Newcastle are having a great season and are well in contention to finish in the top four for the first time in 20 years.
They have lost the joint fewest Premier League matches this campaign – three alongside Arsenal – and conceded the fewest goals, 20.
They come to New Griffin Park in superb form having won their last four games, and the only reason they are not higher in the table is that they have drawn 11 of their 28 league games, with only the Bees – on 13 – drawing more times.
On the road, they have won six, drawn six and lost two of their 14 games, while at St James’ Park they have won eight times and had five draws, alongside one defeat.
While they went out of the FA Cup at the first hurdle, losing 2-1 at League One Sheffield Wednesday, they reached the final of the Carabao Cup – their first major final since 1999. However, it wasn’t to be their day as they lost 2-0 to Manchester United at Wembley.
Newcastle are currently in their sixth successive season in the top flight.
They have been in the Premier League for all but three of its seasons and were runners-up in 1996 and 1997, while they finished third in 1994 and 2003. Their best finish in the last decade was fifth in 2012.
WHO’S IN CHARGE
Eddie Howe replaced Steve Bruce as head coach in November 2021.
He is best known for his time at Bournemouth, who he led from League Two to the Premier League in two spells as manager, which were interrupted by a brief stint in charge of Burnley.
Eddie kept the Cherries in the top flight for five seasons, before leaving following their relegation in the summer of 2020.
He also started and finished his playing career as a defender at Bournemouth, with a spell at Portsmouth in- between, but injury forced his retirement at the age of only 29.
WE’VE MET BEFORE
Brentford and Newcastle have barely met over the years – with only 11 league games and four meetings in cup competitions.
We have won three, lost seven and drawn one of the league encounters, while the Magpies have triumphed in three of the four cup ties.
Three of those meetings have been in the Premier League.
The first match was our 3-3 draw at St James’ Park in November 2021.
It was Eddie Howe’s first match in charge following the departure of Steve Bruce, but the new manager couldn’t be at the game as he had tested positive for Covid – so had to follow it from his hotel room.
In an extraordinary match, we fell behind to a Jamaal Lascelles header from a corner in the 10th minute, but Ivan Toney equalised against his former club a minute later. Rico Henry put us ahead just past the half hour mark, but Joelinton made it all-square at the break.
Substitute Frank Onyeka’s shot deflected in off Lascelles for a 61st-minute own goal to put us 3-2 up, but Allan Saint-Maximin earned a point for the Magpies in the 75th minute.
The return was memorable for the debut of Christian Eriksen, but he could not help us prevent a 2-0 defeat.
Eriksen replaced Mathias Jensen, the man who had replaced him for Denmark after his cardiac arrest, in the 52nd minute, but all the action in the match was in the first half. Josh Dasilva was sent off early on and goals from Joelinton and Joe Willock wrapped up the points for the Magpies and stretched our winless Premier League run to eight games.
Our visit to St James’ Park earlier this season is best forgotten – Ivan Toney’s penalty our only goal in a 5-1 defeat.
Bruno Guimaraes and Jacob Murphy put the Magpies 2-0 up at half-time, but Toney gave us hope with a 54th-minute penalty. However, within two minutes Guimaraes had restored Newcastle’s two-goal advantage and Miguel Almiron, and an own goal from the returning Ethan Pinnock completed the scoring.
We also met in 2020/21 in the Carabao Cup quarter-finals, and we pulled off a shock 1-0 win to reach the last four of the competition for the first time.
Josh Dasilva scored the only goal midway through the second half as the Championship Bees claimed our fourth Premier League scalp of the competition.
Our other recent cup meeting was a second round League (Worthington) Cup tie in 2001 at St James’ Park.
It was quite a surreal experience as the match took place the day after the September 11 attacks in New York. Brentford chartered a special train to take fans to the match, and my memories of that journey are everybody silently reading any newspaper they could get hold of all journey.
It seemed odd to be going to football in those circumstances, but we did and the Second Division (now League One) Bees did us proud in taking our Premier League hosts to extra-time.
