Maclessfield Rugby Club AGM May 24th 2018 – Chairman’s Statement

Macclesfield Rugby Club AGM was held on the 24th of May 2018, you can read the notes and Chairman’s statement below.

  1. Lady & Gentlemen, Welcome to tonight`s AGM for the Season 2017-18
    At this stage in the evening, my I remind everyone that only full members of the club are entitled to vote on matters considered at the AGM.

    APOLOGIES; I have received apologies from the following members;
    Tim Peakman, George Lewis, John Taylor, Pete Harper Sr., Mike Keeling, Barry Jones, Michael Jones, Dave Holden and Helen Holden.

    Barry Jones is unwell at this time – he must be as this is the first AGM that Barry`s missed in about 143 years – and I`m sure you`d all like to join me in wishing him a speedy recovery.

  2. Since the last AGM we have sadly lost the following members;
    John Fielden, Peter Taylor, Ron Townley and Jamie Pearson.

    Please can we all stand whilst we observe a minutes silence to reflect on those we`ve lost.   Thank you.

  3. The Approval of the Minutes from 2016-17 AGM
    Proposer & Seconder required.
    Gentlemen – it is with pleasure that I present the chairman’s statement for the season 2017-18 to you tonight. It is appropriate that I start by looking back on what may turn out to be a watershed year for the club and its continuation.

    • There have been two momentous events this year.
    • After relegation from National One last year we recognised that life in National Two North would give us an opportunity to consolidate and gradually evolve the first team, as a number of our more experienced players had moved on. We have always maintained that we would never bankrupt the club chasing players’ salaries – but it’s true to say though, that even with the greatly reduced budget available to Giles last season, we didn’t expect at Christmas, to be seriously considering the prospect of relegation. It was at that point, and with some regret, that we terminated Giles’ contract.
    • This was no easy thing, as all of us on the committee had played our rugby when such considerations were absent – but we had to act swiftly to allow the new person sufficient time to rescue the situation. With hindsight, it was the right thing to do, but I want to recognise Giles’ contribution to professionalising the approach and preparation of the team over the past 3 ½ seasons.  
    • I also want to recognise the contribution of Marshall Gadd since he took over in mid December.   Since that time, we have played 17 games, winning 10 with a total of 49 points from a possible 85, and from sitting in the bottom 2 in early December, under Marshall`s guidance, the club finished in the top half of the table.  Remarkably, if the season had started when Marshall took over, Macclesfield would have actually finished 4th behind Sale, Sedgley Park & Tynedale, added to that, if Macc had played and won the rearranged game against Hinkley, we would have finished 3rd! Huge credit must go to Marshall for what he`s achieved, especially when you consider he`s done it on his own and had no help in terms of other coaches, both during the week and on match days.

      I’m pleased to say Marshall is going to continue next year, and to rebuild the team, a task made somewhat harder by the retirement of a number of leading & experienced players Ryan Parkinson – 157 games (over 100 tries), Tom Davenport – 141 games, Dave Marwick – 158 games (46 tries), Lewis Barker – 61 games, Nick Alsop – 40 games, Matt King – 108 games (52 tries) and Charlie Reed – 23 games.

