On Saturday, Brentford will take on Swansea City at Wembley with both clubs dreaming of securing the third and final promotion place which will see them playing Premier League football next season. The winners will join Norwich City and Watford, who automatically booked their place in the top flight by finishing in the top two positions in the Championship.
Brentford’s pre-war years in the top flight
Swansea City spent seven seasons in the Premier League between 2011 and 2018 but for Brentford, a club founded 131 years ago, their most recent taste of life in the top tier was back in 1947 – the first football league season after World War II. So while they have played in the top division of English football, they have never actually played in the Premier League since it was rebranded in 1992.
They had enjoyed a 12-year run in the old English First Division but were in decline when competition returned in 1946/7. The Bees, managed by Harry Curtis, started the campaign brightly, winning four of their first five games but by the end of September, the wheels were coming off. Brentford won just three games in 1947 (against Blackburn Rovers, Wolves and Leeds) and ended the campaign with just 25 points from 42 games, accompanying Leeds in dropping down a division.
In the following years, they flitted between the Second and Fourth Divisions and were promoted to the Championship in 2014. They finished fifth in their first season in England’s silver category, their best finish up until this season when they ended third on 87 points, just four points of the promotion places. They just missed out on promotion to the Premier League last season, losing 1-2 to Fulham in extra-time in August’s play-off final.
Now Swansea stand in the way of a return to the top flight – a moment which Brentford have been waiting 74 years for. In the two fixtures in last season’s Championship, the Bees beat Swansea 3-1 at home and won 0-3 at the Liberty Stadium – positive results which they will draw encouragement from going into next weekend’s play-off final.
Brentford beat Bournemouth 3-2 over two legs to make the final. Swansea edged their play-off by beating Barnsley 2-1 on aggregate.
🙌 “When we scored that third and celebrated in the corner, I blacked out, I can’t even remember it”
— Brentford FC (@BrentfordFC) May 22, 2021
When is the play-off final between Brentford and Swansea?
The 2020/21 promotion play-off final between Brentford and Swansea City will take place at Wembley stadium in London, England on Saturday 29 May. The game will kick off at 15:00 hours local time (BST), which is 10 a.m. in New York (ET) or 7 a.m. in Los Angeles (PT).