Griffin Park

Griffin Park
Full name Griffin Park
Location Brentford, London, England
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
Public transit National Rail Brentford
Owner Brentford F.C.
Capacity 12,300
Field size 110 x 73 yd (100 x 67 metres)
Built January–September 1904
Opened September 1904
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.


Planning, construction and opening

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.[3] 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.[3] The orchard was cut down by local volunteers, who were allowed to keep the wood.[4]

The ground was initially built with a 20,000 capacity in mind, with a provision for an increase to 30,000-40,000.[4] An 800-capacity stand from Boston Park was rebuilt alongside the Braemar Road side of the ground, with an extension alongside taking the stand's capacity to 1,500.[4] Beneath and behind the stand were three dressing rooms (one for each team and one for officials), a number of offices and a recreation room.[4] The ground 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.[5] After a number of trial games, Griffin Park was opened on 1 September 1904.[5] Season tickets for the 1904–05 season (priced between 10 shillings and one guinea) sold out.[4]

The first matches

The first competitive match to be played at Griffin Park was a Western League fixture versus Plymouth Argyle on 1 September 1904.[6] The Braemar Road grandstand had been completed by the time of the fixture, but as the dressing rooms were not ready, the players were forced to change at the public baths in Clifden Road.[6] The borough surveyor also declared the grandstand unsafe and banned its use until improvements had been made.[4] Argyle scored the first competitive goal at the ground through Fred Buck, but four minutes from the final whistle, Tommy Shanks converted a James Swarbrick cross to secure a 1–1 draw.[6] The crowd was estimated at between 4,000 and 5,000.[6]

The first truly first team fixture to be played at the ground was a Southern League First Division match on 3 September 1904, which yielded a 0–0 draw between Brentford and West Ham United.[6] The Bees would have to wait until 22 October 1904 for their first victory at the ground, a 2–0 win over Millwall.[6] The first Football League match to be played at the ground was on the opening day of the 1920–21 season, a 3–0 Third Division defeat to Exeter City.[7]


Griffin Park pictured from the New Road stand, September 2015.

A new grandstand was constructed on the Braemar Road side of the ground using £5,000 of the money generated from Brentford's run to the fifth round of the FA Cup during the 1926–27 season,[4] replacing the 'cow shed'.[8] Unlike the old grandstand, the new stand ran the length of the pitch.[4] After the season, it was announced that Griffin Park would be completely redeveloped over the following decade.[4] Concrete terracing was installed at the Ealing Road end of the ground in 1930.[4] A new stand was constructed at the Brook Road end of the ground in the 1933 off-season and the New Road terrace was extended the following year to allow a further 5,000 supporters to be accommodated.[9] A further extension to the terracing and a roof was added prior to Brentford's debut First Division season in 1935–36, taking the New Road stand's capacity to 20,000.[9]

Little development occurred at Griffin Park between the mid-1930s and the mid-1980s.[4] The frontage of the Braemar Road stand was rebuilt in 1963, adding club offices and a club room.[10] Flats were built in a spare, matchday parking area behind the Ealing Road terrace in 1985 and the following year the Brook Road 'kop' was torn down and replaced by a two-tiered stand,[4] now colloquially known as the 'Wendy House'.[11] On the New Road side of the ground, the 1930s extension to the terrace was removed, with a new sheet metal wall added to the back of the stand.[4]

The pitch was moved a few metres to the west in 2006, in order to accommodate box goal nets and the following year, a roof was finally added to the Ealing Road terrace.[12] Numerous improvements were made after Brentford's promotion to the Championship in 2014, including resurfacing of access areas, extra CCTV, new signage, new heated seats in the dugouts and AstroTurf installed in the pitch-side run-off areas.[13] With the club placed in the Championship playoff places in January 2015, additional work was carried out on the New Road stand ahead of a 31 January deadline for submission of a report to the Premier League, which will outline development plans ahead of a potential promotion.[14]

Crowd disturbance

The only occasion on which Griffin Park has been closed due to crowd trouble was following a Third Division South match versus Brighton & Hove Albion on 12 September 1925.[15] Ill-feeling on the pitch sparked trouble on the terraces and following the referee's report, the FA closed the ground for 14 days.[15] The following home match against Crystal Palace was moved to Selhurst Park, where Brentford suffered a 2–0 defeat and dropped to bottom place in the Football League.[15]

Wartime bombing

Griffin Park was hit by two high-explosive bombs in 1940 and 1941, during the Second World War.[16] Six matches were abandoned or postponed during the Blitz.[17]

The "Great Fire of Brentford"

The forecourt behind the Braemar Road stand, pictured in January 2015, with the club offices and bar visible.

