Non-negotiables: Rodgers - Courage in management has been very important for meSep 24 | 6 min read
Brentford Fan’s Premier League Season Preview
Brentford are preparing for a first-ever season in the Premier League and Bees fans are understandably excited ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
Ahead of a brand new season of Premier League football on BT Sport, we spoke to fans of each and every team about their expectations for what lies ahead over the next nine months.
It’s the first time we’ve been in this position in my lifetime!
I don’t want to say I’m just happy to be here, but we realise what a journey and how difficult it’s been to get to the Premier League so I just want to enjoy the season.
We know it’s going to be tough but we’ve got the players and the way we’ve managed to do our business so far - learning from our mistakes - gives us hope.
When I spoke to [owner] Matthew Benham a few years ago he said it’s a case of when, not if, we got promoted. He's got a way of running the club where we compete with clubs with far more money. So seeing the way the owners have operated I’m confident they know what they are doing.
We came close to going up three or four years earlier but we weren't ready then. Now we've learned from our mistakes and we are ready now.
My hopes are that we continue to play the football that got us promoted and we get some results to show the world that we belong at this level.
Before the playoff final we’d lost nine out of nine finals and I’ve seen us in the fourth tier! So for me, I don’t have a fear of losing as you do with a bigger team. We are going into this season with no fear.
If it goes horribly wrong we will take it as a lesson. We take it on the nose and we will end up back down in the Championship. It’s a win-win. If we stay in the Premier League it’s great, but if we go down then we are in a good position too.
We know the strikers in the Premier League are very good, so defensively we need to be on point. But we’ve got a new centre back in Kristoffer Ajer who played Champions League football and probably the best left-back in the Championship last season. So defensively I’d like to think we would be okay.
Maybe spreading the goals around is an area we need to look at because it could be a concern if Ivan Toney goes down with injury.
Most important player
If you don’t let in goals in the Premier League, you’re in good stead. So the most important thing is being defensively solid. If Ethan Pinnock, Pontus Jansson and Ajer at the back can stay solid, then we can feed up to Ivan Toney to nick the goals.
Building a base from defensive solidity is so important and Pinnock has gone up another level, so I have to put him down as being a very important player for us. Ajer is meant to be brilliant so he could be a key player - both of them together could make a great combination.
Mads Bidstrup. He’s only played four games for us when he started to feature towards the end of the season but he came in without any fear.
Bistrup was with RB Leipzig under 19s and he was playing in our B Team so it's almost come from out of the blue. He's a central midfielder but he doesn't pull any punches and it's exciting to see. The area he plays in is very congested but he can also play on the left and he's only 20. I can see him coming off the bench to make an impact in certain games.
What I’ve missed the most
I missed seeing Griffin Park off. Somewhere you’ve been for 40 years and you couldn’t say goodbye was tough. I've missed being around all my mates, the walk to the ground when you're talking football and being at the game.
When we went to the matches at the back end of last season [with limited capacity] the pub was absolutely buzzing and when we got to the ground we all stood up and sang for 90 minutes.
We felt as if our cheering really helped to turn the tide against Bournemouth [in the play-off semi-final]. Everyone was just so happy to be back at the football you could see the smiles on their faces. I can't wait to get back to that atmosphere in a full stadium, it's going to be buzzing.
17th -We just need three teams that are worse than us... and I’d like to think there will be. Let’s go for 17th and try to consolidate our position in the Premier League.
If we play our game, go out and be Brentford and do what we have to do, then I think we will find there will be three worse teams than us.