Millwall chairman steps up war of words with council chief

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JOHN Berylson has gone on the offensive after the deputy mayor of Lewisham branded him a "Republican-funding American venture capitalist" on Twitter.

Berylson yesterday laughed off claims made by Cllr Alan Smith regarding the sale to a developer of land which is currently leased by the club and its community scheme.

Cllr Smith had said that a town hall decision to hand over three plots which adjoin The Den to Renewal had safeguarded the Lions' future in South Bermondsey.

Berylson reacted with disbelief to those comments, adding that the Millwall Community Scheme in particular has been threatened by the council's agreement with Renewal.

Cllr Smith then took to social media on Wednesday to imply that Berylson, "a republican funding american venture capitalist", could not be trusted as he was not "a local developer."

But Berylson said in a statement: "I am surprised and disappointed that Lewisham’s Deputy Mayor has resorted to tweeting untrue statements about me.

"Under no circumstances should I be required to justify my profession, political beliefs or nationality.

"Why they should be an issue or relevant to the development of the Surrey Canal Triangle is beyond me.

"For the record, I am not a Republican Party supporter – I'm a registered Democrat.

"But what I question is the impartiality, and frankly the judgement, of the man who has presided over meetings that approved the disposal of land which matters to our Club.

"It's incorrect to describe me as a venture capitalist.

"I have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in a dozen companies and have always been hands on with every investment, especially Millwall Football Club.

"It is true that I am American, but for the Deputy Mayor to make an issue of that fact is remarkable. Does that mean he'll only deal with English people?

"Is that why his Council decided not to consider my plans? I wonder if Councillor Smith should have declared his anti-American interests?

"His attitude is putting the future success of the Club and Millwall Community Scheme at risk, which means people's jobs and livelihoods.

"We should sit down and have jaw jaw not war war.

"Councillor Smith should spend less time making inaccurate and inflammatory comments on Twitter and more time listening to the 5,000 people who have signed our fans’ online and paper petition calling on the Council to think again."

Alex Aldridge

(@accordingtoaldo)

39 thoughts on “Millwall chairman steps up war of words with council chief

  • February 27, 2014 at 19:01
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    Go on Son do the business, we the Millwall Fans are right Beside you ( JB ). .

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    • February 27, 2014 at 19:05
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      @BUSHWACKER14: What's happened with Lewisham Council. They were right behind us when the New Den was built.

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      • February 28, 2014 at 11:20
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        @hernebaylion: Thats because at the time Senegal fields could not be used to build houses on where the land at Cold Blow Lane could.

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    • February 27, 2014 at 19:11
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      If its a slander fight you want never pick on a american..they get arought up on it...smith you will lose big time

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    • February 28, 2014 at 08:20
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      @BUSHWACKER14:
      BACKING YOU BUSHWACKER14, J.B, AND ALL MILLWALL SUPPORTERS, BUT FOR THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS, LETS CONCENTRATE ON BEATING BRIGHTON AND GETTING THE 3 x POINTS THAT WILL
      MAKE EVERY MILLWALL FAN VERY HAPPY AND EASE SOME OF THE TENSION ABOUT OUR CURRENT
      POSITION IN THE CHAMPIONSHIP LEAGUE TABLE.
      " NO ONE LIKES US, WE DON'T CARE "
      STORMIN' NORMAN...............................WANTS A WIN AGAINST BRIGHTON THIS WEEK-END !!

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  • February 27, 2014 at 19:05
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    I don't get how this deputy mayor can be popular if part of his strategy is slandering people on social networking sites. Very unprofessional and rude. A******.

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  • February 27, 2014 at 19:07
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    Go and get him John, typical uneducated comments from your typical idiotic councillor

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  • February 27, 2014 at 19:38
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    Get the c*** down millwall Saturday!!

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  • February 27, 2014 at 19:53
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    It's always about money and who has the biggest cock in all this sort of stuff, sure JB would be wantin a return on his investment, we all know that but millwalls future needs to and should be secured at all costs. It's the heart beat of south London and bigger than any of us!! I reckon JB is the best person to ensure the safety and security of this great club , the bloke seems to have his heart n soul in the joint, not just his money which by the way is "greatly appreciated" .

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  • February 27, 2014 at 20:04
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    "It is true that I am American, but for the Deputy Mayor to make an issue of that fact is remarkable.

    We the fans are right behind you JB we know how much you love this club. and want only whats good for MILLWALL FOOTBALL CLUB.

