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  • Chris Tuck

Brentford Community Stadium – Brentford FC


Stadium Info FANFARE Score: 3.57

Brentford Community Stadium 166 Lionel Rd N London, Brentford TW8 9QT England Map It

Brentford FC website Brentford Community Stadium website

Year Opened: 2020 Capacity: 17,250

 

Bees New Hive

After 116 years at their much-loved Griffin Park home, Brentford FC finally have a brand-new stadium, fit for the Premier League. It is less than a mile from their former home, made famous for having a pub on each corner of the ground. The new campus, next to the River Thames in the west of London, includes a 17,500 stadium, 910 homes and a new public square. The development partner for the move was EcoWorld London and the principal stadium contractor was Buckingham Construction Group Limited.

Work began in 2018 and an estimated £71 million pounds later, on the 1st Sept 2020, the stadium opened with a friendly match v Oxford United. London Irish, the professional rugby union side, also moved in (from the Madejski Stadium) for the 2020/21 season.

Brentford’s first season in their new stadium was mostly played behind closed doors due to the C19 pandemic. The season had a happy ending with the club gaining promotion to the Premier League, their first foray into England’s top-flight since 1947.

Viewed from above (on google maps) you can see what an incredible feat of engineering it was to fit the stadium campus into the tightest of spaces. Three railway lines frame the site and cause the main structure to rise and fall in the corners. The perimeter is a mix of tight alleyways, a closed off road, and paved walkways. It’s tight, intimate but well worth a visit!

Food & Beverage 3

Outside the ground, those narrow walkways mean very little space for street sellers or food kiosks. The Express Tavern looks to be the closest pub. South of the stadium, around Kew Bridge, there are various bars, restaurants, and food stores. ‘One over the Ait’ bar and restaurant is worth a visit and boasts views over the Thames. Adjacent, you’ll find a Costa Coffee and Sainsburys. On the south side of the bridge, the Cricketers on Kew Green serves food and drinks and looks out over the local cricket pitch, quintessential English dining!

Once inside the stadium, there are a good number of food kiosks in each concourse. The queues moved quickly on our visit and the staff was friendly and efficient. A pint of Guinness cost £6, London Pride £5.50 or an alcohol-free Peroni £3.75. Soft drinks are £2.50. Now the gentrification of English football is nearly complete you can also get a Gin & Tonic for £6 or a glass of Sauvignon for £6.50!

Food options included a Chicken Balti Pie for £4.50, a sausage roll for £3.95, and for those drinking the wine and gin, a Moroccan Tomato and Chickpea Pie! No burger and chips here. How times have changed! Confectionary items are £1.50.

The local beer ‘London Pride’ is recommended, coming from the Fullers Brewery just 2.5 miles away. Add the balti pie to your order and for £10 you will be fed and watered and ready to enjoy the game.

Atmosphere 4

The stadium boasts 2,930 premium seats, five premium lounges, 400 square metres of roof solar panels, and two large scoreboards above the half-way line. The four distinct stands are simply named North, South, East, and West.

Three of the 4 stands have more than one tier, the north stand being the smallest with just one bank of seating.

The main (south) stand is the largest of the four, towering over the rest of the stadium it contains the main hospitality areas, players changing rooms, and media provision.

In theory, all seats are covered but as is often the case, the first few rows of seats will probably not stop the English weather giving you a soaking. The away fans are housed in a section of the east stand. The most vocal home fans are found opposite, in the west stand.

Neighborhood 4

The regeneration of this part of West London continues, with high rise flats still under construction. Particularly to the south of the ground, it’s a lovely and intimate part of the city. Kew Gardens, the bars around Kew Gardens underground station and the Kew Green cricket pitch (and pub opposite) are all particularly pleasant. Attraction wise if the world famous Botanical gardens are not your thing, a visit to the nearby Fullers Brewery for a tour is recommended.

Of course, any football trip to London means you have access to one of the most visited capital cities in the world. Hang around in Leicester Square, visit Buckingham Palace or watch one of the world’s oldest democracies in session in Westminster.

For the football, stay in the ‘Coach and Horses’ on Kew Green which has rooms, a bar and food all available, and experience the ‘village’ feel just a mile from the ground. Alternatively, the modestly priced hotel chain Travelodge has various venues nearby, the closest is known simply as ‘Kew Bridge.’

