I was as saddened as everybody associated with Brentford Football Club when I heard the news about Martin Lange yesterday. His passing, at the age of 71, ends one of the strongest associations with a club for who he was synonymous for the majority of the 1980s and 1990s.
As chairman from 1981-1997, Martin was the man at the helm when my own obsession with Brentford was really growing. Quite simply, I cannot associate one without the other.
Martin’s achievements (which are legion) and his progressive outlook have been well documented and people have, rightly so, been lining up to pay tribute. Gary Blissett, in particular, paints a moving picture on his own facebook page.
The club site is amongst those to give a synopsis of his work in the wider world of football. Campaigns to tackle hooliganism, the proposal of the play offs (I still smile at the irony of these being put forward by the Brentford chairman, given our subsequent record) and even his idea to incorporate squad names and numbers onto players’ shirts.
It was this latter point that had me scratching my head yesterday. I’m sure Martin was the man who, unable to get this pushed through initially, took the next available step and incorporated player names onto their shorts instead. Sure enough, a trawl of the interweb reveals pictorial evidence.
The team Martin helped put together, containing the likes of Deano and Bliss, which eventually win that epic game at Peterborough back in 1992 is, much like the great man himself, one that will be never be forgotten. RIP Martin Lange.
The other piece of news to catch my attention is one close to my heart and, perhaps, very appropriate today. As somebody who has served on the Bees United board in the past, I’ve seen the role that everyone from Chairman down to supporters can play in our club.
Like BU, BIAS (Brentford Independent Association of Supporters) have proven that fan interaction can play a key part in our club’s future. This Saturday sees their annual AGM and I’d encourage all supporters to attend or, at the very least, read their latest article (written by Gemma Teale) which you can find here. Specifically as this gives supporters who want to get involved a chance to join the BIAS committee aswell as re-electing (or not) the current members.
And for those of you who may be unsure about the prospect of joining a committee, Gemma’s article notes “ I figured it would just be a lot of talking, and minutes and motions and not much else. I’m happy to say I was wrong “.
She goes on to add, “We have quarterly meetings with the club, so get to give Mark Devlin, Kurt Pitman, Chris Wickham and others a really hard time – I mean, have really productive discussions with them. And we make progress, we have influenced the club’s Customer Charter, and we have successfully campaigned for reducing the length of time before a game that advance tickets can be purchased”.
The BIAS AGM takes place at 12pm on Saturday at the Inverness Lodge, Brentford.