Brentford FC have kindly allowed us to reproduce this interview with Bees United's Bill Hagerty & Stephen Walter which featured in the matchday programme from the recent Fulham fixture at Griffin Park.
Communication is said to be one of Bees United – The Brentford Supporters’ Trust – weakest points, so recently co-opted board members Bill Hagerty (pictured left) and Stephen Walter (right) have been tasked to do something about it.
The Trust has moved into another phase of its life following the outright purchase of the Club by owner Matthew Benham in 2012 and one of the objectives Bees United has is explaining to fans its relevancy.
Bill Hagerty is a journalist by profession and explained why he got involved.
“I’ve been a Brentford fan since the mid-1970s,” said Bill. “I come every week and my wife is a Season Ticket Holder too. My student son Adam is a fan also. I wasn’t sure what Bees United did and when I found out it struck me if that I didn’t know then a lot of other people wouldn’t either. I spoke with the Chairman and Secretary and they agreed more people need to be aware of the Trust. Well, that’s what I’ve done all my life. I’m a communicator.”
Bill gave his initial thoughts on joining the board, which this year celebrates its 15th year in existence.
“The enthusiasm is there and certainly the concern,” said Bill. “One of its main roles is to ensure the viability of the Club forever. It’s a great community club, has won awards and quite rightly so. My wife Liz is a journalist too and we agree watching Brentford is like going to see a play, it’s never anything but interesting. Sometimes you don’t like it but often it’s life imitating art.
Stephen, an insurance underwriter, has been a supporter for 20 years and stressed the need for supporters not to rely on the current owner’s generosity.
“Supporters will always say the club belongs to them, so it’s only right that we take responsibility for the club’s future.” said Stephen. “We’re very lucky to have Matthew Benham and we must not take him for granted, we need to play our part in ensuring that Brentford Football Club has a sustainable future.
“Matthew Benham’s input has changed the role and focus of Bees United, but it hasn’t made it redundant. A strong supporters’ trust is advantageous and I think it’s important to get that message across to the supporters. Bees United’s communication with Brentford supporters hasn’t always been the best and it’s certainly something we are looking to improve.”