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Perry pays tribute

Former executive director Martin Perry has paid tribute to all those involved with the Albion during his 23 years at the club.

By Charlie Hanson • 19 October 2020

By Paul Hazlewood
Martin Perry has paid tribute to those he worked with during his time with Albion.

From chairman Tony Bloom to the supporters, the club’s new honorary life vice president has said he is retiring but leaving the club in the best possible hands.

He said, “Tony Bloom has the most incredible vision for this club which is unfolding before our eyes and before the eyes of the fans.

“First of all, his financial commitment to the club is absolutely unbelievable and we simply would not have the facilities, or the team, or the staff we have without him; in fact I do not think there would be a club, it has been absolutely incredible and we all owe a huge debt of gratitude to him. 

“But he matches that with a vision for the club that is quite extraordinary. He is working hard towards that vision and he will take the club forwards and onto much greater things as a result of the way he is setting it out.

“You see it in appointments like Paul Barber, Dan Ashworth and Graham Potter. The sheer professionalism with which the club is now being run.

“It’s a credit to Tony, it’s a credit to the club, to Paul, Dan and Graham and all of the people who are part of that plan. We should all be very proud of our wonderful club.”

“In addition, I want to pay tribute to the members of the board who have supported me throughout my time at the Albion – some of them have been with me for almost the whole of that journey. People like Ray Bloom, Derek Chapman and Robert Comer, have supported me from the very earliest days and I am really grateful to them.  

“Also the members that have joined more recently: Adam Franks, Marc Sugarman, David Jones, Peter Godfrey and Michelle Walder. They have added a wide range of skills and depth of experience, and they are making a huge contribution to the running of the club.  

“They dedicate a huge amount of their time and energy to it and I am grateful to them all for the support they have shown me over the years.  We are very lucky to have them helping steer the club.

“Also I have to say thank you to Ivor Caplin, who introduced me to Dick Knight, and as I have said so many times, Dick saved the club and without him who knows where the club would be today.

“Our skill sets complemented each other so well, and we achieved so much in bringing the club home to Brighton and in winning planning permission for the Amex. I think we will both watch on with immense pride as the club continues to thrive.”

Appointed in 2012, Barber has overseen many successes at the club, including promotion to the Premier League in 2017.

Perry said, “Paul has been fantastic to work with, I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him and it’s been an absolutely great eight years.

“He has been absolutely outstanding in leading the club through all the challenging times, including the ones we now face. 

“His sure-footed approach during the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in him being the go-to person to represent not only the club, but the Premier League in handling the challenges with which we have been presented.

By Paul Hazlewood
Paul Barber, Tony Bloom and Martin Perry celebrate promotion to the Premier League.

“He has set an example of how the club should be run, enhanced our reputation, and drawn the admiration of other clubs and the Premier League.

“Paul has built the senior management team, and there are some really talented people now running this club, they’re doing an incredible job and have been a pleasure to work with.

“I am leaving at a time when the club is facing incredibly difficult challenges, it almost makes the job I did look easy. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic that won’t go away. 

“Football is now reviewing the way that it operates, and the finances in football are under huge pressure. But with Tony’s incredible financial support, Paul’s leadership and the backing of the board and the rest of the club, I have no doubt it is capable of meeting those challenges.”

The supporters though have been there through thick and thin, and it’s their commitment to having a successful club that Perry has been touched by.

“I have to pay a special tribute to the fans themselves who have been totally loyal to the club, loyal to the process and loyal throughout my 23 years. 

“I think one of the features that struck me in the early days was that there were some clubs I came across where there were multiple fans groups all working against each other.

“When I came to Brighton, all the fans groups were working together and pulling in one direction and that has continued. We have got to where we are because of the fans and the way they work together. 

“They demonstrated that recently when, not surprisingly, we were the club that was chosen to run the test event and the way the fans conducted themselves was absolutely exemplary. It showed that it was possible to have fans in the stadium safely, even with the difficulties that we are facing.”

Although stepping away from the day-to-day running of the club, Perry has said he will never be far away from the beating heart of the Albion.

“Although I am leaving, I am absolutely confident that the club is in the best possible hands and shape that it could be. 

“It’s got the strongest team, the strongest ownership and management structure, it’s got an incredibly strong board and it will face these challenges, it will succeed and it will thrive; I wish everybody the very best of luck as they go forward.

“I will still be at our matches, I will still be involved in Albion in the Community, so I won’t be very far away. I will be there to support it in any way I can, but I leave it in the very best possible hands.”

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