Lloyd Owusu gave us a shock 17th-minute lead. Shola Ameobi equalised in the 59th minute, but we took Bobby Robson’s Magpies, with Alan Shearer in the side, to extra-time.
However, that proved too much for us and a hat-trick by Craig Bellamy – who scored in the 108th, 117th and 120th minutes – gave Newcastle a 4-1 win.
Our FA Cup meetings came in the third round in 1938/39, when the Magpies won 2-0 at Griffin Park, and in the 1954/55 fourth round, when they beat us 3-2 in the north-east.
Our other eight league meetings have come in the second tier (now Championship).
We first met in the 1934/35 season and the Bees did the double on our way to winning the title, with a 5-2 win at St James’ Park and a 3-0 victory in the return.
Our next meetings came in 1947/48 and each game ended in a 1-0 home win.
The other league games are much fresher in the memory and were all won by Newcatle.
The first was on a Sunday afternoon in October 1992, in our first season in the second tier since 1953/54, and was live on ITV, with Brian Moore commentating.
David Kelly put Kevin Keegan’s Magpies ahead in the first half and Gavin Peacock doubled the lead after the break before in a grandstand finish, Gary Blissett halved the deficit and then Marcus Gayle, now a Brentford club ambassador and summariser in the Bees Player commentary team, missed a great chance to snatch a point.
We were hammered 5-1 in the return with David Kelly, Paul Bracewell, Lee Clark (two) and Robert Lee on target for the hosts – with our reply a Kevin Scott own goal, as we slipped closer to immediate relegation.
Our other league meetings came in 2016/17.
The game at St James’ Park in October was a good day off the pitch but a disappointing one on it, as we let in two early goals on the way to a 3-1 defeat.
Ciaran Clark and Dwight Gayle put the Magpies in charge by the 16th minute and Gayle made it 3-0 soon after the break, before Scott Hogan quickly pulled one back from a corner.
Brentford were unlucky to go down to a 2-1 defeat in the return the following January.
Dwight Gayle gave the Championship leaders a 20th-minute lead, but Lasse Vibe equalised in the 52nd minute, and then came within millimetres of giving us the lead when he lifted the ball over Karl Darlow and watched as his shot hit the post and rolled along the goalline before being cleared.
Daryl Murphy, a regular thorn in Brentford’s side, headed a 79th-minute winner for Newcastle with his first league goal for the club.
Q – How would you assess Newcastle’s season?
A – This is a season that has exceeded all expectations. You will probably read a lot about Newcastle supporters being demanding, but the opposite is true: after a decade of worrying about relegation, most fans just wanted a season without that sort of jeopardy, maybe with the bonus of some excitement in a cup competition. To be in third position with 10 matches remaining and have a realistic chance of returning to the Champions League, having also had the experience of a Wembley final, despite the pain of losing to Manchester United, makes this one of the best seasons most fans can remember. They recovered from an awful start last season to somehow finish 11th, so a place in the top half this year would have represented progress – but they could now record their highest finish for 20 years.
Q – The Magpies and Brentford have drawn more Premier League games than any other clubs – what are the reasons in the Magpies’ case?
A – Newcastle have had two spells this season where they ended up drawing probably too many matches for their liking: in August and September when they were finding their rhythm, and in January and February leading up to the cup final, when they lost some of the edge and intensity that had helped them to some fantastic results before the World Cup.
A – They will be active in the summer transfer window. Around £250m has been invested in the squad since the takeover in October 2021, and the club are always keen to stress the importance of operating within the framework of Financial Fair Play – so there will always be a limit to what they can do. In fact, sporting director Dan Ashworth said earlier in the season the previous level of spending was “unsustainable”.
To increase revenues and boost the transfer fund, the club is actively pursuing new sponsorship deals. Qualifying for Europe, especially the Champions League, will help with that too. I think they will be in the market for another left-back, a right-sided centre-half, at least one central midfielder – as they are short of numbers there – and possibly a couple of forward players. Four players in the squad will be out of contract in the summer, and the club also needs to move on some of those who aren’t part of Eddie Howe’s plans, though they will require a bigger squad to cope with the extra matches, if they do secure European qualification.