    • A Total of almost 700 National League caps between them for Macc.
    • To these guys: I want to express my thanks, wish you luck and emphasise you are always welcome at Priory Park
    • The challenge is there then, for Marshall to build and set up the team how he wants it and I know he is already well on with this task
    • The other main theme was the shambles of the planning application. When one considers the professionalism and thoroughness of the Jones Homes work, against the shambolic performance of the council and its officers, the contrast could not be starker. Our best approach is to bypass this process and rely on the national government process. We are fortunate that Jones Homes are sticking with us through this process and I hope that in due course, our patience will be rewarded. Our challenge then is to remain solvent until 2022 at the earliest – more on this later.
    • With regards to matters on the pitch;  I don’t want to steal thunder of the other captains but the 2nds, 3rds and 4ths have also had excellent seasons. The seconds this year have gone through a process of re-building and continued to perform well and provide a number of players to the 1st team squad. The challenge for this team is that there are a couple of good teams in the league but also a number of really poor outfits that don’t provide preparation for the harder games. The threes have competed well following promotion last season into a league just 1 level behind the 2nd team,  and the fourths continued to thrive, providing that all important stepping stone for younger players coming out of the Colts, but also allowing some – shall we call them `more experienced` – players to prolong their playing days.  I want to thank the captains of all 3 teams -Matt Thorpe, James Keep & Ryan Brown – for working together at the start of the season when a prolonged period of injuries and unavailability’s, made turning out three teams each week a real challenge.
    • Without their efforts in the broader interest of the club, it is likely that the fourths would have folded and once that happens – as we have seen with the 5th team a few seasons ago – it will never reform so it is vital that we keep this going.
    • The revival of the colts continues with a model that I think is the only workable approach – that is, a single senior team with the coaches transitioning with their players. Great credit must go to Tony King, George Edwards, Matt Harding, Tony Wright, Dan Holden and Rob Oliver for an unbeaten season in league B – a level above last year. This bodes well for the senior sides as some of these guys move adult rugby next season.
    • As you will hear, the mini and junior section continues its unbroken success. We continue to succeed in cups and tournaments and are heavily represented in county age groups and Sale academy. None of this happens by accident and I would like to recognise the work of the coaches but especially Phil Mason, the chairman of the section for taking on a thankless job with unlimited enthusiasm.
    • The club continued to be heavily represented in Cheshire rugby, with 5 players representing the County at Senior level (Ryan Parkinson, Lewis Barker, Nick Alsop, Charlie Reed & Tom Burden) & five former or current players representing the Cheshire Under 20`s playing in the A-league semi-final against Cornwall  – missing out on a trip to Twickenham by just 1 point. Despite this, it was a fantastic achievement having only been promoted last year.
    • I`d like to congratulate the 2 Macclesfield players who were voted into the All Star XV for National League 2 North – Billy Robinson & Lewis Barker. A fantastic achievement considering the dominance of Sale and Sedgley Park this season
    • I`m delighted to announce that we are in the process of starting a Ladies Team here at Macc. and huge thanks to Mary Thorpe as the primary instigator of this initiative.
    • Finally on the playing side, I`d like to say A big Thank You to all those who have represented Macclesfield Rugby Club this past season, at whatever level – you are all an important and integral part of our club.
    • I want to return now, to the re-development of the club. As you know, at the end of a long process characterised by incompetence, our application to re-develop the ground was rejected. This means we need to commit ourselves to another three to four years of austerity, but also we need to find ways to re-invigorate the club. I am delighted to welcome Steven Branch onto the committee after he replaced Tim Peakman in November, and he, along with the other committee members, are already working on this:
      for example;

