Brentford fan, 88, watches club play top flight football again after 74 years

Derek Burridge was in the stands to watch Brentford versus Arsenal in 1947 and on Friday night.

Brentford fan, 88, watches club play top flight football again after 74 years

A lifelong Brentford fan who witnessed the club’s last game in top-flight football 74 years ago has said he was “delighted” to be in the crowd to cheer on his team in the Premier League.

Derek Burridge was at Griffin Park on May 26 1947 where, as with Friday night’s Premier League opener, his side faced Arsenal.

On Friday, the newly-promoted Bees beat the Gunners 2-0 at the Brentford Community Stadium, but seven decades ago the club exited the summit of English football after a tight 1-0 defeat.

Derek Burridge interview
Mr Burridge has now seen Brentford play Arsenal over seven decades apart (Nick Potts/PA)

“I didn’t have a season ticket, I couldn’t afford it, but I went to every home match.”

Asked how it felt to be back in the stands after the easing of Covid restrictions, Mr Burridge said: “We’ve been released and everybody, all the supporters will be delighted it’s happened.

“And the footballers themselves… they’ve missed the support.”

Brentford v Arsenal – Premier League – Brentford Community Stadium
Mr Burridge (pictured, centre) was 14 when he watched the Bees last in the top flight (Nick Potts/PA)

But Mr Burridge added that he does recall watching a “fantastic win” that season, witnessing the Bees’ 4-1 victory over Wolves – one of the best teams in the country at the time.

“That was out of the blue, we still got relegated but they finished about second or third in the table,” he added.

Talking about what has changed in the game since the 1940s, Mr Burridge said: “The pitches we would have been playing in in 1947 were nothing like this – this is something new which all the players will appreciate big time.”

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