History

Brentford and Chelsea connections: Nine things you may not have known including Chopper, Mount and South Dakota

On Saturday, Chelsea and Brentford will meet in a league game for the first time since 1947. However, there has still been plenty of crossover between the two clubs, and here we delve into the history books to bring you some trivia about the Bees and the Blues you may not know…


Ron Harris: Chelsea’s all-time top appearance maker (795 games) actually finished his playing career at Brentford, having joined them in 1980. As a player-coach, Chopper helped them to three successive top nine finishes in the old Third Division before hanging his boots up at the end of the 1983/84 campaign.

Ivan Toney: Brentford’s current star striker, following in the footsteps of the likes of Neal Maupay and Ollie Watkins, is Ivan Toney. This is not Toney’s first go at Premier League football, however. As a 19-year-old, he made his debut in the competition for Newcastle as a late sub against Chelsea in September 2015. He only made one more league appearance for the Geordies before working his way back up the pyramid.

Griffin Park: We used Griffin Park, Brentford’s old home, for reserve and youth team matches from 2007/08 to 2009/10, and then again in 2012/13. Many current and future Blues stars featured there.

Cup drama: The night before the first time we played Brentford in the FA Cup third round, in round three on 7 January 1950, thieves broke into the Griffin Park offices looking for spare tickets but left only with bottles of alcohol. It was the Blues who stole into the next round thanks to an early goal from popular inside-right Jimmy Bowie.

African action: Griffin Park was the European home of Ghana’s friendly matches in 2006 and 2007, and it was there Blues midfielders Michael Essien and John Mikel Obi went toe to toe as the Black Stars beat Nigeria 4-1.

Mason Mount: Our midfielder is the only current member of either squad to have scored against the opposition. He did so with a superb free-kick in September 2018, early on in his loan at Derby. Josh McEachran was in the Bees midfield that day, and only two of their matchday squad are still at the club.

South Dakota: Just seven miles separate the Brentford Community Stadium and Stamford Bridge, but in South Dakota, USA, it is a little over 20 miles between the tiny towns of Chelsea and Brentford, both named after their English counterparts.

As of the 2010 census, Chelsea had just 27 people living in it, and Brentford 77 people. The latter town is the only other place in the world named Brentford (unlike Chelsea) and the locals have thrown their support behind the Bees as they embark on their maiden Premier League adventure.

Blues turned Bees: A number of Chelsea players have gone on to manage Brentford, including David Webb (1993-1997), Tommy Lawton (player-manager 1953), Ray Lewington (2000-01), and, most successfully, Frank Blunstone (1969-1973).

Blunstone guided the Bees to promotion to the Third Division and a dramatic run to the fifth round of the FA Cup. Tommy Baldwin also coached at Brentford having briefly been a player there.

William Lewis: However, the earliest coaching connection between the two clubs dates back to the 1900s. Lewis was club secretary-turned-manager at Stamford Bridge and guided us to our first promotion in April 1907, having done the same with his hometown club Brentford in 1900/01, taking them to the Southern League First Divison.

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