It should be farewell, Griffin Park. There are still going to be tears.

2 May

I’m done. Saturday morning and the sun is coming up. It should be Brentford v Barnsley. Our final game at Griffin Park before the move to Lionel Road. Instead we remain locked in Corona Virus inflicted limbo. Nobody knowing when, where or how football will return. The one thing everybody seeming certain on that it will be without fans. A curious ‘behind-closed-doors’ affair with all the atmosphere of the Mrs. Browns’ Boys studio. Instead of saying goodbye in style, we are all left wondering if the 5-0 humping of Sheffield Wednesday back in early March was our unintentional goodbye. Rather than securing promotion to the Premier League against the Tykes, there’s a 12.30pm Zoom chat with our regular group of fans followed by the GPG hosting Andy Scott in their regular Saturday afternoon Q&A slot. No pressure Andy, but these are big shoes to fill today.

I like the EUro qualifiers but want to get back to Griffin Park

The approach to GP Is an uplifting one

I want to celebrate being alive. I want to be positive. I want to think about football and our amazing team but it all feels flat at present. So dreadfully flat. This was supposed to be THE day at Brentford. Our chance to say farewell to Griffin Park. A full house, a few tears, a wistful look around and a lot of hugs with the people we’ve spent every other Saturday for the last twenty or so years alongside.

The last beer on the forecourt (please note: your definition of beer may vary). A nostalgic nod to where the Alladin’s cave of a club shop used to stand – the Tardis like red portacabin now replaced by a coffee cart whose queuing / payment system is about as confusing as a Marinus Dijkhuizen tactics chart.

Peter Giham was going to be on the pitch. Crying. Shouting. Exhorting. Probably the man selected to remove the final number from the countdown board. Angry Dad would be just to our right, giving the linesman one final ear-bashing. Sorry Alex, I mean reminder of the rules. This, before our new seating arrangements mean that we’ll be located on different sides of the ground next season. Whenever that is.

No more Mister Partridge or Ohhh-nooo Brentford man (relax, we’re 5-0 up. It’ll be fine) in our immediate vicinity. Will we see Jumper man again? Or the lesser spotted Jumper woman with her funky Bee? He’s always there at Griffin Park but might his sartorial magnificence be lost to us in the less claustrophobic surroundings of Lionel Road? 

I read the news. Listen to the radio. I can’t see any hope of us being allowed back in to Griffin Park. Sorry to be blunt but there we are. I want to be wrong. I’m so desperate to be wrong.

Oh, I love the place so much. The floodlights towering above us. The close confines of the seating. Roaring on our team and barracking an opposition who are just yards away. Where we sit is so close to the pitch you can actually see Leeds falling apart. Or should that be, sat?

I want Thomas Frank to lead the team around and celebrate with the fans at full time as he did game after game. I want to go to the pub beforehand. And after. Perhaps if today had gone as expected, to even be celebrating with the players on the pitch and then in the pub afterwards, as we so famously did on that day against Preston. There was going to be one last photo and then that’s it, walk out for the last time. Even if, knowing us, we’d have still cocked up our own ‘final game’ and ended up back again for the play-offs.

It’s Brentford, innit.

IMG_4135

I want to see Thomas do his Full Time thing once more

We’ve all got so much to be thankful for. Have so many good memories. Amazing memories. Preston. Manchester City. Fulham. Newport. Sunderland. Names that will mean different things to different generations. Then there’s the fact that the delay to Lionel Road has meant my own family have been able to enjoy years here that , realistically, I’d resigned myself to them missing out on.

Whatever else happens, Harry will have truly felt and experienced our home. From his first game (Nottingham Forest 2-2) to what may well have been his last here (Sheffield Wednesday 5-0).

HB first game Jota equaliser

That first game! 

For that, and all the other amazing days, I am truly grateful. They won’t change. If anything, they’ll be even stronger. But it doesn’t mean that I’m not angry about today. Devastated about today.

This was supposed to be OUR day. OUR farewell. OUR last goodbye. Instead, there’s nothing. Nothing. Except Andy Scott. And that’s meant with no disrespect whatsoever  – he did so much for us a player and beyond. A true club legend and it will be great to hear him speak. But no man and no webcast can change what we have been denied.

Bliss Manchester City

One of my greatest days at Griffin Park

Yes. The world is shit at the moment. Look at the bigger picture. Of course I’m grateful to have my health (I hope), a family and a job. We’ve a roof over our head and some food on the table. The daily casualty list makes for grim reading and many people looking in would argue that this is ‘just football’. That we need to have some perspective. And of course, from that respect they are right.

But at the same time this doesn’t stop it from hurting like hell. THE big date on the calendar. The one we’ve all been building to for the last 130 years denied by something so far out of our control. Something that has far bigger impact than ‘just’ a game of football. I want say goodbye to my friends. My football family. My first true love.

