By Chris Slavin
Denying the old Wimbledon another FA Cup scalp in 1975 is regarded by Paul Priddy as one of his career highlights, but he will have divided loyalties when the Dons host Brentford in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday night.
Paul, a goalkeeper who had three playing spells with both Wimbledon and Brentford, was between the sticks at Plough Lane in 1975 when the Bees triumphed 2-0.
Following the match, then Wimbledon manager Allen Batsford said: "They didn't do much, although I thought Paul Priddy did well. We've seen better Southern League sides down here this season."
It was a defeat that rankled as Wimbledon had knocked out Burnley the season before and famously took Leeds United to a replay. Though the Dons were non leaguers and up against a Football League side, many expected Brentford to suffer the same fate as Burnley.
"I remember all about that game because I had left Wimbledon the previous season and it was a tremendous atmosphere at Plough Lane when I went back," recalled Paul. "I was still young then and they thought that they could unsettle me. 'Cookey' (Ian Cooke) came right through me during the game, but that type of thing fired me up. I had a good game and it ended 2-0 to Brentford. People thought that Wimbledon were favourites and would turn us over after Burnley and Leeds.
"I am good friends still with Dickie Guy, we talked just last week and had a bit of banter about it. Dickie was a top drawer goalkeeper – one of the best Wimbledon ever had. He was a typical Wimbledon keeper who would come for crosses. I was never going to get in as number one, ahead of Dickie!"
Brentford went onto win two more cup clashes against Wimbledon in the 1980s, but Dave Bassett's side did the double over the Bees in 1983/84 to help earn promotion from the old Division Three.
Paul, who served as goalkeeper coach here from 2007 until 2013, is pictured above celebrating with Dons players at Manchester in 2011 after promotion. He has great affection for both Wimbledon and Brentford with both clubs having played such a big part in his life.
"I only played two or three times for Wimbledon because of Dickie and then when I came back for another spell Ray Goddard kept me out," added Paul. "In those days, there were no substitutes and also not much freedom of contract, so you had to stay patient. Although I did not play much, I was involved with some great times for Wimbledon under Allen Batsford, Dario Gradi, and Dave Bassett. I remember playing at Torquay once after Ray had the flu and we won 6-1 with Alan Cork scoring four.
"Brentford was the club I grew up watching – my Dad used to take me to the games. To play for Brentford was the equivalent of Seb Brown playing for Wimbledon. I played about 120 games for Brentford in total. The games that really stand out for me are saving two penalties in one game in a win at Watford and an FA Cup tie at Bolton in front of a crowd of 28,000."
Paul would have loved to attend Tuesday's Carabao Cup tie, but he is still coaching Aldershot's goalkeepers once a week and he will be at their home game on the same night against Torquay United.
"I spoke to Ivor Heller and he said that I should come down, but I have a home game with Aldershot," added Paul. "I've often been asked to come to Wimbledon games, but often they clash. I still have contact with people at Wimbledon and I have so much respect for what the club has achieved. Obviously, I came to Wimbledon again with Terry Brown. It's been a fantastic achievement by the club to come so far and it is one of the best run clubs in the league."
Advance tickets are available to watch Wimbledon and Brentford do battle in a cup competition once again on Tuesday. Visit our online ticket shop to buy in advance.