Thursday 21st March 2013 ko 7.45pm
Isthmian League Division One North
BRENTWOOD TOWN 1 (Butterworth 43)
WROXHAM 1 (Harrop 58)
Programme 50p (reissue with insert) 50p
Bacon sarnie £2
It would be easy to write off Brentwood as an unlovely Essex town, after all it is the birthplace of people like Jodie Marsh, Amy Childs, Louise Redknapp and Noel Edmonds. Scratch at the surface a little and there’s far more than fake tan, and silicone. The town was the birthplace of the 1381 Peasants Revolt, instigators John Ball and Jack Straw met regularly in local pubs and inns. The first event of the Peasants’ Revolt occurred in Brentwood, when men from Fobbing, Corringham and Stanford were summoned by the commissioner Thomas Bampton to Brentwood to answer as to who had avoided paying the poll tax. Bampton insisted that the peasants pay what was demanded of them. They refused to pay and a riot ensued as Bampton attempted to arrest them.
The town was a stopping point for pilgrims en route to Canterbury, and a chapel is still dedicated to St Thomas à Becket to this day. Brentwood has a huge Premier Inn, whose former use was as Amstrad’s head office, and businesses such as LV and Ford have bases here.
The football club have their base tucked neatly at the back of the leisure centre. Its typical of a club that graduated from county grade football with the clubhouse extended forward to provide requisite seating, and there’s a covered terrace constructed behind one goal. What makes the Brentwood Centre Arena unique is the details. From the sofas behind the goal, the picnic table behind a dugout to the cinema seats for HOME directors, there’s something to make you smile at every turn. The cafe is well worth a visit too, my bacon sarnie was excellent.
Of course it isn’t the fixtures and fittings that make a club, and Brentwood’s band of volunteers are a credit to their town and club. They are the first Isthmian League club I’ve visited recently to print me off a team sheet without grumbling, and the gateman and stadium announcer were happy to talk about the club and their plans for future. If I moved to Brentwood, it would be a pleasure to follow a club with people like these at the helm.
The problem the club have is a massive fixture backlog, with one corner of the pitch prone to waterlogging. For a hopper, Thursday fixtures are a bonus, for everyone else its a major bind with players getting more and more tired. Tonight Brentwood looked as if the season was getting to them as Wroxham on the back of a quite horrible journey from the Norfolk Broads, belied their lowly league position and really should have travelled home with 3 points.
Against the run of play Brentwood took the lead, as a run on goal down the right was only half-blocked, and Steve Butterworth was on hand to dink the loose ball into the net. The lead lasted a mere 9 minutes, as Angelo Harrop superbly curled his shot from just outside the area into the top corner. A point was the least Wroxham deserved and they had chances to win it, Brentwood keeper Richard Wray making a fantastic triple save to deny Jamie Spellar. You just got the impression that with all players fit, Brentwood would probably have won the game.
That of course is the kind of luck you see week in, week out in football, but nevertheless I still left this gallant friendly club feeling slightly sad for them. Their band of volunteers deserved to have witnessed a win on a cold Thursday evening.