      • The first team budget has been reduced further as part of our financial stewardship. I`d like to thank the `contracted players` for agreeing with the budget cuts and taking a reduction in match fees. Indeed, some senior players have led the thought process for the new pay structure.
      • Our Physio budget has halved as Hogan & Mitchell have been replaced by Ollie Ware along with a couple of students and we are actively looking at cost savings wherever it`s possible
      • Regarding fiscal matters, Pete White will give you an overview of the financial performance of the club in his report, but it continues to be a struggle – we cannot invest in basic facilities in the way that we would like.
      • Bob Cooke has volunteered to act as liaison/coordinator between Jones Homes and the club over the next four years as the marketing strategy develops and we generate more social and fundraising activity
      • We are initiating the One Club approach and ditching the Blues and Lions tags so that everyone from U6 to first team feels part of the same club and from this season, all teams from Under 6 to 1st team, will wear identical playing shirts.
      • We also feel the club needs to cash in on it`s heritage – it`s 140 years ago that the club was originally founded and we need to promote that history. We also need to be seen and recognised within the town for what we are – a community club within Macclesfield, open to anyone & everyone. Not an exclusive private members club – something which Cheshire Council clearly were of the opinion that we are.
      • We are pushing hard on increasing sponsorship and other commercial activity – Dan Ackerly will start his first full pre season as commercial manager this year and will have a longer run in than last pre season to identify and sign up sponsors. Despite joining well into the summer last year, when getting sponsors is very hard, Dan performed admirably and I`m delighted to announce he has just secured a 3 year shirt sponsorship deal with a local business to the tune of £12,000 per season – details to be announced early next month.
      • However, we seem to take 1 step forward and 1 backwards – Halliwell Jones have decided not to renew their sponsorship deal of £11,000 per year.
      • Therefore, with kickbacks like that in mind, the role of business development director is currently under review as part of the club’s wider cost saving plan. There is a risk of redundancy here and the likelihood is that Jonathan will leave the role early in September
      • Whilst we are doing our utmost to kerb expenditure, We still need to carry out the following repairs asap; Deep fat fryer – £1,750, Waste pump – £2,550, Floodlights (Main pitch & Astro)- £1,500, Repair auto barrier – £750, Improvements to the boiler room – £850 Total of £7,400
        And that`s without any improvements to the antiquated showers in the changing rooms and other important maintenance issues
        It therefore, goes without saying, we need everyone to pull their weight, pay their subs on time and support any functions, fund raising events we may have.

        With that in mind;

