The end of this season saw the end of a long relationship between Macclesfield Rugby Club and Claphams Landscape Services; after 24 years of sponsorship President Peter Harper and Rod King successfully sold their business to Nurture Landscapes.
Peter Harper recalls: “The relationship between Claphams and Macc Rugby Club began in 1996 when Wilkey asked me if I could organise an invitation team to play Macclesfield Veterans in a charity match to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. Of course I said yes and suggested the match could be sponsored by my company, Claphams, and so the journey began (These Golden Oldies matches took place for the next 10 years). A couple of years later, the Veterans, for whom I played for many years, needed a set of new shirts, and following a very short discussion, over a pint of beer with my fellow Director Rod King, another rugby enthusiast, we decided it would be fun to sponsor the new kit for the Vets. It was around this time that I`d persuaded a number of North West Vets teams, to start the NW Vets league, which again was sponsored by Claphams. We had a couple of boards around the main pitch and our logo splashed across the front of the Vets shirts and our name on the trophy (which Macclesfield won every year of the Vets League!)”.
In May 2012, Harpo’s knees finally forced him to retire from playing, and he took up the challenge of becoming Chairman of the Club. It was around this time, after over 40 years of fun, frolics and great camaraderie that Macclesfield Veterans rugby also came to an end. Harpo continued the story: “Rod and I decided, that although Vets rugby had finished we would continue Claphams’ sponsorship by sponsoring the Club, and in particular, the first team. Over the next eight seasons, the sponsorship grew from Claphams’ name on the shirts, a couple of pitch-side boards and a mention in the programme; we then added the `Man of the Match Awards’, sponsored 3 players, booked numerous tables at the fantastic pre match lunches; and then, around 6 years ago, I had a brainwave and suggested that Claphams sponsor the `Sin Bin`, which proved to be a masterstroke”.
Wilkey picks up the story: “I was Commercial Director at the time, as well as being on the mic on match days, so realised just how often The Bin got mentioned, Giles had agreed that he was OK with it, so I pitched a price to Harpo and he went with it. I recall the following week making the first announcement: “The Harrogate Hooker, receives yellow and has been sent to the Sin Bin – sponsored by Claphams Landscapes”, the crowd were in uproar. Harpo was also very canny about picking his players to sponsor; he would pick try-scorers like Myles Hall and Jordon Brookes, plus goal kickers like current captain Tom Morton; with players like these and the Sin Bin I was constantly announcing “Sponsored by Claphams Landscapes”. One particular afternoon a visiting supporter after hearing the name Claphams mentioned half a dozen times, shouted back at me: “Do Claphams sponsor everything at this club?” which received a just response”.
Harpo says that Claphams has benefited hugely from the relationship and have returned the compliment by employing a number of Macclesfield players over the years including: current Club Captain Tom Morton, 1st team flyer Myles Hall, former Head Coach Marshall Gadd, and squad players Jack Taylor and Joe Hale to name a few. He says: “Over the years, Rod and I have had great fun sponsoring the Club and have benefited from being able to apply for International tickets at Twickenham – which are great for entertaining clients, and we’ve enjoyed numerous great days at the Club as sponsors, and being part of the success of a great community rugby club. We`ve enjoyed the ride and would definitely encourage other local businesses to become involved – there`s a package for everyone, no matter what your budget”.
New owners, Nurture Landscapes, are expected to continue sponsorship of MRUFC but the Club is looking for sponsors for the Sin Bin and the Man of the Match Tankards – as well as all the other advertising opportunities. If you would like to put your brand with a successful winning team please contact Commercial Manager Dan Ackerley: Dan@MaccRugby.co.uk