Rick Wakeman, the Roof Offer, Manchester City and Other Memories

Banana

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In the Famous Bees Supporters thread, a "My Club" from last week's Sunday Times featured Rick Wakeman talking about Brentford. In that article Rick revealed that was once dispatched by Atlantic Records to offer £1m (sic) for an advisement on the roof of Griffin Park saying "Atlantic Records Welcomes You to London"

It's here for easy reference:

This was new news for a lot of us. I actually had Rick's email address, so I thought I would drop him a line. He replied very quickly and comprehensively with the email below. Note that it says "in confidence" but he has since said that I can share it with you.

Hi Trevor.................thanks so much for the e-mail...and of course , I don't mind a bit you asking about the roof offer !!!
I really don't want to open a can of worms as that would be totally the wrong thing to do ...but absolutely in confidence , it was Dennis Piggott , the then "general secretary", who was not liked as stated by Frank Blunstone !!...I remember going to the meeting , (was not on the board then and so made an appointment through Dennis as that was the only possible way of talking to anybody . Dennis considered it his club and considered himself as the man who ran it ......
I had this genuine offer on the table , which was actually $ not £ but would be worth about £4,000,000 today which was big money in football back then . I did my pitch and Dennis stood up and said "Do you think we're some kind of cheap advertising hoarding board" , and said that my USA new fangled ways , (I was one of the owners of Philadelphia Fury) with sponsorship and all the razzmatazz that went with it , did not fit with Brentford or football in England.....and I was summarily dismissed !!!
A couple of years later , Dan Tan who was a good friend , suggested that I became a vice president as that could be a first step to becoming a director . (Things were different back then) ! and indeed I did a year later I got a call at my home in Switzerland from Dan to tell me I had been voted onto the board , but it was a very close thing as my ideas were not considered suitable !!!
Truth is I should have turned it down. My marriage was collapsing and the impending divorce was costing me everything I had and so both financially and mentally , I should have said NO !!!...but my love of my boyhood club and my father's, made me say ....Thanks Dan ...that's wonderful" !!!......Huge mistake . I was living abroad , in the middle of a costly divorce and touring a lot so was not around much . When the divorce happened I was left penniless and with considerable debt , (which I paid off over the next few years) , but the damage was done , and I resigned .
I was told that Dennis Piggott was in his gloating element , but who knows !
Shortly afterwards in 1981 , Martin Lange was voted on to the board and became chairman . I met Martin on a few occasions and liked him as he certainly brought some stability and promotion as well but for me 2 things rankled ....one was the downsizing of the ground to almost a third of what it used to be , and the the other one was that the roof was leased out to KLM !!!!....for a fraction of what I had offered 4 years earlier ....but that's life I guess !!!
I moved to the Isle of Man in the mid '80s and so mainly got to away games up north like Carlisle ...........I remember being blanked by Radley Smith who was in the same camp as Dennis Piggott, but Dan as always was pleased to see me and I think was genuinely sorry that my short tenure as a director had not gone well !!!
I still have an astonishing collection of programmes from the 50s, 60s and 70s and am good friends with ex players such as Andy McCulloch who is an uncle to my son in law and who's father is Ernie Howe (ex Fulham / QPR) .
Matthew Benham is the best thing that has ever happened to Brentford ...and I do mean EVER too. Griffin Park was a lower league ground with so many problems and a move was the only answer , but achieving that was seemingly impossible as available land in the area was a fortune and indeed how Matthew achieved what he did with the new stadium is beyond me ...quite remarkable and having a series of great managers and never being frightened to make decisions ......this season being a classic example ....off go Benrahma and Watkins , (but personally I think Benrahma won't fit in at West Ham ...not free flowing enough and I think Ollie's hat-trick against Liverpool my come back to haunt him...but I wish them well...)...in comes Toney and all the players suddenly step up to the mark ......but the wisest thing Matthew did in my book was supporting Thomas Franks after his initial run of losses when he took over from Dean Smith.
I was gutted when they didn't win promotion . It does seem that all the premiership clubs and all the pundits , really thought they would be a breath of fresh air ...and I still believe that ...so here's to this season ......looking good at the moment !!!
Please keep all the above confidential although by all means share it with Matthew.
I now live in Suffolk ...just a couple of miles from Portman Road and have watched a few games there where , between you and me , it is a sad situation and at the moment , I see no answer, unless Ed Sheeran buys it ...(he's a fanatical supporter) .
Well there you go sir ..........so many memories .......
all best wishes............................Rick

