Brentford’s journey to Premier League can inspire others, says manager

Thomas Frank ‘humble and proud’ as club ends 74 years around the lower divisions

Swansea City’s Conor Hourihane and Brentford’s Mathias Jensen battle for the ball during the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday. Photograph:  Mike Egerton/PA Wire

Swansea City’s Conor Hourihane and Brentford’s Mathias Jensen battle for the ball during the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium, London on Saturday. Photograph: Mike Egerton/PA Wire

 

Thomas Frank believes Brentford can be an inspiration to lower-league clubs all around the world. Brentford, who have spent the best part of 74 years bouncing around the bottom two divisions, on Saturday completed their remarkable journey to the Premier League. Their shrewd player trading policy is widely regarded as the blueprint to follow for teams lower down the league ladder. But the 2-0 Wembley win over Swansea – their first successful play-off campaign at the 10th attempt – means Brentford’s new Community Stadium will be hosting Manchester City, Chelsea and Liverpool next season.

“I’m so, so pleased and humble and proud to be part of this journey, with a lot of fantastic, dedicated, intelligent people, from staff to players, everyone in this club,” said Frank. “The way we’ve built the club and progressed year after year and stayed calm after the unbelievable setback of last year – this must be an example to follow for so many clubs around the world.”

Frank’s own journey is far from conventional. Never a professional, the Dane began coaching kids in his early 20s before progressing to Denmark’s youth set-up and then Brondby. “It is an unbelievable feeling to be part of something this special, I’m really humble about it because I know I played a part,” he added.

‘The hard way’

“To be able to be part of this and play my role, of course, I’m very proud of that because I really, really walked the hard way, coaching from when I was 20 from Under-8s to the Premier League.

“I really hope that can inspire other coaches out there who have that dream to inspire people to be better people and players.”

First-half goals from Ivan Toney and Emiliano Marcondes, and a late red card for Jay Fulton, condemned Swansea to another season in the Championship. Boss Steve Cooper has been linked with the vacancies at Crystal Palace and West Brom, but he insisted pre-season preparations would begin as normal. André Ayew, Wayne Routledge and Kieron Freeman are out of contract this summer while Freddie Woodman, Marc Guéhi and the Republic of Ireland’s Conor Hourihane end their loan spells.

“It’s the off season now – whether it finished a few weeks ago or now, we had to determine which league we were going to be in,” said Cooper. “It’s the Championship so we’ll just plan accordingly. Some players will come and some will go. That’s normal. We’ll just crack on with those plans now.”

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