The last 12 months have been busy ones at the Club, the most obvious achievement was the 1st XV winning the league and securing promotion. This in itself is enough for a Chairman to fill his report with, but there are other things that are just as important and I want to use this note as a means of updating the membership on the progress of the Club as a whole.
Dave " Tom " Thomas retired as youth chair after two years of hard slog, and Jan Hitchcock has taken over, I would like to thank Tom and welcome Jan. The rest of the Committee is as last season, although it is fair to say that the three of us that were new to post a year ago have learned an awful lot in twelve months. Pete Patterson has handed over the Refereeing section to Charlie Hodder, Pete will be a hard act to follow. Russell Price has handed over the reigns of the F&G committee to Ralph Crane, in my opinion Russell’s financial stewardship over the last two seasons has stabilised the Clubs finances and set us on the right road. A full list of officers and NEDs can be viewed on the website.
There are two other important roles that we have created, and which will help is in our drive to deliver the five year plan. Mike Cudmore has taken on the role of General Manager as well as DoR, this is a natural combination of roles and I can already see us reaping the benefits of Mike’s ten years experience at Ealing, and London Irish before that.
The second position we have created is that of a Management Accountant, this role consolidates the book keeping, and accounting roles of Clare Craig and Rob Hunter. Again my personal thanks to Clare and Rob, without their hard work we would not be in the good shape we find ourselves. The new position will manage the Sage Accountancy system and provide the management and the budget holders with monthly updates. We have appointed Val Thompson in this role.
Talking of money, we now have a two year sponsorship deal with Trailfinders, this is a big step, it gives us a lot more management latitude. Thanks to Mike and Fiona Gooley for their continued generosity as sponsors and supporters, especially in these tough economic times.
We have restructured the finances and management of the Club over the last two seasons, the message has been that we are one Club, and that is very much the case, but we are a Club made up of very different parts and one thing our new Sage accounting system has done is to emphasise the strengths and weaknesses of each section.
As many of you will know from visiting other clubs or hosting them at Vallis Way, there is a common perception that Ealing is a wealthy Club. The truth is that we are lucky to have a generous benefactor who sponsors the Club and provides the superb facilities that we hire.
The sponsorship from Trailfinders largely funds first team rugby, and we all benefit from their success, everything else from rats to evergreens has to be self financed, apart from two charitable donations from the Mike Gooley Charity. However, like most rugby clubs we still need to raise revenue through fundraising and sponsorship. It is important to point out that if you sponsor or fundraise for the club, it is going to the amateur part of the club that you or your kids play for.
Clearly, if we do not raise finance through sponsorship and fundraising the only other income stream is subscriptions. Rob McEvoy left us at the end of last season, and fundraising is now being looked after by Craig Bowley. Craig is now your first call if you have any sponsorship queries, and as members you can expect to be contacted by Craig and the section Chairs next season, as we are on a fundraising drive. Craig can be contacted on: firstname.lastname@example.org
So what will next season bring? Some things that you will welcome, some that you have come to expect and other new things that will be a little more controversial:
National One Rugby, three London derbies and trips to Newcastle and Jersey among others. There will be no easy games next season, it is a much tougher league, but we are confident that our team will deliver.
Some new faces on the pitch and some old faces no longer with us, in particular I would like to thank Jay King, Paddy Gill, Blair Morris, James Winterbottom and Markus Bircham who have either hung up their boots or moved on.
Trailfinders" investment in Vallis Way continues, the first team pitch has been relaid and leveled and new posts have been installed.
We will be charging members a nominal £5 including the programme to watch first team rugby, rugby of this quality has never been cheaper. (OAP and members under 16 will still be free)
More first team involvement with the Club and the minis and youth players
Subs will rise, a sad fact is that we are in an inflationary cycle, and we need to raise Club income, we have kept the increase to a minimum on the basis that we will be aiming to raise more through fundraising. Online payment is now available.
The success of the Club Dinner and Summer Ball means that we are committed to developing the social side of the Club, and shows that we are blessed with fantastic support.
Our senior amateur section is at the heart of the Club, and it has been restructured to ensure that it thrives. This is an important part of the Club that provides many of the volunteers and coaches that you see on Sundays as well.
The Puma section is now up and running, and is providing an invaluable coaching service to the elite youth as they prepare for Colts and adult rugby.
We have spent a lot of time working with TFSC to improve the facilities we hire from them. One important change that you all need to know about, is that we have decided to split the 10% bar discount between the member and the Club. It means you will now get 5% and the other 5% will be paid back to ETRC. This will help Club revenues, and I really must urge you to use your cards when buying drinks in either bar.
We are updating our disciplinary codes, as a Club we have a pretty good record, but as the biggest Club in Middlesex we will be expected to raise the bar and set the standard.
A new and better web site, it really worked as a communication tool last season, and we want to build on that.
Finally, a thank you to all the volunteer members who turn out every week to those who organize the car parking, the first aiders, coaches, age group managers, those who organise tours, tournaments, social events and everything else that makes the place tick. If you would like to get involved contact your age group manager or a member of the Executive Committtee.
So to wrap up, 2011-12 is going to be a season that builds on the success of the last two, both on the pitch and financially. I believe we now have a management team that is organised, focused and professional, there is no doubt that it is going to be hard work, and the mix of experience and enthusiasm will ensure that the Club can and will deliver the ambitions that we set out last season.
For me this Club is as much about the last 140 years as it is about the next twelve months, we are custodians of a valuable piece of rugby history. I hope you, the members, see it that way too, and I hope that you will all embrace the challenges and support your Executive Committee with enthusiasm and generosity of spirit.