Will moving to a new stadium bring success to Brentford?

Losing former manager Dean Smith to Aston Villa was always going to be a blow to Brentford but few would have expected the Bees to struggle as much as they are now doing under new boss Thomas Frank. It is now six defeats in seven games for Frank’s Brentford after the loss to Sheffield United and all the early season talk of being dark horses for promotion has completely stopped.

The boos rang out around Griffin Park at the full-time whistle after the Bees were put to the sword by the Blades, and you would have to believe Frank is now on borrowed time at Brentford. How it has imploded to this extent is anyone’s guess as the 45-year-old Frank was Smith’s right-hand man for two years before Smith left to manage boyhood club Aston Villa. These type of lowkey appointments, where a promotion is made from within, is normally done as a way of ensuring continuity of a previous footballing philosophy, but in this case, the wheels have well and truly come off.

This is a problem for many reasons for Brentford as just down the road, their new stadium is taking shape with a move-in date of the 2020/2021 season being suggested. Lionel Road will be the new nest for the Bees but instead of being in the Premier League’s land of milk and honey as tipped earlier in the season, could they be back in the familiar wilderness of League One?

Despite Lionel Road being a lot newer and more modern, it will only be able to hold 4,487 more spectators than Griffin Park. You all of a sudden wonder whether a change of home will bring about a different level of success that Brentford perhaps haven’t had in their time. The club did begin playing at Griffin Park in 1904, which makes it 114 years old, and if you’ve ever been there on match day, you could be forgiven for thinking they haven’t done much to it since then, save maybe for a lick of paint here and there.

Moving into a new stadium is often seen as a club signalling that they are ready to embark on a new era of success but with the current rate of hyperinflation in football, you’re left scratching your head at the idea Lionel Road will bring about massive commercial changes for Brentford.

Since 1998, transfer market inflation has increased at a rate that has made it almost impossible for smaller clubs to enjoy a great amount of success unless they have very wealthy owners.

Even then, with the advent of Financial Fair Play, it is becoming imperative that a club matches their spending with their earnings and in Brentford’s case, tickets sales will be where a lot of their income is generated from. When you consider their new ground will hold less than eighteen thousand people, you’re forced to come to the conclusion that they will have to operate very much within their means.

With that being said, effectively policing Financial Fair Play breaches does seem an impossible task, especially if you have a look at what Europe’s biggest clubs have spent over the last ten years.

Manchester City, for instance, have spent over a billion pounds on players since 2009 and you can’t really imagine that they have earned anywhere near that but still, they carry on and thrive with more success predicted in the future. City are being touted as favourites to win the Champions League. There doesn’t seem to be any stopping the clubs with the richest owners but more alarmingly is the fact that smaller clubs are falling by the wayside as they continue to be ridiculously priced out of the market.

The biggest financial break for Brentford won’t be moving into their new stadium but rather gaining promotion to the Premier League, where they can then enjoy the untold riches of the broadcasting deals. As a smaller club, being promoted will do a lot to curb the transfer market hyperinflation that is plaguing world football currently. In some ways, it presents a more even playing field that lets the likes of Brentford begin writing a new chapter in their history.