1st June 2017

Macclesfield RUFC
Minutes of Annual General Meeting1
25th May, 2017
Held at the Priory Lane Clubhouse

1. Introduction

The chairman welcomed the members and declared the meeting quorate (Appendix 1). Apologies received were noted (Appendix 2).

2. Remembrance of members deceased this year

A minute’s silence was held in remembrance of: Hayden Bowen – co‐founder and former captain of the veterans’ team, long‐standing club member

3. Approval of the minutes of AGM held 31st May 2016

The minutes of last year’s meeting were formally presented (they were first made available on the club website on 4th June 2015). There were no questions from the members and the minutes were approved as an accurate and complete record of the meeting.
Proposed: Albert Simpson
Seconded: John Webster

4. Chairman’s report

The chairman presented his report for the season. The main points were:

  • Although the first team have been relegated back to National 2 North, there had been much success across the rest of the club. The experience of the last year highlighted the increasing disparity in resources between teams at this level and if we spend a few years in National 2, it will allow us to re‐group, refresh the squad and give an opportunity for the second team players to come through. The current first team assistant coach is keen that there is a greater flow of players from the second team next season.
  • The second, third and fourth teams continue to have great success and he emphasised the importance of maintaining these teams as part of a single club. He welcomed the renaissance of the colts and noted the continued success of the mini and junior section. The decision on the planning application for the re‐development of the club was imminent – this will have a profound impact on the future of the club. This has been a hugely complex, three year process involving a substantial investment from Jones Homes and he underlined that this risk‐free approach for the club was the correct one.
  • Funds remain a constant source of anxiety and we continue to exist on a “hand‐to‐mouth” basis. The chairman re‐assured the members that the over‐riding principle is to run the club within budget and within means. Expenditure forecasts for next year are fairly stable but discretionary budgets have been reduced, particularly for the first team playing expenses. Despite this, he was pleased to report that the Director of Rugby has been able to re‐contract all of the players that he wants to retain.
  • Social activities this year have met with variable success (Christmas lunch, an expanded Ladies’ Lunch, Players’ Dinner) but the Sportsman’s dinner was cancelled due to late withdrawals. The chairman asked for advice on what the membership wanted as a social calendar to overcome the general sense of inertia and lethargy.
  • He continued this theme with a plea for more volunteers to help with general support activities or for specific projects which fall on a disproportionately small group of people.
  • The chairman recognised the commitment and contribution of many volunteers (Appendix 3) without whom the club simply would not function.
  • The chairman then looked forward to the challenges of next year with renewal of local rivalries and the expectation that we would quickly become re‐accustomed to winning.
  • He made a final plea for help from the members in identifying sponsors for the club (however small) emphasising the continuing difficulty in even sustaining current levels.

There were no questions from the members on the chairman’s statement.

5. Finance Report

Peter White gave a brief overview of the finances of the club over the last year but emphasised a full picture would be presented at the financial AGM in September when audited accounts would be available. The main points were:

  • We continue to exist on a hand‐to‐mouth existence with no capacity to build up reserves. In forecasting terms, costs are fairly fixed and can be predicted with a measure of certainty but the scope for savings is minimal. In contrast, revenue is much more variable. General income (bar, hire of the club house, the rental for the telephone masts, donations, non‐ playing subs etc.) achieved budget but playing income fell short of forecast (despite showing an increase over the previous year). Gate takings and season tickets sales and subscriptions from the football section also failed to achieve target. The implementation of a more rigorous subscription billing and tracking system ensured that subscriptions overall increased from previous years to target levels.
  • Fund raising events and sponsorship continue to be challenging particularly with the cancellation of the sportsman’s dinner and the associated liabilities. The RFU raffle (which could generate £9K for the club) was poorly supported right across the club and did not achieve forecast revenues. Some of our sponsors are extremely generous but with some not renewing their sponsorship a decrease is anticipated at year end.
  • He concluded by thanking the small number of volunteers who provide valuable service for the club in revenue‐generating activities or, whose work, saves a great deal of expenditure.
  • Against a break‐even budget for the year, a trading loss is anticipated.

