Brentford FC in West London was always at the top of my list for people…
QPR vs Brentford: What One Might Call a Second-Tier West London Derby
Queens Park Rangers vs Brentford certainly qualifies as a West London Derby, the two clubs being just under four miles apart. But neither club’s fans rank the other as their top rival, even though QPR once tried to literally wipe Brentford off the map.
This could be for all sorts of reasons, the biggest being they just haven’t played as often as you might think, owing to their being in different leagues for many seasons. But there’s a simpler reason why any West London Derby involving these two and/or Fulham (just three miles from QPR’s Loftus Road) isn’t the biggest game on anyone’s fixture list.
That reason is Chelsea FC, whom all of the above fear and loathe much more than they do each other, for reasons you can probably figure out.
Still, one could start at Brentford’s new stadium and walk to the other three clubs in about eight miles and three hours.
So as each version of a West London Derby comes up, Groundhopper Guides will be taking a look at the history, intensity, and key games in each. Today it’s the Bees of Brentford and Rs of QPR.
QPR vs Brentford: Brief History and Current Status
For the 2023-24 season, QPR and Brentford find themselves in different leagues, with Brentford earning promotion to the Premier League in 2021 and QPR holding steady in the Championship, the second tier of the English football pyramid of leagues. (Thus Brentford, Chelsea, and Fulham will be meeting in the Premier League this season, while QPR will remain in the Championship).
This fact alone is, in the bigger historical picture, a bit of an anomaly. Brentford and QPR were not in the same league and didn’t play each other at all from 1966 until 2001 — a historical coincidence that also aligned with the attempted extermination of Brentford by the clubs’ two chairmen.
Before we get to that, though, a brief history of each club.
Brentford, founded in 1889, played at Griffin Park (where Groundhopper Paul got to see some games) from 1904 until 2020, when they moved into their new Brentford Community Stadium (have a look). Their glory days were either side of World War II, when they hit the First Division. But by the 1960s they were a struggling fourth-tier club. Hold that thought.
They would eventually begin a climb in the 2000s, gaining promotions in 2009 and 2014 to get to the Championship, and then reaching the top tier in 2021.
Queens Park Rangers History
QPR, meanwhile, started in 1882 and were mainly a third-tier side until the 70s, when they made the old First Division (now the Premier League) and even finished second in the 1975-76 season. They won the League Cup in 1967 and lost the FA Cup Final in 1982, hung around the top tier through the 90s, and have been largely second-tier since.
The Time QPR Tried to Wipe Out Brentford
In the 60s, as Brentford wallowed and QPR was growing, the latter was looking for a bigger ground. The eyes of their club chairman turned westward to their struggling neighbors, where the Brentford chairman saw an opportunity for a profitable “merger.” When the idea hit the papers in early 1967, Bees fans erupted in protest. Funds were raised, a walk was staged from Brighton to Brentford that included several current Bees players, and the prospective new Brentford chairman debated the current, now hated, one on live television.
Within months, the takeover idea was dead and the reviled chairman was gone. Many Brentford fans actually attest their later rise to a spirit that was born in those difficult times. But the big-versus-little-brother vibe with QPR endured, especially after another Brentford relegation led to that 35-year spell without this particular West London Derby, while the Rs went chasing glory in the top tier.
Recent History of Brentford vs QPR
Since the Bees got back up to the second tier in 2014, they have had much the better of QPR, who came down from the Premier League the following year. In the last 10 meetings, Brentford have seven wins and a draw, the last QPR win being 2-1 at Loftus Road in 2021.
Brentford also finished ahead of the Rs in the table five seasons running. They made the promotion playoffs twice in that span, lost the 2020 playoff final to Fulham of all clubs, then finished third and earned promotion to the Premier League in 2021. QPR, meanwhile, haven’t finished above ninth since coming down to the Championship.
The overall results between the two now show 78 games in all competitions with 30 wins for Brentford, 24 for QPR, and 24 draws.
Bees on the Up, Rs Adrift?
These last six years or so have finally swapped the old story from the 60s and 70s, as not only the table position tells a Brentford-positive story, but the Bees also have managed to build an entirely new stadium on a convenient patch of West London soil, very near the Kew Bridge Rail Station. QPR, meanwhile, have struggled to replace their aging and tiny Loftus Road (see a game there) and now have plans for a new training center.
One thing that won’t change, of course, is all three sets of fans hurling abuse at their wealthy, glamorous, trophy-collecting neighbors over at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea fans, most bothered about Tottenham Hotspur, don’t even rank any of their geographical neighbors among their serious rivals!