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Jon Varney: Togetherness is key

Chief Executive on our “guiding ethos” #BeeTogether

16 August 2019

The key message both on and off the field this season, our last one before we make the step to our new stadium, is one of togetherness and we strongly support this in everything we are trying to achieve.

Togetherness is clearly fundamental for our playing squad, and was demonstrated in the celebrations seen at Middlesbrough last week, but is also very important for the rest of the staff at the Club. Our supporters also all play a role in joining together to make this a really special season.

During this farewell season at Griffin Park, we watch with excitement as our new stadium enters its final stages of construction and we also have a great opportunity to welcome new fans into the Brentford family. We want to reach out to our local community and ensure that everyone feels welcome at our Club and included in our journey. To do that, we all need to help build the right atmosphere and environment at Griffin Park. We need passionate support – make no mistake about that! However, there is a difference between passion and abuse and we want all our fans to feel comfortable at Griffin Park.

As I mentioned in my last programme notes, we have created a dedicated Fan and Community Relations team at the Club (headed up by Sally Stephens) and have employed Jon Burr as our new Diversity and Inclusion Manager. Monique Choudhuri also continues her role as Board champion for Diversity and Inclusion. Jon will be working with local community stakeholders, reaching out to people within our diverse local community who, for whatever reason, currently do not feel that Brentford is for them.

Our guiding ethos, supported by Thomas Frank and everyone at the Club, is that “football is for everyone; it belongs to and should be enjoyed by anyone who wants to participate in it, whether as a player, official, staff member or spectator. We aim, therefore, to bring people together in a way that supports positive change, makes people feel valued and improves the lives and inclusion experience of our fans and wider community. As fans of Brentford Football Club, we are one family, and regardless of your background, it is fundamental to our values that everyone should be made to feel welcome as supporters of this Club”. (Diversity and Inclusion Policy 2019)

"Football is for everyone; it belongs to and should be enjoyed by anyone who wants to participate in it, whether as a player, official, staff member or spectator."

In the EFL Supporters Survey conducted last season, 92 per cent of fans agreed that “Brentford provides an inclusive and enjoyable matchday experience for all supporters regardless of their background, religion, sexual orientation and ethnicity.” I would like to see us increase this to 100 per cent.

For the tiny minority who don’t share our view that we must welcome and include anyone, regardless of their race, religion, gender or sexuality, we will not compromise on our values. We don’t want you at Brentford if you can’t accept our values or if you behave in a manner which is in conflict with these values.

You will notice in the coming weeks that we will be introducing new signs around the ground and electronic messages on matchdays as further reminders of our inclusivity messages and togetherness. To make sure this happens, it is vital that you work with us and help tackle any areas of discrimination or abuse.

We encourage you to use any of our reporting mechanisms if you see or hear racist, sexist, homophobic, or other behaviour of hate or division. Collecting evidence quickly and efficiently gives us the best chance to deal with any incidents:

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