Brentford Football Club are a professional football club based in Brentford, in the London Borough of Hounslow, that currently play in the Football League Championship. They were founded on 10 October 1889 and play their home games at Griffin Park, their home stadium since 1904, after a nomadic existence playing at five previous grounds. Brentford's most successful spell came during the 1930s, when they achieved consecutive top six finishes in the First Division. Since the Second World War, they have spent most of their time in the third and fourth tiers of English football. Brentford have been FA Cup quarter-finalists on four occasions, and have three times been Football League Trophy runners-up.
Founded on 10 October 1889, at the Oxford and Cambridge Hotel public house in Brentford – next to Kew Bridge – a meeting was held, between the members of the Brentford Rowing Club, to decide between association football or rugby union, to serve as a winter pursuit for the rowing club and its members. As a result of a vote, by eight votes to five, taken six days later, association football was successful as the sport to partake in.
The football club started out playing its home matches at the Clifden House Ground – this was recreational land between what is now Clifden Road and Lateward Road – in Brentford, from November 1889 to March 1892. The very first fixture, between Brentford FC and Kew FC, was on 23 November 1889. Due to ownership of the land changing hands, Brentford FC were on the lookout for a new ground after only 30 months. In October 1892, Benn's Field – land behind The Plough PH Little Ealing Lane – in Little Ealing, was the club's new home. The football club decided to move nearer to Brentford and in December 1894 they moved to Shotter's Field – what is now Gunnersbury School, The Ride – and stayed there until April 1898. Due to high rent increases, the club were once again forced to move on, so in September 1898 the club moved to the Cross Roads Ground, in Little Ealing – land on the north west side of the junction of Little Ealing Lane and Ealing Road – this was used until April 1900. As the club grew, therefore entertaining larger crowds, a move to a ground with the chance of improving better spectator facilities, with under cover enclosures and changing rooms, was looked for. Boston Park Cricket Ground, in York Road, Brentford – what is now land along the east side of Ealing Road and south of the Great West Road – was then used from September 1900 to April 1904. Finally, in January 1904, the club agreed a 21-year lease on an orchard, once owned by Chiswick brewers Fuller, Smith and Turner. The clearance of the orchard, over 200 trees, and the levelling of the land took several months. Griffin Park, as it became known – supposedly named after the local The Griffin pub once used as a changing rooms in the early years – was now ready for use as a football ground after banking was raised along three sides of the ground and an enclosure, moved from their previous ground, was erected. In August 1904 trial matches were played on the pitch. Then the first competitive match was played, a reserve team game in the Western League v Plymouth Argyle. On 7 September 1904, Brentford and West Ham United played out a 0–0 draw, in the Southern League First Division, which was the first first team match.
In 1920, it was a founder member of the Third Division South. During the late 1920s and 1930s, the club began to make real progress. In the 1929–30 season, the side won all 21 of its home matches in the Third Division South, but still missed out on promotion. They are the last of six teams in English football to amass a perfect home record, and the only one to do so over a season of 42 matches or more. After several more near-misses, promotion to the Second Division was finally achieved in 1932–33. Two years later, Brentford reached the First Division and finished 5th in its debut season – which is still the club's highest ever league position – to complete a remarkable rise for the club. Under manager Harry Curtis and captain Arthur Bateman, Brentford achieved more impressive placings in the league for the rest of the decade (6th in the following two seasons) before the Second World War interrupted.