The Muttitt family, Robert with his son and daughter Peter and Nicki and granddaughter Sophie were selected to put shovel to soil in the inaugural ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of building work on the Brentford Community Stadium on Monday.
Unlike some residents of Strand on the Green, who can be heard muttering darkly into their beer from time to time about the impact of the Great Unwashed on parking in the area, the Muttitts are happy about the new stadium and looking forward to many happy hours of cheering their team on, in the Premier league, they say rather optimistically.
Their family has history with the club, as Robert’s father Ernie played for Brentford FC in the 1930s, joining from Middlesbrough and scoring 27 goals in 94 games, thus helping them win promotion from the third tier in his first six months at Griffin Park and then to the top flight in 1935. Robert remembers mucking about in the players’ enormous bath as a kid.
Yesterday was more of a photo opportunity than serious spade work, attended by Leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Steve Curran, Ruth Cadbury MP for Brentford and Isleworth, fans, staff and players from Brentford FC, representatives from the developer Be Living, the architects and other consultants who have worked on the project. Construction starts in earnest on the 17,250-capacity stadium and 910 new homes after Easter. Here’s the timetable.
3 Apr 18: Construction Starts
2 Aug 19: Pitch Complete
17 Sep 19: Stadium Complete
12 Nov 19: Stadium Handed-Over to Brentford FC
One of the funniest and most effective put downs I have witnessed was when the club’s Chief Executive Mark Devlin met members of Strand on the Green Residents Association a couple of years ago at their AGM. Asked about the influx of football supporters to riverside pubs which would be encouraged by the new stadium, the immaculately suited and booted executive admitted he was rather partial to dinner at Annie’s himself. No one quite liked to point out that they didn’t mean him, of course. But his point was most elegantly made.
I will no doubt be returning to this subject when I find I can no longer park in my road on a Saturday.