When the Brentford directors and owners announced that the club would be moving away from Griffin Park to a new stadium on Lionel Road, there were many mixed responses among the fans.
A lot of fans questioned the necessity of the move; why change the heritage and home of the club? Its unlikely that many more tickets will be sold for matches, so money can’t be an issue going forward that could so easily be solved by a new stadium.
However, it is clear that in the ever changing world of modern football, it is going to take a monstrous effort for a relatively small club like Brentford to keep up.
Clubs in the Championship have huge funding backing them with parachute payments from the EFL, and Brentford are often struggling to compete.
For example, Aston Villa’s wage bill is among the top 20 highest in world football, and QPR’s debt is in the top 10 of all clubs in the world. Thats very much serves to put into perspective the financial battle that Brentford are in with other teams in the championship.
In a recent poll of 100 Brentford fans, only 70% of fans wanted to move stadium. Although that is a large proportion of people that agree with the progression of the club, many people will be looking back on the decisions of the club come May 2019 and ask a very philosophical question to themselves; how much will the club progress before we lose our identity?
Take our new badge for example, although it is a modern and sleek design, it doesn't capture the identity of the club that our old crest did.
The only significant feature is an insect that is supposed to be a Bee, but many observers disagree as to what this image actually is. It has changed from a crest that captures our identity to more of a brand logo.
Don’t get me wrong, I really like the look of the badge on the new shirt, and I do see the reasoning for the movement away from the old crest.
Furthermore, I cant wait for the feeling of first walking out to the seats of the new stadium, and hearing the roar as the first game gets underway.
But the history of Griffin Park being so deeply ingrained in all who have been there as a Brentford fan will make it hard for many to move on. How will the atmosphere of Ealing Road ever be replicated in a new stadium, for example?
Which brings us back to the first question. How necessary is the move? How much difference will be made to the club with a new stadium? Is it really worth the sacrifice of 113 years of history? Will it ever be?