Brentford are a Championship club which is really going places.
The West Londoners are pushing for promotion thanks to their unique approach, prolific BMW forward line and a different outlook on transfers and youth development.
But Brentford are also on the move to a new 17,250 capacity stadium after 116 years at Griffin Park, and if fate plays a part then maybe it will be as a Premier League club.
Brentford’s three-pronged strike force Said Benrahma, Bryan Mbeumo and Ollie Watkins are scoring all the goals and getting all the headlines but the forward-thinking club is creating a buzz behind the scenes.
While many Championship clubs are riddled with debt or in fear of breaching Financial Fair Play rules, Brentford hope the new stadium move – in the shadow of the M4 flyover and less than a mile from Griffin Park – will actually leave them in profit.
They have scrapped their academy in favour of a B-team set-up to develop young players recruited after their release from other clubs around Europe.
Brentford boss Thomas Frank is sharp, shrewd and embraces the club’s philosophy that they do sell players when the time is right – but will have replacements lined up.
When Neal Maupay was sold to Brighton for a big profit last summer, Watkins was adapted into an out-and-out striker – and has scored 19 goals this season to become one of the hottest properties in the Championship.
Oxford pair Shandon Baptiste and winger Tarique Fosu were signed on deadline day for a combined deal worth £3m with the future already in mind as their recruitment has been clever and highly profitable.
Owner Matthew Benham has one of the sharpest minds in football. He made his fortune in the gambling industry and has since adapted data and stats to build a recruitment system which has helped the club’s rise.
But despite always looking ahead, the club is committed to its roots and strong fan base. It has set up a new stadium reservation centre – existing fans can book an appointment and get a computer-generated view from their new seat in the stadium.
It is also refreshing that former Arsenal trainee Rhys Weston, who won seven Wales caps and played for Cardiff for six years, is in the commercial department. Lots of ex-players move into coaching, management and becoming agents but few get roles behind the scenes.
Weston, 39, had a much-travelled career, knew it was time to stop after wrecking his knee while out on loan at Sutton and, after originally working for a golf travel company, has now found the perfect vocation. He is sharp, likeable and understands fans and the club.
Griffin Park has just 60 corporate tickets, while the new stadium will have 2,900 with lounges rather than boxes. But the most expensive season ticket is £499, a junior season ticket is £99 and, with 900 homes on the site, the stadium will make a profit.
Weston said: “The new stadium represents an unbelievable opportunity for Brentford to go to the next level and it’s an incredibly exciting time for everyone involved in the club.
“It’s mixed emotions for supporters. A lot of the supporters coming through the reservation centre have been going for 60 or 70 years. There’s an emotional attachment to Griffin Park and we have to make that transition as comfortable and enjoyable as possible.
“Brentford is interesting because the club is unique in the way it is run. People are interested in Brentford. Look at the B team model, the fact we don’t have an academy any more because it’s not as productive as people may think and I’ve no doubt people will try to replicate the B team.
“We’re in West London, it’s a new stadium, we will sell it out and the team are doing their very best to help us with that!
“The manager has signed a new long-term contract, the coaches and players have signed new long term contracts and whatever happens this season, this club is on the up. There are better things for the club moving forward.”