Griffin Park

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Griffin Park
Griffin Park aerial 2011.jpg
Full name Griffin Park
Location Brentford, Hounslow, London
TW8 0NT
Coordinates 51°29′17.46″N 0°18′9.50″W / 51.4881833°N 0.3026389°W / 51.4881833; -0.3026389Coordinates: 51°29′17.46″N 0°18′9.50″W / 51.4881833°N 0.3026389°W / 51.4881833; -0.3026389
Owner Brentford F.C.
Capacity 12,763
Field size 110 x 73 yd (100 x 67 metres)
Construction
Built January–September 1904
Opened September 1904
Tenants
Brentford F.C. (1904 – 2016)
London Broncos (2002–2006)
Chelsea F.C. Reserves (2007–2010)

Griffin Park is a football ground in Brentford, situated in the London Borough of Hounslow, west London. It has been the home ground of Championship side Brentford since it was built in 1904. The ground is known for being the only English league football ground to have a pub on each corner and is situated in a predominantly residential area.[1] The ground gets its name from the griffin, featured in the logo of Fuller's Brewery, which at one point owned the orchard on which the stadium was built.

History[edit]

Planning, construction and opening[edit]

Between forming in 1889 and prior to 1904, Brentford played at five grounds around Ealing - Clifden Road, Benns Field, Shotters Field, Cross Road and Boston Park Cricket Ground.[2] In 1903, Fulham chairman Henry Norris (a prominent estate agent), Brentford manager Dick Molyneux and club president Edwin Underwood negotiated a 21 year lease at a peppercorn rent on an orchard along the Ealing Road (owned by local brewers Fuller, Smith and Turner), with the option to buy the freehold at a later date for £5000.[2] After a gypsy camp was removed from the site, work began on building the ground in January 1904, under the guidance of architects Parr & Kates.[2] The stadium was named 'Griffin Park' after a nearby pub, The Griffin, which was owned by the Griffin Brewery and was used as dressing rooms and for accommodation.[3] After a number of trial games, Griffin Park was opened on 1 September 1904.[3] The first match at the ground was played that day - a Western League fixture versus Plymouth Argyle,[4] with 5,500 spectators watching the sides play out a draw.[2]

Wartime bombing[edit]

Griffin Park was hit by a high-explosive bomb during the Second World War, between 1941 and 1942.[5] Bombs also fell on the neighbouring Braemar Road and New Road.[5] Six matches were abandoned or postponed during the Blitz.[2]

Development[edit]

A new grandstand was constructed on the Braemar Road side of the ground using money generated from Brentford's run to the fifth round of the FA Cup during the 1926/27 season.

Ticketing[edit]

The club installed an electronic ticketing system on all turnstiles at Griffin Park in the summer of 2014.[6] Previously, supporters were able to pay on the turnstiles on match days.[6]

Stadium structure[edit]

Sheffield Wednesday supporters on the uncovered Ealing Road terrace during the 2005 League One playoffs. A temporary Sky Sports TV gantry is located at the back of the stand.

When first opened, Griffin Park had no terracing and banks surrounded the pitch, covered with ashes.[2] A tiny stand was erected, which was initially refused a safety certificate.[2]

Stands[edit]

  • Braemar Road Stand - A two-tiered all-seated stand located along the Braemar Road, currently known officially as the Bees United Stand. The lower tier is known as 'the Paddock'.[7] The stand also houses the dressing rooms, supporters' bar and club offices. The stand's forecourt houses the club shop and ticket office. Until 2010, the dugouts were located in front of the stand.[8]
  • New Road Stand - A single-tiered all-seated stand located along the New Road. It is currently known as the Bill Axbey Stand, as a tribute to the club's oldest-ever supporter.[9] Previously a terrace, the stand was converted to seating in the summer of 1996.[2] The dugouts have been located in front of the stand since 2010.[10] The central camera position for TV broadcasts of games is located in a gantry suspended from the roof of the stand. The Family Section is located in blocks N506, N507 and N508.[6]
  • Ealing Road End - A single-tier terrace located at the Ealing Road end of the ground. Previously uncovered, the club had an application to build a roof turned down in 2004,[11] with the terrace finally receiving a roof in 2007.[12] Traditionally a home end, the stand housed away supporters at various times throughout the 2000s.
  • Brook Road Stand - A two-tiered stand with seating on the upper level and terracing on the lower level, built in the mid-1980s to replace the Royal Oak Stand (Griffin Park's 'kop').[13] The stand houses away supporters. Because of the stand's appearance, it is affectionately known as 'the Wendy House'.

