Brentford FC (Football Club) is based in Brentford, London. While it may not have the public profile of some of its rivals, it now plays at the highest level in the English game, the Premier League, after many seasons going up and down the leagues of English soccer.
Brentford’s rise to its current position has been by no means meteoric. Beginning as an amateur club in 1889, it turned professional in 1896, and has had an up and down career ever since, thrilling its dedicated fans and followers with relegations and promotions through the leagues before achieving its relatively recent right to play at the top of the game again in 2021.
Brentford’s career highlight since 1889 came in the 1935-6 season, when it placed fifth in the First Division. It has, however, because of its up and down journey throughout the main leagues of English soccer, been the champion of every league but the top one.
In many ways, the history of Brentford FC is the history of soccer and soccer fandom in the UK. Rather than the superclubs who have always been on top, Brentford fans have followed the club through generations of relegation, triumph, promotion and more relegation. This is the spirit of English soccer, following the team through thick and thin.
- Brentford FC was founded in 1889 as an amateur team.
- It turned professional in 1986.
- Brentford has not always been a Premier League team. It has been up and down the main four leagues of English soccer throughout its history.
- Brentford reached its peak of success to date in 1935-6, placing fifth in the First Division.
- Brentford won the 2021 Championship Final, rejoining the top tier of English clubs for the first time since the 1946-7 season.
- While Brentford’s home from 1904-2020 was the much-beloved Griffin Park stadium (which had a pub on each corner), its home ground is now the Brentford Community Stadium.
- Brentford’s main local rivals are Fulham and Queen’s Park Rangers.
- The team is currently owned by Matthew Benham, a banker-turned-businessman who made a fortune in the sports betting business.
- Brentford’s badge has a bee on it, and so the team’s nickname is “The Bees.”
From 1904-2020, Brentford’s home ground was the much-beloved Griffin Park in Brentford, London. It was the only English club ground to have a pub at each of its four corners, and got its name from the Giffin logo of the Fuller’s brewery, which once owned the orchard on which the ground was built.
Griffin Park survived the bombing of World War II, despite being hit by two high-explosive bombs in 1940 and 1941. It also survived what was described as “The Great Fire of Brentford” in 1983, which forced significant renovation on the ground.
Griffin Park’s redevelopment into a housing complex, mooted as early as 2005, was finally agreed in 2015. The club moved out of the ground in 2020.
Because the shift of ground is still relatively fresh, many fans regard Griffin Park as still being the ‘real’ home of Brentford FC, but as of 2020, the club’s home ground is the 17,250-capacity Brentford Community Stadium near Kew Bridge, where it shares residence with the Premiership rugby club, the London Irish.
It is fair to say that Brentford FC’s trophy cabinet has cruelly missed out on some bling in recent years. In fact, recently, the main trophy won by Brentford FC was in the 2008-9 season, when it won Champions of League 2.
Brentford won elevation to the Premier League in 2021 via the play-offs, though and will be fired up to try and bring some glory home when the next season begins.
Throughout the club’s history, though, its trophies include:
Middlesex Junior Cup
- Winners (1): 1893–94
West Middlesex Cup
- Winners (1): 1894–95
London Senior Cup
- Winners (1): 1897–98
Middlesex Senior Cup
- Winners (1): 1897–98
Southern Professional Charity Cup
- Winners (1): 1908–09
Ealing Hospital Cup
- Winners (1): 1910–11
London Challenge Cup
- Winners (3): 1934–35, 1964–65, 1966–67
Supporters Direct Cup
- Winners (2): 2004, 2008
Empire Exhibition Trophy
- Best Performance: First round – 1938
FA Amateur Cup
- Best Performance: First round – 1898–99
Southern Professional Floodlit Cup
- Best performance: Semi-final – 1955–56, 1956–57
First Alliance Cup
- Best Performance: First round – 1988
Kent Challenge Cup
- Best Performance: Runners-up – 1975–76
Brentwood FC was formed as an amateur club in 1889, and turned professional in 1896.
