Guildford Rugby Football Club
Guildford Rugby Football Club

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Chairman’s Letter no. 19

Dear Fellow Members,

I hope all are well.

It is an interesting time in our world, and painful for many.  I am sure we are all dealing with CoronaVirus concerns. 

As a club we are monitoring events and will be guided by government advice/directives and communicate any changes to normal operations as things develop.

The markets haven’t been pleasant either, especially those of us in Oil.

But, Rugby is a good relief and I hope everyone is enjoying the season.

As for Rugby:

In the senior club, we’re drawing to the end of a difficult season. With the disruption caused by the World Cup before Christmas, recent floods and the impending impact of the Coronavirus, it’s been a strange one overall and I don’t remember the last time we had so many games cancelled so consistently. 

For the first team, 2019 was a difficult year, one of transition. In November 2018, we were third in the league over several weekends, but struggled in the second half of the season winning five games after Christmas to end up one above the relegation zone. Whilst the season is not over and the race is tight, we’re bottom of the league at the moment and relegation is a real possibility. In the past 12 months, we’ve changed coaches, physio provision and seen a turnover of some of the senior players with a new focus our younger talent, team culture and the position of the first team within the Club. I’m pleased to be able to say that we have already made significant plans for next season and although things are difficult at the moment, the future – built on the changes we have been making – remains bright. 

The second team have suffered from more cancellations that anyone this year, in large part from opposition Clubs. The number of games they have been able to play, and although in doing so help maintain the senior squad, is just not acceptable and this has been an area of focus in our discussions. The third team are having a great season combined with some excellent socials and the Vets claimed the Surrey Vets League title this year for the first time.

At the time of writing, the vets are hosting Richmond in the semi-final of the Evergreen Cup this evening. I know there will be a big crowd down to cheer them on. 

The Gazelles lie second in their league and continue to thrive, now training regularly on a Thursday with the third team.

Off the field, the new Senior Management Committee is largely in place and will meet for the first time before the end of this month as we prepare for the off-season and look to make a number of changes in how we approach recruitment, retention, preparation, training and match day next season.

As for the Club:

The good news is that the Club has needed less Donations from myself this year.  However, there is still need for improvement and the Board continues to work on ways to provide better Revenue streams. 

On the plus side the 3rd party events business, Broadwater Pavilion, is continuing to enhance revenues notably up year on year and credit to hard work Emma and team have put in to grow the business whilst successfully supporting the social aspects of the rugby club. 

I’m also pleased to report that last Friday we had a very successful Guildford City Lunch.  A great turn out, which was especially nice to see considering everything that is going on.  

Thanks to Skippy, everyone else who helped put together, and all who attended.  

I do want to give a shout out to the Vets!!.  They seem to always be in attendance at our events, always supportive of the Club as a whole and I can’t Thank them enough.  A true asset to the Club.

An area that needs improving is the Commerical revenue streams such as sponsorship, donations and obtaining grants. We are seeking more input from all Members to get involved in this area.  We will be discussing with Chairs from each Rugby Group on ways they can help to contribute.  

Unfortunately, this is an area that is affecting all Rugby Clubs.  But, Guildford Rugby Club is in a unique position with a beautiful Clubhouse in a prime location that has a lot to offer to Sponsors. 

I ask anyone who can get involved to please reach out to Roy, or myself, to discuss where you can help.

As a Board we are focussed on our structure and how best we are organised to optimise the running of the club. We have welcomed input and encourage members to step up into the various volunteer roles necessary for our success. The formation of the Senior Management Committee I mentioned hopefully can mirror the success of our minis and youth sections committees, is a positive step and I ask senior team leaders to get involved to drive this forwards.

In Developing our rugby community, Sustainably is the Top Goal. Every part of the Club is important.  Not just an individual team but every area of Rugby, from the young ages all the way up to seniors. The Club has to be on sustainable financial ground to be able to support all of our Rugby and that is an area we continue to work at.

As a Casc (community amateur sports club) inclusivity is non negotiable. Some key words 1. community – everything we do should be for the good of our membership community as a whole

2 amateur- we cannot pay players – we want all our teams to perform to the best of their abilities but a path towards semi professional rugby is beyond our remit; and as has been witnessed at numerous other clubs not financially sustainable.

Its CRITICAL to the Club that everyone remembers we are ONE Club together.  Whilst to some extent it is human nature to focus on your own team, section etc there still are some that are overly concerned about their own interests or area of the Club to the extent it is divisive.  Again, most Members are hugely supportive of everything the Club does. But, we need to make sure everyone realizes its ONE Club.  Messaging to our players, kids and others shouldn’t be divisive.  It doesn’t belong in Rugby, and will not be tolerated at Guildford Rugby Club.

I am happy where the Club is today and proud of all our players, Members, Coaches and Volunteers.  I look forward to seeing you all at the Club and please, as always, feel free to grab me anytime to discuss any concerns or questions you have.

All the best

Joe

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