Brentford once finished as high as sixth in the top flight back in 1936 when they stood one place above Arsenal.
A decade before, the Bees had been slugging it out with Brighton & Hove Albion in the Third Division (South) and we came out on top in nine successive league fixtures between the sides from April 1922, including a 6-1 victory at Griffin Park in September 1925. Tommy Cook and Sam Jennings scored two-goals a piece on the day.
Here’s a cigarette card of Cook, who scored 123 goals for Brighton and played centre-forward for England.
Fast forward into the 1960s, back in Division Three, and Brighton played the West Londoners twice in four days over the busy Easter period in April 1966. You can read manager Archie Macaulay’s assessment in the subsequent matchday programme.
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Here’s an interview of the respected goalkeeping coach looking at football then and now. But none of them can match the claims of keeper Tony Burns who used to dominate the Football League Review’s lists of best-looking footballers, as selected by female readers in the 1960s.
Besides Smillie, many players have donned the colours of both Brighton and Brentford, including Andy Rollings, Clive Walker, Alex Dawson and Graham Pearce.
However, a spirited Albion fight-back in the second leg at the Goldstone gives Seagulls fans hope of overcoming the odds, before they are dashed at the end.
For those who enjoy re-watching nightmares, video footage does exist of the Rumbelows’ Cup 2nd Round tie in 1991/92. A Neil Smillie-inspired Bees side ran up a 4-1 lead in the first leg:
. But as Danny Last laments, sadly there were no TV cameras to record it Following the matches of 1965/66, it was to be another two decades before Brighton and Brentford met again. In the FA Cup in November 1987, Seagulls striker Garry Nelson scored one of the greatest goals in the club’s history, a sensational solo run from his own half in a 2-0 win.
Macaulay had served Brentford as a cultured right-half in the 1940s and other ex-Bees who ended up in the Goldstone hotseat include Billy Lane and Barry Lloyd. By contrast, ex-Albion players Jimmy Sirrel and Mike Everitt had spells in charge at Griffin Park.