Brentford’s current stadium, Griffin Park, is famous for having a pub at every corner of the ground.
It’s charming in the sense the Soccer Saturday panel would describe it as a proper old ground.
However, even the most nostalgic season-ticket holder would admit its facilities are not quite Premier League standard.
So it’s a convenient coincidence (or masterful timing) that the West London club are expecting their new stadium, Brentford Community Stadium, to be opened in the summer of 2020, when they may be celebrating promotion to the world’s most-watched league.
The Bees last experienced top-flight football in the season immediately after the hiatus enforced by World War II.
This campaign, they are hoping to end their 73-year exodus by earning promotion to the Premier League.
The driving force behind their promotion charge? A BMW of course…
Brentford’s front three of Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins are arguably the best attacking unit in the Championship, the second-tier equivalent of Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino.
Watkins is leading the race for the Golden Boot, along with Aleksandar Mitrovic, with 18 goals.
Mbeumo is also among the league’s top scorers, with 11 league goals and four assists.
Benrahma has ten goal involvements (five goals, five assists) but while his stats may be the least impressive of the trio, his overall influence on Brentford’s success may be the greatest.
The Algerian is a skilful dribbler with excellent technique that allows him to dictate games from wide positions, though he is prone to cutting inside off the left flank.
In 2018/19, he struck up an effective partnership with Neal Maupay — GOAL: Maupay ASSIST: Benrahma was the most common combination in the Championship last season.
Maupay’s departure to Brighton threatened to hinder Brentford’s progression but the club’s much-lauded recruitment came good once again in the summer.
Right-winger Mbeumo has been an instant success since joining from Ligue 2’s Troyes.
The arrivals of centre-backs Ethan Pinnock and Pontus Jansson mean the Bees’ boast the best defensive record in the league at this stage of the season.
While Mathias Jensen (formerly of Celta Vigo) and Christian Norgaard (ex-Fiorentina) have established themselves in midfield.
Watkins made the jump from up League Two’s Exeter in 2017 and, after two impressive campaigns, is now taking the league by storm as a rampant goalscorer since taking over from Maupay’s centre-forward duties.
The triple threat of BMW have plundered 77% of Brentford’s league goals in 2019/20.
And only leaders West Brom have scored more goals in total.
By comparison, Mane, Salah and Firmino have scored 56% of Liverpool’s league goals this season.
Brentford are more reliant on their front three to score the team’s goals than Jurgen Klopp and his heralded attacking triplet.
Thomas Frank has done an excellent job since taking over from Dean Smith in 2018.
The Danish coach was Smith’s assistant for two years and has refined the current Aston Villa gaffer’s tactics while maintaining the principles that has put them at the top of many statistical measures.
Only Leeds rival Brentford in terms of possession since the start of Frank’s reign.
And it’s the Yorkshire club they have in their sights in the quest for promotion.
A few weeks ago, Leeds and West Brom looked like runaway leaders in the Championship, leaving the rest of the promotion hopefuls to scrap it out in the play-offs.
But both have suffered downturns in form simultaneously, allowing third-placed Brentford to half the gap from 12 points to six.
Now, the automatic promotion places are far from decided and even if they were forced to endure the nerve-shredding drama of the play-offs, they’d probably start as favourites, though a lot can change from now and May.
Brentford in the Premier League would be a fairy tale akin to Bournemouth’s remarkable ascent.
The new stadium’s maximum capacity is estimated to be 17,500 — the Cherries are the only team out of the 20 currently in Premier League with a smaller stadium.
In an age when money is often a shortcut to success, Brentford’s promotion would be evidence of what’s possible for clubs who are governed with responsibility and shrewdness.
Already, Leeds and West Brom’s trips to Griffin Park (11th February and 17th March respectively) look to be season-defining fixtures.
Marcelo Bielsa and Slaven Bilic will both be wary of Brentford’s BMW, but are they capable of applying the brakes?
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