      • We remain committed to running a full social programme and I’m pleased to say that Julia Maxton Close has agreed to chair a reformed social committee.
      • We are re-structuring the executive committee to include the chairman of minis and juniors (in keeping with the one club theme) and, as you’ll see, we have nominated some young blood to take over from Charlie Halle and David Mair who are stepping down after serving for 6 years. As mentioned earlier, Steve Branch has already joined the committee having taken over from Tim Peakman in November.
      • I`d like to take this opportunity to thank David, Charlie & Tim for their sterling service to the club over the past 6 seasons – their contribution has been Herculean, and their support for me has been immense and welcomed.
      • We have 5 current first team players – Tom Davenport, Chris Townsend, Franky Barker, Sam Moss & Billy Robinson who have held up their hands to assist in various ways and have already come up with some new and innovative ideas to help the club. I find this extremely encouraging as they move from playing to putting something back into the club.
      • A team of volunteers from within all sections of the club – minis & juniors, senior players, bar staff, supporters and management – have been busy at weekends and evenings, painting and tidying up the main room and there are plans to extend this to the entrance hall, stairs, landing and the changing rooms.
      • Despite all of this we really need your help in bringing in more sponsorship and cash into the club, no matter how small a sum. I really can’t emphasise how difficult maintaining sponsorship income is, as evidenced by Halliwell Jones withdrawal – and we put so much effort into this to maintain membership fees and bar prices at a reasonable level. If you, or someone you know, is willing to sponsor the club, or help in any way, please encourage them to do so as early in the season as possible. We are determined to improve the facilities at the club for the next few years and we have ambitious renovation plans that will hopefully enable us to bring in more revenue but this cannot be done on good will and loans.
    • Despite the difficulties, we continue to maintain a proper community rugby club thanks to the efforts of a small army of volunteers and club employees. I can honestly say, the majority of alickadoos from visiting clubs comment to me on this aspect, and of what a great social club we are, asking `how on earth we continue to punch above our weight against the big boys with the big budgets and resources to match, yet still maintain our fantastic community club spirit and outlook`.  During the past season, I have also received a number of emails from visiting supporters, who have taken the time & effort to write to me, saying how much they enjoyed their visit and to say what a great club we have here.
    • So credit to everyone who has helped our guests enjoy their time at Priory Park, both club officials and employees, but also you, the membership who make our guests feel welcome here every Saturday.
    • To this end I believe the most important task of this statement is to recognise these people. This list is long but you will forgive me because they must be acknowledged:
    • So, in no particular order;
      Jonathan Marsh – doing 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, Kerry, Amanda etc. – Fantastic bar service – These girls work tirelessly to ensure everyone gets served – sometimes under real pressure & always with a smile despite some impatient punters. I have had many comments from visiting officials and supporters, praising the girls behind the bar.
      Maggie & Barry Priestly and the team who provide the catering – Food always of a very high standard, and they have suffered financially due to the unprecedented number of postponed games – particularly on Sundays when the place is usually teaming with kids and parents. Unlike Senior rugby, these games are re scheduled so they lose out on income.
      Gate team led by Colin Joyce, Alan Cope, Sue Bowen, Dave Teale, Helen Stuart, Jane Harper, Will Montgomery, Keith Dobson, Mark Reddiough, Mike Keeling, Ray Richardson, Sarah Tobin-Flynn and Helen Holden – Sterling effort by everyone, too many to name. Always put on a brave face, despite standing on the gate facing the elements– and also facing irate punters who somehow think they have the right to come in free of charge
      Terry Robson & Derek Laidlaw – for 4th official duties 
      Albert Simpson – For liaising with the referees and other match officials for the past 30 plus seasons. Albert has now stepped down from this role, so I`d like to give him a special Thanks for all his efforts over the years.  He can now enjoy the match days without worrying about other duties.
      Tony Close – For sorting out the applications for International tickets and the `will & pie` club.  Anyone here not yet a member, please see Tony for details about how you can help your club and enjoy a fantastic pie lunch!
      David Wilkinson – Match day commentator, and raconteur (his phrase – not mine!)
      Sir Nicholas Winterton & David Rutley MP – For their continued their support over the season
      Ground Staff – John Webster, Phil Jones, John Davies, Barry Day, Dave Armstrong, Roger Hadwin, John Brown, Steve Fry, Dave Holden and Bill Roberts – Save the club a fortune in labour costs and are invaluable – volunteers. These guys worked exceptionally hard this season in the face of one of the wettest, coldest winters on record.  We can`t praise their efforts this winter too highly.
      Tim & Sam Broster from Branching Out 2 – Who very kindly paid for a much needed vertidrainer to help the drainage on the main pitch.
      James Jennings, Andy McLean, Barry Priestly (Barry the Pie) – For organising, assisting work parties to paint the clubhouse.  Also, to all those who turned up to help in this important project, giving up their valuable time on Sundays and evenings.
      All of the minis, juniors and colts team coaches and administrators – For their 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. Also a great help on match days hoisting the flags, putting out the pitch flags, and organising ball boys and mascots each week.
      Ross & Simon, Blues physios from Hogan & Mitchell – Hogan and Mitchell are stepping down after 3 years and are being replaced by Ollie Ware. 
      Dr Philipp Gruenbeck – Dr Phil has had to step down from match day attendances due to his circumstances having changed, so extra thanks to the Doc tonight.
      Marshall Gadd  – First team coach – Marshall started the season as 1 of a team of 3, but found himself in sole charge after Chris Jones left and Giles was replaced.  As mentioned earlier, his achievements and results are even more impressive when you consider he`s done all the coaching on his own.
      Luke Grey, 1st team manager – Luke has been the only ever present at every single game this season giving invaluable help to Marshall and the squad on match days. Sometimes Luke is here 5-6 hours before kick-off ensuring the 1st team are organised, kitted out etc every single Saturday
      Jim Curtis – Handling the disciplinary issues like Rumpole of the Bailey
      Bob Jenner – Taken over from Clive Hammond as NCA representative and also Doing a fantastic job on the history of our Rugby Club.  Check out the web page to have a look at the Timeline he has produced with some help from Wilkey.
      Derek Laidlaw – for washing the strips each week and saving the club a fortune. 
      Mickey Jones – for organising – yet again! – the Beer festival – an extremely important revenue stream for the club.  After 24 years (and several pints of beer!) Mickey is taking a step down from this role and we are looking for a couple of volunteers to step into Mickeys rather large shoes.
      Julia Maxton Close – Fantastic effort in organising the Ladies’ Lunch for 100 Ladies and for putting her name forward to head up a social committee.
      Captains of all social teams – A really Difficult job and much appreciated. Please give these guys your support.
      John Webster – For another outstanding season as President of Macclesfield Rugby Club and also representing Macc at Cheshire RFU meetings
      Clive Hammond – Thanks to Past President Clive for his support and advice and for persuading several members to donate much needed funds to carry out some desperately needed upgrading of the club facilities.
      To those members who probably wish to remain anonymous, but you know who you are, who have very generously donated their hard earned cash to help their club. – If anyone is in a position to donate some money – no matter how small – please contact Clive Hammond.  Rest assured, any money donated will be exclusively used for the improvement of the club house and grounds.
      Tim Peakman, David Mair, Pete White, Charlie Halle & Steve Branch – 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 cheap shot` at the Committee on a Saturday afternoon, but Thank you to everyone who DOES lend their support, whether by way of words or deeds. This far outweighs the negative comments and makes it worthwhile.

