There will be a new name in the Premier League next season as Brentford have finally gotten over their play-off hoodoo to earn a crack at the top flight.
Goals from Ivan Toney and Emiliano Marcondes in the first 20 minutes of their clash with Swansea City at Wembley on Saturday meant that the Bees ended a streak of nine consecutive play-off campaigns in a row that they failed to get promoted in.
Their task was made even easier in the second half when Swans midfielder Jay Fulton was given a straight red card for a tackle that may have been accidental, but it was reckless.
Following the loss, Cooper expressed bemusement that Kavanagh, despite being a top-level referee, was handed the crucial responsibility of the final – that’s after he took charge of Swansea’s semi-final second leg last year against the Bees.
It’s hard to know what Cooper is referencing when mentioning that Kavanagh took charge of the game at Griffin Park last July, but former referee Keith Hackett believes that match from 2020 didn’t influence Kavanagh’s decision to give Fulton his marching orders – and also took a swipe at Cooper himself.
Did each of these 20 players ever score a goal whilst on loan at Swansea City?
“Absolutely not,“ a bemused Hackett told Football Insider. “The teams change, the tactics change.
“Ok, Swansea are in that position and it’s a great position to be in so that’s going to happen. Kavanagh’s a top-class referee.
“I always find it amusing when Steve Cooper makes comments because his dad is Keith Cooper, the former Welsh top referee. Let’s make no bones about it, his Dad was an outstanding referee.
“I always take what he says with a pinch of salt.”
It did seem strange for Cooper to mention the two teams’ second leg encounter last year in the play-offs – Kavanagh didn’t make any glaring officiating errors in that match so it may have just been the Swansea boss venting his frustrations on anyone but his team.
Fulton can have no complaints about his dismissal either as even if he did slip the way he went into the challenge means that it has to be deemed as reckless.
That was the right call from Kavanagh so Cooper’s annoyance isn’t really justified, and Hackett is perhaps right to call it out as a former Premier League and FIFA referee.