BIAS Press Release - Grounds for Optimism, Grounds for Concern

Last updated : 30 January 2002 By

Joining the passionate supporters at the BIAS-sponsored event, were Board Members of the club, supporters' representatives from other clubs and invited speakers who have Brentford FC's best interests at heart.

Breaking news was the announcement by Supporters' Trust Bees United that the Trust had negotiated for the immediate election of a Bees United representative on the board of Brentford FC, and that the majority shareholders of Brentford FC have committed to transferring their entire shareholding to the Trust. Said Trust Chairman John McGlashan:

"I thought I would stand here and tell you I wanted to be a mate of Ron Noades and that I wanted him to be a mate of mine. Now, you probably want to know why I would say that, it's quite simple really he's got something that belongs to me. He's been saying for some time that he's going to let me have it back, but when I do get it back I want it in to be in working order, so it seems the best thing I can do is not to give him any reason to break it. I am talking about my football club, of course. Perhaps I should say that when I do get it back I will share it with you."

"Ron Noades has offered me, as Chairman of Bees United, an immediate place on the board of directors. Bees United will as of now take the lead in negotiating with the Council for a new stadium and the redevelopment of Griffin Park. Altonwood (the majority shareholders of Brentford FC and Griffin Park Stadium) have committed to entering into an agreement, which will transfer their entire shareholding to Bees United. Or, to put it another way the supporters of Brentford FC will own a majority shareholding in the club. There are of course some conditions attached, but they are not meant to be obstructive and should not be seen as "get out" clauses for either party. There is a will on both sides to carry this forward and for the club to be owned by its supporters and the community in which it operates."

Positive news was also heard from the A Bee C campaign, a political lobbying group dedicated to highlighting Brentford 's positive contribution to the community who announced that they would be fielding candidates in May's local elections, much as fans of Charlton Athletic did to such great effect. Steve Cowan representing the campaign said:

"It is not enough anymore to simply come along to Griffin Park every other Saturday and be a passive supporter. The local council has to be made aware of the large part played in the community by Brentford FC. We as Brentford supporters need to play a more active role in promoting the common aims that we all share. Hounslow usually has a smaller than average turn-out in local elections we can exploit that by mobilising and uniting football supporters throughout the borough."

The meeting also heard from an accountant on the financial implications of various strategies the club might pursue. Supporters from Wigan Athletic and Wimbledon spoke, on the means by which they had persuaded their board not to vacate their former ground without a replacement in place, and the consequences for the Dons of failing to gain such a guarantee.

During the open forum, questions were put to the invited speakers the BFC board members present and local Councilor Ruth Cadbury who was in the audience. Fans welcomed with cautious optimism the news from Bees United. With the financial issues facing the club, supporter involvement in its running cannot be taken lightly, but nevertheless comes as a welcome step. Likewise many fans were pleased to hear that pressure would be applied to local politicians in Hounslow to help clarify what future Brentford FC has within their community.

BIAS reiterated that they do not oppose, Brentford relocating from Griffin Park as they agree that the club's long-term future lies in a more modern ground. They also repeated their concerns and objections to the club vacating Griffin Park before a new stadium is at least under construction. Brentford's chairman, for his part, explained that a direct move to a completed new ground was a 'best case scenario', albeit an unlikely one, and that a sale of Griffin Park and subsequent groundshare was conversely a 'worst case' and only to contemplated if the only other option was liquidation. Quite how this accords with his revelation that his company has tabled offers for either a part-share or a complete purchase of QPR's Loftus Road ground, remains unclear.

BIAS chairman Pete Johnston concluded:

"At a time when Brentford FC needs to find common ground with its supporters the spectre of a groundshare with traditional rivals, combined with Mr. Noades' previous merger initiatives at Selhurst Park, will do little to engender the 'confidence' the Chairman has asked fans to show in his board.

There is however, great news about Bees United and this offers a real chance of
a community owned club in time. We should remember that there are still difficult times ahead as Brentford are still losing money. We now need to get all Brentford supporters pulling in the same direction behind both Bees United and the A Bee C campaign."