Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Brentford - Griffin Park

Brentford FC
Griffin Park
Braemar Road

0845 345 6442

Ground Number: 51
Saturday 2nd September 2000
Brentford 0-0 Wycombe Wanderers
Nationwide League Division 2


1:  Brentford FC were formed on Thursday 10th October 1889 at the Cambridge Hotel in Brentford. They can trace their origins back to the local rowing club after they voted 8 votes to 5 to form a football club as opposed to a rugby club.

2:  They have played at Griffin Park since 1904, having led a nomadic existence previously, playing at 5 different grounds in the opening 12 years of their existence.

3:  Brentford enjoyed their most successful league spell during the 1930s. During the first half of the decade, they rose from the 3rd Division South to the 1st Division. Their record finish came in 1936 when they finished 5th in what is now the Premiership. This is all the more remarkable when you consider they only joined the Football League in 1920 after previously playing in the Southern League.

4:  The Bees best progress in the FA Cup has been the Quarter Final. They've reached this point losing 2-0 to Leicester in 1949 and 4-0 at Liverpool in 1989. They've suffered a few giant-killings too, most recently losing to Telford United in 2003.

5:  In the League Cup, the club has reached the 4th Round twice - losing at Nottingham Forest in 1983 and at Birmingham City in 2011 where they lost 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

6:  Brentford have reached the Football League Trophy Final three times, but have lost on each occasion. They lost the 1985 final 3-1 to Wigan Athletic, the 2001 final 2-1 to Port Vale and the 2011 final 1-0 to Carlisle United. The games were all played at different venues with games at the old and new Wembley Stadiums being sandwiched by a trip to the Millenium Stadium in Cardiff.

7:  As well as playing each other a number of times down the years, Brentford and Wycombe also have had a huge amount of players represent both teams, with around 30 players representing both clubs in the last few decades. I've probably forgotten a load, but have come up with this best XI from a Wycombe perspective. It took a bit of artistic licence mind, goalkeeper Alan Julian only played for Wycombe in friendly games.

8:  Brentford's record appearance maker is Ken Coote who played 559 games for the club between 1949 and 1963. Internationals Herman Hreidarsson and Will Grigg have played for the club, whilst current 'The Chase' presenter Bradley Walsh has also pulled on a Brentford shirt.

9:  Famous fans of Brentford include Dean Gaffney who is most famous for playing Robbie Jackson in Eastenders in the late 1990s and early 2000s

10: Brentford's record win came in October 1963 as they defeated Wrexham 9-0. Their worst defeat is 7-0, a scoreline which they have been on the wrong end of three times, most recently against Peterborough United in November 2007.


Griffin Park had been one of my favourite grounds to visit down the years and I'd been there on nine previous occasions before my latest visit. They'd generally been low scoring games and unmemorable apart from the first time where I walked the wrong way, missed the coach and had to get the train home. Two games stood out for me, firstly the game that was a 1 PM kick-off on Boxing Day 2007. It was our sole win at Griffin Park, but we had to come from behind to win it after Glen Poole's 25-yard strike had the hosts ahead at half time. Wycombe had a great three-goal burst in 10 minutes around the hour mark with Sergio Torres, Scott McGleish and a rare goal from John Sutton turned the game around for Wycombe. The game was also notable for the debut of 17-year-old youth teamer George Daly who was last heard of at Hendon in 2012.

The visit in March 2009 yielded the most goals in a pulsating 3-3 draw. It was a clash between the top two in the table with the hosts topping the table by seven points, although Wycombe did have a game in hand. I remember it mainly for the debut of Marek Stech who was on loan from West Ham at the time. He was picking the ball out of the net after a couple of minutes when Jordan Rhodes deflected shot from the edge of the area found its way in. Another recent signing, John Akinde levelled on 17 minutes when he headed in from a corner. A great free-kick from David Hunt put the Bees back ahead soon after, but John Mousinho volleyed Wycombe level before half time. Just after the break, Akinde got his second and the goal of the game as he raced the length of the Brentford half before slotting past Ben Hamer to give Wycombe the lead for the only time in the game. In the last part of the game, Wycombe's Tommy Doherty was sent off for an alleged elbow. Nine minutes from time Sam Williams equalised for the hosts from around 12 yards to make it all square.