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  • February 27, 2014 at 20:06
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    Strong words from the man Smith....thats too personal,not mad on americans but JB mainly, has put up £ 20 + mill and counting over last 5yrs , in the club. He is entitled to look for returns in whatever legal way he can.

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  • February 27, 2014 at 20:33
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    ineteresting to note that @Joe_Dromey is the son of Harriet Harman and Jack Dromey.
    You can usually judge a person by the company that they keep.............
    will say no more than that

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  • February 27, 2014 at 20:39
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    JB should consider reporting Cllr Smith for making a racially inflammatory statement, his nationality is of no concern......change the word 'American' for Nigerian, Pakistani, Indian etc etc to get my point

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    • February 27, 2014 at 22:43
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      @eio: Great point, well argued EIO. I watched the great immigration debate the other day, sooooo disheartening its untrue, it's got to the stage where its considered racist to defend of speak up England and our values/traditions.

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    • February 28, 2014 at 11:44
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      @eio: or TURK !!!!

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  • February 27, 2014 at 20:50
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    what i wanna know is , is where's the other 40,000 signatures ? we get 45k at wembley but cba to sign a petition ? f****** disgraceful , plastic w****** can do one!

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      • February 28, 2014 at 01:54
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        @char: here we go 🙂 https://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/lewisham-council-defend-our-den-stop-millwall-land-sale-to-property-developers

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    • February 28, 2014 at 16:24
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      @steveomfc5:
      Well said mate.
      I was really saddened by the fact that so few supporters have signed.

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  • February 27, 2014 at 22:35
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    Well the balance just shifted towards JB in the moral high ground stakes. What was this bloke thinking tweeting this? He has mugged it right up. What a div.

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  • February 27, 2014 at 23:16
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    The way things are going I wish some very rich capitalist parasite from Maylasia or Dubai would buy out the club abd sink £50 million into it. The club needs a shock to revive its fortunes.

    However this is a typical piece of crafty distraction to cover up some stitch up by the council and shows that they are on the defensive about this dodgy deal.

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  • February 28, 2014 at 00:31
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    First of if your gunna slate someone get your facts right JB is a Democrat not a republican...& smith do you really think LCC. .acted in a proper & right manor..then you're stupid

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  • February 28, 2014 at 07:08
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    oh dear, mr smith, what on earth were you thinking ? you completely fecked that up, cheers me olde chum. haha what a moron and makes me feel proud to have moved out of lewisham if they put faith in people like you.
    it was the best place in the world when i was a lad, but now it's a complete mess thanks to people like you. part of me is gutted i've moved out cause i'd love to stand against you in local elections. your nothing but an ignorant middle class racist, all high and mighty with your private education but fortunately you lack an awful lot of savy as you've proved by biting the bait. haha, you have opened up a lovely can of worms smithy boy, and your going the only way people in your proffession know how and you have no one but yourself to blame.
    i for one will be a having a drink on you sunshine, cause wether mfc win the day or not,you will most certainly be clearing your desk in the very near future, that my friend you can "Bet your bottom dollar"
    ps
    chirpy, chirpy, ........, ........ sure your clever enough to work it out.
    Good work john boy.

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  • February 28, 2014 at 09:00
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    Mows the time for lawyers, this councillor has demonstrated clear bias against us.

    Also a complaint to the council's scrutiny body and the standards board, maybe a liitle line to Private Eye as well.

    Let's put the spotlight on this.

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  • February 28, 2014 at 09:13
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    JB is on record as having financially supported John McCain in the 2008 US election. However, if JB now says he is a registered Democrat, I for one have no problem with that. Despite this, it is an irrelevance regards the best interests of MFC, which is our only concern.

    I am not sure what Cllr. Smith was thinking with his anti US tirade and to put it in to appropriate parlance, has scored an own goal. What concerns me is the ease in which Renewal found themselves the sole party in relation to the Surrey Canal Triangle redevelopment. As I have posted before, the origins of Renewal's current preferred status go back the Council meeting in March 2012.

    Leaving aside one's views of the current state of politics and personalities at Lewisham Council, the interets of the ratepayers of Lewisham do not appear to be being served by the current position regarding redevelopment of the Surrey Canal Triangle. How can we be sure that the people of Lewisham are getting the best deal if there is only one bid? This needs to be given full exposure and Lewisham residents should be addressing this issue via their three MPs. The more publicity on this issue the greater the pressure on Lewisham Council to fully explain the reasons behind their somewhat curious decision to allow Renewal preferred status.

