THE chairman of the Premier League says that he is not surprised to hear that there are a number of successful businesses in the county after attending a business conference event near Ross-on-Wye.

Anthony Fry was speaking at a UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) conference at the Leadership Trust’s Penyard House suite in Weston-under- Penyard on Friday to try to encourage Herefordshire firms to grow through exports.

“There is a huge amount of myth that, in order to be a successful company, you have to employ thousands of people and it is determined by its location,” said Mr Fry.

“But, when you go around the country to places like Herefordshire, you see that there are so many businesses that are doing interesting things, from technological stuff to cheese manufacturing.

“I’m not surprised at all to hear about their success.”

Mr Fry was the key speaker at Friday’s event and told local firms that they can use the Premier League as a key example of how they can expand their business through exports.

“If you go back to the 1980s, the state of football in this country was in crisis,”

said Mr Fry. “To overcome that hurdle, you needed determination and innovation.

“Television revenue has now gone from £200 million in the first three years to £4 billion now, with audience figures in 200 plus countries.

It is a remarkable export story.”

The conference also heard from Crispin Simon, a director of trade at UKTI; Rob Lally, UKTI director on the high value opportunities team, John Berry, managing director of Ledbury fruit growing firm Haygrove Ltd; Andrew Bond, a director of Madley firm ETL Systems Ltd, which designs and manufactures RF distribution equipment for satellites; and Hereford and South Herefordshire MP Jesse Norman.

Mr Norman said that exports are vital components in ensuring that the county can move forward.

“The Enterprise Zone is really getting into swing and we have managed to get BT to sign off a broadband deal in Herefordshire, which has been a difficult process,” he said.

“But this county desperately needs something that sucks people into the county, but it has got to be value added.”

• Meanwhile, Mr Fry said that geography hinders clubs like Hereford United and jokingly added that maybe the county needs one of its football teams in the Premier League in order to boost its profile.

“If you look at a map, most of the top teams are either in London, the north-west, the north-east or Midlands,” said Fry.

“You have therefore missed a large part of the country, like Herefordshire.”

Mr Fry also spoke about the financial resources that restricts clubs like the

“While that is more of an FA issue, the Premier League does all it can to

help through the main clubs, who do a considerable amount of community
work,” he said.

“But, most Premier League clubs will do their community work in and
around their areas.

“Some clubs do have feeder clubs, which has important advantages

because players are going to play more once they are loaned out.

“But, most of the feeder clubs are in Europe.”