Message from our new club president

Message from our new club president

By Stuart Howkins
2 August
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After Wednesday's AGM we introduce Kevin Keaney as club president taking over from Gareth Owen

Dear Fellow Vandal

I would like to say that I feel hugely humbled and honored to have been elected your new club President at our recent club AGM.

Firstly I would like to pay tribute to our outgoing President Gareth Owen for the fantastic job he has done over the last 5 years. Gareth has been a great ambassador for the club and has represented all of us with great integrity. In true Gareth style as well as fulfilling his Presidential duties he still found time to lace up his boots and put on his famous chef apron. (Chef,chef,chef). A big thank you to Gareth and to his wife Sue who has supported him every step of the way.

Anyone who has played alongside me or toured with me over the last 32 years will know how passionate I am about our amazing club. I have always been incredibly proud to call myself a Vandal. Being a Vandal for me is a brotherhood and with the very welcome addition of the netball section in recent years a sisterhood born out of giving everything for each other on the pitch and having fun together off it. Once your a Vandal you’re always a Vandal and I am fortunate to have great friends and former teammates all over the world who are equally proud to call themselves Vandals and always will be. We really are an extended Vandals family.

Over the last 32 years as well as captaining various teams on the pitch I have held the positions of club captain and rugby chairman off it. In my business career I managed to work my way up from trolley boy to the CEO of a £250m turnover retail business.
Having decided to take a career sabbatical in January I am hoping to be a very active and highly visible President. In the coming weeks I am planning to invest time into getting to know all sections of the club so that I can offer all the club directors and section chairs my constructive advice,support and guidance based on my leadership experience.
On a separate note I am particularly looking forward to introducing the Cricketers and the Netball girls to my “Magic Hankie” ......

At my heart I still consider myself to be a player and I want to be a President who has an affinity with all the current players who pull on the purple, green and black jersey. We are such a special club with a completely unique location and a proud 88 year history. ( as seen in the many amazing team photos covering generations of Vandals posted during lockdown)

Like all community sports clubs we are not immune to the negative impact of the COVID pandemic. We are a club that relies on the hard work and dedication of its volunteers, unlike some clubs we don’t have a rich sugar Daddy who is funding the club but we do have some very talented members and past players who care deeply about their club and we need to harness this. I hope to be a President who can pull people together and encourage collaborative working for the greater good of ALL members. I firmly believe that if we can get enough like minded energetic members/volunteers pulling in the same direction then we can start to fulfill the potential we undoubtedly have on and off the pitch. If you have a view on this and positive contribution that you think you can make then please talk to me.

We are obviously living through very uncertain times and whilst it’s great to see the cricketers starting to play games in recent weeks as I write this we have no firm date of when we will be able to start safely playing Rugby or Netball or when the 2020/21 seasons will commence. When the season does finally start I plan to relaunch our club lunches as themed reunion lunches for players/tourists from different eras in the club history and use them as an opportunity for former teammates to reunite to relive former glories on and off the pitch. Please watch this space as I will be looking to former captains to help me make this happen.

Thank you in anticipation of your support, stay safe, and I look forward to being able to buy you a drink down at Brownacres in the near future.

10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 VANDALS!!!!!!!!!

Kev Keaney
Vandals Club President

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