We never want to forget our history at BU and the contribution our Board volunteers and you all, made to all Bees fans and to Brentford FC.
It was back in January 2006, that Bees United took a majority stake in Brentford FC completing its acquisition of Ron Noades’ 60% majority shareholding in the Club
A few years earlier, in 2002, a year after BU was formed, a vision for a new stadium had been presented, and Hounslow Council Planning Committee had resolved to grant outline planning consent for housing on Griffin Park. That year was also the time when the ABeeC party won a seat on Hounslow Council – Luke Kirton was elected in Brentford Ward.
Ron Noades had stood down as Chairman of the Club in 2003, remaining owner but had granted BU a conditional two-year option until May 2005 to buy his majority shareholding in the Club. John McGlashan and Stephen Callen become executive directors to run the Club as Managing Director and Finance Director respectively.
During 2004 Bees United steadily reduced the Club’s operating losses whilst fundraising to find the £4.5 million necessary to exercise its option to take over the Club. The May 2005 deadline was negotiated to be extended to September 2005 and in September 2005 Bees United did exercise its option with four months to refinance the Club’s bank overdraft of over £4.5 million. The Club’s total debts were at that stage, £7 million.
As we say above, in January 2006, Bees United then completed its acquisition of Ron Noades’ 60% majority shareholding in the Club and appointed Greg Dyke as non-executive Chairman. All of Greg’s details are for another story but by the end of 2005, Greg Dyke had been Director General of the BBC and Chancellor of the University of York (the latter, to 2015).
Interesting Greg in the role at Brentford had a tinge of “its Brentford innit” about it! Greg was a long term supporter and regular visitor at Griffin Park. A supporter had recognized him in a half time queue for refreshments and subsequently wrote to him at the BBC asking if he would like to become involved at the club.
Greg wrote a letter back with a pithy eleven word reply: “It depends what you mean ‘become part of the set up’.”
This letter was passed to Brian Burgess who approached Greg, had dinner with him and kept in touch. Through meetings and discussions with Brian and understanding what the takeover meant for the club, Greg agreed to be the non-executive Chairman and found out soon enough what, “part of the set up” was and he then Chaired Brentford till 2013. Greg was with BU in all the years of its Club ownership.
On acquisition of the majority shareholding, a new BFC Board took control including Greg.
This is described here on our website back in 2006.
2007 – another busy year
In June the following year, a confidentiality agreement was signed to explore a potential deal for the land at Lionel Road. Meanwhile back at Griffin Park, completion of the new roof over the Ealing Road terrace took place, to become the home end at Griffin Park, forerunner of today’s West Stand of course. At the end of the summer, in August, Brentford FC (Lionel Road) Ltd was set up as a subsidiary of the Club. Later in the year, in December Brentford FC (Lionel Road) Ltd signed a project agreement with Barratt and assigned the option to purchase the Lionel Rd., land to Barrett who on exercising it immediately to become the owners of the eventual stadium land.
Plus ça change
We would love some of you reading this to tell us what you thought about how things might have changed, with the Bees United ownership of our Club (please tell us at email@example.com).
Some of you might have thought, that’s all sorted now but far from it.
Here is an extract from Paul Stedman’s article “Bucket Collections” back in January 2006.
At the beginning of the current season it was decided to temporarily suspend the Player Fund in order to maximise fundraising for the BACK THE BEES Campaign and support the efforts to acquire the majority shareholding in the Football Club. With the historic supporters’ takeover just days away, it has been decided that the bucket collections will resort to their former 50:50 split, commencing with the Huddersfield game on 21 January.
One of the Player Fund organisers, John Anderson, summed up his feelings: “Just because Bees United are taking control of the Club does not mean the fundraising stops, far from it in fact, it simply starts all over again. [We sadly lost John Anderson in the Summer of 2023]
Here is how we shared all the details with you, our members, on January 23rd 2006.
We will continue with detail of the period of the BU control of the Club in future BU articles