The rise of Brentford is directly behind the revolutionary project from the summer of 2016. The impetus for it was the loss of talented footballers who were being dragged by elite English clubs for minimal compensation. When two 13-year-old hopefuls left for Manchester City and Manchester United seven years ago, Brentford’s owner, British businessman Matthew Benham, said enough was enough. The club board subsequently canceled the youth academies and created the B-team. With players from 17 to 21 years old. Brentford scouts, for whom Czech midfielders Jan Žambůrek and Matěj Majka played, are looking for talented youngsters all over Europe for him.
“In England, contracts can only be concluded with 17-year-old footballers. So we have all our players under contract. There is no longer any danger of any of them disappearing for a ridiculous amount. After all, it is not possible to finance the education of young people, to pay them, so that then the big clubs take the best from you practically for free. We had to be innovative,” describes coach Allan Steele, who was significantly involved in the radical step.
The reserve team does not play any competition. It is used exclusively for the education of talents and their preparation for adult football for the first team. And in the case of a solid offer, monetize them. The plan is being fulfilled. For example, in the summer of 2020, Aston Villa paid a billion crowns for the English striker Watkins, and West Ham paid 650 million crowns for the Algerian Benrahma.
The Bees project, which is closely connected with Danish football (Benham also owns Midtjylland, Brentford is coached by the Dane Thomas Frank for the fifth season), has gained acclaim in Europe. The B-team also receives offers from big European clubs for friendly matches with their reserves or teams from 19 to 23 years old. In the preparatory period, he then participates in international tournaments. “Yes, when we play against the B teams of top European clubs, we lose. But that is not important. It’s crucial that the boys face top opponents and get used to adult football,” says Steele.
Brentford’s second team players have a sporting, but also financial, motivation to get into the first team. Their salaries range between 500-1000 pounds per week (14-28 thousand crowns). A players earn an average of 600,000 crowns per week. Even in this area, however, the adjective small club applies to Brentford, as it cannot match the vast majority of Premier League clubs in terms of salaries.
Despite the more modest conditions, the club continues to flourish. From the summer of 2020, it has a new stadium for less than 18,000 spectators, where it defeated Liverpool on Monday evening. In addition, since mid-December, the players have been using a modern training center, named after the former technical director Robert Rowan, who died in the fall of 2018 at the age of 28 from a heart attack. He surely rejoices in the work of his followers in heaven…