At 11:30 PM on 1 February 1983, a fire broke out in the Braemar Road Stand, possibly due to an electrical fault in the boiler room under the stand.[18] The fire quickly spread through the timber used in the construction of the stand.[4] 60 people were evacuated from homes nearby and an estimated £150,000 worth of damage was caused, including 800 seats, the away dressing room, the gymnasium, the kit store and the laundry.[4][18] It was after the reconstruction that the players' tunnel was moved to the western corner of the Braemar Road Stand, with the players having previously emerged from a tunnel at the half way line.[4]

"Fortress Griffin Park"

Brentford set an English football record when they won all 21 home games during the 1929–30 Third Division South season.[19] Despite the record (which still stands), the Bees finished as runners-up to Plymouth Argyle and failed to win promotion to Second Division.[20] Brentford finished the 2014 calendar year with the best home record in the Football League, winning 17 of 23 games (two more than the next-best tally) and accruing a 78% winning record.[21]


The club installed an electronic ticketing system on all turnstiles at Griffin Park in the summer of 2014.[22] Previously, supporters were able to pay on the turnstiles on match days for non-all-ticket matches.[22]

Stadium structure

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.[3] A tiny stand was erected, which was initially refused a safety certificate.[3]



Brentford was one of the first clubs to recognise the potential of floodlit football and in 1954, a sum of £5,345 was spent on erecting perimeter lights the length of the Braemar Road and New Road stands.[36] 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.[36] 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.[3] The original perimeter lights were replaced in August 1963 with pylons located at each corner of the ground,[36] at a cost of £17,000.[37] The current floodlight lamps on the pylons were purchased from West London neighbours Chelsea in 1983.[36] Electronic scoreboards have been attached to two of the pylons since 2004.[38] The floodlights were upgraded from 590 to 1000 lux during the 2015 off-season.[39]

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



Recent years

As of 2014, Griffin Park has a capacity of 12,300. The highest attendance for a league match in recent seasons was 12,301 versus Fulham in the Championship on 30 April 2016.[40] FA Cup fourth and fifth round matches versus Sunderland and Southampton drew crowds of 11,698 and 11,720 in 2006 and 2005 respectively.[41][42]

Neutral venue

Brentford and Yeovil Town contesting a corner in front of the roofed Ealing Road stand in August 2011.

Football matches

Brentford hosted the Zambia and India international teams in pre-season friendly matches in 1994 and 2000 respectively.[3] Griffin Park hosted more FA Amateur Cup semi-finals than any other ground, with nine matches played between 1947 and 1974.[3]


Other sports

The first ever paying event at Griffin Park was a sports meeting on 29 July 1904, which included a wrestling match.[47] Athletics, tennis and Gaelic football have also taken place at the ground.[47] The Heinz baseball team played at the ground in the late 1900s, gaining admittance to the National Baseball League of Great Britain and Ireland.[47]


Griffin Park pictured from the Heathrow flightpath in 1995.

Griffin Park is beneath the flightpath of London Heathrow Airport and the roofs of the New Road and Braemar Road stands are used as a large advertising space. The roofs of both stands have been used to advertise KLM, Ericsson, Infogrames and Qatar Airways.[48] The New Road Stand roof is currently sponsored by Matchbook, the club's official betting partner.[49] In the late 2000s, the Braemar Road stand was sponsored by water cooler business Refreshing Solutions.[50]

"A pub on every corner"

Griffin Park is well known in football circles for being the only football ground in England to have a pub on each corner.[1][51] The pubs are:

Appearances in media

Due to its convenient location in West London, Griffin Park has featured in a number of films, TV programmes and advertisements:


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.[62] Former Brentford chairman Walter Wheatley stepped in and provided the club with a £69,000 loan.[62]

In 1998, then-chairman Ron Noades acquired the freehold of Griffin Park, through his company Griffin Park Stadium Limited.[63] With Noades declaring he would only fund the club until 2000,[64] the prospect of the sale of Griffin Park for development looked likely until 2006, when supporters' trust Bees United bought his majority shareholding.[65] Noades' loans to the club were repaid by current owner Matthew Benham in 2007.[65]


In August 1973, the Middlesex Chronicle reported that the club had submitted a bid to Hounslow Council to build a new ground and leisure complex on the site of Brentford Market.[66]

