With a thriving academy, sound infrastructure, sensible financial tutelage and an enhanced playing budget, Brentford is very much a club on the up.
Expectation of an automatic promotion spot has grown along with the reputation of our little club among up and coming players looking for a solid employer with which to play their trade.
But like some others I fear the very foundations of what attracted us to this club are shifting quite quickly and could alienate the long-standing bedrock of supporters.
That may well be a calculated decision by the club and if so, that’s fine. Businesses, especially football clubs, are run on numbers these days and if they don’t add up we have all seen what can happen.
However the advent of loyalty point schemes and the hopefully imminent arrival of permission for a new stadium will change the heartbeat of Brentford FC forever.
I say hopefully because clearly the club has to maximise non-matchday revenue streams and a conference facilities and restaurants are the only way.
But there’s a danger that the baby may be thrown out with the bathwater. The plans show little easy parking and include a Players Village. The execution would appear to have been meticulously planned along business and community lines but is slightly clumsy with regards the way it impacts on the rank and file supporters.
Public transport isn’t an option for me living in Maidenhead so how do I get there?
The intimate feel of players walking past fans at Griffin Park will be replaced by a faceless corporate entrance, where players are whisked in and out anonymously.
The one thing Brentford has always excelled at is making its supporters feel part of a close-knit family and I’m afraid that will soon disappear.
My daughter is passionate about her club and has until recently held a season ticket with me for years.
She leaves for University next week and with little chance of accruing loyalty points will, effectively, have little chance of getting to big games and trips to Coventry.
The points system is little more than a money grabbing scheme which leaves a nasty taste in the mouth – 100 points for a pie notwithstanding – and frankly, I expected better of Brentford. The loyalty scheme is a bag of shit. No one can say “I’m more loyal than you” and be rewarded for it because peoples’ lives aren’t that clear cut.
I have returned my card to Hounslow Council because Lionel Road offers clear benefits for the community, club and groups in the area. I think we need to move (although I don’t want us to)… as long as it doesn’t change the whole vibe of the club.
Fundamentally, I would like reassurances that the feel of the club I have followed for almost 50 years isn’t about to change for the worse.