BIAS Statement on Celtic friendly fixture

A lot of Bees fans were really looking forward to this fixture when it was announced but many now feel aggrieved at the ticketing arrangements.

When news of the fixture first broke the BIAS committee took the decision to suspend membership applications so that the Customer Charter could be implemented to ensure segregation.

BIAS are disappointed with the way Brentford FC have allocated stands within Griffin Park, and further disappointed that BFC felt that they could not market such a high profile and prestigious game to 6,000 Brentford fans – thereby keeping the BIAS and Bees United stands as exclusively home stands.

The allocation of just 600 dedicated seats in the Brook Road means that many Brentford fans are now concerned that they will not be able to get a seat ticket amongst the home support. If they choose to still attend by sitting in the Bees United stand or Bill Axbey stand many may feel uncomfortable showing their support for the amongst what is sure to be a large and passionate Celtic away support. The other alternative would be to forego a ‘home’ seat or endure the restricted views of the Brook Road terrace.

We expect that a great many supporters who originally planned to attend this match will now choose to stay away.

Whilst this arrangement might not bother some of our supporters who are happy to just go and watch a game a football, others may feel that with the lack of segregation that they will not be able to proactively support, cheer and encourage those wearing the red and white stripes in total safety – they could be put in the position where they have to endure Celtic goal celebrations in the BIAS stand, being jostled by Celtic fans or even having jubilant Celtic fans jumping on their backs.

Some supporters simply see the decision of the Club to give away supporters access to all three home stands, and to offer the away end as the only exclusive home area for this fixture, as a slap in the face and a blow to the dignity of the Club and supporters.

The football club have tried to justify their decision by referring to the attendances in friendlies against Stoke and Fulham, but the reality is that these teams are not seen as being prestigious by Brentford fans. A fixture against a team of Celtic’s stature is much more appealing and although only a friendly match the likelihood would have been that Bees fans would have responded by offering their total vocal support, willing the Bees to beat the Scottish champions.

It is the view of BIAS that Celtic fans should have been allocated the Bill Axbey Stand and the Brook Road Stand.

Brentford fans should have been allocated the BIAS stand and for the first two weeks of sale that the seating in the Bees United stand should have / could be sold on a Block by Block basis to Brentford fans. If after two weeks of sale to Brentford fans the tickets in D and E blocks and the Paddock below remained unsold, this area of the ground could have been re-allocated to Celtic supporters. Crowd control fencing could split the Bees United stand forecourt so that Celtic fans could have their own exclusive turnstiles by the Directors gate.

BIAS is also disappointed about the pricing for this friendly fixture and believes that a great many supporters will choose not to attend as a result of the increased cost. We also question the wisdom of agreeing to pay a fee to Celtic to play at Griffin Park which requires a crowd of 9,000 people paying prices in excess to what would be charged for a league fixture to break even.

We ask that the Club take into account supporters’ feelings about the arrangements for this match and consider our proposals regarding the allocation of stands within Griffin Park.

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