BIAS is the Brentford Independent Association of Supporters (it would have been an Independent Supporters Association, but 'BISA' wasn't as snappy).
Originally BIAS was formed in the twilight of Dave Webb's reign at Griffin Park, in recognition of the need for fans to unite in order to protect the future of their club, and to represent supporters' concerns about its management. And that, more or less and with a lot of success, is what we still do.
The BIAS of today is an open, democratic, organisation; our members decide what we are, and what we do - through the annual election of a Committee to lead the Association for the coming year. In some ways we can be thought of as somewhere between a Trades Union and a Students Union for Brentford fans.
The objectives of BIAS are laid down in the Association's constitution. Our aims are to maintain and increase the support of Brentford Football Club, to bring Brentford fans together, to promote and encourage dialogue between the football club and its supporters, to represent the views of the supporters of Brentford Football Club, to air supporters' grievances, and to protect supporters' interests.
The BIAS committee holds monthly meetings which are open to all Brentford supporters. They're usually arranged and timed so that they occur just before Brentford FC home fixtures at Griffin Park.
Membership of BIAS starts at just £1 a month, although some supporters opt to pay more to support our work. The money raised allows BIAS to support the wider Brentford FC community in a number of ways; in the 2008/09 season, for example, we donated almost £2,000 to the Football Club's Centre of Excellence, sponsored a player's kit, made a donation to Feltham Bees (a football team associated with the excellent Brentford FC Community Sports Trust), sponsored Beesotted FC (a team of Brentford supporters), arranged a Fans Forum for all Brentford supporters - and much more.
One of BIAS's achievements was the creation of Bees United, Brentford Football Club's community trust, and some might feel that with the establishment of a Supporters Trust at Brentford the role of an Independent Supporters Association would have become redundant. Not a bit of it! Although the Trust was conceived as a wide-ranging community organisation with a core aim of achieving financial stability at Brentford FC, there is, and must always be, a limit to what Bees United can say and do. Both us and Bees United represent the interests of fans and are well aware that we can best do it in different ways.
Therefore whilst there is a Brentford FC there should be a Brentford Independent Association of Supporters. The stronger the Association, the stronger the club. Our football club is something that brings us together; BIAS can help us use that bond to our advantage.
BIAS should not be confused with the Brentford Supporters Association, which is a group of dedicated volunteers that has for a number of years arranged the commentary for the blind and the official away travel for Brentford supporters - for which BIAS members are very fortunate to get discounted fares.