Floodlights[edit]

Brentford was one of the first clubs to recognise the potential of floodlit football and in 1954, a sum of £5345 was spent on erecting perimeter lights the length of the Braemar Road and New Road stands.[2] With the Football League banning competitive games under floodlights, a number of friendly matches were arranged to increase revenue, with one match against an International Managers XI attracting 21,600 spectators.[2] By the time the Football League's ban on competitive floodlit football was lifted in February 1956, the club had received over £10,000 in gate receipts from the friendly matches.[2] The original perimeter lights were replaced in August 1963 with pylons located at each corner of the ground.[2] The current floodlight pylons at the ground were purchased from West London neighbours Chelsea in 1983.[2] Electronic scoreboards are attached to two of the pylons.[14]

Griffin Park in 1982, with the New Road Stand visible.

Attendances[edit]

Records[edit]

Recent years[edit]

As of 2014, Griffin Park has a capacity of 12,763. The highest attendance for a league match in recent seasons was 12,300 versus Doncaster Rovers in League One on 27 April 2013.[15] FA Cup fourth and fifth round matches versus Sunderland and Southampton drew crowds of 11,698 and 11,720 respectively in 2006 and 2005.[16][17]

Neutral venue[edit]

Football internationals[edit]

Brentford hosted the Zambia and India international teams in pre-season friendly matches in 1994 and 2000 respectively.[2] Griffin Park hosted more FA Amateur Cup semi-finals than any other ground, with nine matches played between 1947 and 1974.[2]

Tenants[edit]

Advertising[edit]

Griffin Park pictured from the Heathrow flightpath in 1995.

Griffin Park is beneath the flightpath of London Heathrow Airport and the roofs of the Bill Axbey and Bees United stands are used as a large advertising space. The roofs of both stands have been used to advertise KLM, Ericsson, Infogrames and Qatar Airways.[22] The Bill Axbey Stand roof is currently sponsored by Matchbook, the club's official betting partner.[23] In the late 2000s, the Braemar Road stand was sponsored by water cooler business Refreshing Solutions.[24]

'A pub on every corner'[edit]

Griffin Park is well known in football circles for being the only football ground in England to have a pub on each corner.[1][25] The pubs are:

  • The Griffin - Located at the corner of Braemar Road and Brook Road.[26] The exterior and interior of the pub was used as a location in the 2004 film Green Street and is also visible in the 1954 film The Rainbow Jacket.[27][28]
  • The Princess Royal - Located at the corner of Braemar Road and Ealing Road.[29]
  • The New Inn - Located at the corner of New Road and Ealing Road.
  • The Royal Oak - Located at the corner of New Road and Brook Road.

Future and ownership[edit]

The original lease on the ground ran out in 1925, but the deal was kept on ice and the club became freeholders in April 1936.[2]

With Brentford in the Fourth Division and heavily in debt in the late 1960s, in March 1968 Jim Gregory (chairman of West London rivals Queens Park Rangers) offered £250,000 to buy the ground and move Queens Park Rangers to Griffin Park.[2] Former Brentford chairman Walter Wheatley stepped in and provided the club with a £69,000 loan.[2]

In 1998, then-chairman Ron Noades acquired the freehold of Griffin Park, through his company Griffin Park Stadium Limited.[30] With Noades declaring he would only fund the club until 2000,[31] the prospect of the sale of Griffin Park for development looked likely until 2006, when supporters' trust Bees United bought his majority shareholding.[32] Noades' loans to the club were repaid by current owner Matthew Benham in 2007.[32]

