Brentford FC will make their highly anticipated Premier League bow against Arsenal tonight.
It is 74 years since they were last in the top division, having spent most of that time battling in the lower divisions of the football league.
Ian Westbrook has been a supporter for nearly 50 years, and it is beyond his wildest dreams that his club will be playing top flight football.
He said: ”Establishing ourselves in the Championship was a dream come true, but to finally be promoted to the Premier League is off the scale to be honest.”
“Whatever happens – if we get hammered 5-0 every week – it will be an adventure and something hardly any of us have experienced before in our lives.
“Seeing us play in some of the top stadiums in the country as equals – not just in a cup tie – will be memorable.”
The Brentford rise is due to the huge investment made by another lifelong fan Matthew Benham – who took ownership of the club in 2012.
Westbrook said: “It is down to the way the club is run in terms of recruitment and tactics.
“It has never been run so well before in all my years of going.
“There is a plan, a strategy, and everything that happens conforms to that – and it works.”
In August 2020 Brentford said goodbye to their beloved football home Griffin Park to make way for their new £71m Brentford Community Stadium which has a capacity of 17,250.
However due to COVID restrictions the club have only had a limited amount of fans attend three games last season.
Westbrook said: “Having a full capacity stadium for the first time for Brentford’s Premier League debut – especially under floodlights – will be amazing.”
Most clubs that have survived their first season in the Premier League have had to invest a substantial amount of money in new players.
Most notably Aston Villa who spent a staggering £143m in 2019 to bring in 14 players when they were promoted in 2019 according to transfrmarkt.co..uk.
Despite this huge expenditure they only just survived relegation.
However Fulham spent more than £100m 2018 but could not avoid the drop.
Brentford themselves have been busy in the transfer market this summer, bringing in four players for an estimated £33m.
But Westbrook does not want to see too many more changes to their current squad.
He said: “I have watched this side develop and grow together and I was hoping that we didn’t follow what some other promoted clubs have done and ripped up the squad that took them up.”
Fans are optimistic that they will survive the season – although most bookmakers has them as one of the favourites to be relegated.
Westbrook added: “A lot of us – me included – are confident we can survive this season. My personal prediction is that we will finish 14th.”
For Westbrook it is the sense of community the club brings which is just as important as to what happens on the pitch.
Westbrook said: “The 50th anniversary of my first game comes up in October.
“I have been a season ticket holder for more years that I can remember.
“I attend games with my son, brother, nephew and some long-term friends who I have been sitting with for years.
“It’s about the people you go with as much as the football.”