Brentford v Notts County
Saturday, April 14th 2012, 3pm
By James Spring
1. Why were you looking forward to visiting the ground?
The latest stop on the Weymouth based Notts County fan’s tour would be Griffin Park. This was a new ground for me, and with it being such a big game for both clubs, it was set to be a good day out.
2. How easy was your journey?
We caught the train from Weymouth, changed at Clapham Junction, and arrived at Brentford station just after 1pm. There’s a map just outside the station showing you where the local pubs and the ground are. You also pass Griffin Park enroute from Clapham junction to Brentford, so you get a good idea of where the ground is. It’s no more than a ten minute walk from the station. You can see the floodlights from the station so just follow them.
3. What you did before the game, pub/chippy, home fans friendly?
We had looked on Google maps prior to our visit, and noted that there was a McDonald’s not too far from the station, which is also shown on the map outside the station which I previously mentioned. Head down Boston Manor Road, and the restaurant is located about a five minute walk down this road. There were quite a few Brentford fans and Notts County fans in there without any trouble, atmosphere seemed pretty friendly.
From McDonald’s, you can get to Griffin Park by heading up St Paul’s Road, then along Lateward Roadd, where you’ll eventually come to Brook Street, where you see the ground on the left.
I brought the match day programme “The Bee” for £3, which was a very good read.
4. What you thought on seeing the ground, first impressions of away end and other sides of the ground
The ground is nicely tucked into a housing estate. From the outside it looks quite old fashioned. Getting into the away end is a bit like walking up someone’s driveway. You walk up this pathway where you eventually come to the turnstiles. The away end consists of a Terrace at the bottom, and the top tier has the seats. We were in the terrace. The view from the terrace is pretty good, certainly better than what I was expecting it to be, but your view can be occassionally hindered by the supporting pillars.
The rest of the ground, I have to say looks a bit untidy, with all four stands of a different design and size, nothing seems to match. To the left of the away end is the Bill Axbey stand, to the right, the rather old fashioned looking Braemar Road Stand, and at the other end is the Ealing Road Terrace, where the nosier home fans seemed to stand.
5. Comment on the game itself , atmosphere, stewards, pies, facilities etc
The game was being billed as Brentford’s biggest in two years. A win for them would have seen them climb above Notts into the final playoff spot. Anything other than 3 points would leave Brentford with a lot to do to make the playoffs. The first half was very tight and nervy. Jeff Hughes fired a shot against the crossbar for Notts, from which Brentford caught County on the break but a last gasp tackle from Julian Kelly prevented what would surely have been a goal for the hosts.
I had tried the food outlet before the game, but was not impressed with paying over £2 for a cold cup of tea!
The second half was similar to the first half, but it became more open and both sides had chances to take the lead, which they couldn’t take. The full time whistle blew, and the contrasting emotions of both sets of players and fans said it all. Brentford had not taken their chance to move into the top 6, while Notts remained 6th, and with Carlisle Utd losing, Notts moved a point clear.
The atmosphere was excellent throughout the game with over 700 Notts fans singing for pretty much the full 90 minutes.
The stewards were pretty un-noticeable throughout the match which is always a good thing.
6. Comment on getting away from the ground after the game:
A lot of supporters from both sides appeared to be heading back to the train station so we followed them, and had arrived back at Brentford station by about 5 past 5. There were a few coppers at the station but both sets of fans mixed without any trouble at all at either the station or on the train back to Clapham Junction.
7. Summary of overall thoughts of day out:
A good game of football, a big point for Notts, a great day out, and we got home an hour earlier than expected having caught an earlier train. Would definitely return to Brentford.