RIP Rugby Lions

Phil E


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The Rugby Club (2011), (or something like that) is the 1st team, and the one that has been (promising) to pay players like Ben Gollins, but that we have all thought would go bust all season.

Luckily the Rugby Lions club, pitch and buildings are owned by a different company which includes the mini & junior section. So hopefully the phoenix will rise from the ashes.
 

ddjamo


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Phil...didn't I AR there in 2010? nice grounds!
 

Simon Thomas


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This has been going since last season when high profile benefactor Michael A appeared on the scene hired Neil Back as Head Coach who brought in an influx of ex-Championship, and National 1&2 players. Talk of 5 year push to Premiership, 30,000 seater stadium, etc got the club going. Michael A claimed to have his own money and a group of investors to put in ££££millions

Rugby Lions went through National 3 Midlands (level 5) unbeaten last season, and so were promoted to National 2 South (level 4).

However as early as late October 2011 promised funds had not appeared (always a problem somewhere with bank transfers etc) and some at RL started to ask questions. In the wave of success, and with all eyes on a rise through the National Leagues, and a Walter Mitty character promising £££millions it seems most people were hood-winked (even Rugby Town Council !). It all kept rolling along, with players not being paid etc. By the end of the season the Michael A stories were getting more and more convoluted and evasive - money was due from his Canadian businesses (in reality they were in deep debt with creditors chasing payment allegedly), the money for Neil Back and the players was "in transfer" (still after 8 months), etc etc. Anyone who tried to open up the discussions or whistleblow was threatened with legal action on basis of getting the blame for the deal falling through.

Over this summer Michael A has continued with his evasive behaviour, until RL's kit manufacturer (owed £70K ish) after chasing the debt lodged a winding up order. This in turn prompted RFU and NCA attention, first with a -30 point fine for receivership status, and then leading to Friday's announcement and RL removal from the Leagues. So now National2 South is a 15 team league, and those clubs have to handle the loss of RL (yes they save the travel costs to Rugby) but lose a high income match (gate money, lunch tables, sponsorship, etc) home fixture against Neil Back's team.

Back was very good apparently, personally helping out player's with financial issues, but he jumped in June-ish and has gone to Scotland.
Most of the 1st XV squad went pre-season at other National League level clubs so a rush of transfer registrations will follow. The pitch at Rugby has only just been cut, pre-season training was postponed, postponed, etc.

I feel sorry for the old club stalwarts (players & volunteers) and the whole Youth and Mini section.

There are some doubts as to who actually owns what (did Michael Owen ever sell the club ?), and who owes what to whom.

What a mess !
 

dave_clark


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and what a lesson to other clubs thinking of throwing money at their first team in the hope of rising up the leagues.

it's been proposed at my club many times over the past few seasons, but has always been rejected in favour of ensuring the entire club is on a sound financial backing.
 

Simon Thomas


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Dave - in principle I agree with some qualifications.

1. A rugby club is not a normal business (only a few like Tigers, Saints can survive as such) as there are not big enough crowds.
2. Invest and have a 3, 5 and 10 year plan - Jersey are the example of how to do it long term.
3. Make sure the promised money man (or men) are in for the long run - or in case of RL actually have any money in the first place !
4. Have multiple money men not a single white knight
5. Run a sustainable business plan and budget - over 3 and 5 years, not just buying one or two years of glory to fall back again.
6. Insist on full financial management for all transactions - purchase orders and invoices, plus full VAT and "benefit-in-kind" tax management (travel expenses etc). Even big clubs have done the cash out of till approach - amazing and asking for trouble later on.
 
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