Football Commentator & Columnist
Brentford: Martin Tyler shares his favourite memories of Griffin Park
Last Updated: 23/04/20 7:33am
At a time when football grounds have closed their doors, we've asked Martin Tyler to share some of his favourite facts and memories of the homes of clubs around the world.
This week, Sky Sports' Voice of Football is looking at the top five clubs in the Sky Bet Championship and takes us on a virtual visit to Brentford's Griffin Park.
Keep an eye on The Football Show on Sky Sports News and @SkySportsPL for some special Tyler's Teasers from Martin.
How I get there
Griffin Park is the closest Football League ground to the studios of Sky Sports. Not quite walking distance, but for car drivers, it's hardly worth claiming the mileage! With the move to the new stadium, the same applies.
What's it like to commentate there
It is a small tight position and very nostalgic because, when I started, so many grounds which had been built before televising football became the norm were like this, a platform slung from the roof of a stand.
It shares another common feature of that time in being on the opposite side to the main stand so that the cameras are pointing at the more impressive part of the stadium.
- Emirates Stadium | Villa Park | Vitality Stadium | Amex Stadium | Turf Moor | Stamford Bridge | Selhurst Park | Goodison Park | King Power Stadium | Anfield | Etihad Stadium | Old Trafford | St James' Park | Carrow Road | Bramall Lane | St Mary's | Tottenham Hotspur Stadium | Vicarage Road | London Stadium | Molineux
Did you know?
Many do know, but let me remind you that for much of its life, Griffin Park has had a pub at all four corners of the stadium, one of which is The Griffin, where the club had its headquarters well before the ground came into existence.
Just before its very first game, in 1904 against Plymouth Argyle, the stand which housed the dressing rooms was ruled unsafe and the two teams had to change in the public baths some 300 yards away!
My memories of the ground
I have to go back a long time, but it was a game which took Brentford to Wembley, and in some style. It was the first season of the Football League Trophy which still survives to this day, sponsored in its inaugural guise by Freight Rover.
Then, as now, it was a knock-out competition for clubs in the third and fourth tiers, in a regionalised format. That meant that the eventual Wembley climax was for the winners of a Northern Final and a Southern Final. The former was still to come between Mansfield Town and Wigan Athletic when the latter kicked off at Griffin Park on May 17th 1985.
It was Brentford against Newport County, who had finished 13th and 18th respectively in Division 3, though Newport had won 5-2 at Griffin Park the previous January. But this was to be Brentford's night.
With Chris Kamara driving them on in midfield it was "unbelievable". The Bees won 6-0. Gary Roberts, nicknamed "Gasping", was doing so in disbelief at the end. He scored four including a spell of three in four minutes.
The first two goals were delivered by fellow forward Keith Cassells, a former postman whose round had been in the Wembley area of all places.
Manager Frank McLintock was no stranger to the national stadium and had captained Arsenal when they won the FA Cup there in the double season of 1970-71. But in 1985 his team came up short on the big day against the northern winners, Wigan.
I seem to remember that an already-planned end of season of break in Spain after the Newport game was not the perfect preparation!
What I like about this ground
It is right in the heart of the community. Many fans walk to games and the pubs have played a big part in their pre and post-match routines.
Griffin Park has only seen five seasons of top-flight League football, a sequence which came to an end in May 1947. If this season is to be completed and Brentford, fourth at the moment, can win promotion it would be a great send-off to the past base and a wonderful way to usher the club into the new Community Stadium.
On Friday: Martin brings us his guide to Nottingham Forest's City Ground