Q – What are the realistic ambitions for the club over the next five years?
A – The club’s non-executive chairman, Yasir Al-Rumayyan, said in an open letter to supporters in October marking the anniversary of the takeover, that they want to “challenge for trophies both domestically and in Europe”. They are still at the beginning of that journey but, after a brilliant season, are well ahead of schedule. The next few years could be very exciting.
Q – What are your memories of previous games between the Bees and Newcastle?
A – Newcastle recorded a big win over Brentford at St James’ Park earlier in the season, but I feel it was a match that could have gone either way, especially as Brentford had an early goal disallowed and later came back into it through Ivan Toney’s penalty. And the 3-3 draw on Tyneside last season was notable because it was Eddie Howe’s first match in charge, though he wasn’t at the stadium in person, having gone into isolation after testing positive for coronavirus.
One of the lowest points – and worst performances – of the difficult Steve Bruce era was the defeat by Brentford in the quarter-finals of the League Cup two seasons ago. It was truly a miserable night for Newcastle, who were completely outplayed by a team who, at the time, were in the division below.
Q – Finally can you give me a possible Magpies line-up and formation please?
A – I expect most of the side that started at West Ham to play again at Brentford. Alexander Isak and Joe Willock were left out on Wednesday but will be pushing to start again. Eddie Howe sets them up in a 4-3-3 formation. Most of his players are available, but top scorer Miguel Almiron is injured and is likely to be out of action until next month. Full back Emil Krafth is still building up his fitness after a sustaining knee ligament injury in August, while Scottish winger Ryan Fraser is out of favour and has been training with the under-21s.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE GAME IF YOU CAN’T BE THERE
If you can’t get to the Gtech Community Stadium for Saturday’s sold-out 3.00pm kick-off and want Brentford commentary, audio coverage is available via the new Buzz Box, currently on a free trial.
Coverage starts half an hour before kick-off and is advert-free, with Mark Burridge and Karleigh Osborne.
PUBS IN BRENTFORD AND TRAVEL NEWS
For Newcastle fans coming to the Gtech Community Stadium for the first time, there are plenty of pub options pre and post-match and all are most welcoming and away-fan-friendly (as it should be).
The pub areas are split into two zones. There is the area around Brentford’s old Griffin Park stadium. The pubs there are still very busy on match day frequented by Bees locals before heading down the road to the stadium at Kew Bridge which is only 15 mins walk.
Then there is the area in and around the stadium in Kew Bridge.
It is possible, if you have a good early start, to savour a few pubs in and around Griffin Park and Brentford zone before heading off to the pubs in the Kew zone or even vice versa if you so fancy.
Pubs in Griffin Park/Brentford zone
When at Griffin Park, Brentford was well known for its four pubs – one on each corner of the ground. Three are still operating.
The Griffin is closest to the old away end and has always been very popular with both home and away fans and has its regulars who still make the journey down to the new stadium from there on matchday. The New Inn is on the other side which used to also be popular with away fans before the move. The Brook pub is the other option if you want to savour a pub in and around what is left of our old home. Worth a peep if you want to reminisce about old Brentford.
About five minutes’ walk away from the old ground are two pubs which are enormously popular. The Globe (Windmill Rd) is a “lively but comfortable” pub on matchday. Incredibly friendly and cosy, it has always been popular with a selection of away fans who fancied having a beer a few minutes further walk away from the ground without having to queue six persons deep. After the move to the new ground, The Globe has retained many of lot its regulars from the Griffin Park days and with screens throughout the pub and in its sheltered beer garden, it shows both Premier League and EFL football before and after each match.
Meanwhile around the corner, The Lord Nelson (Enfield Rd) is another incredibly friendly and cosy away-friendly pubs about one minute walk from The Globe. Again with a TV screen for live sports and a lovely beer garden, this is another pub frequented by “away fans in the know”.
