Grant: Brentford could be another Leeds
Manchester United goalkeeper Lee Grant believes Brentford will be a welcome addition to the Premier League, ahead of our meeting with the Bees in a pre-season friendly at Old Trafford on Wednesday - a game you can watch exclusively live on MUTV.
The Londoners are back in the top-flight for the first time since 1947, after catching the eye in the Championship in recent campaigns.
Owner Matthew Benham has overseen a revolutionary, stats-based scouting approach which has allowed Brentford to reinvest the proceeds from the sales of the likes of Neal Maupay, Ollie Watkins and Said Benrahma and remain competitive.
The Bees have been top scorers in each of the last two Championship seasons and Grant is sure they can give the big time a good crack when the campaign gets under way next month.
“It’s a really good club. A really well-run football club with a clear vision of what they’re trying to do,” the 38-year-old, who has played in each of United’s two pre-season games so far, told us.
“I’ve played against them a couple of times in my career obviously, having played at that level, but things have changed immensely since I’ve played them – different stadium, huge turnover of players.
“They’ve done unbelievable in terms of how they’ve managed the squad, losing big players and going again. New staff, so it’s a really good club as I say, with a really nice structure and nice feel about it and I’m sure they’ll have a good impact on the division.”
There is a strong recent history of promoted clubs doing well in their first season back in the top-flight, with Wolves, Sheffield United and Leeds United all securing top-half places since 2018/19.
Leeds, our fierce rivals from across the Pennines, made headlines with their attacking philosophy last term and Grant believes Brentford have everything in place to emulate Marcelo Bielsa’s side.
“You’re looking at quite a unique team, a unique club,” Lee continued. “A smaller club but a London club, so attractive to some as well. But the way they run the club, the framework, the ideas, the forward-thinking mentality, their use of technology and statistics.
“All of that stuff, for me, is really refreshing, and all of the club – the players, the staff – have bought into it massively and when you have a club that’s very united and solid and driven in terms of where they’re trying to go, as you’ve seen with Leeds it can propel you endlessly really. Because their goal and vision is so clear.
“As a squad and playing staff and coaching staff, I’m sure Brentford will be able to follow Leeds and have a really strong year next year.”
The Brentford friendly will be attended by around 30,000 fans – the biggest crowd Old Trafford has experienced since football was suspended in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Hopefully that number will continue to increase, for our final friendly with Everton on 7 August and then the Premier League’s big kick-off. Seeing and hearing our supporters again is something Grant cannot wait for.
“Yeah, it’ll be incredible. We’ve had a couple of little sort of tastes of that with the Europa League final and of course the pre-season games so I'm really looking forward to getting a full house back into Old Trafford.
“I know the fans are really looking forward to it and the players even more so. I’m really excited about that prospect.”