Today, on a frozen and exposed triangle of waste land near Kew Bridge station, around 150 people will gather, shivering, to witness a genuine landmark – the very start of the construction of Brentford Football Club’s new stadium.
Today’s event comes after almost two decades of struggle, not only to find a local plot fit to be called home, but also a long list of beaurocratic and political battles that had to be overcome before the club could be confident in being able to finally celebrate.
It has been a very long journey, almost too long at times, but there is a long list of people who need to be thanked for their tireless efforts in ensuring that not only is there a club left surviving to actually move, but also for providing the knowhow and finance to see a futuristic dream become a reality.
Talk of a new stadiums, or a rebuilt Griffin Park, has been a perennial topic since the early 1970s… there has also been ominous threats to move the club away from the County town (Woking, Feltham, Hayes and Bedfont), and it is no exaggeration to say that although Mathew Benham has been the real catalyst and inspiration in recent years, without the bucket collecting and organisation by BIAS, ABeeC and Bees United, plus the countless charity events organised by Hey Jude, Beesotted, and other individuals going the extra mile, we wouldn’t be were we are today.
Brian Burgess and Chris Gammon have also been instrumental in driving this project forward, as well as being guardians of the club during its metamorphisis from being a fan-owned entity to the flourishing Mathew Benham era.
There are still mixed feelings about leaving Griffin Park, as well as concerns about how we preserve the unique identity of Brentford Football Club when we finally leave our proud old ground, but today is all about looking forwards and raising our glasses to a bright and prosperous future…. Confident in the knowledge that we will never forget the past.
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