6. Rugby reports

6.1. First team
The chairman read a report prepared by the first team head coach. The main points were:

  • The team had competed well against most of the teams but injuries, player departures and lack of depth in certain positions contributed to an ultimately unsuccessful campaign.
  • Recruitment in the North West is becoming increasingly difficult with several clubs offering substantial amounts to players. This exacerbated the impact of the playing and financial resources of the southern clubs.
  • Against this background, it has been agreed that the club will recruit a number of younger players in order to develop them not only over the course of this season, but to become the future of the club as older playing members retire. Further announcements on player recruitment will happen shortly.

6.2. Second team
The report for the second team was presented by Iain Taylor:

  • The second team have had another highly successful season missing out on a third consecutive title by a few points. Their record was P25, W21, L4.
  • 56 players have been used this year, 5 of whom represented Cheshire U20 in their successful county championship‐winning campaign and two individuals obtained national representative honours.
  • He outlined changes to the league structure for next season that should avoid the pre‐Christmas mis‐matches. This will provide a better standard of rugby for the second team and prepare them for the opportunity to play in the first team.

6.3. Third team
The third team report was presented by Peter Hardwick:

  • The team had a hugely successful season gaining promotion with a record of P26, W19, L7.
  • Nick Smith recognised the support of the second team and of the colts – something he emphasised will be even more important next season as the standard of rugby will inevitably be higher.
  • Peter reported that Nick will stand down as captain after seven seasons – given the challenges of next season, he advises a team manager is identified to support the new captain.

6.4. Fourth team
The fourth team report was presented by Elliot Lee:

  • The side finished 3rd in their league with a final record of P22, W13, L4 (2 concessions). They missed out on promotion based on more games conceded than Congleton who finished in second place.
  • They used 47 players overall and maintained good and constructive links with the 3rd team and latterly the colts’ side.

6.5. Colts
The colts’ report was presented by Tim Peakman:

  • A number of targets were set for this season aimed at reviving the colts. All were exceeded both in playing and in team development.
  • On the pitch, the playing record was P19, W10, L9 (two against league A sides by a total of 13 points)
  • Four players achieved county honours and 1 North of England. Several players represented the adult sides at the club.
  • Next year will see a junior and senior colts as the successful U16 team comes through to this age group.
  • Based on the success of last year, the senior colts will compete in the B league next season.
  • Particular thanks were noted for George Edwards, Chris Mode and Tony Wright (colts’ coaches) and Albert Simpson for organising referees.

6.6. Mini and junior section
No member from the mini and junior section was available to present a report. A summary report prepared by Phil Mason included:

  • The Mini and Junior section continues to thrive, with 350 players across age groups from U6’s to U16’s,
  • This season saw the RFU’s formal introduction of “Kids First Rugby”, impacting mini teams (U6 to U12) in an attempt to attenuate the negative impact of the win‐at‐all‐costs seen in some clubs’ sides.
  • This season’s focus was on training, and we now have a suitably qualified coach with every age group, be that Rugby Ready, Level 1 or Level 2. This will continue next season.
  • There is a full report on the website including a season summary from each team; however some highlights include the U6’s holding their first game against Wilmslow at the end of the season, the Under 11’s winning the Cheshire Cup final against Lymm, Under 14’s taking the Cheshire bowl and the commendable performance from the Under 16’s
  • There were many county and Sale DPP representatives in the older age group sides
  • Phil Mason expressed his gratitude to all the coaches, first aiders and administrators who make all this happen, as well as Gery, Elaine and the bar staff. He also recognised the support of the club executive.

