Brentford FC Chief Executive Jon Varney has paid tribute to the support of Bees fans during a ‘deeply frustrating’ year for the Club. At the Annual General Meeting of the Brentford Supporters' Trust ‘Bees United, held via Zoom just before Easter, he praised “the support of our fans not only for their financial contributions to the club in terms of the freezing of season tickets but also for the phone calls and emails that we get and the comments on social media”. Jon also talked of the possible timetable for getting fans back into the stadium.
Jon took questions from Bees fans at the start of the AGM with the first coming from BU member Jamie Powell, who has returned to London after medical treatment in Boston partly paid for by funds raised by supporters and significant donations by Brentford FC and Bees United. Jon looked back at events since he spoke at the previous BU AGM ahead of our game at home to Sheffield Wednesday on March 7 2020 – the last attended by fans before Covid-19 restrictions stopped competitive football for more than three months and ensured games have been played almost exclusively behind closed doors since. He said the past 12 months had been a ‘deeply frustrating period’.
At the Play-Off Final “we were one kick away from the land of milk and honey and that was an incredibly challenging time for everybody,” said Jon. In addition no other club on the planet had ever been forced to say goodbye to its old ground and to say hello to its new one without its fans. The Covid-19 restrictions meant the Club “had to mothball the off-field operations at a time when we were desperate to kick the whole football club forward”.
However the whole club – players, staff, board, management, and fans – could be incredibly proud of the way Brentford had got through the year. “We have definitely got through it thanks to that collective of togetherness,” Jon added. Bees United have done a write-up of Jon's part of their AGM, which can be seen here.
Bees United will be 20 years old this June. The Supporters' Trust began as a pressure group, took majority shareholding in the Club 15 years ago, and then created a partnership with Matthew Benham which led to him becoming the owner. Today BU is a 2,250 strong group of Bees fans with a seat on the Club Board. More on BU, including the minutes of the AGM and an updated set of rules, approved by members at the AGM, can be seen on their website here.