1890/1891 season

Brentford’s second season started with the Club having compiled a full fixture list of friendlies and entered their first cup competition, having become members of the West Middlesex Football Association. After a heavy defeat to Isleworth-based side Pears’ Athletic in their first game, Brentford travelled to Ealing Dean to take on Bohemians FC. In their ranks was forward Thomas Bonell, who had the distinction of scoring Brentford’s first ever goal the previous year.

Brentford were now members of the West Middlesex Football Association and entered their premier competition, the West Middlesex Cup. The draw pitted them with an away tie at Southall, a long established and Club in the area. After two draws and two defeats, Brentford travelled to Southall on 8 November hoping for a cup upset. But it wasn’t to be. The home side scored six without reply to end any hopes of silverware that season.

However, worse was to befall the club as Archer Green, a co-founder, died. He was taken ill on the evening of 15 November, after umpiring a Brentford match at home to Friars. He was suffering from erysipelas (red patches on the skin) and blood poisoning. This had confined him to bed by the Monday. Despite the town’s surgeon – Dr Bott – attending to him, he died at approximately 10am on Wednesday 19 November 1890 at the age of 27.

Both first and second XI matches against Bohemians the following Saturday were cancelled as a mark of respect. His funeral on Monday, 24 November saw a crowd numbering around 600 to 700 hundred people attending the procession.

It began from the service at St Paul’s Church and ended at his final resting place in South Ealing. The blinds were drawn at the Conservative Club, and the flag flown at half-mast.

The West Middlesex Standard newspaper said this of Green: “To speak of Mr Green’s qualities, his never failing bonhomie, tact and prudence in regard to all the undertakings with which he was connected, is superfluous. They were known to all the town, and gained for him a reputation of the highest character.”

His death was to see little press coverage of the Club thereafter that season; one of Brentford’s brightest sporting sons was to be deeply missed.

1889/1890 season

The town of Brentford was changing by the time its football club had played their first match against Kew on 23 November 1889. The railway station had been refurbished and the new recreation ground, a driver for the Club’s formation, had been opened on 17 October after almost three years planning.

The rowing club, having created a winter sports arm on 10 October, organised further matches on most Saturdays until the season ended in late March 1890. A majority of the games were played adjacent to where Clifden Road is situated now, with a handful of away matches organised over the course of the season.

Given the playing members lack of experience, the results attained were quite credible. They rounded off the campaign with a 3-0 win at Hounslow Standard, their second meeting of the season.

As a result of recent research undertaken at the British Library, more has been learnt of the Club’s forefathers. Between them, the backbone of the side were not only members of the rowing club but patrons of the Brentford Philanthropic Society, local Conservative Club, and Boston Park Cricket Club. The latter would become the Club’s home in 1900 before the move to Griffin Park.

The games laws were significantly different to today: goalkeepers could handle the ball in their own half (this wasn’t outlawed until 1912) and the penalty area – and kick – was yet to be invented.