Brentford repay fans loans to Bees United

Supporters that loaned money to Bees United to enable the Brentford Supporters’ Trust to complete the acquisition of the majority shareholding in Brentford FC almost a decade ago have seen it paid back after an agreement between Matthew Benham and Bees United.

The money was loaned in January 2006 when Bees United (BU) bought the majority shareholding and made Brentford the first Football League club in London to be owned by its supporters.

The money Bees United loaned to the Club came in part from interest free loans from BU members.

Each loan note was £1,000 but many individuals provided more than one.

With the support of Owner Matthew Benham, Brentford Football Club made £128,000 available to repay all remaining loan notes and the Bees United has made full repayment to all those who requested it.

Cliff Crown, Brentford FC Chairman, said: “The Board are grateful to Matthew for providing further funds to enable the loan note holders to be repaid.

“The Board, together with Matthew, recognises the sacrifice that many supporters made at a time when it was most needed and are pleased to be able to repay them in full.”

The repayment of the loans does not affect the position of Bees United at the Club.

BU continues to have a golden share in Griffin Park, and the new stadium at Lionel Road South once the Club moves, and residual loans of around £700,000 in Brentford FC.

Bees United also has two Directors on the Brentford FC Board – David Merritt, BU Chairman, and Donald Kerr, Club Vice-Chairman.

Donald Kerr said: “We received responses from many members who admitted they did not expect to get this money back and said this shows how the Club has been transformed in the last decade.

“Some supporters asked to become life members in lieu, and some have donated the money to Bees United.

“We had some nice responses thanking Bees United for what it has done for the Club over the years.

“All at Bees United are thankful for the generosity of these fans, and many others who did their bit, and we hope they are enjoying the progress that has been made in recent years.”

David Merritt said: “The achievements of Bees United – taking ownership of the Club and keeping it going during some very tough times, and then agreeing the partnership with, and ultimately sale to Matthew Benham – are a direct result of the actions and contributions of individual Bees United members.

“These loan note holders are normal Brentford fans who contributed multiples of £1,000 at a time of crisis, with no guarantee of repayment, and a significant risk of losing every penny.

“They did so because they wanted to see Brentford FC survive and prosper, and saw Bees United as the best way of achieving that.”

He added: “BU’s partnership with Matthew Benham has seen Brentford FC go from strength to strength, and in these successful times I am very grateful to Matthew that he has recognised the valuable role played by these normal fans before he got involved, and has supported the repayment of their loans.

“I am also very pleased that so many of the loan note holders have used the repaid loan note money to either donate to Bees United or take out life memberships.

“It demonstrates the continued support BU enjoys.

“BU will continue to play a full role as members of the Club Board, as it performs its role of looking after the long term interests of the Football Club.”