Brentford FC Prepares for 'Biggest Ever' Security Operation
Over 800 police officers expected to be at crunch game with Leeds
What is likely to be the most heavily policed game in Brentford FC’s history is taking place this Sunday (22 May) at the Brentford Community Stadium.
Although the home team’s season is effectively done and dusted with Premier League status secure, the visitors Leeds United will find out whether or not they have avoided relegation and it could be the Bees that send them down.
The police locally are hoping that the game will pass off without incident but are preparing for the worst, whether Leeds win or lose, particularly after end of season disorder at games at Huddersfield and Nottingham Forest. A fan was jailed after the latter for assaulting an opposition player following the final whistle.
Brentford FC are liaising with Hounslow Council and the police to put in place extra measures and, according to a report in the Daily Mail, the number of officers on duty is expected to increase from the normal level of 100 to 800 on the day. The game had already been identified as a potential flashpoint.
In addition the number of matchday stewards at the ground is being increased to 150 compared to the regular number of 100 and, for the first time at the community stadium, there will ticket checks away from the stadium. In addition, home ticket sales were limited to Brentford supporters who could prove they had attended at least three games this season to eliminate the risk of any Leeds fans gaining admission to the wrong part of the ground. Any away fans found to be in home areas will be required to leave the stadium. Any Brentford fan who is found to be responsible for passing or purchasing a ticket in a home area to or for an away fan, for whatever reason, will face a lengthy stadium ban and may lose their Season Ticket.
The official ticket allocation for Leeds fans is 1,725 but many more are expected to travel down on the day,
The police have issued a reminder that the London Borough of Hounslow has a borough wide Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) in place. This does not mean it is illegal to drink in the street, but officers can require someone to stop drinking and surrender alcohol if ASB is occurring.
The local police team have spoken to pubs in the area to see which will be allowing admission to Leeds fans on the day.
Pubs that will serve fans of both clubs are The Pilot, the City Barge, the Steam Packet in Chiswick as well as the Express Tavern and the Coach and Horses.
The Globe, the New Inn, the Griffin, the Watermans Arms, The Inverness, the Beehive, the Brewery Trap, the Black Dog, The Brook, the Royal Horseguardsman, the Bell and Crown and One Over the Ait will only allow home supporters. The Magpie will admit Leeds fans before the game but not afterwards.
Brentford’s players did not get a warm welcome when they played Leeds earlier in the season with Sergi Canos and Bryan Mbeumo struck by missiles thrown from the crowd at Elland Road during a tetchy 2-2 draw.
The home team go into the match in good form having lost just one in their last seven and two in their last ten, winning seven of those matches. Leeds, on the other hand, have not had a win in their last five matches and are missing some key players due to injury and suspension. Leeds have not won away at Brentford since an old Division Two game in 1950.
The Brentford manager Thomas Frank is promising a committed performance from his team with no favours being shown to Leeds with a top ten finish the incentive. He said, “I think our fans will be on it. In many ways it has been a remarkable season for us. There has been a lot to celebrate and now they need to cheer us on for the last time this season. I am pretty sure they can’t wait. Hopefully we can give them a good performance. I think this is one of the reasons we love football, because it means so much to people. Brentford fans will be ready to celebrate and have a party on Sunday. Hopefully, we can give them one last match performance.
“The players train very hard, and I can’t see them taking their foot off the gas and not going max power on Sunday. There can be that little bit of freedom but when you cross that line you go into match mode and want to win.”
He went on to express some optimism about the future of Christian Eriksen and said there would be a statue outside the stadium of him in three years’ time if he signed a contract extension. However, if he leaves for another club Frank said the fans would applaud him adding, “I tell him I will give him a hug and a kiss every day. I’m not sure that’s going to work. There’s no doubt that he lifted the way we play. I think the way we play, our environment, and the role he is given, gives him an opportunity to flourish and play his best game. He is in a club where he enjoys going to work every day and I still think you can be extremely ambitious playing for us. He can be the main guy, running the show.”
The match kicks off at 4pm on Sunday 22 May along with all the other remaining Premier League fixtures in an afternoon that will see the title and all the relegation places decided.
May 20, 2022