Brentford’s 3-1 win over Swansea on Tuesday night saw them overturn their first-leg deficit to book a place in the Championship play-off final, giving Griffin Park a fitting farewell in the process.
The Bees will make the short trip to Wembley to face either Fulham or Cardiff City on 4 August, with a lucrative spot in the Premier League awaiting the winner.
Despite failing to achieve promotion to the top flight during their first five seasons in the Championship, Brentford have proved time and time again that they’re one of the most exiting sides in the league.
Their win over the Swans encapsulated exactly what we’ve come to expect from them since their promotion to the second tier in 2014, with free-flowing, heart-pounding, majestic football marred by lapses in concentration at the back.
Having threatened to blow Steve Cooper’s side away with early goals from Ollie Watkins and Emiliano Marcondes, the Swans managed to get a foothold in the game and the sides headed for the half-time interval with the aggregate score at 2-1.
An early second-half strike from Bryan Mbeumo saw Thomas Frank’s side take a commanding lead. However, if there’s one thing the Bees don’t do, it’s boring games.
With just over ten minutes remaining, Pontus Jansson inexplicably decided to attempt some sort of weird, unnecessary, flicked clearance on the edge of his own 18-yard box - completely missing the ball of course - allowing Rhian Brewster to slot home to set up a grandstand finish.
While Brentford ultimately made it through the final stages of the game unscathed, it wasn’t without incident, and everything about their performance on the night tells you exactly why you should be rooting for them to make it to the Premier League.
Frank’s side notched a league-high 80 goals in this season’s Championship and have only once failed to score more than 70 in their six seasons in the league.
To put this into perspective, other than Brentford, only two teams scored more than 70 goals in this season’s second tier, and they both got promoted, yet somehow the Bees still find themselves awaiting their maiden season in the Premier League.
During their time in the Championship, the Bees have undoubtedly boasted the most impressive scouting network in the league. Despite having made just two purchases over £3.5m and their record signing standing at £5.85m, Brentford have unearthed some absolute gems.
Neal Maupay, Chris Mepham, Ezri Konsa and Andre Gray have all made their way to the Premier League having been handed a chance at Griffin Park, with every one of them later fetching a figure of over £10m.
They’ve even let a few go on the cheap, with James Tarkowski and John Egan leaving Griffin Park for a combined fee of less than £8m. Sack the transfer team!
The point is, Brentford don’t do flash, top-dollar signings. They study the lower leagues and nurture the talent they find.
Their current starting XI is testament to that fact, with 25-goal Watkins arriving from League Two side Exeter and Said Benrahma - a player muted to be attracting interest from a multitude of top clubs – spotted while plying his trade in the French lower leagues.
Along with club-record signing Mbeumo, Brentford’s BMW frontline have notched 57 league goals between them this season, having been signed for a combined fee of just £9.1m.
Next season will see the Bees relocate from their famous old ground to their newly built Brentford Community Stadium, a state-of-the-art arena just over a mile away from Griffin Park.
Should they emerge victorious from their Wembley clash, they’ll welcome Premier League football to their new ground, ending their 73-year exile from England’s top flight.
So, if you’re a fan of thrilling, basketball-like games of football and you love the sight of a completely unknown quantity being plucked from the lower leagues and turning out to be a superstar, then you’ll be cheering on the Bees come 4 August.
Source : 90min