From the Talking Bull archives we look back to a momentus day in April 2008. when Hereford travelled to Griffin Park, the home of Brentford FC, hopeful of automatic promotion to League One under boss Graham Turner.
It couldn’t happen, could it?
Glynis Wright could scarcely believe her eyes as she watched the events unfold at Griffin Park.
The weather was absolutely delightful, and the pre-match musical entertainment equally good too. Stuff from Manfred Mann, David Bowie, Blondie, Wizzard, Norman Greenbaum, Duran Duran, Eddystone Lighthouse, and many, many more. And, as the number of away supporters increased, I could just picture the Brentford groundsman having a bit of a dicky fit. Balloons, loads of ‘em, all yellow, and breeding like bacteria around the 18-yard box, and right-hand corner-flag. Must have been well in excess of three figures, that lot, because the kick-off was delayed for someone with a big spiky things to go round busting the lot! “Ah, I can picture the headlines now,” I said, “‘BRENTFORD KICK-OFF DELAYED AS HUNDREDS OF RAMPAGING BALLOONS INVADE THE PITCH!’ ”
The game? Hereford went 2-0 in front by the break, and deservedly so, the goals coming courtesy Gary Hooper after 18 minutes, and the second, from Theo Robinson, some nine minutes before the interval. But the Robinson effort was preceded by pure farce. The referee, spotting Brentford skullduggery inside their box, awarded the Bulls a penalty. Which Theo Robinson duly despatched into the net – but the ref spotted an infringement of some kind going on, so it had to be retaken – with the inevitable happening, i.e. Robinson making a complete dog’s ear of the effort second time round! Great cheers from the home support, of course. Not that it mattered a dingo’s kidney’s, mind: as within the space of a mere minute, the Bulls netted again, this time from open play.
“AND NOW ARE YOU GONNA BELIEVE US? THE WHITES ARE GOING UP!……”
“Oh bugger,” said I, “Does that mean I’ll have to pay more for me knickers in future?….”
Meanwhile, back at Barnet’s ground, where promotion rivals Stockport were playing, the news was pretty splendiferous; the visitors were losing by the odd goal, which, from the Herefordian point of view, was ‘double-plus good’, as George Orwell’s ‘1984’ would have undoubtedly put it. Not that I heard it: other things were pressing, like the need to ‘powder my nose’. Mind you, even that had its amusing side: while ‘performing’ in a cubicle, I could hear several female Bulls (yes, I know the biology, but it’s my ball, and I’m playing with it, OK?) trying to work out the repercussions of various results involving both their own lot and their Cheshire-based cousins playing just 15 miles across the capital, and having to employ ‘fingers-on-hands’ maths to do it!
But back to the story…. Only minutes into the second sitting, it was becoming abundantly clear that The Bees, playing for nowt save pride, weren’t about to bust a gut to retrieve the situation: probably preoccupied with pleasant thoughts of distant European beaches, calorie-laden cuisine, anatomically-impossible sex, and crazy-coloured cocktails already. And it didn’t half show. Apart from one nerve-tingling rattle of the woodwork fairly late on, they largely stuck to the script helpfully provided by Messrs Turner and Trewick. And, just to help things along, Simon Johnson added Hereford’s third, right at the end. Not that it would have mattered: word had already seeped though, via some form of osmosis, that Stockport had well and truly blown it. And no sooner had the man in the middle brought the proceedings to a satisfactory conclusion, that was when the promotion party really began!
One obligatory broadcast for the visitors to cease and desist invading the pitch later – err – a sizable pitch invasion occurred, shifting all the players back inside like a dose of salts! As I said to a manically grinning ‘Im Indoors, “You might as well try to stop Niagara falling….” Then, remembering his clearly evident pride at seeing his ‘other’ lot do the biz, “It’s your day, you go and enjoy yourself….”
Mind you, as pitch invasions go, it was a pretty civilised affair, compared to some I’ve witnessed over the years. So why did the Met consider it necessary to produce their Mounted Branch, and in cavalry-charge quantities, too, all strung across the pitch? Honestly. Then, after a few minutes getting everyone back, out came the players once more, led by the (very soggy, by then!) Turner-Trewick managerial combo. And, much to my complete surprise, when Tucker looked upwards, not only did he spot us in the front row, he waved to us as well! Blimey, talk about ‘notorious’!
But the best bit was still to come. The players, having divested themselves of most of their kit by then, chucking the stuff right into the midst of their massed faithful, as per usual, then took things a stage further. At least one nearly ended up getting completely ‘debagged’ on the spot, underpants, the lot. Whether the Met would have turned a blind eye, or invoked decency laws to stop it, I know not. Mister Plod can be a capricious beast, at times.
Then, for me, the ‘climax’ of the entire performance. As Turner and Trewick, plus supporting cast, took richly-deserved deserved plaudits from their massed admirers, unbeknown to both, a sneaky plot was being hatched elsewhere, hence the sight of two of their charges running from the Players’ Tunnel, carrying between them what appeared to be a large ice-container, ominously sloshing to the brim with water, instead. Suddenly, everything became clear as to who would be on their receiving end! “Oh, blimey – I know EXACTLY where that lot’s gonna end up…..” And it did – and if Mr. Turner had considered himself saturated before, after several gallons more of the wet stuff landing on him full-face, the strong urge to ring Jacques Cousteau for advice must have rapidly crossed his mind….”
Images courtesy of Graham Goodwin, Bulls News.