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    • February 28, 2014 at 10:14
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      @sierraleone: Brilliant post, I cannot see how the best deal was achieved when there was only one bid on the table. Surely the council owe it to the local tax paying residents to find counter bidders to ensure that better bids were not available. Is it really true that of all the developers in the UK, only Renewal were interested in this development? I find that incredible when considering that this is a sale of high value real estate in the country's capital city in an area that is growing in value faster than any other part of London.

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  • February 28, 2014 at 09:44
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    The council should be feeling lucky that we dont have Charlton Heston running our club

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    • February 28, 2014 at 10:10
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      @millwalllion: Like the sentiment but how could we ever accept a chairman called effing Charlton!!!!?

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  • February 28, 2014 at 10:09
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    I can't understand why a seemingly experienced politician with a Snr role is unable to understand that comments posted on Twitter are there for public viewing and can be considered as evidence in legal disputes. Idiotic would be one word for posting such a comment, extremely niaive if I am being generous. Maybe Mr smith should stay away from his keyboard till all this has blown over, or even better, keep posting comments like this to help Millwall build their case for improper behaviour by the council.

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  • February 28, 2014 at 11:43
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    Look at the picture of smith.....what does he remind you of ?.......A FLUKING TYPICAL PALARSE FAN..............................enuff sed

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  • February 28, 2014 at 11:55
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    Shhh, back handers , brown envelopes, dodgy photos, bribery and corruption that's how it works and there will be some red faces and smacked bums no doubt when the poo hits the fan..hang on the poo really is trying to hit the fan.

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  • February 28, 2014 at 12:43
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    I don't keep up to date on things like this now but would think that JB's attorney would be be paying close attention to Cllr. Smith's comments. If the decision, even partially, to exclude any bid from JB re the development of Surrey Canal Triangle because of his nationality and politics would be in breach of World Trade Organisation rules.

    This one could, and should, run and run...

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    • February 28, 2014 at 19:59
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      @sierraleone: too tru Sierra, I'd be calling councillor smith to the table and making him very aware of the current situation. Bet there's a lot of complications going on behind the scenes and many considerations to take into account. Really hope that these parties can get this sorted in a transparent manner which will ensure not only the survival of our club but provide the opportunity for a bright and vibrant future as well as catering for the future needs of the community of which we are a major part.

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      • March 1, 2014 at 10:58
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        @grassgrower: could not agree more. The more publicity that this issue is given, the greater the pressure on Lewisham Council to ensure transparency. Also believe that local community involvement is important as the more MFC are involved the greater the fan base and the opportunity to nurturenlocal talent. Has to be better than forever relying on journeymen that he other clubs are not really interested in and whose role at the club is at best transitory.

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      • March 1, 2014 at 10:59
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        @grassgrower: could not agree more. The more publicity that this issue is given, the greater the pressure on Lewisham Council to ensure transparency. Also believe that local community involvement is important as the more MFC are involved the greater the potential fan base and the opportunity to nurture local talent. Has to be better than forever relying on journeymen that other clubs are not really interested in and whose role at the club is at best, transitory.

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      • March 1, 2014 at 11:00
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        @grassgrower: could not agree more. The more publicity that this issue is given, the greater the pressure on Lewisham Council to ensure transparency. Also believe that local community involvement is important as the more MFC are involved the greater the potential fan base and the opportunity to nurture local talent. Has to be better than forever relying on journeymen that other clubs are not really interested in and whose role at the club is at best, transitory.

        Seem to be having a problem sending this. Not sure why???

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      • March 1, 2014 at 11:24
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        @grassgrower:
        It's could not agree more. The more publicity that this issue is given, the greater the pressure on Lewisham Council to ensure transparency. Also believe that local community involvement is important as the more MFC are involved the greater the potential fan base and the opportunity to nurture local talent. Has to be better than forever relying on journeymen that other clubs are not really interested in and whose role at the club is at best, transitory.

        Seem to be having a problem sending this. Not sure why???

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  • February 28, 2014 at 14:27
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    If it comes to it I'll camp out on 1 of the plots to stop the diggers ROARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrr

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  • February 28, 2014 at 19:00
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    Not sure what we've done to deserve a chairman like JB but after the debacle that went before we're very fortunate to have him.

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