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Brentford Awaydaze
Thursday, 19th May 2022 08:16 by Tim Whelan

And so we come to the gut-wrenching final day of the Premier League season, and the game at Brentford on which our future depends kicks on at 4PM on Sunday. And it’s live on the Sky Sports football channel.

If you’re driving down from Leeds you could take the M25 round to Heathrow (junction 15) and then the M4 towards central London, with junction 2 being very close to the stadium, but good luck finding anywhere to park nearby. Having scoured Google maps for a park and ride alternative, the easiest I could spot was to come off the M25 onto the M40 at junction 16, heading into London.

Then after the M40 merges with the A40, look for the A437 turnoff to Hillingdon. After taking that, going left at the second roundabout and takes you to Hillingdon tube station. From Hillingdon you can catch a Piccadilly Line train to Acton Town (see below) though if a Metropolitan line train turns up first it’s quicker to get on and change onto the Piccadilly at Rayners Lane.

The nearest railway station is Kew Bridge, which has two trains an hour from Waterloo on Sundays, at 20 past and 10 to the hour. Trains back after the match leave at quarter past and quarter to the hour. But the National Rail website doesn’t show any additional trains on top of the normal Sunday service, so they might get a bit crowded on matchdays. Another option is to catch the Piccadilly line from Kings Cross to Acton Town and then take a walk of about a mile across Gunnersbury Park.

But if that sounds too energetic you could change onto a Richmond-bound District Line train at Hammersmith (the other side of the same platform) to get to Gunnersbury, which is closer to the stadium. Gunnersbury station is closed for an hour after the match to prevent overcrowding, so if you want to catch the District line after the match you need to go a bit further to Chiswick Park.

The nearest pub to the stadium that usually admits away fans is the Express Tavern on Kew Bridge Road, and another option is to head down this road towards the Thames, where you will see ‘One over the Ait’ on the right just before you get to the bridge. If you want to get your fix of the old ground then head for Griffin Park, which famously had pubs on all four corners, and three of them are still in business.

The club had played at homely Griffin Park since 1904, but with it’s cramped location there was never going to be any chance of upgrading it to the standards required by the top divisions of English Football. They had been planning a move since 2002 and finally completed the new stadium 18 years later, just in time to have to play a season behind closed doors.

The Brentford Community stadium is less than a mile from their former home and is located on a brownfield site within a triangle of railway lines, with 910 new homes also being built as part of the same project. The official club website describes it as “a state of the art stadium, at the heart of plans to regenerate the local area”. It also stages the home games of London Irish rugby club.

The capacity is a modest 17,250, and by all accounts it’s hard to spot the stadium as you approach, as it’s surrounded by taller buildings. As you would expect from a new build the facilities are good, as is the view of the pitch, though it all feels a little bit box-like. Another modern twist is the catering, as they sell fancy wrap type things instead of traditional football ground pies.

And before you even get to the stadium you will have to get past some additional ticket checks on the way, as for some reason they think there might be a bit of bother at this game (see seperate article). There will also be a hugely increased number of police and stewards on duty.

Our allocation is 1,725 seats in the East Stand, and to get there you need to take a bit of a hike around the outside to a narrow road and then down some stairs. It’s so complicated that they need to have a person with a lollipop sign to show away fans the way. And when you get there you’ll find they don’t serve beer in the visitors’ section.

Our tickets cost £30 for adults, with concessions at £10 or £25, and Inevitably they sold out as soon as they went on sale, so you might be tempted to try to get a ticket elsewhere. But for all Premier League games this season they have only been selling tickets for the home stands to Brentford members and it just got tougher to get one.

Their official website says “Given the expected level of demand and the increased security arrangements in place for the final game of the season, following discussions with the police and safety team, it has been agreed to tighten our ticketing distribution process for this match.” This time you not only need to be a member but to have been to three Brentford Premier League games this season.

I’m not sure why there’s an increased demand from Brentford fans when they are safe from going down. And if you have somehow managed to get a ticket that isn’t in the Leeds section, “Any away fans found to be in home areas will be required to leave the stadium. Any Brentford fan who is found to be responsible for passing a ticket to an away fan will face a lengthy stadium ban”.

So if you are in a home section you will need to avoid drawing attention to yourself, hard as that will be on such a fraught occasion. For all of us it’s going to be impossible to relax and enjoy the match on Sunday, but we can but hope that we will be back for another league game next season.

Some of this rubbish came from www.footballgroundguide.com

Reuters



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