The other pub worth checking out in the Griffin Park region is The Black Dog Beer House, formerly The Albany, on Albany Road, if you like your real ales.
There are plenty of other pubs in and around Brentford High Street including real ale pub Magpie and Crown (Brentford High Street) and the cosy Brewery Tap (Catherine Wheel Road) near the river.
For a Griffin Park area pub crawl before heading over to Kew we recommend the following: Take the Piccadilly line to Northfields station. Turn left and walk for 2 mins and you will come to The Plough (Northfields Ave). Then walk to The Lord Nelson (10 min walk from The Plough) & then The Globe (1 min walk from The Nelson) en-route before hitting The Griffin (8 min walk from The Globe) and then The Black Dog (2 mins from The Griffin). You can also try and do the other three pubs on the corner whilst down here if you fancy.
Then you can then either walk (15 minutes from The Globe/The Nelson and The Griffin/Black Dog ) or take a train from Brentford station (which is five minutes walk away from both The Globe/The Nelson and The Griffin/Black Dog) or a bus (237/267) to Kew Bridge.
Trains run at 24 and 54 minutes past the hour to Kew Bridge from Brentford and take 2 mins.
Pubs in the Kew Bridge zone
Right next to Kew Bridge station, you will find the Express Tavern – an ale pub with a retro feel. The pub has been refurbished in readiness for the new football season and needless to say, is popular before the match due to its close proximity to the stadium.
Across the road by the river is One Over the Ait – a spacious boozer right next to Kew Bridge. This pub is situated on the location of the now-demolished Oxford & Cambridge pub where Brentford Football Club was founded in 1889.
Across Kew Bridge and the River Thames, there are two pubs on Kew Green – the Cricketers and the Greyhound – very close to the pier where Brentford fans have embarked on their away journeys by water to F*lham, Orient, Charlton, West Ham and even Southend.
North of the river along hoity-toity Strand on the Green, you will find The Steam Packet, in an old Cafe Rouge, and The Bell. A bit further down are The City Barge and the Bulls Head – two pubs side-by-side in which you would often see Ant and Dec hanging out.
There is also The Pilot which you can get to coming out of the BACK entrance of Gunnersbury station and we believe the old John Bull pub at the front of the station has been refurbed as The Gunnersbury but we have never been there so can’t give it a 👍🏾or a 👎🏻
Transport to Brentford and Kew Bridge
The simplest on paper to get to Brentford FC from town is to get the tube to Waterloo (Northern, Jubilee lines) or Vauxhall (Victoria Line) and then take the Overground train to Kew Bridge, which is right by the stadium. Brentford is one stop further on if you are on an ‘Original Griffin Park Pub’ mission.
With trains from Waterloo being only twice an hour (22 and 52) and taking 28 minutes, we normally recommend people jump on the tube from Kings Cross or Euston and head to Northfields or South Ealing on the Piccadilly Line as it is quicker (including the time getting across London and waiting at Waterloo) and trains are more frequent.
It is only 40 mins max station by tube to station meaning you could be in a Brentford pub within an hour of embarking your train at Kings Cross, Euston or Liverpool Street.
The other station option is Gunnersbury. You can walk to the stadium from Gunnersbury tube station (District line) in 25 minutes or take a bus (H91, 237, 267, 110), but note that it is closed for entry for one hour after the match.
For the Brentford/Griffin Park pubs you can get the Piccadilly line tube to Northfields station from King’s Cross or Euston (35 minutes) then walk down to The Plough, The Globe, The Lord Nelson and The Griffin and other pubs from there.
The new stadium is around 25 minutes’ walk from South Ealing station – if you don’t fancy Gunnersbury – or you can get on the 65 bus from across the road which will drop you almost outside in 15 minutes.
You can also pick up the 65 bus from Ealing Broadway (district and central line) which will take you to the new stadium in 25 minutes.
You can check out Transport for London’s guide to travel on the Tube and Overground.