Instead, I’ll be peering through a padlock when I take the morning run in a few minutes. And there’ll be tears.

:-(

😦

Nick Bruzon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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11 Responses to “It should be farewell, Griffin Park. There are still going to be tears.”

  1. Richard Allen May 2, 2020 at 6:37 am #

    Excellent piece Nick.

    Sums up exactly how I’m feeling this morning. Since the fixtures were released, I’d booked out the whole weekend from Friday – Monday, for a trip from Somerset up to London to prepare for, and mourn one last trip to GP. To be able to say farewell to a place that’s been so special to me for over 40 years. Where I’ve truly spent some of the happiest days of my life…..

    To have that opportunity taken away leaves an enormous sense of frustration and a real lack of closure…..Although I was at the Sheff Weds game (luckily with my Dad and Sister), that still isn’t enough for me.

    Like you, I’m desperately still clinging on to the hope that somehow we will be able to pay our respects in a more appropriate way…..

    • nickbruzon May 2, 2020 at 6:45 am #

      Thank you so much. I think there’s going to be a lot of us in a very similar frame of mind today.

  2. Paul May 2, 2020 at 7:04 am #

    Well done . Great words and as a bees fan for over 50 years I feel the same . In truth I suspect given what going on in our world I feel a little selfish . However at the Sheffield game, sitting because I couldn’t get a ticket where I normally stand, I wondered whether I’d ever truly say goodbye to the place, the characters and memories (good and of course some bad). It would have been one of the saddest days, but a shared experience and one chapter closing with another to start. It wasn’t to be. But we will go on .

  3. Peter Lane May 2, 2020 at 8:33 am #

    Hi Nick
    I look forward to your article every week , it’s part of my match day build up ! so I was particularly looking forward to today’s piece in ‘normal’ circumstances however it was not to be….although what you say pretty much reflects my feelings right now ( we always do it different but I didn’t expect it like this ). I’m a 51 yearer and the red and white runs deep so when people say ” it’s only a game ” or “never mind” or “you’ll get over it ” …don’t really understand in my opinion……but , and it’s a big but, I’m clinging on to the chance that maybe the season will restart in August and by the time we get to Barnsley we may be allowed in..a long shot I know , fingers crossed.
    Keep writing your stuff Nick , I love it🐝

    • nickbruzon May 2, 2020 at 11:05 am #

      Cheers Peter ! That’s appreciated

  4. Bernard Quackenbush (@BernardQuack) May 2, 2020 at 9:49 am #

    Sadly, I feel you maybe right after hearing the rumours coming out of Bristol Rovers that we may have had the last competitive game at GP. Saying that, the Brentford situation is a potential headache for the League (whichever one it is). Before they let us in to Lionel Road there has to be some test events first, we just wont be allowed to head straight into LR when all is finally safe, whenever that will be.

    I must admit i lingered after the Wednesday game wondering if this was my last time at GP. I missed the Blackburn game due to a mysterious virus affecting my chest & lungs that swept through my office in February (make of that what you will) and when finally well enough i made that trip for the Wednesday game. it was a strange affair with rather a subdued atmosphere. Was it because of the exhibition like performance or the impending pandemic? Who knows. But i came away that day happy for the win but sad knowing that deep down it would be a long time before i made that trip up through the New Forest, up the M3 and around the back of Heathrow before hitting every traffic light on the Great West Road.

    Sad as it is. I just cant wait for the day when we can all be together again, and hopefully all of us, wherever that may be

    • nickbruzon May 2, 2020 at 11:04 am #

      Oh BQ. I hear you. I hope you are well. Here’s to whenever we can all meet again. I don’t know where that will be or even when. But it will happen. Hopefully on a sunny day like this one.
      Hmmm. Thinks… Idea for a song.

  5. Chris May 2, 2020 at 12:33 pm #

    Today I would be doing my match day going to the Griffin pub getting a burger from the beer garden taking it into Griffin Park standing in the Ealing Road to support fantastic football side that we’ve got a very sad day UREEEEEDS

  6. Andrew Anderson May 2, 2020 at 4:26 pm #

    Even as a non Brentford supporter, that is a great heartfelt article Nick. Must be something in the corner of my eye…

    • nickbruzon May 2, 2020 at 4:34 pm #

      Thank you Andrew. It’s quite dusty in West London aswell, I have to say

  7. Peter Hills May 2, 2020 at 10:09 pm #

    My first game at GP was in 1952. I know football pales into insignificance compared with the havoc and grief caused by the virus but today was supposed to be such a magic day. Our our last league match at GP, followed by the play offs, Wembley, an open deck bus victory procession along Brentford High Street and the Premier Division next season at a new ground and season tickets safely secured.

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