Brentford FC: an English fairy tale with a strong Danish influence | Football news | Athletic
âThere should be a lot of dreaming clubs. Anything is possible if you work hard, have a clear strategy, solidarity. When Thomas Frank said this in May, Brentford FC had just ended a 74-year wait to return to the top of English football. It was a comment made at a press conference where Frank sat draped in a towel and talked about wanting to be “so drunk”. In short, it was said in a moment of unbridled glee and would have been treated as such if Brentford were at or near the bottom of the Premier League table almost two months after the start of the season. But after eight games – okay, it’s the start and they have some great games to come – through the competitions, Frank’s team refused to wake up to an alternate reality. They started by beating Arsenal. Granted, Arsenal were particularly rudderless that August night, but Brentford went on to hold Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, beat Wolves, knocked Old Athletic 7-0 in the EFL Cup and drew 3-3 with Liverpool in the roller coaster of a match. Their only loss so far has been a 0-1 loss at home to Brighton, a game where Brentford striker Bryan Mbuemo could have scored four. In this match, forward Ivan Toney tried a Patrik Schick and almost succeeded, his long-range shot sailing by little. Midfielder Vitaly Janelt’s attempt to steal Emiliano Martinez as he threw the ball for a goal kick in a previous game was cheeky, but showed the promoted side were anything but intimidated. âIn all three games we had strong performances and were brave, pushing high and pushing forward. But I know they’re good enough to show even more of it, âFrank said. Everything Frank had said after Brentford beat Swansea 2-0 to win the Championship qualifiers has come together against Liverpool. If Kristoffer Ajer’s slide for a save at the goal line and the performance of goalkeeper David Raya summed up Brentford’s desire, Toney’s back heel for the first goal showed the tools to play with flair and Janelt’s goals. and Yoane Wissa their self-confidence. Backing up twice against Liverpool’s much-vaunted front line, damage control could have been Brentford’s method, but ‘The Bees’ invaded the rival goal instead. To help this, Frank took out central midfielder Christian Norgaard and brought in Wissa, a striker for a defensive midfielder. From 3-5-2, Brentford moved up to 3-4-3. Brentford’s press, their targeted attack on the right side of the Liverpool defense, the variety of their stopped play routines all worked thanks to sideline signals from Bernardo Cueva, the club’s Mexican tactical statistician was for the players proof of the meticulous planning of the match. “We played one of the best teams in the Premier League and we more than held it up,” Frank said. “We struggled with their long balls and they deserved their three goals,” said Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp. MAKE A STATEMENT With Young Boys, Club Brugge and Sheriff Tiraspol in Europe, Brentford is a hit. thunder over the idea of ââa super league which for imploded under the weight of its own contradictions. âLook at their players. I don’t know how much (Leandro) Trossard, (Adam) Lallana and (Danny) Welbeck are compared to our players, âFrank said after the Brighton game. But given the chance they would have been denied in a closed club competition between football’s big cats, Brentford has shown they can compete. Big on smart buying and data analytics he brought up comparisons with Oakland Athletics, the baseball team that was the subject of the movie Moneyball in 2011. Left center-back Ethan Pinnock, who scored against Liverpool, played in the seventh tier of English football in 2018 and Janelt, still mobile, was bought for 500,000 euros by Bochum. To understand Brentford’s tale, we have to – rightly – look at Denmark. Or FC Midtjylland since Matthew Benham invested Â£ 6.2million in 2014. Benham is a lifelong Brentford fan who became owner of the club in 2007 when his Â£ 700,000 loan was not repaid. Brentford was then in League Two, the fourth level of English football. A physics graduate from Oxford, Benham was vice president of Bank of America before joining a betting company. In 2004, after making a lot of money as a sports player, Benham founded his own betting company Smartodds. Benham’s advice to clients is based on algorithms, data and research. This is how Midtjylland started to lead his football team since he held the majority. In 2015, the Danish club, according to The Guardian, tracked shots in the danger zone, the area between the six-yard box and the edge of the penalty. zone, from which 77% of Premier League goals have been scored. At halftime, coaches would base team discussions on the KPI contributions given to them. “I knew he thought of football very differently,” Rasmus Akerson, the chairman who is also Brentford co-manager, said of Benham. Where the model differed was that while Midtjylland, from where midfielder Frank Onyeka joined that tenure, placed great importance on their academy, Brentford disbanded theirs in 2016. Instead, they did. formed a B team and made it way to the senior team. With a plethora of Premier League clubs in the city, this west London club have found that spending almost Â£ 2million a year running an academy is not delivering the right return on investment. In addition, there were too many teams to watch. Better to form a workforce made up of players aged 17 to 20, those released by the best teams in London, those in Europe who had passed under the radar of the best clubs. Like midfielder Josh Dasilva. Recovering from a hip injury, Dasilva turned down a new deal at Arsenal, preferring to stay at Brentford. These 40 or so B-team players train on a pitch alongside the senior team and throughout the season play matches in England and Europe. According to The Athletic, 10 players, including Finland international Marcus Forss, who scored a hat-trick against Oldham and the goal that took Brentford to the Championship playoffs, have moved on to the first team. These B-team players combine well with Toney, Ajer, who cost Â£ 12.5million, Pontus Jansson and Norgaard (among the five internationals Brentford sent to Euro 2020), and Raya whose ability finding teammates with long passes – it’s often Toney and usually after a few signals – helping Brentford hit on the break.Bought for a record Â£ 6million in 2020, Toney was playing in lower leagues until 2018 and was mocked on social media for saying he thought he could play in the Premier League. And it was signed after Brentford earned around Â£ 90million from the sale of Ollie Watkins, Said Benrahma, Neal Maupay and Ezri Konsa. Including 11 penalties, Toney has scored a record 31 league goals in 2020-21 and is a solid physical presence. on both sides of the field. He and Mbuemo typically run the press with Janelt chasing anyone who falls deep from midfielders. Toney has six goals and two assists heading into Sunday’s away game against West Ham. He and Mbuemo work a great combination, as evidenced by the game against Brighton and the second goal against Wolves. âIt’s a dynamic duo. It’s not the same but it’s a bit like (Dwight) Yorke and (Andy) Cole, âFrank said. didn’t have much of a playing career and started coaching youth teams at the age of 20. He studied sports psychology, has a degree in physical education and worked under current Danish coach Kasper Hjulmund when he was at Lyngby. At Brentford since 2016, the former Denmark youth team coach worked as an assistant to Dean Smith before taking the top job when Smith joined Villa in 2018. Premier League, âsaid Frank . “I hope this can inspire other coaches who have this dream of inspiring people to be better players and people.” Frank was in charge when Brentford lost 1-2 to Fulham in the 2020 playoffs. It wasn’t the only time Brentford had come close to climbing the ladder in a division. In 2013, Marcello Trotta’s 94th-minute penalty hit the frame and denied Brentford’s promotion to the championship. In 2001-02, they had to beat Reading in their last league game to be promoted and failed. -would be able to take a sad song and make it better.
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