Chairman’s Report Season 2022-23

 Good evening, everyone and thank you for coming to the AGM. This and the FAGM are the two formal opportunities we have for the executive team to report back to the membership and to be held accountable for the running of the club on their behalf.

Phil Ainsworth, George Edwards, and Phil Mason will deliver their reports following my report. I will aim to give you a brief overview of the season and then I want to take just a little time to talk about our great rugby club.

In recent years it seems, every season comes with its own challenges and this last season has been no exception. Instead of Covid we have come through a season during a cost-of-living crisis but in addition, and after two disappointing months in December and January we drew four away games in the Papa John’s National League Plate competition. It is a credit to Andy and the commercial team, that we can now look forward to a good summer of revenue generating activity without any rugby costs now until the beginning of next season. On the pitch, I would like to congratulate everyone involved as players, officials, coaches, management, support teams and spectators on another successful year of rugby and rugby development here at Macclesfield rugby club. There have been several achievements by teams, and individuals who have gone on to play representative rugby at County and National level which is fantastic but I would just like to single out three teams: The 2nd XV on winning their league and being promoted back to the Halbro Premiership. The 1st XV for their resilience in the league and for winning the Cheshire Cup and the inaugural Papa John’s National League Plate competition and the women’s team who, for the first time were able to field a full team of home-grown players for a fixture. Overall Macclesfield Rugby Club continues to develop and grow as a destination for aspiring rugby players from U6, social rugby players (touch & walking rugby) and social members and as a chosen venue for functions, events, and business use.

I now want to talk a little about our Club as I end my term as Chairman. It may seem a bit philosophical and is a personal view but one I have developed as Chairman and one that I will not have the opportunity to share again, for what it is worth:

It strikes me that whilst Executive teams may change. Some of the challenges and priorities in the club might change. The conditions under which we run the club might change and some curved balls may be thrown in to the mix along the way BUT, there are some things that should not change. These things are unconditional and represent who we are and what we are, the essence of our club. Pete Harper and I used to use the term ‘a golden thread’ that runs through the club. It is delicate and must be at the core of everything we do as we develop and grow the club. Pete and I were never able to articulate it but we have in the last 5 years certainly tried to do that and to live by it and it has been at the core of everything the exec team has tried to achieve, certainly under my tenure.

“To be a happy, successful and sustainable rugby club at the heart of the community, that plays at the highest levels we can achieve across all age grades and types of rugby, within our means.” “To be the first-choice destination for business hire, facilities hire and hospitality in our community.” Words are no good unless they have meaning and I will try to give those words meaning now.

Happiness is a function of an environment that has been created in which people feel pleasure and enjoyment for the place and those around them both on the pitch and off it. A great social and safe environment in which to learn, develop and grow in our sport and to socialize amongst people through the common bond and with the core values of rugby.

Success is a function of happiness and is demonstrated largely by the numbers participating in rugby, not just as players but as the army of volunteers who are prepared to support the players as coaches, officials, managers, supporters and in other roles. Socially, success is demonstrated by the numbers participating in the social life of the rugby club either on a matchday, training or by attendance at functions and events. The same applies to Priory Park Venue, success is demonstrated by an increase in demand for the products and services the club provides. Participation includes the army of volunteers who are prepared to give up their time to support the rugby club in all sorts of ways.  People do it, because they want to and because they care. Because they feel a relationship, an affinity, for the club and because they feel it is worth it.

Sustainability is a function of happiness and success certainly, but not exclusively. It relies on sensitive leadership and effective management through the executive team and club management. The ‘business’ that is the rugby club and priory park venue must be run well and professionally as does every good business. The difference is that the ‘business’ is being run on behalf of the membership and is largely dependant on the goodwill of that membership and volunteers. Sustainability is therefore demonstrated in several ways. Firstly, by the extent to which the membership is happy and the club is therefore successful as described earlier. Secondly by the extent to which the club continues to evolve by adapting to change and broadening its appeal on and off the pitch. Thirdly by good leadership and effective management as the club develops and grows and finally by sound financial management without which nothing is possible. It is a virtuous circle and has become known as The One Club. One Badge, One Club, One Voice

This ‘mission statement’ has guided much of the decision making and management of the club over the last four years and, dare I say, has delivered some success, however there is and always will be room to improve and I have absolutely no doubt that the new executive team, subject to the votes later, can continue to develop and grow the rugby club in the best interests of its membership and the local community for the future.

Finally, I must say a few heartfelt thank you’s. As a friend of mine once told me, I am not a great doer and not much of a one for the finer details of things and I am extremely grateful to have had so many doers around me. You are the people who make things happen. To Harpo who does the Presidents role so well and with so much passion. To my colleagues on the exec team who do so much in their respective roles. To Rob Oliver and George Edwards who have already done so much in such a short time on the exec. Thank you all. I cannot name every individual but to all the volunteers on the rugby side of things and to the general volunteers of the club who all do stuff, a massive thank you. To the club staff who are there at our beck and call most of the time and look after us professionally and with humour, thank you. To Mike Ransom and Money Guru who have supported us steadfastly for longer than I have been Chairman and to Williams, Director’s Choice and all the other sponsors, large and small. You contribute hugely to the wellbeing of this rugby club not just financially but through your active engagement in the life of the club. To the membership of the club, we lead on behalf of, a massive thank you for your support to this great club. The club really is only as good as its membership on and off the field of play. Amongst all the groups and individuals, I have mentioned, there is one, without whom much of what we have achieved over the last five years, would not have come to fruition. Andy Appleyard joined us from the RFU as General Manager and was my first appointment after joining the executive team. He committed to the role and slept in the office at times before moving in to a caravan on site because there was so much to do. He has since moved his wife Katie and their two daughters from Barnsley to Cheshire where, I hope he is now settled. Whilst there have been times when people have been very generous in their comments about the rugby club to me as Chairman, I have always been mindful of the very hard work that Andy has put in to make things happen. Thank you, Andy.

The Club could be better placed financially but it is by no means critical and there are some exciting commercial opportunities on the horizon but I will end by reporting that the Club is in good health and I am as excited for the future as I was five years ago when I joined the Executive team. It has been an honour and a privilege to have had the opportunity to lead this wonderful club and all the fantastic people in it. The new executive team will serve us all well.

Thank You.

 

The minutes from the AGM last Thursday, together with the various appendices that support them will be uploaded and emailed to members this week. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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