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Top 10: Brentford’s most memorable moments

To celebrate our new partnership with Brentford Football Club, we are going to relive some of their greatest moments, which have taken place on and off the pitch. 

Brentford have had lots to cheer throughout their 132-year history. They’ve had promotions, league title success, takeovers and countless of unforgettable moments. They’ve also had some low points, but that’s what makes this club unique – they always come through adversity, and are now an established Premier League side, competing with the best in the world.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane, as we go through some of their remarkable achievements. 

1. Brentford 2 - 0 Swansea City: Promotion to the Premier League

It was a day Brentford fans could only have dreamt of. After a long and gruelling 2020/21 season, that dream became a reality. At Wembley, Brentford dominated Swansea City in a one-sided match, with striker Ivan Toney and midfielder Emiliano Mecondes scoring the goals to seal the Bees’ return to the pinnacle of English football – the first time since the 1946/47 season. Going into this game, the west London club had lost their last nine playoff finals, so on their 10th try, they broke the curse. It was an unforgettable season, which saw Ivan Toney break the record at the time for most goals scored in a Championship season, scoring 31.

2. Brentford 2 – 0 Arsenal: The first Premier League game

The day had finally arrived. Not only was it Brentford’s first top-flight game for 74 years, but it was also the first game which welcomed fans back, after a whole season of empty stadiums due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And it was against 13-time league champions Arsenal, so no easy feat. From the first minute, the atmosphere was electric – you could tell something was brewing. The stadium erupted in the 22nd minute when Sergi Canos struck the ball into the net. The Bees doubled their lead in in the 73rd minute though Norgaard, securing their first three points in the premier league.

The Bees continued to show their grit against the top clubs, holding six-time European winners Liverpool to a thrilling 3-3 draw at home, whilst humiliating then-current European champions Chelsea 4-1 at Stamford Bridge

3. Brentford 3-2 Millwall: Comeback kings

Brentford found themselves 0-2 down with just six minutes to go. The chances of getting anything from this game were extremely slim. But it goes to show, a slim chance is better than none.

In the 84th minute, Dasilva got one back, with the equaliser coming four minutes later, scored by Mbuemo. The winner came deep into stoppage time, as the prolific Ollie Watkins made sure all three points went to Brentford – Griffin Park erupted. It wasn’t the first or last time Brentford showed their fighting spirit.

4. Not for sale: QPR fail with their takeover bid of Griffin Park

It could have been so different if the plans in January 1967 went ahead. The chairman at the time, Jack Dunnet had held secret talks with fierce rivals, Queens Park Rangers. The deal was for the Rs to move into Griffin Park, which would have meant the end of Brentford football club. Obviously, the fans opposed this by weeks of hard work, fundraising and bringing awareness, which involved them walking from Brentford to Brighton – even players were involved, as they desperately tried to save their club.

It ended with a syndicate, led by Plymouth Argyle chairman Ron Blindell taking over the shares, ultimately saving the club from extinction.

5. The only way is up: Promotion to the Championship

A dramatic last day of the 2013/14 season saw Brentford achieve automatic promotion. But it did not happen without drama. To be promoted, the Bees had to beat Preston and needed results elsewhere to go in their favour – Leyton Orient had to lose at Crawley and Wolves could win or draw against Rotherham.

To make matters more tense, Wolves’ game had been delayed by 10 minutes due to traffic, so Brentford fans had to anxiously watch on as Rotherham equalised in the last 10 minutes, bringing the game to 4-4.  However, that anxiety evaporated when Wolves scored twice in added time, ensuring Brentford were playing Championship football the following season.

6. Brentford 2 – 1 Sunderland: Magic of the cup!

Time and time again, the FA cup produces remarkable moments, where the minnows slay the giants, in true David and Goliath fashion. This was certainly the case when Brentford, who were in League One at the time, took on Premier League’s Sunderland. Brentford emerged as 2-1 victors, thanks to the individual brilliance of DJ Campbell, who scored a brace – the winner coming in the last minute.

 

7. Brentford 1 – 0 Cambridge United: Division Three champions!

It was another dramatic final day for the Brentford faithful. The 1998/99 season went down to the wire, as the west London side clinched the title. The entire season saw the Bees battle Cambridge and Cardiff for top position.

In midweek before the last game of the season, Brentford thrashed Swansea 4-1, which meant a draw against Cambridge on the last day would be enough to become champions. The game saw future Club legend Lloyd Owusu score the only goal of the game, sending the Bees fans into delirium. It meant a quick return to Division Two, where they had been relegated in the season prior.

8. A new sheriff in town: Mathew Benham becomes owner of Brentford Football Club

It’s the year 2012 and Brentford are majority-owned by a fans group, called Bees United. During this time, the west London club encountered financial difficulties. Former BU chair David Merritt said, “Without investment the club was making a loss, and in any business, if you are losing money, you either need to fix the losses, sell it, or go bust”.

That’s where Mathew Benham steps in. At first, he started as a benefactor in 2009, loaning the club £1m a year on a five-year agreement, which was great – it kept the club afloat. The only problem, player contracts were coming to an end, which would need to be extended after the agreed period of Benham’s investment. So, they had a choice – risk signing players without guaranteed income, with the hope of selling them if they cannot afford them, which could end up in bankruptcy. Or they could negotiate with Benham, letting him take on a bigger role at the club, so he could invest more money. They chose the latter, and the rest really was history.

9. A future club hall of famer: The signing of Lloyd Owusu

In 1998, Lloyd Owusu signed from non-league Slough Town – his time at Brentford went better than anyone could have predicted. In his first season, the former Ghana international played all 56 games, scoring 25 goals in all competitions.

They went on to win the league, getting their hands on the Division Three title. In two tenures, Lloyd Owusu racked up 76 goals for the Bees, cementing himself as a club legend.   

10. A bigger, better home: Moving to Gtech Community Stadium

On 30th August 2020, Brentford confirmed their new stadium was complete. With a capacity of 17,250, it was an upgrade from the previous stadium Griffin Park, which could hold 12,763 fans. This new stadium was a clear sign of the direction the club was heading in.

Unfortunately, the first season at the new stadium was played behind closed doors, due to the pandemic. However, the wait was certainly worth it – just go back to our second moment on this list to see why.   

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