Millwall FC chairman pays tribute to late father following ‘landmark agreement’ with council

The chairman of Millwall Football Club has paid tribute to his late father while praising the “landmark” agreement reached between the club and Lewisham council last night.

The agreement, which grants a new 999-year lease, allows the club to move forward with its ambitions for the redevelopment of the land surrounding The Den, bringing to life long-term plans of the wider regeneration of New Bermondsey, including residential development.

Millwall FC chairman, James Berylson, said: “We are delighted that Lewisham council has offered Millwall Football Club a new, long lease that will permit us to bring forward development plans in New Bermondsey for residential accommodation, a new community, and an ambitious football club.

“I am particularly grateful to Lewisham Mayor, Brenda Dacres, and her predecessor, Damien Egan MP, both of whom offered friendship and support to Millwall and acknowledged our ambitions for the local community and our club.

“My family’s involvement with Millwall goes back almost 20 years. My father, John Berylson – who tragically died last year – from the outset had a vision and an ambition for the football club and its local community.

“It has taken us a long time to reach this turning point, but my father’s passion and dogged determination never dimmed, and it’s a great sadness to all of us that he is not here today to witness this milestone moment in the club’s history.”

The Den, Millwall’s home ground (Picture: Ungry Young Man / Flickr)

All of the club’s recommendations were approved by Mayor of Lewisham, Ms Dacres, at last night’s Mayor and Cabinet meeting.

The plans form part of the New Bermondsey project – a 30-acre redevelopment of the old industrial area, including the ground itself, which was approved in January 2022.

Mr Berylson said: “Alongside the significant new opportunities for Millwall, I see important new benefits for Lewisham and its residents. 

“A new community with upgraded accommodation will generate higher living standards and a better quality of life. 

“Greater prosperity will also increase returns to the borough through new commercial, social and employment opportunities.

“Together with Lewisham council, we can now start putting in place plans for improving The Den and its facilities, thereby enhancing spectator experience.”

Mr Berylson took over as chairman of Millwall almost a year ago after his father and former Millwall owner, John, died in a car accident in the US in July 2023.

Mr Berylson said: “I am now setting out new ambitions for Millwall and its community. 

“At the heart of those ambitions is, of course, playing great football and I want us to be serious challengers for Premier League status. Why not? We came within striking distance of the play-offs 12 months ago.”

The club will continue to keep supporters up-to-date with further developments as and when they occur.

Pictured top: Millwall chairman James Berylson (Picture: Brian Tonks)

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