Can Brentford use Griffin Park farewell to fuel promotion push?
English football grounds don’t get much more traditional than Brentford’s Griffin Park. Squeezed in tight among terraced housing in west London, rusty floodlight pylons stretching upwards towards the clouds, the famous pubs at each corner of the ground; small, rickety stands packed tightly with supporters on match days – Griffin Park stands as a monument to all that is revered about the football supporter’s traditional match-going experience.
This season, however, will be Griffin Park’s last. Brentford are in the process of constructing a new, state-of-the-art stadium in nearby Kew Bridge. The Brentford Community Stadium, as it will be known, is getting closer to completion with every passing day, and will hold over 17,000 supporters, a significant upgrade on the 12,763 capacity Griffin Park.
The stadium is intended to bring Brentford FC into the modern age, and its design reflects that. All jagged edges and angled roof structures, the new ground will epitomise the modern stadium – sleek and comfortable, as much a work of modern art and architecture as a football ground.
The new stadium is undoubtedly a necessity for Brentford if the club wishes to ascend to the next level, but that does not detract from the sadness of leaving Griffin Park. The club have marketed this season as the ‘Farewell Griffin Park’ season, and many events have been planned to commemorate the ground.
The clamour to buy season tickets for Brentford’s final season at Griffin Park is an indication that fans and local residents hold a special place in their hearts for the old ground. Perhaps, with an emotional edge to this season, Brentford could make a push for promotion.
Although the west London club are far from the biggest or best resourced club in the Championship, Brentford have always had the potential to put a good
run together and possibly reach the play-offs. They did just that in the 2014/15 season, but lost out to Middlesbrough in the semi-final. For a team
that has always played attractive, attacking football, you feel that a shot at promotion would not be out of reach for Thomas Frank’s side. Those seeking
great English Championship betting offers may well look at Brentford as promotion dark horses.
It’s difficult to use early season form as a guide for how the Championship table will look come April or May, and often the teams that do well in the play-offs are the ones that have come from nowhere and charged into the top six in the second half of the season. As the Griffin Park farewell draws towards its emotional crescendo, perhaps this increased poignancy will drive the players on to a winning run.
The new stadium is very much geared towards Brentford eventually reaching the Premier League, and it would be a fantastic fillip for the club if they were to begin life in their new home in the top flight. Brentford are by all accounts a very forward-thinking club. Their transfer policy reflects that, scouring Europe for the best, most cost-effective talent rather than paying large sums for high-profile players. Brentford also decided recently to eliminate the use of plastic water bottles at their training ground by giving all players and staff reusable bottles, further example of the modern ideals the club aspires to.
The new stadium will help the club to realise their true potential. In many ways, it felt as though the narrow confines of Griffin Park were symbolic of the club’s limitations on and off the pitch. This final season at the old ground offers the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to the home that houses so many memories for Brentford fans. It would be fitting if that emotional energy could be channelled into winning promotion, so as to ensure a perfect start to the club’s new era in their new home.