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This Time Next Year… Griffin Park Will Be Closing

This Time Next Year… Griffin Park Will Be Closing
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As all Brentford fans will be aware, and the wider football world will awaken to as the months tick past, this time next year our club, and especially our supporters, will all be bracing ourselves for a real shock to the system.

I really don’t think it is an exaggeration, or an overly dramatic parallel to make, but leaving Griffin Park is going to represent a life-changing moment… maybe even life-defining for some of us. Many among our flock are long in the tooth enough to have spent half a century or more watching their football at our proud old stadium, and the loss of our church will be akin to mourning a loved one. And I don’t use these religious analogies lightly either.

I won’t expand upon this spiritual sentiment, or profound sense of belonging, to anyone who does not already understand – but for those that do, the sound of the whistle blowing for the final time, or the click of the last person to push their way through the antique turnstiles, or the vision of the final blubbering Bee being ushered out before the gates close for the last time – will be deeply traumatic. Tears will be shed, without a doubt, and a tangible, mortal moment will be shared.

Griffin Park may have outlived several generations of Brentford supporters, however, time stops for no man, woman or child, that is for sure… things move on… progress must be made… evolution cannot be stopped. Griffin Park will be no more.

But as much as we must look forward and be hopeful for a bright, long future, equally, we must never forget.

One of my proudest moments as a Brentford fan was co-producing the Griffin Park book (if you’ve not go one yet click the link at the top of the page or here) with my good friend Mark Croxford. The project allowed us to sieve back through time and re-live some of the long-forgotten, or overlooked, significant moments in the ground’s life. And if I drop dead tomorrow, then that is my legacy. One that I’m proud of.

Because, even if I do say so myself, the pages we crafted are magnificent, and packed full of love for those who came before us. The photos and the stories certainly bring the journey back to life, and help us all revisit days gone by…. underlining that the club meant as much to the B’s and Bees fans of yesteryear every bit as much as the club does today. That’s something else we must not forget. Brentford Football Club is not all about the here and now, it is about the back then, too.

Thinking of Griffin Park as a living, breathing organism helps I feel. As much as we’d love to stay here forever, and let the modern world carry on around us in blissful denial, our stadium is on its last legs, and you can’t deny otherwise. It’s not quite at the Dignitas stage, admittedly, and if we wanted to play lower or non-League football forever, perhaps we could stay, but that’s not a wise thing to do any longer.

So, am I excited about the future? Well, I’m not sure quite yet. I still can’t picture myself sat, or standing safely, in the West Stand Lionel Road, and I’m usually quite good at imagining situations.

I’ll be there, like most of you, I have no doubt, but I’m not looking forward to this time next year.

Not one little bit… are you?

Dave Lane
@beesotted100

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About The Author

Dave Lane

Beesotted Editor Since 1990

5 Comments

  1. Don Tabswellt

    Just a thought (as likely impossible) but is there a chance to reissue the book with a final season addendum?

    Thanks don

    Reply
    • Dave Lane

      There may be a supplement for the final season.

      Reply
  2. Paul Bridgen

    Leaving wouldn’t be quite so bad if we didn’t have to endure the closed season before starting up at the new ground. If we were moving on straightaway, at least there would be an immediate positive to mitigate the sense of loss. Without this, the end of next season is going to be particularly depressing …. unless, of course, we have won promotion!!!

    Reply
  3. David Carney David

    How can you not be looking forward to this time next year?
    We are all living in one of the two most exciting stages of Brentford FC. Progress and improvement means there will be change and the dear old Lady that is Griffin Park will always be part of Brentford but it really is time for her to retire.
    When my Dad first bought me to Griffin Park in 1954 after (he returned to London with his family, having left to join the RAF in 1939), i can still remember him saying that Griffin Park was ‘tired’ from the one he remembered before WW2 when he never missed a game. I can remember the queues paying in cash at the turnstiles (I think he paid 2 shillings for himself and 9 pence for me. He taught me much of the history of Brentford and its players from the mid 1920’s until 1939 and just how good Brentford were in those days.
    I can also remember entering the ground from Brook Road and walking up the terrace to the New Road Stand and quickly passing the always shocking smell/odour from the mens toilets under the Brook Road Stand. You had to be desperate to pay a visit before/during or after a game.
    Griffin Park, back in the first season of Division 3 South had regular attendances around 15,000 and there seemed to be a belief that there would only be a short stay before the rightful place of the Second Division and then the First Division days would return. This was Brentford after all and far too good for the basement of League Football.
    It would therefore be fitting that after all these years the grand Old Lady that is Griffin Park will bow out and retire in a season that will finally see the return to the top Division of English Football, in fact the best Division of football anywhere in the World.
    That would truly be something specialto look forward to with immense anticipation and the most appropriate farewell to that Great Old Lady that is Griffin Park.
    My last visit to Griffin Park was the 1992/93 season’s memorable win over Fulham that all be confirmed promotion. Hopefully I will return again soon, but is is a long way from Melbourne, Australia.
    Everyone who supports Brentford would have memories that will last until our last gasp, so Griffin Park will never die. Griffin Park will be forever a massive part of the rich history of Brentford and just as this current chapter of Brentford’s history opened with the arrival of Matthew Benham, so too will future chapters open and close.
    Brentford has done the hard yards, time again to embrace the future with enthusiasm, hope and expectation of continued success. Not with fear, nervousness or trepidation of what possible disaster could occur.
    I reckon we should look forward, embrace change with gusto, but never forget and cherish all that the history of Brentford FC has to offer the small group of supporters that we all are – after all every one of us knows Griffin Park is part of us.

    Reply
    • Dave Lane

      A lovely reply David, I will use it as an article so more people read your memories!

      Reply

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