Matthew Benham echoed the thoughts of many Bees fans when highlighting London derby wins over Arsenal and Chelsea as two of the best days of Brentford’s first Premier League season. The Bees finished 13th in their first top flight season for 74 years. The campaign started with a 2-0 win over Arsenal and the biggest victory was a 4-1 success against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in April.
“For me the highlights are Arsenal and Chelsea,” said Matthew in the second part of in an exclusive interview with the Brentford Supporters Trust ‘Bees United’. The interview was conducted to mark the tenth anniversary of him taking control of the Club from the Trust. The first part can be found here.
Matthew continued: “Probably two other games that I remember fondly were Watford at home and Burnley at home. In each case, we're playing a potential relegation rival. Just before [Saman] Ghoddos got us the penalty against Watford I turned to my wife and just said, ‘blow the final whistle, please blow the final whistle, I’ll take this all day’.
“And I think just before Christian [Eriksen] crossed for Ivan [Toney] against Burnley I said to Phil Giles, ‘I'll take a point all day long’. And Phil, in his way said, ‘I don't think I would’.”
Matthew Benham spoke about the importance of collaboration and consensus in the first part of the wide-ranging interview, where he discussed the role of a football club owner, structure and transfers. The second looked more at some of the specifics of his time as owner.
Just over a year ago the Club won promotion to the top flight for only the second time ever. This came as The Bees beat Swansea City 2-0 at Wembley in the Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final. The goals, from Ivan Toney and Emiliano Marcondes, came early on and any chance of a Swansea comeback effectively disappeared when they were reduced to ten men just past the hour mark.
“At half-time against Swansea when we’re 2-0 up I couldn’t sit down, I was like pacing around nervously,” said Matthew. “And [Rasmus Ankersen] said to me afterwards, ‘you'd prepared yourself that we're going to lose even though I knew we had a 70 per cent chance to win’. So I’d mentally prepared myself to lose and all of a sudden, I was having to sort of come to terms with, ‘s***, we might win’.
“Even when they get the red card my main thought is, ‘how terrible is this going to be if we don't go up now? And if we don't go up now, we'll never ever, ever recover from it’. About 30 seconds from the end I realise, ‘s***, they're not going to have time to score and then score again’.”
To read the full exclusive interview, visit the Bees United website.