It showed early promise, finishing as runner-up of the Second Division, and then the First Division, qualifying for entry into the Southern League in 1898, just two years after turning professional.
In 1904, Brentford FC moved into its newly built home ground, Griffin Park, where it would stay for the next 116 years.
It graduated to the Football League in 1920.
Twelve years later, Brentford won the Third Division South in 1932-3, following up the next year by winning the Second Division title.
From there, Brentford became a name to be reckoned with in English soccer. The club enjoyed a successful spell in the top level of English soccer, placing fifth in the First Division in 1935-6.
Sadly, decline followed, with three relegations over the next 30 years pushing Brentwood down to the Fourth Division in 1962.
As if to prove the club’s mettle, it was crowned Champion of the Fourth Division in the 1962-63 season, and by 1973, Brentford had yoyo’d its way back into the Third Division, where it stayed for the next 14 seasons.
In 1991-2, Brentford won the Third Division title.
It was relegated again in 1993.
In 1998, worse news followed and it was relegated to the fourth tier.
Naturally enough to followers of Brentford’s career, it won promotion again as fourth tier champion in 1998-99.
Further relegation in 2007 was followed by promotion as champion of League Two in 2008-9.
In 2021 though, Brentford won the 2021 Championship final and returned to top-flight English soccer for the first time since the 1946-47 season.
- 1889 – Brentwood FC formed as an amateur club.
- 1896 – Brentwood FC turns professional.
- 1889 – Joins Southern League.
- 1904 – Brentford FC takes up residence in Griffin Park.
- 1920 – Brentford joins the Football League.
- 1932-3 – Brentford wins the Third Division South
- 1933-4 – Brentford wins the Second Division.
- 1935-6 – Club highlight – First Division, places fifth in season.
- 1962 – Club nadir – Relegated to Fourth Division.
- 1962-3 – Champion of Fourth Division.
- 1973 – Brentford begins long-term residency in Third Division soccer.
- 1991-2 – Brentford wins Third Division title.
- 1998 – Brentford returns to Fourth Division.
- 1998-9 – Fourth Division Champion.
- 2007 – Relegation.
- 2008-9 – Promotion as Champion of League Two.
- 2020 – Last Brentford FC games played at Griffin Park.
- 2020 – Begins residency at Brentford Community Stadium.
- 2021 – Brentford wins 2021 Championship final, joins Premier League.
Club Net Worth
Figures for the club’s net worth have been elusive since it was acquired (by default on a $700,000 loan) in 2007 by Matthew Benham.
Given Brentford’s financial difficulties in 2007 which saw Mr Benham able to acquire the club for this relatively low price, it is ironic that with the club’s elevation to the Premier League in 2021, it is understood to be worth £300 million.
For 116 years from 1904, Brentford FC played its home games at Griffin Park. Since 2020 and the redevelopment of Griffin Park though, Brentford FC has been using the Brentford Community Stadium, near Kew Gardens.
Since 2007, the club has been owned by Matthew Benham. Mr Benham was a Physics graduate from the University of Oxford, but made his way into finance, and progressed in his career until he was Vice Chairman of the Bank of America.
In 2001, he jumped from banking to sports betting, working in Premier Bet for 2 years before starting his own sports betting company, Smartodds.
Following the success of Smartodds, Mr Benham started another betting enterprise, Matchbook, encouraging clients into making large investments.
In 2007, Mr Benham advanced Brentford FC a loan of $700k, on the proviso that if the club proved incapable of repaying the loan within the agreed time, he would become owner of the club.
The club was unable to repay the loan, and Mr Benham became owner.
Under Mr Benham’s ownership, Brentford’s fortunes have prospered. He started scouting for under-valued players and selling them as hot prospects. In 2021, the rise and rise of Brentford FC under Mr Benham led to promotion to the Premier League.