I replied to him including the fact that we all considered he had defected to the club at Maine Road. Here's his reply to that

Hi Trevor.................................interesting comment re Maine Road .......a typical situation where people assume without asking !!!.........Simple fact is that I was living on the Isle of Man and played celebrity golf with Howard Kendall who invited my youngest boy Oscar to a game so we came over on the ferry and went . Oscar became hooked ...and still is ...and I was invited as a regular guest in order to take Oscar . I did build up an affiliation for the club and Oscar stuck with them even after the humiliating 2-1 defeat at York City when they were in the 3rd division.
Brentford have always been my club and have always said so , but as I love football , I always went to as many matches as I could ......so Man City were close to the Isle of Man and with Howard being a friend and Oscar being fanatical , I saw many games there and made friends with many people there. When I moved to East Anglia and initially closest to Norwich , I have seen a few games there and now I'm in Suffolk , trot along to Ipswich when I can too . ...... and if supporters are allowed I will be at the Norwich v Brentford game on the 3rd of March ........;which will be a massive top of the table clash
I still have a soft spot for some other clubs such as Ipswich , Man City (although never quite the same since leaving Maine Road) , Mansfield Town (that was where my wife was born) , and Plymouth (where she was brought up) and Portsmouth (where the Wakeman family come from) , but there's only one Brentford , and always will be ......
cheers...............Rick
ps ....please feel free to share anything .....although I would never want to open up a can of worms !
So there you have it, we apparently do actually have a famous fan after all....
 

brooks

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Interesting about Piggott. Attitudes didn't change for decades. Going to matches in the early 60's I had to endure diatribes from my dad about how the Davis family was running the club into the ground.
 

West Wilts Bee

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A very nice guy no doubt about it.i met Rick twice, once in the then Bees club, and we spoke at length, he was wearing the famous Afghan coat. The 2nd time i met him was it the load of hay pub in Northolt, all probably at the height of his fame. He was such a nice bloke as you can see by his long reply to banana. He was never a Billy big bollox. Good to see he still loves the bees. I must admit i thought he had defected to Man City, the media obviously has a lot to do with that.
 

Houghton Bee

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What on earth was Piggott thinking, wasn't the New Road roof used for advertising back in the club's First Division days? It was hardly a completely new fangled idea as I'm sure I've seen photos of other clubs doing it well before the 70s or even the 60s. :confused:
 

rodders

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I seem to recall that Rick Wakeman at that time said he resigned due to terminal lack of ambition of the then board.

I actually met Dennis Piggott about the time of QPR fiasco, and suggested replica shirts as a way of raising money his words were " your suggestion has merit" but of course nothing was done. I like to kid myself that I was the first person to think of the marketing potential of replica kit
 

ruislip bee

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Atlantic Records too. What a cool association that would have been.

My mum worked for the Bees in the early 60's and was an assistant to Piggott. She hated him said he was a really nasty man. Just repeating what she said. I was about 5 then.

I knew Rick was a Bees fan. I think his role in Grumpy old Men would have made him an ideal candidate for New Road!
 

badgerbee

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The equivalent of £4,000,000 in today's money for roof advertising seems incredible!!! :unsure: How long was the deal for??!!
I wonder how that compares with the revenue we got for the various contracts for the New Road and Braemar Roofs that did happen, and the sort of money we'd be looking for now for naming rights for LR...........................
 

Ealing Bee

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What on earth was Piggott thinking, wasn't the New Road roof used for advertising back in the club's First Division days? It was hardly a completely new fangled idea as I'm sure I've seen photos of other clubs doing it well before the 70s or even the 60s. :confused:
Ninian Park for one (1960):

Stadium roof's piece of history

_45696957_bluebirds.jpg

Cardiff City historian Richard Shepherd said: "The roof [of the Bob Bank] was built in the summer of 1958 and was left blank until the summer of 1960 when the [Captain Morgan Rum] advert went on.
BBC NEWS | Wales | South East Wales | Stadium roof's piece of history

And Windsor Park, Belfast in 1969, advert for Gallagher's Tobacco (local company), which may have been even earlier:

h_00248182.jpg


[Off topic, but what line-ups - Ball, Charlton R, Best, ? , McNab, Mullery, Newton K, ? , Irvine and Dougan]
 

badgerbee

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Not sure of the date, but the "Brentford Reimagined" book shows New Road roof with advertising from many years back too......
 

