In October 1889, the members of a local rowing club in the West London suburb of Brentford endeavoured to bring association football to the area. They met at the Oxford & Cambridge pub and founded Brentford Football Club. After some exhibition matches, their first competitive outing ending in a 6-0 defeat to Southall in November 1890. They first entered the league named the West London Alliance, then eventually upgraded to the London League, then the Southern League. Around this time, students of Borough Road College attended a match and shouted the college's chant "Buck up Bs" in support of their classmate and then-Brentford player Joseph Gettins. Local newspapers misheard the chant as "Buck up Bees" and so the club’s nickname “The Bees” was born. This name is still used to this day and the club’s insignia even features a bee.
After a lot of moving around from one abysmal ground to another, Brentford finally found their home for the next 116 years - Griffin Park. In 1904, they leased an orchard from the Fuller, Smith & Turner brewery. The logo of the brewery featured a griffin, hence the name. The stadium is situated in a heavily residential area and was known for being the only stadium in the country with a pub on every corner. However, last year The Bees moved into their new state-of-the-art Brentford Community Stadium and one huge part of their history came to an end.
The club competed in the regional leagues for another two decades before in May 1920, Brentford and 20 other Southern League First Division clubs were elected into the Football League as founder members of the Third Division. 13 years later in 1933, The Bees were promoted to the Second Division. Two seasons later they cruised to the Second Division title and reached the top flight for the first time. They remained in the First Division prior to and after the Second World War until they were relegated in 1947. The club have since moved up and down between the second, third and fourth tiers throughout the rest of their history, never again reaching the top flight of English football.
In 1992, Brentford did win promotion to the newly named Division One, but this was in fact the name for the second tier as the Premier League was created in the same season. The following season they were relegated and languished in the third and fourth tiers until 2014 when Uwe Rosler and later Mark Warburton ended their 21 year absence from the second tier by securing promotion from League One and breaking their league points record with 94 points. They built a squad which, for that level, contained some fantastic players like Will Grigg and Clayton Donaldson, as well as some players who have since gone on to play in the Premier League like Adam Forshaw and Stuart Dallas. Behind Wolves, they were comfortably the second best team in that division and were deservedly promoted.
Since the departure of both of the above, two other managers have helped stabilize Brentford in the Championship and turn them into a real force to be reckoned with. Two play-off finishes and and four near misses have followed that promotion. Every season Brentford fans are right to expect their club to be in the mix for a play-off spot and many expect The Bees to be playing in the Premier League in the coming years. Dean Smith took over in 2015 and after an impressive spell moved onto Aston Villa where he is currently taking the Premier League by storm. In 2018, Smith was replaced by current boss Thomas Frank, whose maverick approach has proven effective thus far.
Nowadays Brentford are often associated with a “Moneyball” tag. The name comes from a book, and later a movie starring Brad Pitt, which tells the story of how the Oakland Athletics baseball team were able to outdo expectations with limited resources thanks to the science of data and analytics. The owner of Brentford, management team and Head Coach Frank all buy into this same philosophy and use data to find hidden gems in the market, knowing they cannot outspend their competition. However, this concept is not only about hard stats, it also relies on a human element - the club are said to be only keen on signing players described as “good people” by Frank. Brentford’s model often sees them referred to as a “selling club”. Two examples of this policy would be Said Benrahma and Ollie Watkins, who at the end of last season were sold to Premier League clubs West Ham and Aston Villa respectively, after The Bees narrowly lost out on promotion, losing the play-off final to London rivals Fulham. It is however this policy which enables them to analyse, reinvest and keep progressing and with a brand new stadium and a squad still full of talent like prodigal English goalscorer Josh Dasvila and captain Pontus Jansson fans will be expecting another push for promotion this season.