Opposition View: ‘Teams at this level tend to lose their ‘community soul’ but we’ve held the line well’

Following another energy filled night at the London Stadium on Thursday, the attention turns quickly back to the Premier League. We catch up with Brentford supporter Tommy Fondie, who might think this is a good time to play the Hammers.

What are your thoughts on signing Christian Eriksen?

TF: He’s an exciting player, and Denmark’s number 10 for a reason. The only player I’d thought ‘how the hell is someone this good playing for Brentford?’ was Jota. Compare that to recently and it all feels a bit surreal, Watkins kicked the ball rolling, then Pontus, Toney and now Eriksen. He’s been given the green light by doctors and is eager to play so I’d say I’m not too concerned

Brentford is known as a family club. Has anything changed since coming to the Premier League?

TF: I’d say not much has changed really. We can reminisce on the old days, rock up to the pub an hour before kick-off, buy your ticket on the day and sit/stand wherever you want. Back to the pub post-match for a pint with the players. Many teams at this level tend to lose their ‘community soul’ but I’d like to say we’ve held the line very well. Hounslow itself isn’t the most glamorous part of London, and the club’s family and community efforts really don’t go unnoticed.

But how has it felt being in the Premier League?

TF: A bit surreal. If you’d come up to me in 2009 when I went to my first Bees game in League 2 saying that Brentford, little old Brentford, would ever reach the heights of playing some of the world’s greatest at our little den, I’d have laughed at you. This club has a good financial strategy, a brilliant fanbase behind it, a brilliant set of players and the best owner in the world.

And how’s the new stadium treating you?

TF: There’s positives and negatives. While I don’t think you’d be able to point me to a Bees fan that doesn’t miss Griffin Park, the new home does seem fitting. We can really make noise and the echo from the design really amplifies that. Of course, we miss standing on the freezing terraces of Ealing Road on Tuesday nights. Some things you just can’t replace, but the club has moved forward more than we could have ever imagined in the last decade.

Woody O’Rourke captured the hearts of football fans with his moment shared with manager Thomas Frank. Is he a local celebrity?

TF: In honesty, I hadn’t really known much about Woody before this season. Upon looking into it and the commitment this boy and his parents have to the club is class. Home and away fans. Always supporting the players – win, draw or loss. Filming bits for our pre-match video. I think we were all happy when we saw that picture of him with Thomas Frank.

Who do you see as your closest rivals?

TF: QPR. Not only a west London derby, but fuel was thrown on the fire in 1967 when we were in a dire financial state. QPR tried to buy out our ground and in turn, the club. Fan-led protests and donations prevented this. Our stadium announcer holds it very close to his heart so a win against them is always special, you can often see him in the dugout celebrating with the players after a good match against them.

As it’s Mark Noble’s last season, do you have any vivid memories of him playing against your team or in general?

TF: Mark Noble’s a great leader and a player that loves West Ham. A memory I have of him is when he tackled this pitch invader to the ground. I didn’t watch the game live but saw it on social media and it made me chuckle. 

What are your score predictions in your game against West Ham?

TF: I’ll go for a 2-2 draw

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