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Vid

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Is this why he left "Yes" ? I've only been into Loftus Road twice . Once to see George Best and Co. playing for Man.Utd and once for this concert. I have no recollection of the band having been inebriated at the time.
 

Sultan

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I’m sure he performed on the pitch at GP at a ‘Fun Day’.
 

wanderer paul

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Not sure of the date, but the "Brentford Reimagined" book shows New Road roof with advertising from many years back too......

1947 to 1950 (Originally told 1938 but that cannot be, as the building in the background wasn't occupied by BOAC until 1947 at the earliest). The original is below.......

Griffin Park match.jpg
 

Mark H

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My mum worked for the Bees in the early 60's and was an assistant to Piggott. She hated him said he was a really nasty man. Just repeating what she said. I was about 5 then.

I knew Rick was a Bees fan. I think his role in Grumpy old Men would have made him an ideal candidate for New Road!
I swear it was you that told me many years ago that Rick offered to inject money into the club and BFC said it was ridiculous to have a rock star involved in football. Cue Elton John a few years later. I thought this was common knowledge.
 

rodders

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Having had a business relationship with director Les Davey he told me a few things which I have tried to share over the years but have not been believed.
 

jlove

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The White Bear is still there amazingly.

It's on the corner of Kingsley Road and Denbigh Road.
Spent some good times in there, had good live bands on. A girlfriend at the time had a birthday party there of which I can remember very little.
 

StevieSteve

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Spent some good times in there, had good live bands on. A girlfriend at the time had a birthday party there of which I can remember very little.

Often a stop off on the way to watch the mighty Hounslow Town RIP.

To be honest, it was pretty dead in the afternoons.


EDIT: meant the pub but probably could be applied to the football!
 

rodders

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The most important one was that in the event Ron Blindell did not have enough money to buy the club and that he(Les Davey) actually put up the cash allowing Ron Blindell to act as front man.
 

TW3Bee

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Spent some good times in there, had good live bands on. A girlfriend at the time had a birthday party there of which I can remember very little.
Must have been good then.

The nearest pub to the sadly departed Hounslow Town FC.
 

Sandybee

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Interesting about Piggott. Attitudes didn't change for decades. Going to matches in the early 60's I had to endure diatribes from my dad about how the Davis family was running the club into the ground.
[/
 

Sandybee

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I reckon Dennis Piggott had a lot to worry about back in the 60’s. Didn’t Johnny Brooks do a Brylcream advert? I think he was one of few in those days to do adverts through football.
 

GlasgowBee

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Parents of a school friend, so a good few years ago now, talked of going to the Cabbage Patch to watch The Strawbs who had advertised they had a new keyboard player from the Royal Academy of Music They always said they walked into the pub to see ranks of keyboards set up, the rest being history. Can anyone else corroborate this experience from back in the day, either the Cabbage Patch or being told the story by your friends parents :sorted:🐝
 

Wise old Bee

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Parents of a school friend, so a good few years ago now, talked of going to the Cabbage Patch to watch The Strawbs who had advertised they had a new keyboard player from the Royal Academy of Music They always said they walked into the pub to see ranks of keyboards set up, the rest being history. Can anyone else corroborate this experience from back in the day, either the Cabbage Patch or being told the story by your friends parents :sorted:🐝

Pretty likely as members of the Strawbs were local. When Wakeman joined they moved on from being a folk band by adding a touch of the progressive. Rick Wakeman's cousin, Alan?, was probably better known than him as a jazz musician in Ealing around 66-7.
 

TW3Bee

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Pretty likely as members of the Strawbs were local. When Wakeman joined they moved on from being a folk band by adding a touch of the progressive. Rick Wakeman's cousin, Alan?, was probably better known than him as a jazz musician in Ealing around 66-7.
 

pompeybee

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Pretty likely as members of the Strawbs were local. When Wakeman joined they moved on from being a folk band by adding a touch of the progressive. Rick Wakeman's cousin, Alan?, was probably better known than him as a jazz musician in Ealing around 66-7.
They were called the Strawbs after Strawberry Hill.
 

wanderer paul

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I wasn’t born there, like many on here too........

:backtotopic:
 

westwing

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Good to read that Rik is still a Bee.
I saw him on Jools Holland's show on New Years Eve
and pointed him out to my kids. I'll show this to my lads later.
 

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