Bees United – the Brentford Supporters’ Trust, celebrates its sixteenth birthday this month and it’s fair to say that this period has been very eventful for both the Club and the Trust. Bees United was established with founding twin aims:
• To give ordinary football supporters a greater say in the sustainable future of Brentford Football Club
• To bring the Club closer to the whole community
Initially, the priority for the Trust was to ensure that the Club was safeguarded against bankruptcy, whilst simultaneously securing a sustainable professional future for Brentford Football Club, in the Football League.
Our newer supporters may look at these priorities with bewilderment, but Bees United was formed because the Club had sunk to a perilous state and was saddled with a crippling debt. We certainly weren’t the forward thinking and successful Championship side that we are today, in fact the thought of thriving in the Championship, in front of sell-out crowds, was frankly unimaginable at the time. Back then survival was the only priority. The prospect of having to sell our beloved Griffin Park, to pay the Club’s debt and avoid administration (or even extinction), was an all too real possibility.
Thankfully, our wonderful supporters rallied behind Bees United, thousands purchased memberships, provided incredibly generous donations and gave many hours of time and expertise to try to save our precious Club. Bees United (with the critical support of Matthew Benham) was eventually able to obtain a majority shareholding in Brentford FC in 2006. The Club’s debt was refinanced, which eased the fears of the Club becoming homeless (and probably futureless), an outcome we would have faced had Griffin Park been sold.
With these concerns abated, Bees United could focus its energies on assisting Matthew Benham to secure a new ground for Brentford FC, at Lionel Road. This was a project Bees United had originally launched in 2002, to give the Club the best chance of a self-sustaining future. Bees United holds a Golden share which gives it the right to veto the sale of Griffin Park (or any successor stadium) unless the proposed sale will enable a bona fide move to a new stadium that meets all reasonable requirements for the football club. The plan for Lionel Road does this and our first game at Lionel Road will be a momentous occasion for all, especially for Bees United.
BU is very proud of its strong relationship with Matthew Benham. Matthew purchased the majority stake in the Club from BU in 2012, but BU still holds two seats on the board of Brentford Football Club Limited and therefore continues to have an active say in the overall running of the club. BU also has one seat on the BFC Lionel Road board. In addition to this Bees United continues to raise funds and support the sustainability of Club. The generosity of its members over the years means that BU has raised more than £1.5 million through donations and loans.
If you are not already a Bees United member, then we would urge you to purchase a membership via the Club Ticketing website. Simply select the Tickets and Memberships heading > Memberships > Bees United Trust Membership, where you can purchase a membership for a mere £5.00. As a member, you will also be entitled to stand for election to the Trust’s Board, which reviews both the sustainability of the Club and its community involvement.
Join today and support the organisation which saved the very existence of Brentford Football Club. Bees United proudly boasts a membership of over 1,000. It is exactly this fantastic and invaluable support that allows BU to continue to safeguard Brentford FC so that it has a stable and sustainable future. The extraordinary investment from Matthew Benham makes this task considerably easier, but Bees United still plays an important role in how the Club is run.
Bees United represents its members, the supporters of BFC and the local community to ensure that BFC remains a club we can all call our own. Join today and help BU ensure that our children, and our children’s children have a football club at the heart of their community, so that they can collect and cherish memories of Brentford Football Club, like the generations of supporters before them.
Find out more on The Bees United website, Twitter and Facebook.