Griffin Park

Ground No. 104
Visited - Saturday 7th October 2006
Result - Brentford 1-1 Bristol City
Competition - Coca Cola League 1
Attendance - 6740

Griffin Park was a ground that I’d been looking forward to visiting for quite a while, so when noticing that Brentford were at home to Bristol City, with no other games standing out, I decided to go for it, and take another step closer towards completing the 92.

As usual when going down to London, I decided to travel down with Chiltern trains, changing in Birmingham, before arriving into Marylebone just after 11am. From there, the journey westwards by tube went fairly smoothly, and I arrived at South Ealing just before midday, walking the mile or so down to the ground.

Despite a fair number of tall buildings in the vicinity, from quite a distance, you can see the floodlights of Griffin Park, leading you towards the ground like a spire to a church, however once you actually get to the ground, it all disappears behind rows of terraced houses, with very few glimpses of the stands themselves.

On Braemar Road is where most of the clubs existence is revealed, with the club shop and Main Reception joined by the turnstiles for the Main Stand and away end. On the other three sides however, there is no more than brief openings for the exits/turnstiles. Griffin Park is of course most famous for having four pubs on each of its corners, however this is somewhat of a broad statement, as the pubs aren’t on the corners of the ground itself, merely on the corner of each road running around the small site. Indeed, two of the pubs (The Griffin and The New Inn) are on the opposite side of the road to the ground.

Having taken a few pictures, and stopped off in the club shop, there was still an hour or so to kill before the gates opened, so I went off in the direction of Brentford High St, before coming back for 2pm.

I’d chosen to stand in the Ealing Road Terrace with the away fans, so after going in, due to the constrictions of the site, we had to walk around the back of the Main Stand and under the corner section, before getting to the terrace, which was a typical uncovered end, fair in height, but offering little protection from any inclement weather. To our left was the Main/Braemar Road Stand, which was a small, two-tiered stand which ran for the length of the pitch, with the two ends wrapping around the corners, before coming to a stop prior to continuing behind the goals. Opposite was the Brook Road End. This was an interesting little stand. Again, two-tiered, with a lower section of terracing beneath a small upper tier which overhung it. Apparently this was once the away end, and will revert to being so once a roof is placed over the Ealing Rd Terrace, but for this game, the home fans took up this end. Finally, to our right was the New Road Stand. Probably the most interesting structure at the ground, at one time it had been a terrace, but with seats placed on it nowadays, it was half its original height, with the metalwork visibly protruding from its rear.

Having taken a few pictures, I found a place to stand, and waited for the game to start. Whilst Brentford had had an unspectacular start to the season, the visitors, Bristol City, had started well, and were sitting in third place before the game, knowing that three points could potentially take them top. This seemed to have caught the imagination of the City fans, and by kick-off, the terrace had filled up to near capacity, with there being little room left around where I was stood. The other sides were less full, with there being plenty of spaces in the home areas.

With the teams out, and all the pre-match huddles done, the game got started with Brentford looking the brighter. They had a good chance early on, but couldn’t make anything of it, and so it was the visitors who opened the scoring, when Jamie McCombe found space in the box, to smash home a cross from the right. Despite both sides having had chances, it was the only real moment of excitement in a fairly dull opening half, and so at the break it was 1-0 to City.

In the second half, it was the visitors who had the chance to increase their lead early on, but like with the first 45 minutes, neither side really impressed, and when Brentford were awarded a penalty on 67 minutes, they were able to bring the scores level thanks to Kevin O’Connor. The rest of the game played out to its inevitable conclusion, and at the end, neither side could have much complaints about the two points dropped, with both failing to impress all that much.

After leaving the ground, I quickly walked back to the tube station, before making my way back to central London, spending a few hours there, before heading back to the station to catch the train home, making good time on the journey back.

Overall, it had been a fairly good day out, however the ground had fallen somewhat short of my expectations. With it looking quite unusual and quirky in pictures, I was expecting it to be one of the more interesting ones of the 92, however throughout the afternoon, I never really found myself warming to it, with there being a definite something missing. Quite what, I couldn’t say, but that ‘it factor’, the je ne sais quoi, for some reason just wasn’t there, so despite not being the worst ground I’ve visited by any means, it probably isn’t one I’ll be rushing back to.

Welcome to Griffin Park

The Club Shop

Rear of the Braemar Road Stand

Rear of the Braemar Road Stand

Entrances to the Brook Road Stand

Rear of the Brook Road Stand

Rear of the New Road Stand
 (note the metalwork protruding at the rear where the stand used to be deeper)

Entrances to the New Road Stand

The Four Pubs

The Ealing Road Terrace

The New Road Stand

The Brook Road Stand

The Braemar Road Stand

The Braemar Road Stand

The Brook Road Stand

The New Road Stand

Griffin Park Panoramic


No comments:

Post a Comment