Bees United launches £1 million appeal

Bees United intends to raise £1 million before the end of the 2013/2014 season by increasing its membership, asking its members to contribute more than their basic subscription, and organising some major fundraising events.

 

Bees United intends to raise £1 million before the end of the 2013/2014 season by increasing its membership, asking its members to contribute more than their basic subscription, and organising some major fundraising events.

Having sealed a £1 million-plus per year partnership with Matthew Benham earlier this month – securing the future of Brentford Football Club at least until May 2014 – Bees United now means to play a full part in this partnership without losing sight of its primary role as custodian of the Club’s long-term future.
 
Fulfilling these twin objectives will require Bees United to have its own sound financial base. It must have enough money to meet its immediate obligations, and be able to shoulder its responsibilities in just over four years’ time, should the need arise.
 
“We thought long and hard about a target that was significant and yet achievable,” commented Bees United Chairman David Merritt. “In the end, we decided raising £1 million a year would be impossible, but collecting £1 million of our own is very doable.”
 

Boost income from standing orders

 
Bees United’s current annual income from nearly 700 monthly standing orders is over £70,000, or more than £100 per standing order. “If the other two-thirds of our members were to take out monthly standing orders at the same rate, we would have an annual standing-order income in excess of £200,000,” David Merritt pointed out.
 
“And if all of our members with standing orders were to increase their contributions merely by the cost of one pint of beer per month, their contributions alone would take us almost half way to our target.”
 

Increase membership numbers

 
Bees United is also determined to increase its membership from the current figure of about 2,000. Lapsed members will be asked to reconsider, while Bees fans who have never joined Bees United will be invited to change their minds.
 
“We see no reason why Bees United’s membership should not increase by 50% over the next few years,” comments David Merritt. “And if many of these new members take out a standing order to pay more than the minimum subscription – which does little more than cover our costs – then we should soon reach our £1 million target.”
 

Preparing for 2014

 
Noting Bees United still had a substantial loan to pay off from Barclays, he added that it was possible that Matthew Benham might decide not to exercise his option to buy a controlling shareholding in Brentford Football Club in 2014.
 
“Whatever happens, Bees United must be in a position to stop the Club from going into administration,” warned David Merritt. “If it does, Bees United will lose its ‘golden share’ that protects against the sale of Griffin Park or any future home ground.”
 
“Every contribution to Bees United’s £1 million appeal, however small, will help us pay off our outstanding obligations and enable us to build up a fighting fund of working capital. This can be used as an insurance policy against the worst possible scenario occurring in 2014.”
 

Surplus ploughed back into football club

 
“However, if Matthew Benham were to take up his option to purchase a controlling shareholding in Brentford Football Club – thereby significantly reducing the Club’s debts – then all monies would be used to pay off Bees United’s existing debts and outstanding loans. Any surplus would be ploughed back into the football club in a manner that would be chosen after detailed consultation with the entire Bees United membership.”