. Also, he's not the biggest keeper.
'Jonathan Douglas came from Leeds United and has settled down well. He's a box-to-box player, breaks up play and has some experience. He understands the game and is a good captain at the level he plays, a good rallier of the troops, but he has a big job on against the players we are likely to field.
'Harry Forrester looks a handful down the left side week-in, week-out and I think Brentford have a decent attacking partnership. Clayton Donaldson has a great first touch, a good head, and is a straight-out goalscorer. He's not the best with his back to goal, always looking for someone to slip the ball in for him, but he will take chances.
'Paul Hayes is more of a linking, target man who Donaldson drops off. They work well together and our central defenders will know they've been in a game.
'At the back, in League One Tony Craig is an unsung hero, a left-sided centre-back who's brave, game in the air, a solid professional at his level - the sort you love to have in your team. You'd hope Chelsea will provide more quality than he is used to, and he might find it harder against the likes of Demba Ba or Fernando Torres.
'This is a huge local derby and a rare one. The fans won't want to miss it and will make it a special occasion. I just think Chelsea will have too much for the hosts and expect nothing less than a good win.'
Brentford will be without midfielder Kevin O'Connor due to an ankle injury and striker Farid El Alagui (knee).
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WE HAVE HISTORY
There have been many close ties between our two sides stretching way back over the years, beginning with William Lewis stepping into the breach when our first player-manager, Jackie Robertson, resigned midway through our second season on 28 November 1906. The Bees' former secretary-manager steered the Pensioners to our first ever promotion at the end of that season before making way for David Calderhead.
Several players have switched directly from one part of west London to the other, including Fred Rouse, Fred Taylor, Seamus D'Arcy, Johnny Brooks, Eric Parsons, Micky Block, Stewart Houston, Lee Frost, Graham Wilkins, Petar Borota, Colin Lee, Keith Jones and Joe Allon.
Future England manager Ron Greenwood made the short trip in 1952. His fellow 1955 league title winner Frank Blunstone was a later Bees manager who steered them to the FA Cup fifth round and promotion in the 1970s.
1970 FA Cup winners also enjoyed the connection. Tommy Baldwin played out his career at Griffin Park, Ron Harris was a player/coach there in 1980, while Dave Webb managed the club in the mid-Nineties.
However, Chelsea and Brentford meet for only the 12th time in competitive football. Ten of these were in the old First Division between 1935 and 1947.
Our most recent meeting was in fact our only previous cup tie: the FA Cup third round match on 7 January 1950 that took the Pensioners - 10th in the old First Division - to Brentford - 12th in the old Second Division.
It was the first all-ticket match in Bees' history and such was the desire to attend the tie that thieves broke into Brentford's offices at Griffin Park the Thursday night before the game. They found no match tickets but contented themselves with stealing wines, spirits from the boardroom and some footballs.
Even the night before the match some people were thwarted trying to break into the ground to hide in the stadium overnight.
There was a bumper (legit) crowd of 38,000 in attendance on the day, a hefty increase on the average 22,600 going to Griffin Park for league matches. Older supporters report seeing four visiting fans carrying a coffin around the stadium before kick-off marked 'Brentford FC' - it was adapted for each subsequent round of the Pensioners' progress.
Chelsea's main worry ahead of a potentially tricky trip up the road had been the fitness of skipper and centre-forward Roy Bentley who, along with fellow forward Bobby Campbell (pictured below), was eventually declared fit to play.
Future Blue Ron Greenwood (who began his career at Stamford Bridge during the war) started for Brentford.
Chelsea were better away from home at the time but it was still a tight affair. The Pensioners' flame-haired Aberdonian inside-right Jimmy Bowie (already well known in the area as a Hounslow player) opened the scoring in the 17th minute with an opportunistic but perfectly executed lob over the hosts' goalie Alf Jefferies.
It would prove the only goal of the game, Chelsea eventually making it to the semi-finals that year. Bowie later joined the Bees (via Fulham) in 1952, the same time Greenwood switched to Chelsea.
The teams that day were:
Brentford Alf Jefferies, Fred Monk, Walter Quinton, David Nelson (c), Ron Greenwood, Tom Manley, John Goodwin, James Anders, Billy Dare, Bill Sperrin, Dr Kevin O'Flanagan. Manager: Jackie Gibbons
Chelsea Harry Medhurst, Danny Winter, Billy Hughes, Ken Armstrong, John Harris (c), Frank Mitchell, Billy Gray, Jimmy Bowie, Hugh Billington, Reg Williams, Bobby Campbell. Manager Billy Birrell
Although we haven't met in competition for over six decades, we have played several pre-season friendlies and post-season testimonials.
Here are the most recent:
|May 9 1978||Griffin Park||Chelsea won 8-2|
|Aug 6 1980||Griffin Park||Brentford won 3-0|
|May 14 1984||Griffin Park||Chelsea won 6-3|
|Aug 15 1984||Griffin Park||Chelsea won 3-0|
|Aug 10 1987||Griffin Park||Chelsea won 3-0|
|Jul 20 1989||Harlington||Chelsea won 4-1|
|Aug 11 1990||Griffin Park||Chelsea won 6-0|
|Aug 6 1991||Griffin Park||Brentford won 4-3|
Chelsea v Brentford in all competitions
Games played 11
Chelsea wins 6
Bees wins 4
Biggest win at Brentford for each team
Brentford 0-2 Chelsea - 15/03/1947 (Old Division One)
Brentford 2-1 Chelsea - 28/03/1936 (Old Division One)
Chelsea were beaten by a third tier club in the FA Cup: 8,400
Brentford reached the FA Cup fifth round: 2,555
Arsenal won a trophy: 2,807
Liverpool won the league: 8,302
Visit again tomorrow for Part Two of the Briefing.
Chelsea in the FA Cup
Winners: 1970, 1997, 2000, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2012
Runners-up: 1915, 1967, 1994, 2002
Semi-finalists: 1911, 1920, 1932, 1950, 1952, 1965, 1966, 1996, 2006
Chelsea are unbeaten in 24 FA Cup matches in open play (excluding penalty shoot-outs). Our last defeat in the competition was at Barnsley five years ago in March 2008.
Bobby Campbell was our manager 23 years ago on Sunday, the last time the Blues were knocked out by a third-tier club. Bristol City won 3-1 in January 1990 at a wet Ashton Gate in the fourth round. Kevin Wilson was our scorer.
Last 10 seasons in the FA Cup
2002/03 - Quarter-final
2003/04 - 5th round
2004/05 - 5th round
2005/06 - Semi-final
2006/07 - Winners
2007/08 - Quarter-final
2008/09 - Winners
2009/10 - Winners
2010/11 - 4th round
2011/12 - Winners
At Southampton in the last round, Frank Lampard drew level with our all-time FA Cup highest scorer Bobby Tambling on 25 goals.
|Last six results|