7. Election of Executive Officers
The following members were proposed for the various positions:

Position    Proposed  Seconded 
Chairman Peter Harper Clive Hammond John Webster
Dir. Finance Peter White John Webster Clive Hammond
Dir. Sales/Marketing Charles Halle Colin Joyce Mike Keeling
Dir. Comm. Activity David Mair Mike Keeling Clive Kirkham
Secretary Tim Peakman Clive Kirkham Danny Sheratte

There being no other nominations, the above were elected for a further year.
Proposed: Clive Hammond
Seconded: John Webster

A vote of approval was taken: In favour – 42 of the 43 members listed in appendix 1
Against – 1 (Mr C. Dempsey)

8. Confirmation of election of honorary members
John Webster was confirmed as Club President for a further year.

9. Any other business

Mr B. Jones asked for an update on the grounds re‐development and progress with the planning application. Pete Harper read out a report from Rawdon Gasgoigne (club member and employee of Emery Planning working on behalf of Jones Homes). In summary:

  • The application was submitted in December with April as a provisional date for a decision.
  • The application team has met with the planning officers on a number of occasions, the most recent being on the 28th April to review progress with the application.
  • The proposals would normally be unacceptable in a Green Belt Location so a clear justification is required for the development to overcome the presumption against.
  • The team are confident the case presented shows this and the additional work that is being done at present relates to adding more detail to the viability case rather than altering or reducing what has been submitted.
  • The Council’s Highways Officers have not objected to the proposals subject to assisting with improvements to the Priory Lane/Prestbury Road junction that will be carried out as part of the recently approved King’s School proposals.
  • Support for the proposals far outweighs the negatives; however, the objections will have a strong voice and therefore it is imperative that everyone in the Club, anyone associated with it and the wider community who will also benefit from the ability to use these facilities, continue to express their support through commenting on the Cheshire East website and convincing the local community of the benefits of the proposals
  • The current revised determination period is that officers were hoping to take the application to planning committee on the 28th June (although this is not confirmed).
  • An update will be provided once the committee date has been confirmed and we will advise how people can further engage in supporting the proposals at that time.
  • With a positive outcome the intention is that the development would commence on site as soon as possible

Mr Barker raised a question concerning whether Macclesfield Cricket Club (MCC) could join the development – by selling their ground we could have fewer houses on the site and foster a greater sense of community. In summary, the chairman responded:

  • The chairman of MCC had been approached about this around two years ago – the discussions were unproductive (MCC wanted their own clubhouse and no ground rental charge).
  • The re‐development scheme had been discussed at the January 2016 EGM (where it was approved by a 10:1 majority and at which Mr Barker had been present). This meeting was the time to raise substantially different proposals.
  • The planning application was the culmination of a three year process – any change now would require the plan to be withdrawn and re‐cast.
  • Jones have already committed around £200K investment in the scheme – if we precipitated a withdrawal, it is likely they would want to reclaim this, would certainly not re‐engage with us on a future endeavour and very probably end their valuable sponsorship.

Mr N. Smith raised a concern about the robustness of the business plan included in the planning application. The director of sales and marketing responded:

  • The business plan as written had been produced by experts with the expressed intention of supporting the planning application. It was not intended as a document against which any organisation would plan and measure progress.
  • Until we know the outcome of the planning decision, we don’t know what we are planning for; the two scenarios look very different indeed.
  • The member offered his help to write a business plan once we have a decision on the re‐development. This was welcomed and accepted – arrangements will be made to agree remit, timing and scope at the next committee meeting.

The discussion promoted an offer from another member (Mr M Jones) to assist in a drive to increase sponsorship. This was also welcomed and an invitation to the next committee in June was extended.

The chairman thanked all members for their attendance and closed the meeting at 20.10.

Appendix 1 – members present

Mr G. Allen, Mr M. Keeling, Mr F. Barker, Mr J. Keep, Mr K. Bennett, Mr D. Kingston, Mr T. Burden, Mr D. Laidlaw, Mr B. Clarke, Mr E. Lee, Mr B. Cooke, Mr J. Marsh, Mr J. Curtis, Mr D. McCarthy, Mr C. Dempsey, Mr R. McLeod, Mr S. Dempsey, Mr B. Nocker, Mr K. Dobson, Mr D. Parry, Mr C. Finlayson, Mr T. Peakman, Mr R. Hadwin, Mr G. Rushton, Mr C. Halle, Mr A. Simpson, Mr C. Hammond, Mr B. Smith, Mr P. Harper, Mr N. Smith, Mr D. Holden, Mr I. Taylor, Mrs H. Holden, Mr M. Thorp, Mr P. Jakubowski, Mr J. Walker, Mr B. Jenner, Mr D. Way, Mr B. Jones, Mr J. Webster, Mr M. Jones, Mr P. White and Mr C. Joyce.