      Please forgive me if I`ve forgotten someone, however, that`s inevitable when there are so many to thanks for the success of our club.

    • On the social side, we continue to have variable success – Christmas, players’ and Ladies’ lunches are always sold out but we struggle to fill the normal pre match lunches for some unknown reason. Over the past 6 seasons, Debbie & I have attended 173 pre match lunches – At 40 different clubs and I can honestly say that the food served up by Maggie & Barry and their team is amongst the best there is – staggering when you see the facilities and space they have to work with.
    • On that point, I`d like to clarify and make it clear that all meals and drinks that the committee and their partners enjoy here, are paid for by the individuals themselves and nobody is subsidised in any way by the club. All are fully paid up members with season tickets – even though in some cases, they are Life VP`s choose to don`t need to pay an annual subscription. We choose to in order to help our club. I`d also like to mention that all travel expenses to away matches are also paid for by the committee members – other than sometimes travelling on the team bus – and that nobody benefits financially from being on the committee – quite the opposite in fact.
    • We need both your advice and support on what social events you would like run, their frequency and timing. Obviously, these events are an important source of revenue but beyond that, they are an important component of the social life of the rugby club and I am anxious that we continue to have a full and varied social calendar that has something for all members. So please contact Julia if you have any suggestions whatsoever as to how we can improve things in this area.
    • As you will all know, we are desperate for income and any suggestions, however trivial they may seem, are more than welcome. One idea which we are considering, is to have a wall in the 1st XV dressing room, dedicated to all those who have had the honour and privilege to play for the 1st XV here at Macc. For a payment of £100, your name would be there as part of the proud heritage of his club. Do the sums – if we had 200 people come forward, that`s £20,000 of income to assist in improving facilities here.
    • With regards to `spreading the word` I`m staggered at the amount of club members, players and MJ parents/coaches who have asked me what`s happening with the proposed development of the club.
    • All communications are sent out in a weekly newsletter and put on the club website, & on social media. I`m unsure as to what else we can do, but if anyone has any ideas, please advise as I`d be pleased to know!
    • The purpose of the chairman’s report is to look back over the season just gone but I can’t help also looking forward to next year.
    • There is much to look forward to as we consolidate our position, and I would urge you to think about the renovation of the club and fully get behind the `One Club` initiative. I think people are now beginning to recognise how precarious our situation is and are now starting to come forward with offers of help. I am reassured that people are now starting to recognise how much the club means to them and how important it is to keep it going. However, we need more help and no one will be turned away, so whatever you can offer, either as sponsorship, donations or pro bono time, please come and talk to me. Ladies and Gentlemen, if you`re still awake, I`d like to thank you for your support throughout the season and for your attention tonight, and hopefully we can rely on your support for what is an exciting future at our club.
  7. Election of Executive Committee

    The Executive Committee have asked John Webster to continue in his role as Honorary President and I`m pleased to announce Webbers has agreed.

  8. Election of 2nd, 3rd & 4th team captains
  9. Any Other Business


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