Brentford beat Swansea 2-0 in a Championship play-off final worth about 180 million pounds ($255 million) to the victors on Saturday, promoting them to the Premier League for the first time in 74 years. Ivan Toney and Emiliano Marcondes scored first-half goals for Thomas Frank’s team at Wembley, completing their fairytale climb. Jay Fulton of Swansea was sent off midway through the second half, putting the game out of reach in what is often regarded as football’s most profitable match. Brentford will be one of the smallest clubs ever to play in the Premier Level after decades of obscurity in the lower league.
The Bees will host Manchester City, Manchester United, and Liverpool in their second season at the new Brentford Community Stadium in west London.
Brentford will be transformed by the wealth gained from the triumph, which has finally wiped the terrible memories of their dreadful play-off history.
Brentford had failed to achieve promotion in all nine of their previous play-off appearances before this season, having been defeated by Fulham in the Championship final last season.
No team had lost as many play-off finals as Brentford had, but Frank had maintained that the omens would be ignored.
The Bees’ manager was proven correct as he became the first Danish coach to earn promotion to the Football League.
Brentford’s Swedish captain Pontus Jansson stated, “It’s incredible, I’m really proud.”
“It’s been a long year, but we’ve made it. We had a really good group this year, and we believed in it from the beginning.”
Brentford’s ascension has piqued the interest of the general public, despite the fact that they spent 59 of their 60 seasons in the third or fourth levels until reaching the Championship in 2014.
Thanks to its inventive owner Matthew Benham, they have risen well above their customary standing.
Benham has implemented an analytics-driven strategy overseen by two football directors, ensuring that the club makes the most of its limited resources in compared to the Championship’s wealthier clubs.
Toney, the leading scorer in the Championship, placed Brentford back in the top flight for the first time since 1947.
Despite the close-season departures of key attackers Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma to Aston Villa and West Ham, respectively, Toney, who joined Brentford from third-tier Peterborough last year, guided the Bees to third place.
The 25-year-old, who was rejected by Newcastle as a teenager, will now get the opportunity to prove that he can succeed in the Premier League.
Six Brentford players began last season’s final, and they swiftly took control of their quest for redemption.
Brentford seized the lead in the 10th minute in front of an 11,689-strong crowd, which included 5,000 fans from each club following the lifting of lockdown restrictions.
Bryan Mbeumo made a brilliant run behind the Swansea defence to grab Sergi Canos’ wonderful pass into the penalty area, leading Freddie Woodman to rush off his line and collide with the Brentford striker.
Toney stepped up to convert the penalty beyond Woodman for his 33rd goal of the season after referee Chris Kavanagh pointed to the spot.
Brentford were not content to rest on their advantage, and in the 20th minute, they scored their second goal on a blazing counter-attack.
Mbeumo picked out the over-lapping Mads Roerslev as Frank’s men broke from their own penalty area, catching Swansea off guard.
Marcondes directed a superb finish past Woodman from 12 yards after Roerslev’s cross was precisely measured for him.
When Toney’s dipping volley struck the bar and rebounded clear off the line minutes later, he was inches away from scoring his second goal.
Shell-shocked is a term used to describe someone who has experienced a Swansea were so out of sorts that they failed to register a single shot on target during the encounter.
It was only a matter of time after Fulton was sent off in the 65th minute for a harsh tackle on Mathias Jensen before Brentford could begin their promotion celebrations.