After finally getting promoted, Jason Pettigrove looks at why Brentford are breathing fresh life into the Premier League.
Although it may have come as a shock to many, anyone that has followed Brentford’s progress under Thomas Frank will have known that a 3-3 draw against Liverpool would not have been beyond them.
Like Leeds United last season, the west Londoners have breezed into the English top-flight and if not quite taking it by storm, they’re proving an almighty handful for the opponents they’ve stood toe-to-toe with thus far.
It’s a battle that Brentford clearly enjoy and, unlike the blood and thunder of the Championship, the Premier League affords them the opportunity to prove that they’re actually quite good ball players too.
Their new home ground, the Brentford Community Stadium is perfectly apt because this is a team, and a manager, that are completely in tune with their fan base.
Before promotion was secured, Frank popped down the local to record a podcast with a set of supporters, whilst he and his players were seen celebrating the recent win over Arsenal with a young fan in the stands.
It’s that type of connection that has seen the club thrive over the last couple of years.
Frank’s knowledge of youth football is also coming in handy as he seeks to mould his young side into one capable of staying in the Premier League for the long term.
The club’s recruitment policy also deserves a mention too.
In Ivan Toney the club have a perfect front man for the high-intensity, front-foot football Frank wants to see.
Devastating in front of goal when given the chance, he works as hard as any other, and it’s the collective work ethic, spirit and togetherness that is already making the Bees a difficult team to beat.
Kristoffer Ayer is as solid as they come as a centre-back, as he showed against Liverpool when far more lauded exponents (we’re looking at you Virgil) were on show.
Sergi Canos, a tricky midfielder signed from Norwich but originally from Barcelona, also displays all of the hallmarks and characteristics required to be a success at the top level.
Plenty of other squad players – that are a mixture of Danish youth products that the manager will have known from 18 years as a coach, and those with a point to prove having not made it elsewhere – without exception, are brave, tenacious, and play with a freedom of expression that’s a joy to watch.
What’s not to love about the ‘upstarts’ taking on the best that the Premier League has to offer at their own game, and taking points off of them in so doing?!
Though there will certainly be tougher times ahead, the club are so well run from top to bottom, that they are well set for an extended stay with the big boys.
Their new home ground, the Brentford Community Stadium is perfectly apt because this is a team, and a manager, that are completely in tune with their fan base.Jason Pettigrove