The Championship play-off is billed as the richest match in football but wealth is relative. For Brentford and Yeovil Town, the League One play-off has the potential to be just as transformative.
Promotion to the second tier will bring with it a huge increase in revenue. Income from TV, sponsorship and Premier League payments jumps from around £900,000 to more than £4m and ticket sales rise.
While much of that money will immediately pass through the clubs in wage payments to better players, enough is left over to justify labelling the match the biggest, in financial terms, in the clubs’ history.
But for Yeovil in particular it is about glory as well as cash. The Glovers were one of the great non-league giant-killers, famed for their Cup exploits as far back as 1949, but their progress since joining the Football League in 2003 has been impressive.
Somerset’s only league club won League Two at the second attempt and reached the League One play-off final two seasons later, losing to Blackpool. They subsequently struggled to stay in the third tier until Gary Johnson, the manager who took them from non-league to League One, returned last January. Johnson, who has been linked with the vacant post at Millwall, kept them up last season and steered them to fourth this season.
Uwe Rösler’s Brentford finished one place ahead, and would have been promoted had Fulham loanee Marcello Trotta not infamously hit the bar in added time in the last game of the season. Brentford, who have failed in the play-offs six times, then recovered from Swindon levelling the play-off semi in the 95th minute to win on penalties. They start today as narrow favourites despite losing home and away to Yeovil during the season.
A top-flight team either side of the Second World War, Brentford have spent only one season (1992-93) outside the lower divisions since 1954. The club are due to move to a new ground in 2016 and hope the move will enable them to establish themselves in the Championship should they get there.
The match is Greg Dyke’s final duty as Brentford chairman before he steps down to take over as chairman of the Football Association.
Brentford v Yeovil (Wembley) Sunday, 1.30. TV: Sky Sports 2
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