Friday, 7 October 2011

Final Flight.

Chic Brodie and a dog

In November 1965, at Griffin Park, Brentford keeper Chic Brodie was milling around his own penalty area, minding his net and his own business, as you do, when he spotted a hand grenade in his goalmouth. It had been dispatched from the away end – populated by jaunty funsters from Millwall – and the firing mechanism had been removed. Luckily the thing failed to go off, and was removed in a bucket of sand by – credit where it's due to the boys in blue – a very brave peeler. Bottles were also wheeched on to the pitch. At the end of the game fighting broke out, and Millwall keeper Alex Stepney was attacked by some other nutter, who was at least only throwing hands and not munitions.

Anyway, Brodie must have used up all his on-pitch luck that day, because five years later at Colchester United, the keeper came out to gather a shot and was knocked out by a white dog that had taken to the pitch and was bowling for the ball at speed. "There was no confirmation of the rumour that Brodie's shins were barked," brayed the Observer's Football Round-Up man Ronald Atkin. Guffaws all round for the pun, though sadly the stripping of a bit of skin from flesh wasn't the sum total of Brodie's injury; his knee was shattered to pieces, and he would never play league football again. He did come up against league opposition a year later, though, on the comeback trail at non-league Margate – whereupon Bournemouth put 11 goals past him in a first-round FA Cup tie (Ted McDougall scoring nine). Yes, it's probably safe to say he used up all that luck with the grenade.

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