The 2021 top scorer at Brentford FC is Ivan Toney, who scored 31 goals in the 2021 season.
All Time Best Player
Brentford FC’s most successful goal scorer was Jim Towers, who scored 163 goals between 1954-61. However, Ken Coote is the player who has appeared the highest number of times for Brentford – clocking up 559 appearances in seasons between 1949-1964.
As of the 2021 season, Nathan Sheppard is Captain of Brentford FC. He joined the club on a free transfer from Swansea City in 2019.
As of the 2021 season, Bentford FC has 5 goalkeepers.
- David Raya, formerly of Blackburn Rovers.
- Patrik Gunnarsson, formerly of Breiðablik.
- Ellery Balcombe, an Academy promotion.
- Luke Daniels, formerly of Scunthorpe United.
- And Nathan Shepperd, formerly of Swansea City.
As of the 2021 season, Brentford FC has 14 defenders.
- Dominic Thompson, formerly of Arsenal.
- Rico Henry, formerly of Walsall.
- Charlie Goode, formerly of Northampton Town.
- Ethan Pinnock, formerly of Barnsley.
- Pontus Jansson, formerly of Leeds United.
- Henrik Dalsgaard, formerly of Zulte Waregem.
- Julian Jeanvier, formerly of Reims.
- Winston Reid, formerly of West Ham United.
- Mads Bech Sorenson, formerly of AC Horsens.
- Mads Roerslev, formerly of FC Copenhagen.
- Luka Racic, formerly of FC Copenhagen.
- Kane O’Connor, formerly of Hibernian.
- Fin Stevens, formerly of Worthing.
- And Lewis Gordon, formerly of Watford.
As of the 2021 season, Brentford FC has 10 strikers.
- Sergi Canos, formerly of Norwich City.
- Marcuss Forss, formerly of West Bromwich Albion.
- Joel Valencia, formerly of Piast Gliwice.
- Ivan Toney, formerly of Peterborough United.
- Bryan Mbeumo, formerly of Troyes.
- Halil Dervisoglu, formerly of Sparta Rotterdam.
- Tariqe Fosu, formerly of Oxford United.
- Aaron Pressley, formerly of Aston Villa.
- Alex Gilbert, formerly of West Bromwich Albion.
- And Max Haygarth, formerly of Manchester United.
As of the 2021 season, Thomas Frank, who is also Head Coach for the team, is the manager of Brentford FC.
Thomas Frank, who manages the team, is also its Head Coach.
Brian Reimer is Assistant Head Coach as of the 2021 season.
Kevin O’Connor is Assistant First Team Coach as of 2021.
Manu Sotelo is the club’s goalkeeping coach.
The Brentford FC home kit consists of a top showing four red vertical stripes on the body, interspersed with three white vertical stripes.
The club badge, featuring a stylized bee in full colors, is worn on the left breast. As of 2021, the main sponsor logo, Hollywood Bets, is printed on the center of the jersey in black lettering, edged in white.
The Brentford FC away kit is a solid yellow top with thin black bands on either sleeve, presumed to represent the colors of the body of a bee.
The Club badge, featuring a stylized bee in black, is worn on the left breast. As of 2021, the main sponsor logo, Hollywood Bets, is printed on the center of the jersey in black lettering.
The logo of Brentford FC consists of two concentric circles, the inner one white, the outer one red, edged in white. Centered in the white circle is a stylized bee in black and yellow. The word “Brentford” appears in the top red section, and the words “Football Club” in the bottom red section.
The numbers “18” and “89” are horizontally centered to left and right in the red section, symbolizing the date when the club became professional, 1889. A monochrome black version of the logo is used on the team’s away kit.
Brentford Academy runs an advanced soccer development and education programme at 100, Jersey Road, Osterley, Middlesex, TW5 0TP.
