FOREST AWAY: Brentford, Saturday 20th January – Fan Guide
These away games are coming thick and fast now, aren’t they?! With plenty of miles added to each one too. Brentford will be the second of the ‘B’s’ – Blackpool, Brentford, Bristol City and Bournemouth – that we’ll travel to in just over two and a half weeks. That’s some effort and hopefully those trapesing across the country will get their rewards with points in the league and further progress in the cup.
As referenced in the away guide prior to Blackpool, as part of our new role on the Fan Advisory Board we are looking to promote the views of fans on tickets, especially away tickets, which have become such an emotive and subjective topic since promotion. We have raised with the club our desire to revisit this subject soon and we’d welcome any views being shared with us about what works and what doesn’t and how the club could consider improvements to the scheme(s). We will do what we can to share a collection of balanced views on the subject and would invite you to share any thoughts with us at ForzaGaribaldi@hotmail.com. Please add ‘NFFC Tickets’ as your subject matter so it can be spotted.
We are still unsure exactly how the fan board will work and the best way for us to collate and feedback views of our fellow fans is, but we will advise more on this going forward.
TRAIN: It would appear that there are no major issues on the railways this weekend which will have an impact on travelling Reds. Direct trains into St Pancras are regular with a Split Save fare via Trainline.com coming out currently at £60.50 (via Kettering). For the way back there are services from St Pancras 21:05 / 21:35 / 22:15 / 22:32 all of which should be manageable to make after the game. Do also consider the East Coast line too to look at any cheaper means of travel.
To reach Brentford from St Pancras there are a few options, but I’ll focus on what appear to be the most straightforward:
VIA KEW BRIDGE OVERGROUND STATION: This is best avoided as there are bus replacement services in place adding a lot of time to the journey. This will also impact nearby stations at Chiswick and Brentford.
VIA GUNNERSBURY UNDERGROUND STATION: This stop is on the District Line and is close to the ground, but is usually closed for an hour after the game so don’t rely on it for the return journey back into London. You could feasibly walk up to Acton Town, across to Chiswick Park or down to Kew Gardens as alternatives.
VIA SOUTH EALING UNDERGROUND STATION: A regular route when heading to Griffin Park but this will still work for the new ground. It’s a fair old walk but given the issues with the stops above could be the most straightforward. From St Pancras, jump on the Piccadilly line westbound and it’s a direct service all the way. South Ealing is around a 25-minute walk to the ground but does serve a few good pubs around.
ROAD: If looking to drive closer to the ground it could be worth considering hooking up with a nearby tube / rail station and travelling the last part of the leg, as the area around the ground does not offer much in the way of parking I believe. Ealing Broadway, South Ealing to the north may offer good options to do the latter or take a look at Richmond just one stop down from Kew Gardens.
Another option is to park in north London – Stanmore or Edgware are regular suggestions for away days in the capital in this guide. It’s quite slow getting across London but it’s a very simple in and out from Jct 4 of the M1. It’ll cost around £6 to leave your car at either of the locations for the day. Alternatively Watford Junction at Junction 6 isn’t too bad for getting in and out of West London.
I will again suggest Luton Parkway as a very convenient option. A couple of minutes from Jct 10 and with a fairly cheap multi-storey, it’s served us well a few times when not heading to London on the train. Fares can differ depending what service you board but a good price can often be found, especially if finding some advanced singles. A standard off-peak return is £12.50 but if travelling in a group of 3 of 4 you should be able to buy a group saver which will save a third off a return ticket. It’s a quick and easy way into London, taking 20-25 mins to St Pancras and wipes off a fair bit of driving.
Brentford appear to have managed to retain much of the character around the stadium having moved from Griffin Park. That the old ground is close enough to allow many of the old pubs to still be frequented is a big positive, but on our visit last season the immediate area around the Gtech was a vibrant, bustling place.
We drank down the side of the Thames last season working our way up from Chiswick which was a splendid pre-match but, of course, it was an awful lot warmer than it will be this time. Starting from around Kew Bridge – the Bulls Head, The City Barge and the Steam Packet were all good options that welcomed away fans. One of these pubs a little further from the ground but still close enough may be a better placed to gather in numbers.
Right by Gunnersbury Station is the Pilot while further back towards the old Griffin Park site the old pubs such as The Globe and the Kings Arms (next to Brentford station) are not too far away.
Paul Wright, Dedicated Football Officer for Brentford has advised that all pubs should be welcoming both sets of fans so Forest fans will have little issue making their way around as they please hopefully.
Q&A with Brentford fan Mark
This game comes off the back of the winter break, even if it doesn’t feel like it due to our FA Cup replay involvement. What’s the aim now for Brentford this season?
This season has been pretty much a write-off due to the amount of injuries our first team have encountered. Getting them back and just making sure we’re not sucked into the relegation battle can be considered successful.
The return of Ivan Toney has been much publicised and presumably much anticipated by Brentford fans. How much have you missed him?
I think we kidded ourselves earlier on in the season it was going to be okay but when his replacements either got injured or called up for AFCON it’s left us bare. Your timing coming at the time of Ivan’s return doesn’t bode well for you.
Besides Ivan, we’re getting players back from injury now and also signed left-back Sergio Reguilón who will make his debut on loan from Spurs. Our owner has an analytic approach to results and he would cringe at my cliche for Saturday, but that we are “due a win”. The atmosphere will be great.
It was good to make a first visit to your new ground last season (despite our late collapse). But for those who may not yet have visited can you explain a little about how best to reach the Gtech from central London?
The Gtech is a mile east of Griffin Park and close to The Thames. If you’re getting there by train from central London, go from London Waterloo and Kew Bridge station is literally right outside. A warning, nearby Gunnersbury tube station closes for one hour after the match. Don’t get caught out.
Despite having a shiny new Premier League stadium, do you ever find yourself missing Griffin Park? It was, an away fan who visited several times, a remarkable place I always felt.
There will always be a place in our hearts for the old ground but we had to move on. We’ve managed to not get a shoe box stadium but something that is unique given the footprint. Some fans have moaned it’s not big enough but it does mean we don’t get as many football “tourists” that invade Stamford Bridge or Craven Cottage, which kills their matchday atmosphere.
I suspect you have seen the news this week that both ourselves and Everton have been hit with PSR charges relates to overspending above permitted limits. What do you make of the financial rules that are imposed on clubs?
The rules must be in place otherwise clubs will just make the Premier League even more unequal. I don’t think many Brentford fans will have sympathy with Everton or Forest (sorry), as we kept within the parameters, both in the championship and now the premier league. AFC Bournemouth cheated their way out of League One back in the day too.
If you’re going to sign that many players in a single season it will come under the microscope. We’ve got one of the lowest budgets in the league; our success has been about how you spend it, not by how much. If I was a Forest fan, I’d be angry with the owner, not the Premier League.
Last season we took your advice on pubs and headed down the Thames and found some really brilliant pubs. Unfortunately it’s not going to be as warm this time around! Where are away fans best off headed for a beer before the game?
Well, you could try the Lord Nelson and the Globe, both well-kept pubs about 15 minutes’ walk from the stadium. If you want something even more local, try the Pilot just by Gunnersbury tube station. For the real ale connoisseur, the Magpie and Crown on Brentford High Street is worth a visit.
Finally – let’s have your predictions:
Scoreline? 3-0 Brentford. We’ve waited nine months for the return of Ivan Toney and I’m sure he’s not going to disappoint us.
Where will Brentford finish? 16th.
Where will Forest finish? 18th if points deducted (sorry).
With thanks to Mark for his views Pin that prediction bit to the dressing room wall, Nuno!
See you all there.