Thomas Frank: Brentford boss says Bees set promotion 'blueprint' after reaching Premier League

Thomas Frank
Thomas Frank took Brentford into the top flight for the first time in 74 years

Head coach Thomas Frank says Brentford have provided a blueprint for promotion after sealing a place in the Premier League for the first time.

“We are an example to follow for so many clubs around the world,” said Frank, who was appointed boss in 2018.

“I’m so pleased and proud to be part of this journey. There should be a lot of clubs out there dreaming.”

He added: “It is up to us to continue the journey next year.”

For goal hero Ivan Toney, reaching the Premier League gives him another shot at the elite level after things did not work out following a move to Newcastle United from Northampton.

The 25-year-old, signed from Peterborough for what was Posh’s club record fee received, racked up 33 goals this term – having rebuilt his career following a disappointing four-game stint on Tyneside.

“It’s crazy, from Newcastle days and not getting a sniff, to being in the Premier League and potentially playing against them,” Toney told BBC Radio London.

“If you’d asked me back then if I thought I’d get another shot at it, I’d have said ‘probably not’ because my head wasn’t in the right place at the time.

“Now I feel like I’m ready, more than ready. I was ready last year and the year before. Now it’s about wanting it and to get another shot.

“I’m there now and it’s up to me now whether I stay in the Premier League or let it drift away again – which won’t be the case.”

Ivan Toney
Ivan Toney’s arrival from Peterborough was a key factor in Brentford’s promotion as he scored 33 goals

‘If you work hard, anything is achievable’

Brentford were in the third tier when owner Matthew Benham took control of the club from Bees United, the club’s supporters trust, in 2012.

Benham has introduced an innovative stats-based approach to recruitment and bankrolled a new stadium at Kew Bridge, which the Bees moved into last summer.

Frank has guided the club to back-to-back third-placed finishes in the Championship and, after last season’s play-off final defeat by Fulham, victory and promotion at the second attempt at Wembley Stadium.

“I am so proud of this journey – the way we have built this club and progressed, and stayed calm after an unbelievable setback last year,” the Dane said.

“The journey the club has been on is remarkable. Credit to Matthew Benham. If you work hard, anything is achievable.”

Toney calmly slotted the Bees ahead from the penalty spot and Emiliano Marcondes rounded off a counter-attack to make it 2-0 after 20 minutes.

“Last year the stadium looked massive and we really didn’t play our best game,” the 47-year-old head coach added.

“I sensed in the week the players were calm, relaxed and ready to be ruthless. We talked about going out with attitude and being brave.”

Adding solidity to beauty

The Brentford side of 2019-20 was a fluid, attack-minded machine that won plaudits for an adventurous style of football which brought 80 goals in 46 games.

While there have been changes to the personnel with both Said Benrahma and Ollie Watkins leaving for big money and signings such as Toney, Vitaly Janelt and Saman Ghoddos brought in, there has also been a tweak to their approach on occasion which has brought results.

“Last year we played some beautiful football,” midfielder Mathias Jensen said. “But I think this season it’s just more solid. Maybe we didn’t play as beautiful as last year but we were definitely more solid.

“The togetherness we have in the group and the willingness to fight for each other is unbelievable.

“But it shows how this club is driven, all the way from Matthew down to the staff. They’re so good at scouting and not using a lot of money on players.

“They really look at the potential of players and deliver when they get the chance. It’s amazing.”

It was also Brentford’s first promotion through the English Football League play-offs at the 10th attempt, having lost four finals, and Frank is relishing the chance to celebrate.

“I just want to get very drunk tonight, and we will think about the Premier League on Monday,” Frank said.

“If I’m not home in the morning, my wife will have to look for me.”

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