BIAS AGM – Out Going Chairperson’s report

Outgoing BIAS Chair person Richard Merritt delivered the following report at the Associations AGM

Campaign wise it has been a quiet year for BIAS.

Richard Merritt
Richard Merritt, Chair

We have continued to hold regular meetings with the Football Club where both parties, talk openly, honestly and importantly listen to each other. In fact we probably have more fans consultation now than we did when the Club was in fans ownership.

Gemma Teale recently represented BIAS at the Football Clubs Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination meeting and hopefully this afternoon, we may see some of our players supporting the Rainbow Laces campaign when our team play Birmingham City.

The BIAS Stadium Action Group has remained active, monitoring events, and with Phil Marchant attending the regular Lionel Road Liaison Group meetings and keeping up to speed with developments.

If I have one regret, it is that we should have done more with regards to Safe Standing.

I’m a strong believer that you cannot delegate responsibility and am sorry that I did not call the project in to be managed by the full BIAS Committee when after awaiting the conclusion of the Hillsborough Enquiry, no progress was made by the team.

I am proud to have played a role within BIAS in NO to Woking Campaign, the formation of Bees United, the ABeeC campaign and the Stadium Action Group.

When we were campaigning for a new stadium, it was not uncommon for myself and the others involved in the campaign to put in 25 hours a week, planning our strategy, attending public meetings, getting to events early to set up our stall and packing up at the end of a busy and productive day, monitoring the press, updating our website and dealing with enquiries… all on top of our day jobs and normal BIAS Business.

For the past few years it has been my privilege to be Chair of BIAS. The role has kept me occupied, help me to grow and develop as a person, it has often given me a purpose and provided challenges that I have relished and taken on with all that I have had to offer.

It is therefore with more than a little sadness that I have decided to stand down as BIAS Chair and to take a break from the BIAS committee.

There are number of people that I need to thank for their support and understanding.

Firstly my wife Bernadette, for her patience, help, understanding and support. You can go take a holiday from work and go away but trust me BIAS follows you.

Secondly I like to thank David Gathergood, Jim Walsh and Mark Atkinson for keeping our Finances in order during my time as Chair.

I would also like to thank all of the committee members for both their time, ideas and input.

To thank those who have served on our sub committees like the Stadium Action group or who have been involved in the Out and About team, The Regional and International co-ordinators and those who run our Football team for their help in bringing Brentford fans together.

I know that BIAS will be in good hands and I’m sure will achieve great things.

I would like to urge the new Committee to update the BIAS Manifesto that they introduced last year, with a mixture of new and renewed, group and individual commitments, to provide the Association with a good sense of ownership and a sense of direction.

Thank you all