Success Gives Brentford Stadium Dilemma
Club may need to leave Griffin Park for two seasons if promoted
Brentford's recent win over Fulham and high flying status in the championship is allowing their fans to think the unthinkable but it is causing a potential headache for the club.
Currently fifth in the second tier of English football, a position which if maintained, would put them into the promotion play-offs with a chance of playing next season in the premiership. Their Griffin Park stadium would require a substantial upgrade to meet the standards of the top division including becoming all seater.
Every Sky Bet Championship club has to submit to the Board of the Premier League before January 31 each year detailed proposals setting out how, if it is promoted to the Premier League at the end of that season, it will be able to meet a series of requirements.
These include, but are not limited to, provision of media working areas of mandatory size, sufficient floodlighting, undersoil heating and dressing rooms meeting specific dimensions. The Club is currently working to ensure this document is ready for submission by January 31.
Mark Devlin, Brentford FC Chief Executive, said: “As we have said before, our primary aim is to stay at Griffin Park until our new stadium at Lionel Road South is complete, whatever division we are playing in.
“Every Championship club has to submit their plans for meeting Premier League rules and we are working on that now. Clubs will be required to put these in to action upon promotion so it is not an exercise to be taken lightly.
“Griffin Park falls short of meeting Premier League requirements in some areas. “In order to complete this document properly we are looking at creative and innovative solutions to meet those requirements. We will submit those ideas to the Premier League, as is required, in January.
“Should we be unable to meet the regulations at Griffin Park, one alternative is to ground share. If a ground share is required, the Club will consider all stadiums in the local area, both those currently used for football and not. I should stress that no conversations have taken place with any other club or third party."
The only all-seater grounds meeting these criteria would be Wembley, Twickenham and The Stoop (Harlequins Rugby). Slightly outside this area would be Saracen's Allianz Park which is 12 miles from Griffin Park. Premiership football clubs must have primary rights to the pitch they play on if they are in a ground share arrangements which means that if they are sharing with a rugby club the football match must always take precedence.
The best case scenario for Brentford is that they would need the stadium for two seasons after which they would hope to move into their new 20,000 capacity stadium which has been designed to meet premier league standards.
Earlier in the year club owner Matthew Benham said, “Every club in the Championship would like to get to the Premier League at some point, so we are no different. But we are not going to put a timeframe on it. At some point we are going to try to make a push for it... in x years. I don’t want to say publicly. But yes it is achievable within a few years.”
It is unlikely that he anticipated that the Bees would have been challenging for promotion in the current season.
The planning permission for the redevelopment of Griffin Park stipulates that Brentford are not allowed to proceed until a new stadium is ready for occupation so it is unclear whether promotion would enable them to knock down the stadium they have occupied since 1904.
November 27, 2014