With their spanking new stadium and a much-vaunted analytical approach to the game, Brentford are very much football’s Modern Family.
So it’s perhaps unsurprising to hear the US sitcom is head coach Thomas Frank’s go-to show on the rare occasions he finds himself in front of the telly.
“I really try to be better and better in terms of relaxing,” said Frank. “I’m not that good at it and definitely work too much.
“I need my sleep, so I always get between seven and eight hours, and I run three times a week so I keep my fitness relatively good.
“Then I try to change my focus with Netflix, which is only something I’ve done a little bit more in recent years, but definitely not enough.
“I really love Modern Family, because it makes me laugh and cry a bit, because I have children as well.
“I’ve also been watching Peaky Blinders, which gives you a little feeling of English culture, and Vikings, of course, from Denmark.”
This Norseman’s personality couldn’t be more at odds with the Lothbroks of Vikings or the Shelbys of Peaky Blinders, but his measured manner clearly resonates with his players at Brentford.
He led them to 11th in 2018-19 after stepping up from assistant manager when Dean Smith left in October 2018 and last season took them to the play-off final, which they lost to Fulham.
“It’s something that, no matter what happens in the future, you will never forget it because it is such a remarkable situation,” Frank added. “It’s all or nothing.
“But it’s also in the past and we can’t do anything about it so we relatively quickly move forward.
“We know we have a good squad and we knew most of the players would stay and fight and compete.
“It’s all about what we can affect and now that is today and tomorrow, so that’s what we’re working very hard to try to do.”
Not only did Frank, who came through the ranks as a Denmark age group coach before joining Brondby and then Brentford, have to lift his team this summer, he also had to replace key men Said Benrahma and Ollie Watkins, and contend with a stadium move as well.
“I’m fairly happy, never completely happy,” said Frank, when asked about their start to this campaign.
“Even if we had won 11 games, if I know myself well I’d still look into the performances and see things we could do better.
“As for moving into our new stadium, our new home, it was a massive upgrade and something we looked forward to.
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“We miss Griffin Park but that’s a place we will go back to and think about and remember.
“It’s like the home we grew up in and we are grown-ups now so we need to move to our new home.”
Brentford’s analytical approach sits neatly with Frank, who has a Masters in psychology, although he insists the game can never be about numbers alone.
He added: “I have always been interested in the statistics behind football and the numbers.
“In the last few years there has been more and more data on each game, and I think, ‘How can we use these numbers?’
“So, yes, we have data and I like that, but if I don’t like what I see with my eyes then we don't take the player.”
He liked — and likes — what he is seeing from new signing Ivan Toney, whose 10 goals in 11 games has Bees fans dreaming they could take the extra step this season.
So does Frank share their optimism?
“I’m confident I will do everything I can to beat Wycombe on Saturday,” he said, “and then after that I will do everything I can to prepare for and beat Barnsley, and then we’ll see where we are at the end of the season.”
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