Brentford Football Club has spent most of its existence in the lower leagues of football. Much of the Bees history has been made in the bottom two leagues of the English game.
However, in recent years the Bees have been buzzing in the Premier League, with the 2021/22 season the first time Brentford have featured in the English top-flight since season 1946/47.
Not only did they make it to the pinnacle of the English game, the Premier League, but they did it by playing an expansive style of football that has kept the fans on the edge of their seats.
The club is owned by Matthew Benham, who, like his counterpart at Brighton, Tony Bloom, is involved in the gambling world. In fact, Bloom was once Benham’s boss, a relationship that soured in 2004 when the pair had a legal dispute and parted ways.
Benham is the owner of Smartodds, a statistical research company for professional gamblers, and the owner of a Matchbook betting exchange.
Benham has been perfectly placed to use the cutting-edge software and statistical modelling service developed for Smartodds to bring the right people into the football club to make it a success.
The proof that this system works is that since Benham bought Brentford in 2012, the Bees have risen from League One to the Premier League.
The Oxford-educated Benham is an owner willing to delegate jobs to professionals who may know more about a particular facet of the game than himself. This has helped create a positive working environment.
It is also important to mention that Benham also owns the Danish football club Midtjylland. His links and contacts in the Danish game have been important, as the Bees have brought in several players from the Scandinavian nation.
The director of football
Brentford’s director of football Phil Giles has worked alongside the owner for the last 16 years. However, he only started working as the club’s director of football in May 2015. He is the one that handles the day-to-day football running of the club.
Giles was also assisted by co-sporting director Rasmus Ankersen until 2021, when Ankersen left the club to become the co-owner of Brentford’s Premier League rivals Southampton.
However, Giles is regarded as the man with the plan at Brentford. Many credits Giles’ vision and planning for the success of the club. He shapes the recruitment of both playing and non-playing personnel.
Giles is responsible for overseeing the statistical modelling and the club’s progressive philosophy of inclusion and creating a positive environment for everybody connected to the club. His hard work has paid off handsomely, proven by the Bees’ performance in the last few years.
The head coach
Danish head coach Thomas Frank is one of the critical components of Brentford’s recent progression. He joined the club in 2016 initially as assistant head coach. However, he received a promotion in 2018 when he became the first-team head coach after the exit of Dean Smith.
Since his appointment, the Bees have gone from strength to strength. His tactical nous and man-management have earned Frank massive praise. He is now regarded as one of the best head coaches in the English top flight.
Frank likes his team to press their opponents high up the pitch, although he is open to more direct football when needed or if it gives his team a tactical advantage. The Dane seems to have a personality that fits the club’s philosophy of inclusion and respect perfectly.
The technical director
One of the most crucial people at the football club is technical director Lee Dykes. Since he arrived from Bury, Dykes has earned two promotions and is now a vital component of everything Brentford does.
Dykes works closely with Giles in identifying players. He is reported to have an encyclopaedic knowledge of players, which is vital in recruitment. This knowledge has helped Brentford build a strong team without breaking the bank.
The Bees’ technical director not only has a master’s degree in sporting directorship, but he also has his UEFA A coaching license. He also looks at pathways to the first team from the club’s B team.
His performance with Brentford has reportedly caught the eye of some of European football’s biggest clubs. However, should Dykes leave, then Brentford are likely to have a backup plan to replace the highly-rated technical director, such is the club’s ability to plan ahead.
Established Premier League club
The Bees’ first few years in the Premier League have been about establishing themselves as an English top-flight club. They have done that well so far and impressed people with their style of football along the way.
The key to the club’s success has been the positive culture around the club and the owner’s confidence in the people he has hired to do their jobs.
Fortunately for Bees’, it has been a recipe for success if they can maintain the current trajectory, who knows what the west London outfit can achieve in the future.