Using advanced technology and coaching methods, the aim of the Academy is to develop the potential of younger players, with a view to eventually seeding new talent for Brentford FC, in either its first teams (men’s and women’s) or its B teams (men’s and women’s).
The Academy is always actively looking for talent, and has a rigorous standard to get in.
Changes in the academy system mean that Academy Category two clubs are now free to recruit from all over the nation, whereas previously, the Academy was limited to recruit from within a strict 90-minute traveling time.
The new rules mean that the best talent and the best academies can find each other, irrespective of geographical distance. This has seen a rise in host families being recruited at Brentford FC Academy, to house promising talent from around the country in safe local family environments.
Brentford FC has throughout its long history been champion of almost all of the main UK soccer leagues except the top one, as the club’s movement between leagues has been either comical or heartbreaking and nerve-shattering for fans.
During the 20th and 21st centuries, Brentford FC has been:
- Winner, Third Division South – 1932-3
- Winner, Second Division – 1933-4
- Champion, Fourth Division – 1962-3
- Champion, Fourth Division – 1998-9
- Champion, League Two – 2008-9
- Winner, Championship Final – 2021
Football League Trophy
- Best Performance: Finalists – 1984–85, 2000–01, 2010–11
- Best Performance: Semi-final – 1992–93
- Griffin Park, the home of Brentford FC for 116 years, was the only English soccer league ground to have a pub at each of its corners.
- In 1963, Brentford FC established a Football League record win – 9-0 against Wrexham.
- Suring the club’s time at Griffin Park, it scored 4,599 goals at home. Weirdly then, it won and lost almost the same number of games at home: played 2,636, won, 1383.
- Current owner Matthew Benham acquired the club cheap when it could not repay a $700k loan. Through shrewd investments between 2007-21, he has shepherded it to a worth of £300 million. Where’s the fun in that? Mr Benham made the money to acquire the club as the owner of a couple of sports betting businesses. Stick with what you know, they say!
- Brentford FC players go by the nickname of “The Bees.” That’s not particularly a stretch, given that there’s a massive bee on the club logo, and also the long association of Brentford with its initial B.
- Brentford FC might never have come to “bee” in the first place. In 1889, members of the Brentford rowing club met at the Oxford and Cambridge Hotel pub, to decide what to do during the winter months, when they couldn’t get their rowing in. They held a vote, and Brentford FC won out narrowly (8-5), beating rugby union.
- Ironically for the rowers of 1889, since 2020, Brentford FC has shared its home ground, Brentford Community Stadium, with a rugby team – the London Irish.
- Brentford FC has an affiliation with Danish club, FC Midtjylland, through owner Matthew Benham, who owns both clubs. The Danish club though is just 17 years old, unlike Brentford, which is 132. Rumors that Brentford regularly yells at Midtjylland to get off its lawn have been at least a little exaggerated.
- For all that modern fans of Brentford FC know Griffin Park as the club’s long-time home, Brentford took a while to settle before the ground was opened. Brentford had no fewer than five other homes ahead of Griffin Park: Clifden Road (1889–1891), Benn’s Field (1891–1895), Shotter’s Field (1895–1898), Cross Roads (1898–1900), and York Road (1900–1904). Once Griffin Park opened in 1904, though, Brentford made up for its early wanderings, staying put for the next 116 years.
- Brentford was one of the first clubs to recognise the potential of floodlights as a way of playing more accurate soccer at night. In 1954, a sum of £5,345 (roughly equivalent to £105,500 in 2021’s money) was spent on perimeter lights the length of the Braemar Road and New Road stands. The Football League had imposed a ban on competitive games being played under floodlights, though. Undeterred, Brentford arranged several friendly matches under floodlights, to boost the club’s revenue. The Football League lifted its ban on floodlights in 1956 – by which time Brentford had raked in over £10,000 in gate receipts for the friendly games, proving the potential of the technology. So, when you see soccer being played under floodlights today – think of Brentford FC.