Q&A

Brentford Community Stadium Q&A

Why make the move in 2020? If it was so important to move back into London then why not move earlier?

The timing of this move is not as important as making sure that the right option had been chosen by the club’s management. There have been a number of options on the table over the years, and more than one option now, but we knew that it had to be right from all angles, such as location, capacity, commercial obligations, and so on.

The Brentford Community Stadium meets all of these requirements, and more, and the decision was made after a full feasibility study had been undertaken. It is a stadium which is being built to meet the needs of both the Premier League and Premiership Rugby and will be an outstanding new home for London Irish.

What happens if London Irish are not in the Premiership in 2020?

This move to the Brentford Community Stadium near Kew Bridge is in the long-term interests of London Irish; being in the Premiership is not a pre-requisite.

Will the stadium be ready in 2020?

Yes. Work is already underway and the stadium framework is going up. We do not envisage any delays at this stage.

This was not the case with some of the other options that were looked at, and if we were to build our own stadium it would take many more years before we would be able to play there. This development has already taken over a decade to get to this point!

Are there going to be any issues from the local council, residents, etc?

No. The stadium has already been approved by the relevant authorities for dual use for football and rugby. London Irish will be reaching out to local residents’ associations and the business community in the next few months.

We’ve been working closely with Brentford FC and both they and Hounslow Council are looking forward to London Irish becoming a part of the local community.

What is wrong with building your own stadium?

Putting it simply, cost. The cost of purchasing a suitable site inside the M25 and then developing it to the required standard would be prohibitively expensive. At Brentford Community Stadium we have everything we want and need to underpin our growth in the future at a fraction of the cost.

The stadium is designed to give supporters every opportunity to create a superb atmosphere, and we will make the entire area somewhere that London Irish fans can be proud of.

What is more important is that we own our own training base as that is where the majority of the week is spent, and at Hazelwood we have a world class facility.

Why not move the club’s training and administration bases to Reading? After all you’ve been playing for long enough there

This argument has merit. But London Irish’s traditional home is in West London; it is where our amateur club is based and where we want to be in the future.

We will always be thankful to the supporters who dedicated their time and commitment to us over the past 18 years and hope that they will be a part of our onward journey back in London.

Isn’t the c.17,250 capacity going to be too small?

We believe that 17,250 is perfect for us. Clubs like Northampton, Bath, Exeter and Harlequins all attract average crowds of around 14,000, and if there are any major games then Twickenham can always be an option.

The stadium is designed to give supporters every opportunity to create a superb atmosphere, and we will make the entire area somewhere that London Irish fans can be proud of.

Why are you leaving the Thames Valley?

The Thames Valley will always be important to us, which is why a location has been chosen which is next to the M4 and has excellent public transport links from Reading, Maidenhead, etc, through Crossrail, South Western Railway and the Tube network.

We will always be thankful to the supporters who dedicated their time and commitment to us over the past two decades and hope that they will be a part of our onward journey back in London.

What are the transport links like?

Transport links are outstanding.

Car – The stadium is next to M4 J1 and there will be car parks with an anticipated c.1,000 spaces close to the stadium.

Public transport – Kew Bridge station (South Western Railway) is immediately next door to the stadium site and is just over an hour from Reading, via Feltham. The line also passes through Clapham Junction to Waterloo, two major rail hubs with excellent access to locations south and south-west of London.

Gunnersbury, Kew Gardens and Chiswick Park Tube stations (District line) are all close, with Chiswick Park just three stops away from the new Crossrail station at Ealing Broadway. Crossrail will have stations in Reading, Maidenhead, and other stations in the Thames Valley.

We will explore options of coach travel between Reading and the stadium for Season Ticket Holders and other supporters.

A full travel plan has been compiled as part of the planning application process, the details of which will be publicised widely before London Irish moves into the stadium.

Where are the supporters going to come from?

The location next to Kew Bridge station opens London Irish to supporters from across London, thanks to its outstanding transport links. The club is already planning extensive marketing and outreach work to introduce us to the community and make sure that we will be London’s authentic rugby club when we move in 2020.

We can stay in contact with all of those people who have become London Irish supporters while we’ve been playing in Reading and have deliberately chosen a site that is straightforward to reach from the Thames Valley, whether by public transport or by car.

How will you make the Brentford Community Stadium feel like ‘home’?

Because we are involved in the development process we will be able to make sure that this stadium is as suited to rugby as it is to football and rugby has been part of the design process from Day 1

The site includes restaurants and bars that will make a day at London Irish great for all of the family, and because it is an urban development in a busy area of London we will not have the same out-of-town feel as there is at the Madejski Stadium; we will be able to engage with the whole community.

We can stay in contact with all of those people who have become London Irish supporters while we’ve been playing in Reading, and have deliberately chosen a site that is straightforward to reach from the Thames Valley, whether by public transport or by car.

What about the pitch and having two sports?

The stadium is being built to meet Premier League and Premiership Rugby standards and as such will have the latest pitch technology to make sure that the surface is as good as it can be for both London Irish and Brentford FC. Stadiums such as the Liberty Stadium have both rugby and football played on them with no discernible loss of quality of the surface.

Will the stadium be flexible enough to meet the different catering and viewing needs of rugby and football supporters?

Yes. Because London Irish is involved as part of the development process we will ensure that the stadium is best-in-class for both sports.