Celtic’s Unforgettable July friendly at Brentford

Over the past week we have been enjoying looking back at various European trips supporting Celtic ‘enjoyed or endured’ by either Matt Corr or Liam Kelly – both writers on The Celtic Star. With a friendly match against English opposition tomorrow in Wales, we thought we’d look back on a Celtic away day to England when Celtic headed down to Brentford in July 2013. Niall J this time reports on what happened…

Celtic’s July 2013 trip to Brentford

I spent over ten years living and working in predominately West London. I watched Brentford most weeks during that time. In that time the Celtic Supporters club was the West London Celtic supporters club on Ealing Road in Brentford. And latterly about 100 yards down the road in The Guardsman run by a lovely Celtic man called Noel.

There’s a big Irish influence in the area and both pubs that hosted that club were within 5 minutes walk of Griffin Park home of Brentford F.C. If you are ever down there I promise you of the warmest of Celtic welcomes.

In July 2013 Celtic actually played Brentford in a friendly down there. I did warns folks that Celtic don’t do friendlies. For a fairly quiet suburb by London standards it was an eye opener. They thought they’d been invaded.

I used to drink in Chiswick a couple of miles down the road in a home from home called Connolly’s on the Chiswick High Road also run by a gem of a lad Brendan. No matter how many English games were on he had the Celtic games on in fact he rolled that out to Ireland and Scotland games too. He always found a way and a screen.

On the day of the game he soon realised that the wee friendly with the local team was anything but.

20 July 2013 Tommy Sheridan soaks up the atmosphere during the pre-season friendly match between Brentford FC and Celtic at Griffin Park.

Brendan tended to open around 11 or 12. I and my friend Paul walked in around 11.30 to find the place in full swing. Brendan looked flustered but happy. There were already a good few Celts looking the worse for wear from the overnight supports buses. The rebel songs were in full flow!

Brendan said he’d invited a couple of supporters online. He didn’t realise news of a Celtic pub would spread. Apparently he’d also told them to come when they liked.

They arrived in London at 8am. Within 30 minutes they’d found their pub but found it closed. Not for long. Brendan said he was aware of commotion outside but had put it down to some typical London nonsense in the street. However when the supporters had found the rear to his pub down some old fashioned London lanes, they’d also found his beer garden.

Brendan was unaware until the fireworks and flares started. For the sake of sanity and probably to save his pub he just opened up. Licensing concerns aside he didn’t really have a choice. I won’t go into the rest of the day for fear of arrest but if you’d seen some of the local newspapers the following week you’d think the Martians had landed and dumped an arsenal of beer bottles on their town.

It was brilliant though and not a second of trouble. Unless you count the 40 or so who missed their buses home and slept under the stars on a balmy summer evening on Ealing road as troublesome!

Their own supporter’s website was pretty positive. I’d love to see Celtic go back one day. I’d recommend the trip.

Niall J

Brentford 1 Celtic 2 – Bhoys on the loose (with video)

Callum McGregor brings the ball forward during the pre-season friendly match between Brentford and Celtic.
Tom Rogic Shoots past Adam Forshaw during the pre-season friendly match between Brentford and Celtic.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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