Peace Brings the Crowds Back to Football

Brentford take on Chelsea despite players dying in battle and from influenza

Brentford FC Team 1919
Cpl Jack Peart - Ted Price - Bdr Tom McGovern - SGM Jack Cook - Bdr Fred Morley - A M W Stanton - Bdr Billy Baker - Sgt Ted Hannay - Sgt Fred Keenor, - Alf Amos - L-Cpl H A White (Brentford FC team, 1918-19, left to right)


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From 1914 competitive football ended and teams played instead as The London Combination. The Brentford team had struggled with only 11 contracted players, relying on numerous guest players. Some had been called up, some had been killed and one had died of influenza in October 1918. After the Armistice attendances increased and Brentford ended the 1918-19 season as champions.

Brentford FC v Chelsea, report from The Chiswick Times, 10 January 1919:

"One of the best games of the season should be seen at Griffin Park tomorrow where Brentford, the prospective champions of the London Combination, entertain Chelsea, the champions of last year. Brentford, by playing consistently good football, at present lead the first leaguers by four points, and a win to the local side would strengthen their position considerably. Chelsea, however is now able to command a fine side and, with Brentford at full strength, a great contest ought to result. The clubs have met twice this season - a draw of 4 goals at Chelsea and a nil draw at Griffin Park having been recorded. The bees usually give a good display against stern opposition and I shall not be surprised to seed victory rest with them by an odd goal.

"Both sides will play a good half back line - an important thing in a big match. The styles of the respective elevens, however vary, the delightful passing of the Chelsea men contrasting with the dash of the Brentford players. So far as the forwards are concerned there is little to choose, Brentford perhaps possessing the more dangerous inside Trio. If D Taylor returns to the Chelsea team he will strengthen the back division for he is generally regarded as the coolest and surest right back playing in the South. Brentford will have the advantage of playing on to a pitch to which they are thoroughly accustomed and have also only been defeated once at home.

"The Brentford team will lack the services of Corporal J Peart. The probable team will be: E Price, Sergeant E Hannay, Corporal F E Bullock, Bombardier T McGovern, Sergeant F C Keener, A M W Stanton, Private E Hendren, Lance-Corporal H A White, Sergeant-Major J G Cook, Bombardier F Morley and Bombardier W Baker.

"The gates will be opened at 1.30pm and kick off is at 2.45pm. There is sure to be a big crowd so to avoid delay in getting in to the ground spectators will be well advised to be a the turnstiles early. Accommodation is available for about 15,000. Stand seats will be at a premium for late-comers but a limited number of reserved stand seats can be obtained from the secretary, price 2s 4d (including admission and tax). If ordered by post tickets can be taken up at the gate".

The match was a one all draw.

This article and picture was found as part of research for the 38th West London History Conference on The Impact of the 1914-18 War on West London by Janet McNamara and Val Bott.

April 26, 2018

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