As part of the FA's 150 year celebrations, Paul Samrah was recently recognised by the FA for his close involvement with Brighton & Hove Albion. Paul was Chair of the campaign which after many years successfully secured planning permission for Brighton's American Express Community Stadium.
Prior to this, his detailed research uncovered multiple accounting and regulatory breaches which lead to regime change facilitated by the FA. In 2008, he was named Football League Fan of the Year at a Sky TV awards ceremony.
Paul and his wife Belinda attended a ceremony at Buckingham Palace, where Paul received a medal from Prince William (the FA's President) in the Palace's ballroom – frequently used for state banquets and investitures. Lunch followed at the Palace with other volunteers, hosted by Prince William and attended by various footballing dignitaries including Michael Owen and Howard Webb. Along with the massed Royal media, they then watched a League match played on the immaculate Palace lawns, between the two oldest amateur clubs in the country – Chiswick based Polytechnic FC and Civil Service FC.
- When you were at Brighton College, what did you want to be when you 'grew-up'?
A Doctor, following in my father's footsteps. However my science O level grades dictated otherwise! If only Messrs Taylor, Allen & Minor had actually tested us during the year...
- What are you now you've grown up?
Following a study of the 'Go' directory in L6th and its alphabetical index of jobs & careers.....the first letter 'A' led me into accountancy.....and I am now a Partner in a firm of Chartered Accountants, Kingston Smith LLP. I joined as a trainee in 1981 and some 30+ years later, I'm still there. I live locally in Henfield, having 'done' London for 11 years.
- What is your best memory of school?
So many memories - including the very brilliant John Griffin's play productions, the very funny Mr Ridler's French and Mr Minor's Biology/R.E. classes. Leconfield was without doubt the best House (and still is). Great enduring friendships with Alan Malby (L.1972-77), Russell Shaw (A. 1972-77), Geoff Bailey (A. 1972-77), Graham Steer (H. 1973-77), Jonathan Sayers (H. 1972-77), Jon Dart (H. 1972-77), Michael Gaston (L. 1972-77) et al. I enjoyed every minute - apart from rugby. I did everything possible to avoid rugby - faking off games notes, seeing Matron and feigning sickness, going AWOL. Bunking off to see the Albion on Saturday lunchtime was de rigueur. Repairing broken fencing foils was an excellent way of avoiding sport, the fact that Graham & I always broke them shortly after repairing them, meant that we were kept in full employ for a couple of terms until our ruse was discovered by Francis Walker. Teachers like Oliver Smyth, John Griffin were outstanding mentors and had such passion for their vocation. I am very proud that my eldest son, Sebastian, is at the College (Leconfield of course!) and hopefully our other son Toby will soon follow.
- What was the best piece of advice you were given?
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
- What do you do /did you do as a career?
Chartered Accountant and business advisor.
- What does your job involve?
Helping, encouraging, managing, guiding and developing people, presenting and learning - no day is ever the same.
- What are the most challenging parts of your job?
Managing my time efficiently - against a backdrop of incessant emails, telephone calls, meetings and deadlines. Delegating is a challenge that I never have fully mastered!
- What have you done that you are most proud of?
Uncovering accounting and legal irregularities that helped to bring about regime change at Brighton & Hove Albion in 1995-97 and then successfully and proudly leading the award winning campaign for their brilliant new stadium, which finally opened in August 2011.
- What is the single thing that would most improve the quality of your life?
An I.T. guru at my right shoulder.
- What are the three objects you would take with you to a desert island?
A Tardis, Anya Payne (F. 1975-77) and a radio for Sussex CCC & Albion commentaries.
- How would you like to be remembered?
So long as people accentuate my positives, I'll be happy!