In an article in our March newsletter ‘Are there any other disappointed old fogies out there’ veteran Bees fan David Hylton announced he would not be attending any more away games because of the challenges of travelling, the cost of hotels, having to stand in seated areas and the behaviour of some BFC fans. But on the morning of Sunday 3rd April we got this email:
‘Well, well, well, who would have believed it- Chavski 1 Bees 4.
When I wrote to you recently, I was in the middle of a 13 day bout of covid, not expecting to be able to accept a long standing hospitality invitation to yesterday’s moment of history.
From Rob Boyce: ‘I fully sympathise with David’s rant in the BU newsletter.I can cope with the uncertainty over the dates, but equally cannot stand for other than short periods due to worsening arthritis. Whilst it is not severe enough to qualify me as disabled (thankfully) it does prevent me standing for more than a short period of time. It has adversely affected my enjoyment of certain matches this season, and I know that I am starting to look carefully at away fixtures as a result’.
From Russell Wallman: ‘First, I haven’t personally encountered the behaviour David complains about, but I would suggest that in order to protect the reputation of the club, Brentford should seek to police it (if necessary through travelling stewards) as vigorously as they would at home. Secondly, the failure to tackle the “everybody stands” issue – although no doubt common to most if not all clubs – is a real blot on Brentford’s claims to be an inclusive club. It was obvious at the Etihad that safe standing won’t solve this. The club are very helpful about allocating seats at the front, though that does have the slight disadvantage David mentions. But I don’t see why they can’t routinely ask ticket buyers whether they prefer to sit or stand; allocate the seats so that those who are prefer to sit are at the front; and stop selling tickets to those who stand when they should sit’.
From Alan Fowler: ‘Hi David, Couldn’t agree more, I stopped going to away matches after the Fulham game a couple of seasons ago. I was about 10 rows back and everyone stood in front of me. I cannot understand why they have to do it, everyone had a perfectly good view whilst seated. This season I have had mixed feelings; a life long ambition to see the Bees in the top division achieved after my seventy four years of support but as far as an enjoyment level, perhaps it’s an age thing, I don’t enjoy it so much it all happened at once. Promotion and a New Ground sitting with new people it’s just not the same. I miss the friendliness of Griffin Park. Unfortunately I made a mistake with my choice of seating area thinking I would be able to move if I wanted to for next season, which hasn’t been the case. Anyway nice to hear from someone from the past David, I’m now 83 but go to most of the matches although that has become harder due to parking and the restricted rail service. Trust you and your family are well. Up the Bees.
From Paul Stevens: ‘Dear David,I agree wholeheartedly with most of the views that you expressed in the recent Bees United newsletter, especially standing at away games and some of the behaviour of our fans away from home. I’d be interested to know how many messages of support that you receive. From one old fogie to another’.
From Michael Mayo: ‘Hello, I would just like to say that I agree with everything that David has written on some of the problems that he experienced. I am also a follower of The Bees for almost 73 years and I have similar views. Assuming no more matches snatched by Sky or whoever between now and the season’s end we will only have had 6 Saturday 3pm kick offs. This just isn’t customer friendly. I am a season ticket holder in South Stand and have also experienced standing issues. Being only 5ft.5ins this doesn’t help. The changed kick off times doesn’t help either, particularly those at 5.30pm being neither afternoon or evening. The train situation is another area of grave concern with SWTrains constantly being delayed, cancelled and Kew Bridge Station frequently being closed through those infuriating railworks. Also, lastly as well as the totally unpunished time wasting that the poor referees that we have endure every season tolerate, we have their lack of common sense and general understanding of situations to put up with. All in all not a very happy picture. The behaviour of many away supporters also leaves a lot to be desired, with Wolves and Burnley being the worst offenders. COYB’.
From Tony Okun: ‘Hi I have to say that I have been following for over 50+ years when we were lower level. The away days was brilliant, tony ewers would get the train tickets sorted out along with mr gilham. I am so glad we are in the premiership and hope we stay there, unfortunately sky to BT rule the football ! Many of us have never been to old Trafford what have sky done moved to stupid ko time it’s all greed but Bfc have been fantastic in their approach to the big time, away support is fantastic but you will always get a group of idiots they are a minority’.
From Alan Westcott: ‘I have been a Brentford supporter since 1958, a friendly against Glasgow Celtic was my first game, and totally agree with everything that David put forward in his article. Although I have been waiting so long for Premiership football, as has everybody, I have had to make the decision not to renew my season ticket for next season. I am now almost 78 years old and have been living on the south coast for the past 16 years. Trains are no longer reliable, and with the late kick offs for evening matches, it means that I would have to leave at half time to get home. After one home game a year or so back, my train from Brentford was delayed outside Clapham Junction for 15 minutes, which meant I missed my connection and could not get to my home station. It resulted in me having a 4 mile walk from Worthing to my home, arriving at 1am. Parking is also very difficult at Kew. Even the roads opposite Kew Gardens are frequently full before 1pm and I feel that I no longer have the stamina to continue making these journeys. It will be sad, but something that I will have to get used to. I wrote to the club on the 24th February setting out my reasons for not renewing my season ticket, and must say I am very disappointed at not even receiving an acknowledgement’.
From Dave Twydell: ‘How right David Hylton is. I agree and comment further, and I am sure many others would. Before promotion, I had already decided not to attend any or many away matches (I did go to Crystal Palace – a pretty poor experience overall), after years of nearly 70 years travelling the country. Having to obtain tickets in advance, with no choice of where you sit, the appalling foul language – especially from ‘so called’ Bees supporters, the almost total standing with no attempts by the authorities to stamp it out (what’s the point of ‘safe standing areas’, those that choose to already do so), the frustration of getting away after the match, are just a few reasons.I moved to Wiltshire a few months ago, and I decided on no more travelling to away matches. As a season ticket holder I intended to watch most home matches (only a broken leg prevented this for some time), and now instead of a short journey Brentford, it has become a good day out, apart from usually the football itself which has so often been mostly dire, despite the continual support of the fans. With close on 17,000 present the atmosphere is there – but it’s not Griffin Park. Whilst excited that the Bees at last reached the Premiership, the peak I believe was reached with that first day win over Arsenal. From then on the experiences have been more or less a downhill slide. The refereeing is poor, with favour usually toward the ‘big’ players and clubs and the outright cheating already mentioned, plus of course the dreaded VAR. In addition Brentford are regarded by TV and the Press as intruders, within the Premiership itself, of three divisions, with the Bees in the bottom group, with most matches a forlorn struggle against far superior opponents. Oh to return to being a good Championship side, or even, dare I say it, as far as away matches are concerned, the enjoyable days out in the First Division – sit and stand where you like, no trial of getting tickets in advance etc. Without doubt the quality of football over the last few years is far better, but at what cost? Contrast my previous experience of ploughing my way through traffic for 45 minutes through the urban sprawl, and having to find somewhere to park at home matches. When the Bees are away (or playing at odd times) Instead of travelling up the motorways I can now drive up to 20 minutes through largely traffic-free roads (save for the occasional tractor) enjoying the open countryside, to one of a dozen or so non-League clubs. Inexpensive, and where you are welcomed, to watch entertaining football played by enthusiasts rather than prima-donnas. I have renewed my season thicket for next season, in the hope that either we will win more than we lose in the Premiership, or we will have returned to the Championship. As for the following season……we’ll see’.