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Director writes about the Bees United model

A piece from Stewart Purvis, Bees United Chairman, on being a fan representative on the Board of Directors

3 May 2021

Stewart Purvis has been on the Brentford FC Board of Directors for just over two years. In early 2019, Stewart took over as Chairman of Bees United, the Brentford Supporters; Trust, from David Merritt, and also took his seat on the Club Board. The rules of Bees United prevent someone being on the Board of the Supporters’ Trust for more than 12 years so David had to stand down from both roles and Stewart took on the mantle.

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.

Brentford is one of few clubs in the top two tiers of English football where fans can choose a director and Stewart has written on the Bees United website about his experiences. This was prompted by a question at the recent Bees United AGM. In a piece, which can be seen in full here, Stewart talks about fan involvement in the governance of a club.

He wrote: "There are two supporters groups with a seat on the board of a club in the Premier League or the Championship. Brentford is one, the other is the Wycombe Wanderers Trust. But it is believed there are eight, possibly more, on club boards in League One and League Two.

"Some directors are chosen by their Trusts, others are directly elected by fans. Some Trusts had owned their clubs and, like Brentford’s, did a deal with an incoming new owner. Others raised funds to buy a shareholding but that doesn’t always automatically entitle a Trust to a directorship. I can’t speak for all these different versions but I know the Brentford one does work and would work elsewhere, giving more fans the right to say that their club is still one they can call their own."

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