The life of Brooks Mileson

* Born in Sunderland, Mileson grew up on the Pennywell Estate.

* Born in Sunderland, Mileson grew up on the Pennywell Estate. A family of seven, the Milesons lived in a tiny, two-bedroom house.

* At the age of 11, Mileson was involved in a serious accident at a sand quarry. Having broken his back and dislocated his hips, he was told he would never walk again.

* Determined to prove the doctors wrong, Mileson eventually took up running, and at one point he was covering 100 miles a week. He finished third in the 1967 World Junior Cross Country Championships and led England to the team gold medal.

* Having qualified as an accountant, Mileson developed a keen business sense during various ventures which included insurance, property development and car hire. Having founded the Albany Group, he sold the business in 2004 for £46.8m. He also sold the Arnott insurance group for £17m. The sale of two further companies this year netted him another £4.8m. He recently estimated his personal wealth as being "way under £100m".

* In 1999, Mileson tried to buy Carlisle United from Michael Knighton but was unable to strike a deal. A further attempt two years later also failed.

* In 2002, Mileson bought Gretna Football Club, instantly cleared debts of £150,000 and began investing in the team. Gretna's wage bill is reported to be the biggest in Scottish football outside the Premier League.

* Mileson's benevolence is not limited to Gretna. He is committed to sponsoring the Northern League for the remainder of his life and those of his children and he has also made sizeable contributions to countless clubs.

* Mileson has had two heart attacks, had one kidney removed and suffers from ME.

* Having taken up smoking in his 40s, Mileson gets through 100 cigarettes a day. He exists on a diet of Marlboro and Lucozade.


David Whetstone
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Graeme Whitfield
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Mark Douglas
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Stuart Rayner
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