Brentford Championship 2014

2014 - Brentford Championship and Promotion to the Premier League

Brentford unexpectedly finished 5th in their first season in the second-tier since 1992–93 but was comfortably beaten by Middlesbrough in the 2015 playoff semi-finals. An overhaul of the management and recruitment structure of the club at the end of the season led to the departure of Warburton, who was replaced by Marinus Dijkhuizen. Dijkhuizen lasted just 9 matches before being replaced by interim manager Lee Carsley, who stabilized the team’s form before the appointment of Dean Smith in November 2015. Smith solidified Brentford’s Championship status with consecutive top-10 finishes in the following three seasons. At the end of the 2015–16 season, the reality that Brentford “can’t win by outspending the competition, so we have to out-think them” led to the scrapping of the club’s academy and Development Squad and the adoption of a B team as the way to develop its own players. After a season of consolidation, Smith’s replacement Thomas Frank took Brentford to the 2020 Championship play-off Final, which was lost 2–1 to West London rivals Fulham. At the time, 9 out of 9 failed playoff campaigns were a national record. During the 2020 off-season, the club moved out of Griffin Park (its home ground for 116 years) and into the Brentford Community Stadium, a 17,250-capacity all-seater stadium built on a triangle of land 0.6 miles to the east. Brentford repeated their third-place finish during the 2020–21 regular season and went one better in the playoffs, securing promotion to the Premier League with a 2–0 victory over Swansea City in the 2021 Championship play-off Final.