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Watching Brentford during the pandemic has been one of the strangest experiences of my life. But, as I edged closer to the new ground for the last two games along with the steady stream of fans in red and white, it felt so good. You see, I might not have known any of those people walking excitedly towards the state-of-the-art new floodlights like moths to a football flame. But they are family.

In truth the place hasn’t really felt like home – until the players ran out for their pre-match warm-up against Blackburn to a roar far louder than 2,000 might have been expected to create. Hey Jude sung with gusto, Ivan’s penalty greeted with a raucous release of emotion, Rovers booed out after the break. That’s what football’s all about. But as each game goes by and Griffin Park becomes more of a memory as we move our ‘family’ and all its trials and tribulations into a new home, let’s never forget the foundations the old girl gave us.

I was proud to be asked to write a piece for the excellent new Griffin Park book and decided to put a slightly different twist on it. See what you think.

Jim Levack


I’ve seen laughter and tears, despair and joy, heartbreak and elation. In truth, there’s not a single human emotion that hasn’t been played out inside my four stands.

I’ve watched in silence as countless dramas have played out before me, from gut-wrenching penalty shoot-out failures to last minute local derby winners.

All these years it’s been a privilege to host you, my family, who unfailingly flocked to my walls every other week.

From babes in arms to centenarians, some from around the corner, others making pilgrimages from the other side of the planet to my 117 by 73 yards sward of green.

The first time you climbed my steps, I had you.

If you didn’t feel the pull in every synapse of your brain and every part of your being, then it’s your loss if you didn’t return. But my stage, especially under the floodlights, is intoxicating and most of you did… forever.

I’ve seen thousands of artists ply their trade – some good some bad – from centre half Jimmy Tomlinson back in 1904 through to the magician Said Benrahma who shone in my swansong.

I remember them all as you do and need only mention surnames for you to know the rest.

Harper, Greenwood and Hill, Lawton, Holliday, Towers, Gelson, Ross, Graham, Phillips, McCulloch, Hurlock, Kamara, Allder, Sweetzer, Sinton, McKellar, Booker, Bond, Holdsworth, Blissett, Hreidarsson, Smillie through to the continental era of Maupay and Jota… the list is endless, each name evoking myriad memories of their own.

If my followers can’t be with me in person, then spiritually I’ve felt them in Australia, America, Hon Kong and beyond. If they come home, they’ll be here, even timing their trip to visit me.

When I’m not looking after my red and white family, I rest. But pass by the narrow, terraced streets that surround me even when there’s no game and I’ll still force a flutter in your stomach.

I am your church, your spiritual home, the place you come for comfort because whatever else is happening in your life I’ve always been a constant with the adrenalin charged highs outweighing the lows in your memory.

I’ve always been seen as unremarkable, particularly in my latter years, but people who know and love me appreciate that I’m as beautiful as the game I host. I’ve gone about my business quietly, happy to let the pub on each of my corners – one of which gave me my name – take the limelight.

My favourite moments? Too numerous to tell, but the penalty against Doncaster is the greatest in my recent memory. I watched the pain etched of your faces as you trudged out afterwards and the hope as you returned the following season.

That instant kept you, my faithful fans, humble and helped you appreciate more the highs that follow the lows… because you believed in me and came back to me.

Every low you suffered – Huddersfield penalties, bowing out of the old First Division in 1947, when one of my stands was destroyed by fire, relegation in 1993 – was part of the evolution. Each setback made us stronger. Together.

I looked on at the mudbath of Manchester City, and was rocked to my foundations when Keith Jones and Gary Blissett tore up the form book. My vast Royal Oak stand welcomed the swaying, surging mass of you as we briefly threatened an upset against Liverpool and then made sure against Newport.

Before even that I’ve swayed and creaked with far beyond my capacity. Nearly 40,000 crammed into my then youthful looking surroundings in 1949 for the visit of Leicester City. I remember that like it was yesterday.

A far cry from the first time I threw open my doors for a Western League clash against Plymouth in 1904, with just my Braemar Road stand open but adjudged unsafe. Only 4,000 watched that day.

I’ve seen so much, I survived the bombing raids of the First World War, but was out of action for six games when I was hit by two bombs in the Second. Just six mind. I was strong and determined to fight back, a symbol of our unity.

When my charges won all 21 home games in the 1929-30 season, I watched just as I’ve always watched. Far more than just bricks and mortar, I have been part of you and your memories, some shared and some unique to you and your friends.

But I’m tired now and despite the love that every one of you has shown me down the years, I’ve known for several seasons that I need to rest.

If I could smile, I’d be beaming that my final seasons being part of your life have been so full of joy and without doubt the best football I have seen in my lifetime.

My spirit will live on in you because your dedication, devotion, loyalty and optimism have allowed me to take a special place in your lives.

That spirit, and a part of me, will still be present in you less than a mile away as we start the next, exciting chapter in the history of the club we both love.

I’ll be looking for you there but until then, thanks for all the memories we’ve made together.

It’s been a pleasure knowing you.

I’ll miss you as much as you’ll miss me

Griffin Park x