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.[67] The project was halted in 2010 due to the economic downturn and partners Barratt Homes pulled out of the deal in January 2011.[67] In June 2012, the club bought the Lionel Road site from Barratt Homes.[68] 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.[69] Eric Pickles (Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government) gave final approval for the stadium on 14 March 2014.[70] A development agreement was signed with Willmott Dixon in December 2014 and work is expected to start in 2015.[71] The commencement of work on the site was held up through 2015 by First Industrial Ltd (which owns the final parcel of land needed to begin development) objecting to a compulsory purchase order by Hounslow Council.[72]

Brentford's 5th-place finish in the Championship playoff places in the 2014–15 season raised questions about Griffin Park's suitability for Premier League football,[73] prior to the expected move to the Community Stadium in 2017.[14] Chief executive Mark Devlin explained that should improvements to Griffin Park to meet Premier League standards not be viable, Brentford will look to groundshare with another club in the vicinity.[73] As of May 2015, Stamford Bridge, Wembley Stadium and Twickenham Stoop have been ruled out as potential venues,[14] with West London neighbours Queens Park Rangers and Fulham refusing to comment.[74] In May 2015, it was revealed that it would cost £3 million to upgrade Griffin Park to meet Premier League specifications.[74]

On 3 September 2015, Hounslow Council approved the building of 75 new homes on the site of Griffin Park, after the club moves out.[75]

See also


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  2. 1 2 3 Haynes 1998, p. 66.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Haynes, Graham (1998). A-Z Of Bees: Brentford Encyclopaedia. Yore Publications. p. 65. ISBN 1 874427 57 7.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 White 1989, p. 15-20.
  5. 1 2 Eddie Menday. "Looking Back with Eddie Menday: Football grew out of rowing club". getwestlondon. Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Brentford Football Club Official Matchday Magazine versus AFC Bournemouth 04/09/04. Newbury: Dunwoody Sports Marketing. 2004. p. 6.
  7. Haynes 1998, p. 55.
  8. White, Eric, ed. (1989). 100 Years Of Brentford. Brentford FC. p. 122. ISBN 0951526200.
  9. 1 2 White 1989, p. 140, 142, 146.
  10. White 1989, p. 250.
  11. "Griffin Park | Brentford FC | Football Ground Guide". Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  12. 1 2 Football (2007-08-27). "Terry Butcher builds on solid start at Brentford". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-08-13.
  13. Mark Chapman. "A photo gallery of the Griffin Park refurbishments over the summer of 2014". Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  14. 1 2 3 "Brentford hoping to stay at Griffin Park should Premier League beckon". This Is Local London. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  15. 1 2 3 Haynes 1998, p. 38-39.
  16. 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.
  17. Haynes 1998, p. 137-138.
  18. 1 2 "Nostalgia: From our picture files 25 years ago". News Shopper. Retrieved 2015-10-23.
  19. Haynes 1998, p. 72.
  20. "England 1929/30". Retrieved 2015-08-18.
  21. Ciaran Brett. "Brentford with best home record in Football League". Retrieved 18 August 2015.
  22. 1 2 3 Chris Wickham. "Information from supporters on ticketing and access for Brentford FC match days at Griffin Park". Retrieved 27 November 2014.
  23. 1 2 3 4 Brentford. "Stadium Plan". Retrieved 2015-08-18.
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  28. "Bill Axbey: the legend of Griffin Park dies, aged 102 (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)". 2007-05-08.
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  33. "Brentford's Local Web site". Retrieved 27 November 2014.
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  36. 1 2 3 4 Haynes 1998, p. 52.
  37. White 1989, p. 21-23.
  38. "New Scoreboards Installed". Retrieved 2014-08-15.
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  40. Report, Match. "Match Report". Retrieved 28 July 2016.
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  42. "BBC SPORT | Football | FA Cup | Brentford 1-3 Southampton". BBC News. 2005-03-01. Retrieved 2014-08-13.
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  46. "Championship: London Welsh announce Kassam Stadium switch | Live Rugby News | ESPN Scrum". Retrieved 2014-08-13.
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  65. 1 2 "RON NOADES 1937-2013". 2013-12-24. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
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  67. 1 2 Street, Tim (2011-01-28). "Barratt Homes pull out on new Brentford stadium deal". Get West London. Retrieved 2014-08-14.
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  70. Culbertson, Alix. "Brentford FC's new Lionel Road stadium gets the final thumbs up". Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  71. FC, Brentford. "Brentford FC and Willmott Dixon sign Development Agreement for Brentford Community Stadium at Lionel Road South". Retrieved 2015-06-08.
  72. Cumber, Robert. "Brentford FC being 'held to ransom' over new stadium". Retrieved 2015-09-09.
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  74. 1 2 "Brentford will spend £3m to upgrade Griffin Park but could". Evening Standard. Retrieved 18 August 2015.
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