BIAS Chair, Richard Merritt delivered the following Chairpersons report at the Associations AGM
There can be no doubt that BIAS have had and enjoyed a very busy year.
The granting of the Planning permission for the Lionel Road stadium was a massive achievement and people should not underestimate BIAS involvement in securing that decision.
The BIAS stadium action group and committee worked tirelessly, with many of the group putting in excess of 20 hours a week on various activities.
We monitored the press, comments on local websites, we attended public meetings, campaign meetings, liaison meetings with Lionel Road Limited and the clubs partners on the project. We went out to meet the public at schools, fetes, markets and festivals, to gain their support; we got Brentford fans to back the planning applications with letters, e-mails and postcards, We liaised with politicians at every level and with all political parties. We printed flyers, posters, information sheets and updates all expertly laid out, the text drafted by professional wordsmiths so that it could be twisted or cause alarm. We listened, we spoke quietly but with respect and conviction, we made our selves heard.
The team did this because they believed. BIAS created the pipe dream, BIAS set up Bees United to keep our Club safe, we formed the AbeeC party to gain political support, stood for election and won a seat on the council and BIAS stepped up again to make the pipe dream a reality.
The whole Stadium Action Group team has my respect, my thanks and gratitude for sharing their expertise and for being the foot soldiers that believed, delivered and made the difference.
Not only we will have our new stadium but it will be better than any Brentford fan can imagine.
A few years ago we had another pipe dream the creation of Regional and International branches with the idea that one day we would be organising coaches to Griffin Park.
We have not realised this pipe dream yet but we are having lots of success with car sharing being arranged from Yorkshire, the Midlands, the West Country and the from East Anglia, where an exiled Bee is now a season ticket holder as he can get to Griffin park once more.
Our West Country branch now has over 60 members and already this season they have run a mini bus, which was initially full of strangers, not only to a game at Griffin Park but to an away game too, with bookings now being taken for the home game with Blackburn and the away trip at Brighton.
Our International branches are flourishing. The Irish bees branch have been over to Griffin Park, The Dutch bees are here again today, 9 Italian Bees are coming over for the Wolverhampton Wanderers game and the German and Swiss Bees are regular visitors.
After the last AGM we were tasked with supporting the Brentford Ladies team. Our donation was really appreciated and the Committee have agreed to extend the financial support to the value of £500 this season. We are also in the process of arranging support from a local pub.
We should all to remember Allsion Franklin who sadly passed away this year, for all that she did for BIAS and Brentford FC
Special Thanks goes to Paul Stedman, who after over twenty years of producing the very popular away travel guides for the BIAS website has decided to call it a day.
Thanks also to Jim Walsh who arrange the boat trips to Orient last season, taking three boats and tenth of our travelling support.
Thanks again go to David Gathergood for ensuring that BIAS finances are in order
Some people may ask what role BIAS has. Quite simply it is all of the above, it is about ‘Beeliving’, thinking the impossible and bringing Brentford fans together, in every way possible to make things happen.