A Club Record attendance of 1,010 was achieved on Sunday afternoon as Brentford FC Women defeated Sport London e Benfica 7-2 at Bedfont Sports Club. The showcase match formed part of the Club’s celebrations ahead of International Women’s Day.
Jon Varney, Brentford Football Club Chief Executive, was in attendance and stressed how important it is to create a sense of togetherness across the entire club. “It is absolutely fantastic to see over 1,000 people here today supporting our women's football team," he said. "If you said that to me 18 months ago, when we started the whole project of bringing the women’s team to be closer involved with the club, the thought was just a pipe dream, but to see it in reality today is absolutely fantastic.
“Karleigh Osbourne is doing an amazing job with his coaching. You can really see that they want to play football - they get the ball on the ground, using all the space on the pitch. They are just going from strength to strength."
Club Ambassadors Marcus Gayle and Lisa Grant were also on hand throughout the day as the matchday announcers and meeting fans. Aside from his duties, Marcus was able to enjoy the football on show.
Marcus said: “Today's game is probably the best performance I've seen from the team this season. They've risen to the occasion with over 1,000 people here and it's great that they've got that support from the fans.
“It's great to support them ahead of International Women's Day as well. For them to play in the same shirts as the men’s players is important. For them to be treated as equals is important. To have a photo shoot at the stadium just like the men - that helps to let them know that they're just as important as the men’s senior side and the B team. It's been a great day.”
The driving force behind the day was Amy Crook, General Manager for Brentford FC Women. With the previous record attendance being 400 at a match at Griffin Park, her aim was to introduce the women’s team to the broader Brentford fanbase.
“I’m, absolutely ecstatic," said Amy. "It's been an incredible day. What incredible support we've got here today - the main thing was to grow the fanbase, to raise the profile of women and girls’ football and to really just put women's football on the map at Brentford Football Club. I think we've done that today so, I'm really pleased.
“It's created such a buzz, and also winning as well. That was the icing on the cake. Brilliant.”
So, what is next for the women’s team? For Jon Varney it is all about growth. “Just keep on growing, they are climbing the leagues and the ambition is there for them to go as high as they possibly cant," he said. "We'll back them all the way. We're giving them all the resources that they need to succeed and I’m just delighted for everyone involved.”
And for Amy Crook, she also has her eyes set on the UEFA Women’s EUROs which will be hosted at Brentford Community Stadium in July this year. “That's going to be incredible, I must admit. You know, to be hosts as well. I just think it's going to be absolutely brilliant. Let's hope we can fill the stands – it will be amazing.”
Brentford FC would like to thank everyone involved in the day including our hosts Bedfont & Feltham FC, Bedfont Primary School, Polaris Medical Services Ltd and our partners, Utilita Energy for their ongoing support.