Beesotted contributor, Paul Gamble, shares his thoughts on the importance of last Saturday’s victory over Bournemouth… not just in The Bees’ quest to gain promotion this season, but also in terms of forging special new Brentford memories inside our new stadium.
I’m a fairly recent convert. I’ve been going to Brentford week in week out with my son since 2011, when his mum and I divorced, and a Saturday afternoon activity was required. As such, my memories of Griffin Park are relatively recent ones.
Highlights range from Sam Saunders responding to a polite enquiry from Block 501 as to why his corner taking wasn’t quite up to it on that day (I paraphrase) with the suggestion that the questioner might want to “come down here and Fxxxking take it”… Jota’s late winner against Fulham… the unbelievable 3-2 win against Millwall in the blue shirts last season and the incredible last day of the 2014-15 season.
However, all of those memories and many more are made sweeter and more powerful by the fact that they have been shared with my son and accompanied by a massive hug. So when I’m asked how I feel about the sad demise of Griffin Park, I do think of those football moments, but I mainly reflect on those shared moments of triumph and joy that will always be part of our relationship.
The Bournemouth game had it all. The match was manic, spellbinding and brilliant all at the same time. It was full of moments of determination, skill and abject horror with a fantastic conclusion. I’ve thought about it a lot since Saturday and watched the highlights a fair few times; I still get nervous when Ivan steps up to take that penalty, and I can picture all four goals in slow-motion graphic detail.
But it’s the emotions I feel most keenly. The tear in my eye at the rendition of Hey Jude before the game, the desperation of that ridiculous breakaway goal, the spellbinding Peter Gillham roar, the incredible elation and bonding between players and fans and yes, the shared joy and hugs after every goal, the sending off and the final whistle. Those emotions will stay with me forever.
I haven’t bought the Big book of Griffin Park yet… I kept meaning to do so but never quite got round to it. However, after listing to Dave talking about it on a recent podcast, I’m definitely going to get one of the reprinted editions. Something to remember it by, but now we have ‘moved on’, I feel so lucky to have had this incredible experience so early into our relationship with our new ground.
Whether you were lucky enough to watch the game there, down the pub, or at home, that stadium already means something special. It may not even have its final name yet but it is already part of our history and our shared experience. I bloody love that place.