It’s that time of year again when clubs and supporters up and down the country dare to dream… Maybe dreaming of making the First Round of the F.A. Cup, maybe it’s a dream of a giant killing, or perhaps going all the way and lifting that famous trophy at a sun kissed Wembley Stadium, packed to the rafters with adoring fans donning their club colours.
As we look ahead to our F.A. Cup fixture against Kings Langley, we look back to November 1969, when the Blues were about to embark on their greatest adventure in the F.A. Cup.
Town kicked off their F.A. Cup campaign in 1969 with a Fourth Qualifying Round tie against Lowestoft Town. A 1-0 victory at home to the Suffolk side was enough for Brentwood Town to book a place in the First Round proper. They faced the tricky task of hosting Third Division outfit Reading.
As a reward for eliminating Reading, Brentwood were on the road for a Second Round tie. Drawn against Hendon, the Dons were no match for the Blues, with Brentwood Town sailing through to the Third Round after a 2-0 victory.
Having made it to the Third Round proper, a home clash against Northampton Town at The Hive was next. Supporter Gareth Hunt was just a young lad at the time, but shared some of his memories of supporting Brentwood Town during this period, including memories of the cup clashes against Reading and Northampton Town at our former home, The Hive. Incidentally, it was a case of third time lucky for this fixture. The previous two attempts to play it were postponed due to a frozen pitch and an influenza outbreak in the Brentwood camp.
Gareth started supporting the club at the age of eight. “ I must have started going to matches in the 1966/67 season when the club was in the Metropolitan League, because I distinctly remember a match against the Metropolitan Police, who I thought was an odd team to have as an opponent! Me and my friend Chris would take a long walk down Warley Hill and up through the town to the Hive for Saturday home matches. I think it was sixpence for us to get in (same price as a bag of chips) and we’d stand behind the goal Town were attacking during both halves, walking round to the other end at half time.
In attendance at our Third Round tie against Northampton Town, Gareth recalled “Our normal crowd of around 1,000 quadrupled in size: no switching ends that day!” Unfortunately it wasn’t to be for Brentwood Town that day, despite a heroic performance from Brentwood Town goalkeeper Billy Dunbar, which included a penalty save. The Cobblers ran out 1-0 victors, setting up a tie with Tranmere Rovers in the Fourth Round, and none other than Manchester United in the Fifth Round after they eliminated Rovers.
Whilst Gareth has fond memories of our cup run in the 69/70 season, the fixture which was most memorable for him was against Welsh Side Barry Town. “My most memorable matches were against Barry Town (hometown of my Mum, Dad being from Brentwood, they were a 1950s version of Gavin & Stacey) – that was the only time I got to sit in the stand, with my Mum and her sister.”
His favourite Blues player at the time was club captain Dai Jones. “I can remember he also visited our Junior School (Junction Road, now Holly Trees) to talk to our class.”
Gareth moved to Yorkshire in the mid ‘90s, and has been a season ticket holder at Huddersfield Town since then. “I still get the same thrill rolling up to a match on a Saturday as I did all those years ago as a kid at the Hive.”
We would like to offer our thanks to Gareth for so kindly providing us with his recollections, and copies of his vintage programmes. Our thanks also goes out to Vince Taylor; another Blues fan who kindly provided us with copies of articles and programmes too. Vince was also in attendance at the Reading game, and holds many fantastic memories of supporting Brentwood Town.
So, let’s hope the Blues squad of today can make their own history in the F.A. Cup this season.
Come on you Blues