The Cypriot Who Likes To Be Involved

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AT THE AGE of 32, Tony Kleanthous is already a millionaire and can afford to spend his time and efforts in attempting to fulfil what he sees as his new mission in life, the future of Barnet Football Club.

Mr Kleanthous's family came from Cyprus. But he was raised in London, and stressed that his roots and future were firmly in the UK. He had little interest in the politics of the Mediterranean island, and had never lobbied politicians in this country over the matter.

Born in Finsbury Park in north London, Mr Kleanthous went to a secondary school in Highgate, and then on to college in Waltham Forest, where he studied motor vehicle engineering. This led him to a business move into the motor trade and then petrochemicals.

He branched out into telecommunications and started a company, NAG Telecom, named after members of his family. Later he and a partner bought the collapsing Rymans group.

Mr Kleanthous and his wife, Nicki, have four children and live in north London, 10 minutes from the ground of Barnet FC. He and his family, he says, are very much part of the local community, and that is one of the reasons he wants to get involved in the efforts to save the club.

Mr Kleanthous said it was "ludicrous" to include him among Greek-Cypriot lobbyists; people like him were criticised by conservative Greeks as "anglophiles".

He said his ambition was not to solve the Cyprus crisis, but simply to save a north London football club.

Mr Kleanthous claims he is relatively apolitical and has not contributed to the coffers of any of the parties in Britain. He adds that he remembers his "ordinary roots" and the latest controversy had reinforced his desire to stay clear of politics.