Brighton and Hove Albion’s Tony Bloom to be made an MBE

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Brighton and Hove Albion’s owner and chairman Tony Bloom has been named on the New Year’s Honours list for 2024.

Bloom, 53, is to be made an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to Association Football and to the community in Brighton.

Bloom has overseen a remarkable rise at Brighton since he took control of the club in 2009. A huge amount of investment, sheer hard work and shrewd management has seen Brighton rise from League One and into the Premier League.

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Tony said, "I'm incredibly proud and truly humbled to receive this recognition, and while I’m honoured personally, it would not have been possible without so many people who’ve helped us achieve what we have.

Brighton owner and chairman Tony Bloom attended the documentary preview event at Duke of York’s Picturehouse in Brighton on Thursday (December 7) – presented by American Express. Photo: American ExpressBrighton owner and chairman Tony Bloom attended the documentary preview event at Duke of York’s Picturehouse in Brighton on Thursday (December 7) – presented by American Express. Photo: American Express
Brighton owner and chairman Tony Bloom attended the documentary preview event at Duke of York’s Picturehouse in Brighton on Thursday (December 7) – presented by American Express. Photo: American Express

"I'd like to thank my fellow directors, our staff, coaches and players who have been vital to the progress we’ve made. It has been an historic year for the club and this is a wonderful way to cap off a truly unforgettable 12 months."

Deputy chairman and chief executive Paul Barber led the tributes, adding, "From the very first time I met Tony it was quite clear to see his passion for football, Brighton and Hove, but especially Brighton & Hove Albion, and what he has achieved in his time as chairman of this club is quite remarkable.

"It is the modern-day footballing success story, as Tony has overseen an incredible rise from the depths of the Football League to the top echelons of the Premier League and European football, as well as financing the building of the American Express Stadium and American Express Elite Football Performance Centre.

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"That is why our fans sing his name. I have been in football a long time, and there are not many supporters who sing the chairman's name with the same affection that our fans sing for Tony. That affection from the stands is very, very rare in football for a chairman, and it underlines the incredible job Tony has done. Perhaps job is not the right term, as for Tony it is a love for the club, one which was handed down to him from his grandfather Harry and father Ronnie.

"Brighton fans know what Tony has done for the club having seen it unfold before their eyes, and we have all enjoyed so many of the unforgettable moments along the way, but this is also a public recognition of the broader contribution he has made to football and the wider Brighton & Hove community.

"Tony's generosity and his vision for Brighton & Hove Albion has underpinned our successes on the pitch, both in the Premier League and Women's Super League, and we can be incredibly proud of both our men's and women's teams, who are capable of competing with the very best in English football.

"On behalf of all at the club, our supporters and the many well wishers across the football industry, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Tony on a very special day for him and his family."

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A proud Brightonian, Tony was born in the city in 1970 and comes from a family of ardent fans. He quickly developed a love for the club from an early age, attending matches at the Goldstone Ground with his grandfather Harry, father Ronnie and brother Darren.

His family have played an important role in the club since the 1970s. Tony's grandfather Harry was vice-chairman to Mike Bamber during the club's historic rise from the old Third Division to the First Division of the EFL; while his uncle Ray has also been a club director since the 1980s.

Tony has personally financed and overseen the club’s incredible growth, which has included the construction of the state-of-the-art American Express Stadium, opened in 2011, and the world-class American Express Elite Football Performance Centre, opened in 2014.

After the club's best-ever finish of sixth last season, Tony was voted the European Club President of the Year at the Golden Boy Awards earlier this month; while in May 2017 he was awarded the freedom of the city of Brighton and Hove, in recognition of the club's promotion to the Premier League. He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Brighton in 2018.

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The Albion chairman was the driving force behind the American Express Stadium and also the excellent training facilities based in Lancing. It has all helped the Seagulls survive and then thrive in the Premier League as last season they finished sixth in the top flight and qualified for the Europa League for the first time in their history.

It’s been all the more remarkable as Brighton have continuously sold their best players – including the likes of Moises Caicedo, Alexis Mac Allister, Ben White, Yves Bissouma, Leo Trossard and Marc Cucurella – for vast sums but excellent player recruitment and coaching keeps Bloom’s team competing at the very highest level.

Bloom is always quick to praise the staff around him and rarely takes the credit but the loyal fans know exactly how much he has achieved and what he done for the club.

Speaking to Sussex World before a private screening of the long-awaited documentary ‘Stand or Fall: The Remarkable Rise of Brighton & Hove Albion’ in December, Bloom said: “I'm an optimistic person so when I committed to building the Amex. First class training facilities, getting category one academy status, I wasn't doing that not expecting success.

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"The vision at that point was to get out of League One after a bad season but the long term ambition was to get to the Premier League.

"That was it. When we were there, we had to do everything we could to stay there.

"We've pushed on. We had the vision of being top ten in the men's league and top four in the women’s.

"The last couple of seasons we've achieved and we plan to be there on a very regular basis.

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"Last season we qualified for Europe so we are on an upward trajectory but it's very difficult. We have to keep working really hard because the competition is fierce. Everyone below us in the table is looking to overtake us.”