Brentford have ended a seven-decade-plus hiatus from the top-flight of English football after they triumphed 2-0 against Swansea City in the Championship play-off final on Saturday, to seal their first-ever Premier League appearance.
First-half goals from Ivan Toney and Emiliano Marcondes were enough for Thomas Frank’s side to beat the Swans at Wembley Stadium and join Norwich and Watford at the high table of the domestic game from next season onwards.
It ends a run of nine straight play-off defeats over the past 30 years, and brings to a close a 74-year absence from the top division for the Bees, in front of a crowd of 11,689 in north London.
There had been fears among Bees supporters that the club, shorn of dynamo forward Ollie Watkins during the off-season and relocated from historic home Griffin Park, might have struggled to recapture the heights of last term’s third-place finish.
Even after they proved any doubters wrong with consecutive top-six finishes for the first time since they were in League One under Danish boss Frank, the spectre of a Wembley play-off final defeat to Fulham in extra-time thanks to a Joe Bryan double last summer still lingered in the minds.
But Toney’s early penalty and Marcondes’ close-range finish inside the opening quarter gave them a lead they never looked in the mood to surrender easily – and when Swansea boss Steve Cooper saw Jay Fulton sent off with a quarter of the game to go, fans were able to let their dreams turn into a bright new reality.
In qualifying for the 2021-22 Premier League season, Brentford will now become the 50th club to compete in the competition since its inception in 1992-93.
The Bees are also the latest side to have competed in the old First Division – last in 1946-47 – and returned to the rebranded top flight, with a further 14 clubs still yet to make the leap and another now defunct.
Swansea meanwhile will remain in the Championship for another year, three seasons on from their relegation following a seven-term spell at the summit between 2011 and 2018, during which they won the 2012-2013 EFL Cup against Bradford City.