Chairman’s AGM Statement, 6th July 2023

I think it’s fair to say a great deal has happened in the world of rugby since we last met in June 2022.

On the national stage not only have we seen three premiership clubs gone to the wall, but our friends at the RFU have excelled themselves once again with yet more horror stories relating to the state of their finances and the abject manner in which they announced the changes to the tackle height laws was truly extraordinary. More recently we have witnessed first-hand the farce regarding our level transfer to the West, but more of which later.

However, it’s not all been bad news. On a local front, we have had a very productive 12 months, which has included the completion of the car park, the installation of nine jumbo ad boards, the introduction of professional marketing, our first fund raising event for Claire House, the launch of our business club and the installation of a fabulous new digital scoreboard.

Obviously I’m biased, but I reckon that’s a pretty good effort from a group of volunteers and I’d like to take this opportunity right now to thank all the members of the exec committee for their commitment and effort throughout the last year which made all the aforementioned achievements possible.

Talking of the committee, you’ll be aware from the minutes of the FGM that Darren is about to move on and pass the financial control baton to Martin O’Brien. For those of you who may not know Martin very well, let me assure you he is a Chester guy through and through. His dad, Ray, played a total of 231 1st XV games between 1960 and 1968 and was captain from 1963 to 1966.

Unfortunately Martin’s salad days on the playing field were spent away from Chester and therefore he wasn’t able to emulate his father’s 1st team achievements, but in later years he did however have the honour of playing for the Vets alongside such luminaries as current president Billy Evans, immediate past president Steve Donovan, Jimmy Booth, Andy Stevenson, Ian Batch Terry Allen and yours truly. As such he was clearly blessed!

He was also one of the five riders of the apocalypse who played a pivotal part in the project that produced this clubhouse.

Welcome to the exec Martin, I looking forward to working with you.

Now, back to our transfer to the west. I expect some of you will be expecting something of a diatribe from me regarding this, but the truth is, now the dust has settled, I’m really looking forward to it! The prospect of playing in rugby mad Cornwall will present our players with a real challenge, as will the demands of pitting our wits against three teams from Bristol, probably the best rugby union city in the country. Add to that the opportunity to meet up with old foes in Luctonians, Hinckley, Bournville and Loughborough Students, plus our first genuine derby for many years when we face Newport, and I think we have every reason to anticipate a very exciting season ahead.

Finally, on a personal note this will be my 8th and final year as chairman. I informed the exec of this decision back in May and I’m confirming it now to the club, therefore there’s no turning back, the die has been cast! Although I’m very pleased with what’s been achieved over the last few years and the place we currently find ourselves in, I think the time is right for me personally, and more importantly for the club, to have a new hand on the tiller.

This is therefore my final AGM plea to the members and it is five fold:

1. Treat the club with respect; whether it the clubhouse itself, the changing rooms, the car park or the pitches. Tidy up after yourself, don’t leave it to other. It’s your club, so please look after it.

2. Sponsorship; engage with the process, whether that be for player sponsorship or sponsorship on a bigger scale – just ask the question!

3. Use the clubhouse; newly redecorated, it’s a great place for a party, and there is no hire fee for members.

4. Sign up to Easyfunding -; an absolutely painless way of raising funds for your club.

5. Pay your subs as promptly as possible – please.

While that’s all going on, my job will be to concentrate on consolidating our overall position and ironing out a few creases so that the handover to the new Chair can be as seamless as possible.

However, that’s a long way off yet; we have the remainder of this Ashes summer to enjoy (or endure!) and a mouthwatering rugby season ahead of us. Pre-season training has already started, so it will be with us quicker than you think.

Best wishes

Dave Maloney