Image above: Brentford v Aston Villa, 2 January 2022 It is a much-repeated maxim that Brentford always play much better against highly talented teams. Witness their bravura against Manchester City when edged out by the only goal of the match just four days prior to Aston Villa’s visit to the Community Stadium. Witness also their […]
About Bill Hagerty
Bill Hagerty was born in Ilford, then part of Essex but now in London’s east end, but has lived in Chiswick for more than thirty years. Leaving grammar school at the age of 16, he joined a local newspaper as a trainee journalist and covered all aspects of the trade until being recruited by the national Sunday paper, Reynold’s News, shortly before it relaunched itself in tabloid format as the Sunday Citizen.
There he moved swiftly from the production department to sport, covering league football and the England-hosted World Cup of 1966, county and Test cricket and boxing, being ringside at three of Cassius Clay/Muhammad Ali’s bouts against Henry Cooper and Brian London.
Moving on to the features sub-editorial desk of the Daily Sketch, he continued to cover football on Saturdays, initially for the News of the World and later that year, after he joined the Daily Mirror’s features team, for that paper also. It was, he reflected, a remarkably lucrative period.
Sadly, like many other papers, both the Citizen and the Sketch failed to cope with falling circulations and closed a few years later. The Mirror, however, continued to thrive and although the paper’s innovative colour magazine to which he was transferred was deemed a financial failure after a year, he returned to the paper as Features Editor and then Showbusiness Editor, a role that demanded extensive travel, largely to the United States, interviewing such major movie stars as John Wayne, Roger Moore and Richard Burton and music icons of the time, including the Rolling Stones and Neil Diamond.
During the many years he spent with Mirror Group, Hagerty filled assistant editor roles on all three titles (Daily and Sunday Mirror and The People). A brief break from the Mirror organisation saw him edit the Sunday edition of the Today newspaper before returning to become deputy editor of the Sunday Mirror and then deputy and acting editor of the daily before being appointed editor of The People.
The death of proprietor Robert Maxwell and the resulting change of ownership of the titles saw the departure of hundreds of staff, including Hagerty, who then changed editorial direction, becoming film and theatre critic of the Today newspaper and, after that paper’s closure, many other publications both in Britain and abroad. He reviewed theatre for a total of 17 years while also editing two magazines on contract and writing the definitive history of the Daily Mirror, Read All About It.
He was editor of the media journal British Journalism Review, of which he remains Chairman Emeritus, and although now semi-retired maintains connections with the newspaper industry via membership of the London Press Club board of directors. He also writes about football as a contributing editor to Bees United, the Brentford FC supporters’ group.
Bill Hagerty has three children and five grandchildren from a previous marriage and a son from his marriage to the journalist Liz Vercoe. Two of his sons are journalists and his daughter is headteacher of a school in Kensington.
Entries by Bill Hagerty
What a memorable evening at the Community Stadium, with Brentford punching above their weight despite having to field a makeshift side against the Premier League champions. No wonder head coach Thomas Frank expressed his pride in what he described as ‘a masterclass in defending’, restricting the visitors to just three shots on target while breakaways […]
Image above: Courtesy of Brentford FC With trains as rare as stray reindeer, it was no surprise to see many empty seats at the Amex Community Stadium as Brentford set out to give themselves a Christmas present of three points. But fans of both sides who managed the journey on Boxing Day evening – shamefully […]
Image above: Brentford v Chelsea Carabao Cup – No 8 v No 8 Jensen v Kovacic There was little preventing Brentford scoring against what is possibly the best team in the Premier League; little except Edouard Mendy, Chelsea’s Senegalese goalkeeper, and those sundry defenders who put their lives on the goal-line to keep out a […]
In Brentford’s topsy-turvy history, ten minutes of this game will rightfully claim to remain long in the memory of those privileged to have been at the Community Stadium this chilly December evening. Remove those specific ten minutes – including five added for stoppages – and it is a different story. For during much of the […]
Just when we thought the Bees had overcome their drop in form, Spurs handed out a salutary lesson while proving that new Italian manager Antonio Conte fully deserves his stellar reputation. Thomas Frank fielded the same starting line-up as that which saw off Everton just four days previously, and they again looked handy enough during […]
Image above: Ivan Toney slips the ball past Jordan Pickford; photograph by Will Hagerty Whenever the lyrics of Hey Jude are sung lustily by the Brentford crowd along with the Beatles’ recording, Paul McCartney would be forgiven for taking delight in this West London devotion to one of his most famous songs. But not, perhaps, […]
For the second Saturday running Brentford encountered a superb goalkeeper at the top of his form. For the second Saturday running they failed to collect even one point. But are we worried? Well, as a matter of fact, yes we are. Quite what head coach Thomas Frank can do about the team’s failure to score […]
There was little preventing Brentford scoring against what is possibly the best team in the Premier League; little except Edouard Mendy, Chelsea’s Senegalese goalkeeper, and those sundry defenders who put their lives on the goal-line to keep out a marauding Bees side determined to plunder a point. What a strange, if fascinating, game this was. […]
Make no mistake, this was probably the greatest game ever played at a bus stop in Hounslow. Liverpool, the world’s fifth most valuable football club, had travelled from the top of the Premier League to West London for the clubs’ first league meeting since May 1947, when a draw could not save the home side […]
Image above: Brentford v Oldham Athletic, photograph Liz Verco Problems-beset Oldham departed from the Community Stadium with a heavy heart and facing a bleak future. How have the mighty fallen, those riding high may muse. There, but for the grace of God, go we, tumbling from the heights to the outer reaches of league football. […]
Photograph by Liz Vercoe Brentford v Brighton & Hove Albion It had to happen sometime, but few among the Brentford faithful expected it to be delivered by a Brighton side as polished as the front room sideboard but with more perspiration than inspiration. We’re talking of course about the Bees’ loss of their slender unbeaten […]
This was no flash in the pan, no riding of luck by new boys of the Premier League. Here we saw the dismantling of one of the most famous teams in football by a side offering a total of less than an hour at this level; a club that arrived at the summit after 74 […]
Image above: Bill Hagerty Tears before bedtime In the end, it was tears before bedtime. But what dreams of glory had flourished throughout the country before England’s impressive challenge for the European Championship fizzled out as midnight approached last Sunday. The day it seemed just like that on any other sleepy weekend. Pubs with gardens […]
Image above: Bill Hagerty An old score to settle It was a long time coming for Brentford and a return after 74 years to England’s top football flight. But here they are – well, nearly – at the dawn of a new challenge, one that comes gift-wrapped in a significant chapter of the club’s colourful […]
Image above: Brentford vistory over Swansea at Wembley; photograph Brentford FC Brentford 2, Swansea City 0 EFL Championship play-off final It took a long time coming but was so stunningly sweet when it arrived. At the tenth time of asking, Brentford competed in end-of-season play-offs that would gain them promotion if they triumphed, only they […]
Image: Brentford FC Brentford 3, Bournemouth 1 (aggregate 3-2) Championship play-off semi-final, 2nd leg Following Brentford’s tortuous trail towards Premier League football has been like a stroll down nightmare alley. No other club in the Football League has on nine previous occasions reached the play-offs – the last-gasp opportunity for those nearly teams that just […]