Thursday, 23 February 2023 | In Focus, Heritage

As we eagerly await next month’s encounter with our near neighbours and rivals, Fulham, who, through gritted teeth we have to congratulate for how well they have performed this season, Dave Vernacular tells the story of a former player from both teams who aroused great controversy at the time.  
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George Parsonage, signed for Brentford from Blackburn Rovers in 1903 and played as a centre half in the Southern League and became captain and the following year became Brentford Captain. In 1907-08 he became the Bees player/manager and in his five seasons, he was a valuable team member who played 176 games scoring 12 goals.

George’s success was noticed and he was selected to play in an England International trial at Ashton Gate, for the best of the South against the North. Sadly, George was not however selected to play in the three subsequent England Home International games.

In the pre-Harry Curtis era, the club’s fortunes were however not rosy and at the end of George’s season as player manager, the club were in dire financial straits after Chelsea had allegedly poached nearly half our supporters and the then Board, the Bees finished 16th in the league (20 clubs) and the Board of Directors took drastic measures, by offering the players reduced wages for the 1908-09 season (we finished 21st, bottom of the league).

George refused the drop in pay possibly looking into the future several decades, and went on to play for Fulham, where he became the subject of interest from Chesterfield. George didn’t fancy a trip to Derbyshire so he tried his luck and said I won’t join if you pay me a tenner, (around £5500 now) the then maximum signing on fee allowed, but I will move if you make it £50!

Chesterfield, unsportingly but perhaps unsurprisingly, reported George to the FA who decided to ban George for life, finding him guilty of found guilty of seeking an illegal payment, despite a petition signed by thousands of Derbyshire fans.

What do we think of George? Was he a disloyal Bee, was he greedy or did he just want a decent wage. Did he chance his arm, then falling flat.

Tell us what you think!