Brentford’s value-driven approach fires Premier League push

London (AFP) – Brentford are pushing hard for a return to the English top flight after more than 70 years away, with head coach Thomas Frank highlighting their values-driven approach as one reason for the club’s success.

The Londoners, renowned for their canny transfer dealings, are eyeing an automatic promotion spot after posting two straight wins following the return from the coronavirus lockdown.

Frank admits his side, third in the second-tier Championship behind slumbering giants Leeds United and West Bromwich Albion, would be in “dreamland” if they reached the Premier League.

On Tuesday Brentford, well-placed to qualify for the play-offs, travel to Reading, with seven games left of the regular season.

The west London club, who last appeared in the top division of English football in 1947, cannot boast the big crowds of their Championship rivals although they will soon be moving from Griffin Park to a new, larger stadium nearby.

But they have become renowned as a financially stable club who have used a data-driven recruitment model to buy low and sell high.

In April they posted a £20 million ($25 million) profit for the financial year to the end of June 2019. They returned a profit of more than £27 million from player sales, including John Egan to Sheffield United and Chris Mepham to Bournemouth.

– Character test –

Danish boss Frank told AFP that a big part of the ethos of the club is only buying players whose character fits.

“Our success is down to different things but character and values are key above anything else,” said the 46-year-old.

“We scout players and if they tick that box (character and values) we sign them.

“We ask for character references on players, and if they don’t tick that box then we do not sign them.”

“Obviously in my job as a football manager it does help if they are slightly skilful,” he joked.

Frank is quick to point out the debt the club owe to late technical director Robert Rowan, who died at the age of just 28 in November 2018. He had previously been the club’s head of football operations.

“A hundred percent he (Rowan) was a big part of  what we are trying to achieve,” said Frank, who stepped up from his role as assistant boss after Dean Smith left for Aston Villa in October 2018. 

“He built the foundations, he was a big part of that.”

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