Greg Dyke has been appointed as non-executive Chairman of Brentford Football Club by its new owners, the supporters' trust Bees United, who acquired the majority shareholding in the club today.
Bees United have raised £5.5 million to re-finance the club's debts and takeover a 60% shareholding from Altonwood, the company owned by Ron Noades.
Dyke, the former Director General of the BBC and Chief Executive of London Weekend Television, has been a supporter of the club since childhood when his brother Ian played in the Brentford youth team. He is a Bees United member and was one of the fans who gave the club a loan last autumn to help avoid a cash crisis. He was a Director of Manchester United in the late nineties but resigned when he joined the BBC.
Dyke said: "This is an exciting new start for Brentford. It is very clear to me that the club's long term future is best served by the majority shareholding being held by the people who care most about the club – its fans. Chairmen, board members, managers and players come and go in a football club but most of the fans are there for life. I have no doubt that the idea of a supporters trust running the club is the future for the likes of Brentford.
"I have been a Brentford supporter for more than 40 years and know how much the club means to people living in the area. Three of my children are big Brentford fans as are many of their friends. Living locally, I get to matches at Griffin Park in 15 minutes and attend regularly.
"The club is doing well on the pitch with great leadership from Martin Allen and his staff. As a business there are still some tough challenges to face and I am looking forward to working with the board and the staff at the club to help Brentford go from strength to strength. What this does mean, however, is that we have to live within our budget and the days when fans of clubs like Brentford could expect someone from outside to come and pour money into the club are over. The fans are now in charge."
In the past six months supporters have raised funds to provide a £1 million interest-free loan to the club through fundraising initiatives, with individuals taking out loan notes and several fans contributing six figure loans.
Altonwood have provided a £1 million interest-free loan with a further £2.5m from Barclays Bank, £0.5m from Hounslow Council and £0.5m from a company representing a supporter covering the club's overdraft and creating a £1 million cash injection.
Bees United chairman Brian Burgess believes the historic takeover was the best chance to secure Brentford's future as a professional club.
"It has been a difficult project to complete and we are extremely grateful to those who have helped to make it possible," said Burgess. "These include a number of very generous individuals and of course the thousands of fans who have contributed to the Back the Bees campaign, Ron Noades and his colleagues at Altonwood, Barclays Bank, and Hounslow Council.
"It is a great achievement but the hard work has to start now to make sure that the Club can continue to pay its bills and be successful both on and off the pitch."
Manager Martin Allen said: After a lot of uncertainty and a great deal of work, the takeover is finally complete. Time will now tell if this Club can more forward. But it must be said it is an exciting opportunity to continue to move onwards and upwards."
FOR YOUR INFORMATION:
BEES UNITED is the trading name of the Brentford Football Community Society Limited (Registered as a community benefit industrial and provident society, number 29244R) www.beesunited.org.uk
The trust's loan note scheme is a means for members to make interest free loans with the holder having no guarantee that the money will ever be paid back.
In June 2003, Bees United signed an Option Agreement with Altonwood to acquire the shares in Brentford FC Ltd and two associated companies for £2, provided the Trust could arrange a financial restructuring of the Club's debts and release Altonwood and Mr Noades from their £4.5million bank guarantees.
The supporters' trust exercised the option on 30 September 2005 when an Exercise Notice was signed, setting out arrangements allowing until 31 January 2006 for the legal and financial transactions for the deal to be completed.
The trust has raised £5.5 million from the following sources:
– Barclays Bank – £2.0m 15 year term loan
– Barclays Bank – £0.5m working capital overdraft
– London Borough of Hounslow- £0.5m 5 year interest bearing loan
– Altonwood Ltd- £1.0m 3 year interest free loan
– Bees United(supporters funds)- £1.0m 3 year interest free loan
– Midas Way Ltd (on behalf of a supporter)- £0.5m 5 year interest free loan
When other existing interest free loans are included the club's debts secured against the freehold of Griffin Park are over £7.5 million.
Brentford FC is well known for its community activities which are highly valued by local residents, the London Borough of Hounslow, neighbouring local authorities and a wide range of partners. These activities include:
- The Football in the Community scheme which reaches over 30,000 young people each year and is now becoming The Brentford Community Sports Trust with charitable status;
- The Griffin Park Learning Zone which hosts students from Hounslow schools to stimulate after school learning and development and a growing number of holiday, adult and family activities.
Chairman, Bees United