Fans 3

Brentford fans are very much in the ‘glass half full’ stage of support for their club. At the time of writing, they are getting used to their brand-new stadium and enjoying early life in the premier league. Of course, losing Griffin Park will be a cause of consternation for some. The new stadium however brings revenues and opportunities which would have been hard to realize in their old home. Their average attendance at Griffin Park hovered around 10,000 but they should comfortably sell out 17,500 seats regularly in their new ground.

‘Hey Jude’ is the fans’ anthem of choice, expect it to hear it a few times as the Bees fans make themselves heard. Fulham are the main local rivals, intensified in recent seasons as the clubs both vied for promotion. QPR and Chelsea are the other geographical rivalries.

Access 3

Obtaining a ticket may prove difficult whilst Brentford ply their trade at English football’s top table.

For premier league matches, prices are split into 2 categories. Category A against London rivals and larger Premier League clubs and the rest are Category B. In the family area (located in the north stand) tickets prices are at their cheapest with adults £30 and children £10 (£25 and £10 for Cat B games). Around the rest of the stadium, for adults, tickets are between £40 and £60. Concessions (65+ and 18yrs-24yrs) range from £30 – £50. You will probably need to be a Brentford season ticket holder, member (My Bees) or an away fan to be sure of obtaining a ticket with demand currently very high.

For early rounds of the League Cup or pre-season friendlies, tickets were just £10 and there was much more availability to the general public. Purchase tickets from the club website or for enquiries email tickets@brentfordfc.com

Disabled fans can purchase and request carers tickets by phone (0333 005 8521). There are 150 wheelchair spaces in total. Premium / hospitality seats can be secured via the premium seats link.

The Bretford FC website has its own guide to visiting the new stadium.

We’d suggest you don’t drive into the immediate area around the ground. Park a few miles south in say Richmond, or west of the stadium and you can pay minimal parking prices, then use public transport. On our visit, a local school close to the stadium was charging an exorbitant £15 to park. The club do have access to parking and have details on their website here.

Kew Bridge is the nearest railway station which brings you out directly to the footprint of the stadium. There are also Chiswick and Brentford stations, but they are around a 30-minute walk away. Kew Gardens or Gunnersbury are two underground (and overground) stations which leave just a 20-minute walk. The club suggests the following bus routes 237, 267, 65, H91 and the 391 to get to and from the stadium. Alternatively, cycle for free and use one of 300 cycle spaces at the ground.

Entry to the ground is via lettered entrances into the North, South, East and West stands. The QR code found on your ticket, phone or print at home paperwork will need to be scanned to gain entrance. Our visit, one of the first games with fans, saw some issues with the technology but these should be ironed out quickly as everyone gets used to visiting their new home. Away fans are asked to head to Capital Interchange Way, then cross the railway bridge to gain access to the ground.

Inside the stadium the concourses are not cavernous given the tightness of the stadium footprint. In the West stand this is alleviated by toilets and food kiosks on two levels, ensuring things were not too crushed.

Return on Investment 4

West London, a premier league side with a brand-new stadium, isn’t going to be cheap. Ticket prices, accommodation in London, visiting attractions and £5 a pint can make a large dent in your wallet.

However, if you are smart about your visit you don’t have to break the bank. Choose an early round of the cup or a pre-season friendly and tickets are just £10. Travel can be relatively inexpensive with evening car parking in Richmond just £3.05 from 5pm. A return train ticket to Kew Gardens is just £5.60 leaving a 20-minute walk to the stadium. Food and drink will always be pricier in the capital but our visit for the visit of Forest Green Rovers in the League Cup gave us change from £50.

Extras 4

Additional TV screens, set into the roof of the stand, mean fans who cannot see the main screens still get to engage.

Brentford continue to issue a printed programme. With some clubs in the UK only putting their programmes ‘online’ it’s refreshing to see the programme booths doing good business before the game.

Recycling of the plastic beer containers is encouraged with receptacles on the walls of the concourses where you can place your empty drink holder avoiding littering and waste.

Provide an email address when you buy your ticket, and on the day of the game, you’ll receive an email from the club with all the latest travel information and team news.

Final Thoughts

With the tightness of the ground, the overlooking high-rise flats, the multi-coloured seats, and on the day of our visit, a bright blue sky, the venue has a distinctly Spanish feel. The atmosphere certainly benefits from the intimate feel. The unusual sharp corners of the structure due to the train lines make this anything but a standard ‘out-of-the-box’ new stadium. With all the sights of London town less than 45 mins away, or some time spent in and around the delightful Kew area, a visit to this stadium is thoroughly recommended.

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