A SUCCESSFUL Argyle adds millions of pounds to the Plymouth economy, James Brent told City College’s Business Supper Club on Thursday.
The Pilgrims’ chairman joined business guests at the dinner event and, along with Bruce Priday, the co-owner of Plymouth Albion, and Bob Widdecombe, chairman of Plymouth Raiders, to discuss ‘Sporting Success and Economic Prosperity: A Match Made in Heaven?’
He also confirmed that Argyle, who were in administration when he took over the club five years ago, have this week completed the buy-back of Home Park and fully repaid the football creditor debt which he inherited in 2011.
On the field, Argyle are flying high as runaway leaders of Sky Bet League Two, having enjoyed their best start to the season for more than 85 years, and James said: “The Board is committed to principle that to have a sustainably successful first team we need to have a sustainably successful football club.
“We are not content to be merely a well-managed football club; we want to be an exceptionally managed organization. Economic studies show that the club adds millions of pounds to the Plymouth economy.
“Argyle is absolutely about the first team, but is not just about first team – we are also about teams representing youth, women, the disabled, over 50s, reserves, community, and many more.”
James also praised the Argyle in the Community for its outreach across Plymouth and throughout Devon and Cornwall.
“Argyle in the Community is a charity tackling inclusion, health, education and sports participation. It employs more full-time employees focused on health in Plymouth than the whole of Plymouth Public Health.
“It invested £1.3m into Plymouth and surrounding areas in 2015 and we hope will increase this investment by a third or more in the current year and beyond. It delivers sports programmes to more than 6,000 children per week.
“Why am I so passionate about this? Because the UK and the western world is spiraling into a health crisis: one in ten of our kids entering primary school are obese and two in ten leave to go to secondary school in this condition. Type 2 diabetes has increased dramatically but we have only seen the tip of the iceberg – the tsunami that is coming will swamp the NHS and social care.
“This tsunami will only be averted through changing lifestyle choices on eating and drinking and sport and exercise and achieving materially improved education and health equalities.
“This is what Argyle in the Community is about and I am very proud of it.”