(FRIENDLY, 22/7/17)

I only decided to go to this game around a couple of days before the fixture took place, although it had been a possibility for a while. After Anwar informed me that he was off to Bedfont Sports v Aylesbury, I knew I wanted to do one in London as well. I'd been aiming to do more games via public transport to cut down the miles that I was putting on my car, and this seemed like an ideal opportunity. The only problem was that there was a total paucity of fixtures in London, at least in terms of new grounds. With the smaller games tending to be a bit flaky in terms of venue and opponents pulling out at the last minute, I opted for the safe choice of Brentford v Southampton. It seemed to be the best choice - I wanted to update my blog, the ground was going soon and I'd have company in the form of Dan who was also at Peterborough last week. There was also the matter of me needing ciders in the Wetherspoons cider festival on its last weekend, so having theoretically the whole of London to pick from would give me a great chance of getting the full set for the first time ever.

The night before I enjoyed a quiet night in with a few drinks and a few episodes of the old Sky football show 'Dream Team'. Annoyingly, as I'd been doing recently, I woke at my normal work time on my day off and couldn't get back to sleep. I got on with reading 'Home and Away' by Dave Roberts, a Bromley fan. I bought it on Amazon Kindle in the week, only to win it in a competition the following day. I let them know and so someone else was the lucky recipient. It had been a fiver that I didn't need to spend, though I didn't mind too much as I was really enjoying it. After getting ready, I had a quick catch up online before leaving for the station at  10. Usually, Borough Market, and in particular, the cider stall is my pre-match venue when in London, but with a free pint at one pub near Trafalgar Square, plus the choice of three Wetherspoons near there, I'd be altering my plans on this occasion. I looked online and with 8 minutes until the next departure, I decided to pop across the road to Tesco where I got a Daily Star and some Kettle Chips. Whilst crossing the road back, I saw the train pulling away and had to wait 25 minutes for the next one. Then I had to change at Harrow and Finchley Road before getting my final train to Waterloo.

I got to Waterloo around 11.50 and had a rude awakening. I was over a mile from where I wanted to be, and some unforecast rain was falling from the sky. Thankfully it was only light and soon stopped. Things got even better when I got to my first pub, The Harp, near Trafalgar Square. I'd been here last before Wycombe lost at Wembley last year and had been impressed. They'd sent me a voucher for a free pint and so I thought it would be rude not to. I was pleased to try a new cider too - London Glider Crab Apple. It was very nice if a little one dimensional. Once I'd supped up, I went in search of the promised land, aka Wetherspoons. I ticked 18/20 in the cider festival, namely Gwatkin Yarlington Mill and incredibly in the West End of London it was only £3 a pint with my CAMRA voucher. It was sweet, but not too sweet and with it being my last voucher, and having to drive later, it would be halves or thirds from now on. When I left the pub, it was pissing down, so I went for the shelter of Leicester Square tube, Northern Line to Waterloo, then the train to Brentford. I wasn't best pleased having to abandon my pub crawl but I'd not bothered with a mac as the forecast had said that the rain would start at 6 and only be light. At least there was a good busker playing 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life' at Leicester Square and I gave him my spare change for his efforts.

