Former chief executive Martin Perry is to step down from the board of Brighton and Hove Albion in September next year, the club said today (Tuesday 23 July).
He will become the club’s honorary vice president while remaining as chairman of its charity arm Albion in the Community.
Mr Perry, 72, was part of the consortium – led by former chairman Dick Knight – who bought the club in 1997 and became chief executive in 1999.
During his 13 years as chief executive Mr Perry oversaw the building of the Falmer stadium.
The club said that Mr Perry would be “using the next 12 months to gradually step back from his day to day executive responsibilities”.
Albion chairman Tony Bloom said: “Martin’s status as a true legend of our club is assured.
“His skill, hard work and sheer determination to help save the club and ultimately deliver a new stadium as well as a world class training and academy facility for our club will forever be remembered by Albion fans, who supported and encouraged him every step of the way.
“It is typical of Martin that he is ensuring a smooth transition of his executive responsibilities over the next 12 months and entirely fitting that Martin will assume the new role of honorary vice president of the club in September 2020.
“With his diplomacy skills and political connections, Martin will continue to be a great ambassador for us.
“I’m also delighted that Martin will continue as chairman of Albion in the Community when he steps down from the club’s board.
“Our charity and its great work mean a huge amount to Martin.”
Albion chief executive and deputy chairman Paul Barber said: “Martin was one of the first people I met at the club after Tony.
“From that moment, we established an excellent rapport, have worked really well together over many years and have become great friends.
“Martin has been, and continues to be, a huge support to me, both professionally and personally, and I will really miss having him around the club on a daily basis.
“My job here over the past seven years or so has been made much easier because of the incredible foundations Martin laid, not just in terms of the club’s infrastructure but also its unique culture and ethos.
“Supported of course by Tony and many others, Martin did the really hard work and he deserves so much credit.
“Quite simply, my job has been to ensure the club capitalised on the great opportunities that have come our way since.”
Mr Perry said: “To be appointed as an honorary vice president of this wonderful club is a huge honour and I relish the ambassadorial role that it will give me.
“I am so grateful to Tony Bloom and the club’s board for all of their support and trust in me over the years and inviting me to continue my involvement in this very special way.
“The last 22 years have been an absolute rollercoaster ride but an amazing story – and I am so lucky to have been able to play a part, as together, we made history.
“I have loved every minute of it and look back with such wonderful memories.
“Over the years I have had the privilege of working with some very dedicated people, both in the football club and Albion in the Community, who I have come to regard not just as work colleagues but also as friends – and in particular I would like to thank Paul Barber for all of his support and friendship over the time we have been working together. I have learnt so much from him.
“But none of this would have been possible without the support of the fans and I am so grateful for their wonderful continuing support for the club and everything we have tried to achieve over the years.
“I wish the club, players, staff and fans continuing success which they so richly deserve.”