Brentford, the little club from west London with an even smaller budget — but massive Premier League dreams — reached the big time on Saturday, and manager Thomas Frank believes the story of their incredible rise through English football will inspire other lower-division clubs to dream big.
12 years ago, Brentford won promotion from League Two to League One, and only seven years ago did they leave the third division for life in the Championship. It wasn’t quick or easy by any means, but methodical and meticulously crafted — as the rest of the world will soon come to know them — culminating in a storybook moment on Saturday — quotes from the Guardian:
“The journey the club has been on is absolutely unbelievable. A lot of credit should go to [the owner] Matthew Benham.
“There should be a lot of clubs out there dreaming. Everything is possible if you work hard, have a clear strategy, togetherness, and then everything is achievable in the world.
“Last year, there was no real expectation, but this year there was so we had to handle that on top of everything. There was pressure on us to do well.”
World, please say hello to Thomas Frank. As you can see, he’s going to add loads of entertainment value to the Premier League.
🍻🐝 #BrentfordFC boss Thomas Frank asked about his plans for next season in the Premier League:
"Right now I just want to get so drunk tonight… and then tomorrow I will think about the Premier League!"pic.twitter.com/HhSdii9Lxw
— Joe Prince-Wright (@JPW_NBCSports) May 29, 2021
As for what Brentford do in the transfer market this summer, Frank insists — or, at the very least, hopes — the club won’t deviate from the philosophy which delivered Saturday’s unthinkable achievement.
For those unfamiliar with the business model under which Brentford have operated and progressed since Benham became the majority shareholder in 2012 (after years of investments and debt pay-offs), a brief summary from our story when Said Benrahma, an initial $3.8-million investment, was signed by West Ham United for $40 million last fall and Brentford broke their record for most expensive sale for the third time in 15 months…
Brentford sold star striker Ollie Watkins, for whom they paid just $2.3 million in the summer of 2017, to Aston Villa for $36 million. Before the 2019-20 season, Brentford sold Maupay, for whom they paid just $2.1 million that same summer, to Brighton & Hove Albion for $26 million.
🗣 "My dream when I came to Brentford was this. 𝙋𝙚𝙤𝙥𝙡𝙚 𝙖𝙨𝙠𝙚𝙙 𝙬𝙝𝙮 𝙄 𝙘𝙖𝙢𝙚 𝙩𝙤 𝘽𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙩𝙛𝙤𝙧𝙙 𝙗𝙪𝙩 𝙄 𝙨𝙖𝙬 𝙨𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙣𝙜"@PJansson5 reflects on becoming a promotion-winning captain with The Bees#BrentfordFC #BeeTogether 🐝 pic.twitter.com/RVlA5ZByee
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) May 30, 2021
In Frank’s mind, the league in which Brentford compete doesn’t change the fact that their are plenty of undervalued players — market inefficiencies, if you will — who can still come in, do a job at that level, progress the club further and be moved on for record profits.
“It’s going to be extremely important that we stick to that, and I’m not in doubt that we will. We will be calm with a clear strategy. Going into the Premier League we will see what happens. We will be calm.”
Had Brentford failed to win promotion on Saturday, star striker and Championship Golden Boot winner with 31 goals (not to mention, club-record signing at $14 million) Ivan Toney would have undoubtedly been the next flipped project sold to a first-division club. Only now, the 25-year-old is set to take on the Premier League in the red and white of Brentford, and Frank can focus solely on the additions to his squad rather than filling holes left behind by star departures — for one summer, at least.