I got to Brentford around 2 and thankfully the rain was starting to ease off. I stopped at the Happy Valley take away and got salt and chilli chips with a pancake roll for £4.50 It was top-notch and filled me up for the game. I collected my ticket and went in, meeting Braintree fan Dan on the terrace. I'd forgotten how much I liked Griffin Park - it was a proper old school ground with plenty of character. The fans were in good voice too, especially for a friendly. Ex QPR player Charlie Austin came in for plenty of stick. Over in Hampshire, in what was a repeat of last seasons friendly, Wycombe were losing 1-0 at Aldershot, that again being a repeat of last season. I'd enjoyed the visit to another great ground, but didn't want to visit again so soon. Back in West London, the game was pretty even. Lasse Vibe gave Brentford the lead on 40 minutes. I was in good company with regards to half time results, as Braintree were trailing Colchester United 1-0 at the break. Southampton started the second half with a strong spell, but it was a good bit of skill by Brentford to set up the goal for Austin who equalised on 55 minutes. He gave the Saints the lead on 62 minutes with another smart finish. Southampton were well on top and Brentford were hardly having a shot. That was until a speculative high ball into the area was totally made a hash of by England keeper Frazer Forster and Josh Clarke was there to equalise. Despite Brentford pressure from then on, Southampton held on for draw amid much mocking of their hapless keeper. Below is a video filmed by Dan which captures the moment really well.

Typically, as the game ended, it started to rain, although luckily the 10-minute wait for the bus only had light drizzle. I'd decided to go back to Ealing Broadway with Dan and make my way home from there. We got there at 5.40 and made our way to our respective trains. I had to go via Paddington and Marylebone which at least meant I'd be seeing a Wetherspoons at each station. The one at Paddington was not partaking in the cider festival, so I moved on. I made my way to Marylebone, but there the Met Bar yielded none of the two that I needed. I walked to Baker Street to get my train home, leaving at 6.35. It seemed to take ages to get back, but eventually, 50 minutes later, I was back at Amersham. I got back home at 7.50 after stopping at Spar on the way home to get a few cans. It had been a good day - a couple of nice ciders, a nice trip to London and a decent lunch to boot. In terms of football, it had a good game. It was also very amusing seeing a goalkeeper make a cock-up, even if Frazer Forster or the Saints fans wouldn't agree. Usually, I'd miss it through not concentrating or it being up the other end, but this time it happened right in front of me. It was also a reasonable day for Wycombe, drawing 2-2 at Aldershot. I'm not sure where I'll be off to next, possibly Wycombe v AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, although I can't say I'm that excited for it.


GRIFFIN PARK is a traditional ground and has remained pretty much unchanged in all of my visits, save for the emergence of a roof on what is now the home end. You'll certainly have a good day out there with the fans being some of the friendliest in football. The ground is famous for being the only one in football to have a pub on each corner - namely The Griffin, The Royal Oak, The Royal Oak and The Princess Royal. I've been in a couple of them, namely the Royal Oak and The New Inn, both of which did the job OK, but were visited so long ago, I have no memories of them. In fact, there are a huge number of pubs within walking distance of the ground, so search online to find one that ticks all the boxes for you. The same can be said of takeaways. I used to go to the kebab shop or the chippy back in the day, both serving up decent food as you would expect from a place with lots of competition.

THE BROOK ROAD STAND is the end I've been located in more often than not. This is now the permanent away end and is affectionately nicknamed 'The Wendy House' The double decker stand replaced a large terrace in the 1980's after land was sold for housing due to financial issues at the club. On the lower deck there is terracing for just under 1300 fans, though views from here can be poor due to supporting pillars. Above, seats provide a decent view for 600 fans, although leg room can be very tight.

At the opposite end is the EALING ROAD STAND. This is now sponsored by BIAS (The Brentford Independent Supporters Association) This was given over to away supporters for a couple of visits when it was uncovered, but now it is a covered terrace holding around 2000.

The other stand that I have been in is the BRAEMAR ROAD stand. I went here for the dull goalless reserves clash between Brentford and Wycombe Wanderers in 2004. This is the oldest stand at the ground and houses all of the club facilities including the dressing rooms. Leg room here is poor, with the stand holding around 4000 fans.

The one remaining stand is the BILL AXBEY STAND. Formerly the NEW ROAD STAND, this is the only one of the four stands at Griffin Park that I've not watched a game from. This holds around 3,500 and was named in memory of Brentford's oldest supporter.

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