Appendix 2 – apologies received

Mr J.Brown, Mr W. Montgomery, Mr G. Dempsey, Mr A. Redfern, Mr A. Evans, Mr T. Robson, Mr P. Harper Snr, Mr N. Smith, Mr G. Heagerty, Mr J. Welch, Mr C. Kirkham, Mr T. Westnedge,
Mr B. Limb, Mr J. Weston, Mr D. Mair and Mr D. Wilkinson.

Appendix 3 – individuals recognised by the chairman in his report

Jonathan Marsh, An invaluable job on the commercial & business side of running the club, combining this with role of Match Day host.
Geri and her bar staff Elaine, Sonia, Amanda etc., Fantastic bar service working tirelessly to ensure everyone gets served – sometimes under real pressure & always with a smile despite some impatient punters.
Gate team led by Colin Joyce, Helen Holden, Jane Harper, Mike Keeling, Dave Teale, Keith Roberts, Will Montgomery, Alan Cope, Sue and Hayden Bowen, Bing Crosbie, Keith Dobson, Nick Mannion, Ray Richardson, Sarah Tobin‐Flynn, Sterling effort by everyone, playing an absolutely key role in revenue generation for the club.
Terry Robson & Derek Laidlaw, 4th official duties.
Albert Simpson, Liaising with the referees and other match officials.
John Knight, Fixture secretary for `social sides`.
Tony Close, Management of international tickets.
David Wilkinson, Match day activities.
Sir Nicholas Winterton & David Rutley, Continued their support over the season.
Ground Staff ‐ Webbers, Nemmie, Dave Holden, Barry Day, John Davies, Steven Fry, Roger Hadwin, Bill Roberts, Dave Armstrong & Jock Brown, Maintenance of the grounds in superb condition pro bono.
All of the minis’, juniors’ and colts’ team coaches and administrators, Hugely important roles in introducing youngsters to our great game and showing the patience of Saints in nurturing and coaching these star of the future.
Phil Mason – MJ Chairman, Difficult job of running the MJ section with all the differing factions. Match day support.
Ross & Simon – Blues physios, Support of the first team squad and ensuring fewer injuries.
Coaching Staff & support, Giles, CJ, Marshall Gadd, Matt Coleridge & Howard Hughes, Working well as a team under extremely trying times this past season
Bob Jenner, Doing a fantastic job on the history of our Rugby Club.
Derek Laidlaw, Washing the strips each week and saving the club a fortune. Deservedly awarded Cheshire Volunteer of the Year Award by Cheshire RFU a couple of weeks ago.
Mickey Jones, Organising – yet again! – the Beer festival – an extremely important revenue stream for the club.
Tim Peakman & Bob Jenner, Through their hard work and dedication, we now have a much overdue Memorial Board in memory of those members we lost fighting for our country during WW2. Thanks also go to Harry Carlisle for all his research into those members who gave their lives.
Jim Curtis, Management of disciplinary issues.
Sarah Davies and Bev Roberts, Organising the Ladies’ Lunch
Captains of all social teams, Difficult job and much appreciated.
John Webster, For representing the club at Cheshire RFU meetings
Clive Hammond, For his support and advice and for representing the club at NCA meetings.
Tim Peakman, David Mair, Pete White & Charlie Halle, For their tireless efforts in running this club and supporting the Chairman.
And Finally to all you for your support week in and week out, Sometimes it`s very difficult when things don`t always go the way they are planned, and there are always certain individuals who insist on `having a pop` at the Chairman or the Committee on a Saturday afternoon, but thanks to everyone who DOES lend their support. This definitely outweighs the
negative comments and makes it worthwhile.