BRENTFORD fans and residents living near its Griffin Park ground have condemned supportes of Scottish club Celtic for their behaviour before, during and after the match on Saturday (July 20).
The friendly encounter finished 2-1 to the visitors but - rather than appreciating the talent on display - the game is more likely to be remembered for the worst scenes of crowd disturbance at the ground for a long time.
At the final whistle hundreds of the 6,000 or so travelling Celtic fans made a mockery of cordons put in place by police and stewards to invade the pitch and cause mayhem.
Acts witnessed by home supporters, as well as the Chronicle, included attempts to break the goalposts at the Brook Road end of the ground, several flares being thrown, confrontations with players, and abusive language, ugly jeers and rude gestures being made at officials.
Problems had been reported as early as 8.30am as coach-loads of Celtic fans arrived for the match showing visible signs of already being drunk and out of control.
Locals struggled to get near Griffin Park as roads and pavements were jammed with a sea of people wearing the green and white shirts of the opposition. One resident described the scenes as ‘the worst I’ve seen in 20 years of living here’ while officers largely stood by and watched as bottles and fast-food packaging were thoughtlessly discarded everywhere.
Before kick-off stewards the only noise audible above the sound of the chants was when an explosion signalled another green flare had been lit; these then had to be cleared from the pitch by stewards. At several points during the game play had to be held up while streakers and pitch invaders were dealt with; although as of so far today (Monday) The Met claims only two arrests were made.
The atmosphere turned really ugly at the end of the match as despite the home club having paid to bring in extra policing hundreds of Celtic fans still managed to get over the barriers and onto the grass.
People living near the ground claim the noise and drunken acts carried on well into the night long after the majority of fans had gone home.
The Chronicle has spoken to Brentford FC, the local police and Hounslow Council for their reactions to the match but so far has received no comments.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon is reported to have defended the actions as ‘over exuberance’ after a few beers but agreed the flares should not have been thrown.