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Jim Levack looks at the Brentford’s incredible home record and asks whether moving ground risks ruining the atmosphere at matches.

It’s often quite a good thing having a 90-minute drive back home after Brentford games for the time to reflect on a job well done… or to cool down.

After the Derby win, one which meant a lot to me as it’s my wife’s home city, I couldn’t help but laugh at the callers to BBC’s 606 show.

Chelsea fans were, for the most part, agreeing with Jose Mourinho’s claim that Stamford Bridge lacked atmosphere in their win over another west London outfit.

So it got me thinking about Brentford and the incredible home record that has seen the Bees lose just four times in 31 outings at Griffin Park.

And what will happen when we move!

Few can forget the wins over Manchester City, Everton and some ding-dong encounters in the last two seasons when the home fans pushed their side over the line.

So will we lose that when we leave Fortress Griffin Park for Lionel Road?

My sincere hope is that the views of the supporters who week in, week out make Brentford such an intimidating place to come, are listened to.

The Chelsea fans calling a slightly bemused Darren Fletcher on 606 said much of the atmosphere had drained away with the advent of Health and Safety obsessed stewards unable to exercise even a modicum of common sense.

Fletch seemed genuinely surprised that fans forced to sit down were less likely to make a noise or get behind their team, perhaps due to the fact that he gets everything laid on for him in sanitized press boxes around the country.

The high-vis team at Brentford do a good, steady job without being overly dictatorial… and maybe some of that is down to the sensible approach of the club itself. I hope that never changes.

He’s a decent cove Fletcher, don’t get me wrong, but it worries me that a football phone-in host could be so out of touch with a large proportion of fans while at the same time trying to represent them.

I know for a fact that when you stand you are more likely to get behind your team… it’s proper football and, in my view, why Brentford have done so well in recent seasons.

Safe standing is the only way forward if the game is to stay close to its roots and it’s an avenue I hope the club is not merely paying lip service to, especially in light of the fact that all the Brentford top brass stand throughout the match by the Breamar Road stairs – so they must agree that safe standing is possible?

The other factor, of course, is the proximity of the fans to the pitch at Griffin Park… another area I hope will be considered.

I have, in my career, worked closely with several ex-pros – one of whom, Ian Clarkson, broke my heart for Birmingham City in a Leyland Windscreen Autoshield Daf semi final – and to a man they always remember Brentford for that and admitted it was never on their list of favourite grounds.

It’s a great shame that my wife never came to the Derby game, but she vowed never to set foot inside the stadium again after a previous encounter with her hometown club when we, again, won it with a late winner and suffered the chiding of my mates.

She won’t renege on that promise, but perhaps the Chelsea fans might want to head across to TW8 to see what real football, real atmosphere and real fans are all about.

Jim Levack

 

Please share your thoughts on the topic of Safe Standing and your hopes for Lionel Road in terms of ensuring we don’t lose the atmosphere at matches. Either Tweet us @beesotted or post your replies in the comment box below.

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