Brentford's hopes of moving to a new 20,000-capacity stadium were boosted in 2007 after the club was given an option to buy a 7.6-acre (31,000 m2) site at Lionel Road, less than a mile away from Griffin Park.[33] The project was halted in 2010 due to the economic downturn and partners Barrett Homes pulled out of the deal in January 2011.[33] In June 2012, the club bought the Lionel Road side from Barrett Homes. Outline planning approval was given by the London Borough of Hounslow on 5 December 2013, with the Mayor of London's office giving their approval in February 2014.[34] Eric Pickles (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) gave final approval for the stadium on 14 March 2014. Building work is expected to commence in the summer of 2014.[34]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Brentford: probably the most refreshing football ground in the world - interactive | Travel". theguardian.com. 2013-03-15. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s Haynes, Graham (1998). A-Z Of Bees: Brentford Encyclopaedia. Yore Publications. ISBN 1 874427 57 7. 
  3. ^ a b http://www.getwestlondon.co.uk/news/news-opinion/looking-back-eddie-menday-football-8110655?utm_source=Get+West+London&utm_medium=twitter
  4. ^ "Brentford FC History". Brentfordfc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  5. ^ a b University of Portsmouth, in collaboration with the National Archives and funded by JISC. "High Explosive Bomb at Braemar Road , London - Bomb Sight - Mapping the World War 2 London Blitz". Bomb Sight. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  6. ^ a b c http://www.brentfordfc.co.uk/news/article/match-day-ticket-arrangements-1415-1840358.aspx
  7. ^ http://www.brentfordfc.co.uk/documents/73374-brentford-fc-stadium-map-update-final-no-icons277-1652461.pdf
  8. ^ Amos, Stuart (2009-11-24). "Bees bench behind Griffin Park stalemate (From Your Local Guardian)". Yourlocalguardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  9. ^ "Bill Axbey: the legend of Griffin Park dies, aged 102 (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)". Richmondandtwickenhamtimes.co.uk. 2007-05-08. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  10. ^ "Brentford - Dugouts on the move". Brentford.vitalfootball.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  11. ^ http://www.brentfordtw8.com/default.asp?section=info&page=ebfc24.htm
  12. ^ Football (2007-08-27). "Terry Butcher builds on solid start at Brentford". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  13. ^ "The Royal Oak Stand". Beesotted. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  14. ^ "New Scoreboards Installed". Brentfordfc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  15. ^ Brentford 0 (2013-04-27). "BBC Sport - Brentford 0-1 Doncaster". Bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  16. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | FA Cup | Brentford 2-1 Sunderland". BBC News. 2006-01-28. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  17. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | FA Cup | Brentford 1-3 Southampton". BBC News. 2005-03-01. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  18. ^ 1948 Summer Olympics official report. pp. 45-6.
  19. ^ http://www.brentford-mad.co.uk/feat/edz7/chelsea_reserves_griffin_park_fixtures_200708_343491/index.shtml
  20. ^ http://www.brentfordfc.co.uk/news/article/chelsea-under-21s-to-use-gp-286584.aspx
  21. ^ "Championship: London Welsh announce Kassam Stadium switch | Live Rugby News | ESPN Scrum". Espn.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-13. 
  22. ^ "Brentford's Local Web site". Brentfordtw8.com. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  23. ^ "Brentford Football Club agree deal with Matchbook.com to be Official Betting Partner". Brentfordfc.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  24. ^ Football (2007-12-31). "Brentford notch refreshing win". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  25. ^ http://www.brentfordfc.co.uk/documents/griffin-park-guide277-1076877.pdf
  26. ^ "The Griffin - Home". Griffinbrentford.co.uk. 2013-09-15. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  27. ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0385002/locations
  28. ^ "The Rainbow Jacket, 1954, The Griffin | The History of Brentford". Brentfordhistory.com. 2014-01-03. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  29. ^ "The Princess Royal - Home". Princessroyalbrentford.co.uk. 2013-09-15. Retrieved 2014-08-15. 
  30. ^ "BBC SPORT | BRENTFORD | Brentford may share with Woking". BBC News. 2001-03-02. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  31. ^ Leo Spall (2001-01-15). "Brentford get set for move to Woking - Sport - London Evening Standard". Standard.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  32. ^ a b "RON NOADES 1937-2013". Brentfordfc.co.uk. 2013-12-24. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  33. ^ a b Street, Tim (2011-01-28). "Barratt Homes pull out on new Brentford stadium deal". Get West London. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 
  34. ^ a b Culbertson, Alix (2014-03-14). "Brentford FC's new Lionel Road stadium gets the final thumbs up". Get West London. Retrieved 2014-08-14. 

External links[edit]

  • Map sources for Griffin Park can be seen as a square on the west side of Ealing Road (i.e. left side on the map). It may be labelled Brentford FC rather than Griffin Park.