For those of you who were unable to make last Thursday’s AGM I would like to inform you that, following ten years in the role of Chairman, Phil Torkington has decided to stand down and consequently I was voted in as your new Club Chairman.
There were a number of other changes to the Executive Committee with Mike Hemmingway, our excellent President of seven years, also standing down along with the hard working Nigel Birrell and Hameed Alkersan. I would like to thank all of them for their major contributions to the success of the Club and in particular I should single out Phil Torkington. Under his stewardship, supported and assisted by a committed Executive Committee, the Club has been transformed off the pitch to be what I believe to be the best in East Anglia in terms of facilities, professional management, ethos and atmosphere.
Full details of the new Committee will be advised by Simon Lord, however Gerry Lowden is taking over a President, Andy Spetch will be taking over my previous role of Playing Chairman and Ali Evans, Olly Jackson and Gary Lofthouse were also all newly appointed to the committee.
For those of you that do not know me, I joined the Club as a player in 1984 and played at all levels from the first team down including three years as Wolves Captain. My last game was in 1999 when I was forced to retire following a neck injury. I joined the Committee as Playing Chairman in 1992 so I have already completed twenty years as an Executive Committee Member- I guess you could say I have just about completed by apprenticeship!
My philosophy as Chairman will be to try to take the whole club forward, from the Minis to the 1st team, and build further on all that has been achieved over the last few years, focussing particularly on reaching greater height’s on the pitch, maximising enjoyment and increasing participation at all levels.
There are two things that I am absolutely passionate about. Firstly I believe that despite the successes currently being achieved at all levels, that with the facilities, infra-structure and playing strength we have, we still are not realising our full potential on the pitch, we should be at least a National 3 club. Since Terry Sands joined us six years ago as Director of Rugby, the standard of rugby we have been playing has improved significantly throughout the club, his expertise coupled with our improvements in facilities, infrastructure and sponsorship have got us to where we are today, with last season being in my view our best so far. However, going forward I want us to focus even more of our efforts on achieving National League Rugby at Bury. This will not only provide our sponsors, supporters and members, all of whom we depend on, with high quality rugby to watch each week, but importantly and crucially for me, it will give our young and developing players a higher level of rugby to aspire to, and to play at when they mature.
My second passion is to provide all of our young players, from age 6 upwards, the opportunity and means to not only gain maximum enjoyment and pleasure out of this fantastic game of ours, but also to help them to develop to be the best possible players that they can be, providing them with a pathway to move all the way from Under 7s up to our 1st team. And for those that have the talent, desire and determination to go beyond Bury to help them to be professional, and even International players, as some of our youngsters have done in the last few years.
To achieve this aim it is vital that we give all our young players the best possible standards of coaching. To that end, Gav Hogg has already started on a programme of coach development, with our aim to get level 1 and level 2 qualified coaches at all age groups. I will be working closely with the Coaching Team and the new Youth and Mini Playing Chairmen to make sure that we implement these programmes and help our army of volunteer Coaches at all levels to develop and increase their skill levels, knowledge and abilities.
In addition to the above I can assure you that your new young and dynamic Committee will also continue to develop the facilities and infra-structure of the Club and we have many projects in the pipeline or on the drawing board. These include improving flood lighting across all pitches from mini pitches up to the main pitch to facilitate better training in the dark, winter months. Acquiring more ground and pitch space is a target once we have completed the purchase of the ground through the current Buy a Brick scheme. Others projects include continuing to improve our car parks, further extension of the highly successful gym facility and extension of the underground irrigation system. These capital infra-structure projects will of course require funding and new Executive Team will be working on these over the next few years.
Finally we will be continuing to foster our already strong links with the local community, with initiatives to further develop our links with the WSC, Culford, all local Schools, West Suffolk Hospital, Greene King and many others.
As an unpaid volunteer, I would like to thank the many other fellow unpaid volunteers that help make this Club so successful and run so well – without you and your support we would not have the fantastic Club that we have today. We should all continue to promote and live by the core values of rugby, ie teamwork, respect, enjoyment, discipline, and sportsmanship, these values and our volunteers make our club and our sport so special.
This is a very exciting time to be involved with the Club, I firmly believe that we are on the threshold of achieving even greater things than we have before. I look forward with excitement and anticipation not only to next season but to the years ahead……………
The future’s bright, the future’s Bury.
I hope to see you all at the Club next season