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January 2011 Chat With Frank

A belated Happy New Year!

After seven weeks of inactivity, I had hoped to be saying that it’s great to be back at The Park. In fact, as many of you now know that was wishful thinking.

The matter of the early postponement of the Pontypridd game has been taken up with the council and I am awaiting their reply. Needless to say, a prime Saturday in January – with our biggest gate of the season -  will have to replaced with a mid week fixture later on in an already packed fixture list where we know the gate is always less.

There is little doubt that the council still do not understand that Pontypool RFC are at the highest level in the country for club rugby and therefore represent the whole of Torfaen on the national stage. With local retailers bemoaning the down turn in trade, the council turning away hundreds of Pontypridd and Pontypool supporters (with two of the largest fan bases in the country) looks inept.

I now fully expect to experience difficulties booking the Leisure Centre for hospitality for the re-arranged fixture, as we know from previous experience how hard this is during the week, with other sports clubs having already booked facilities. This is despite that fact that we pay good money for the facilities as well as the council receiving substantial bar takings associated with such a high profile fixture. With the council telling us they are strapped for cash, perhaps there needs to be more business people to run our council (who look to not only trim costs but actually increase revenue), rather than career professionals?  

We have re-arranged all our outstanding fixtures, except Llanelli and of course Pontypridd and details are posted on the home page of the website. The WRU will not be extending the season due to the play-offs, for not only promotion and relegation but for next years British and Irish Cup competition. So the council did the club no favours by calling off Pontypridd a full 36 hours before kick off with good weather forecast.

OK, moving on………………………………..

A New Year brings resolutions and at the forefront recently has been the idea that volunteering becomes a main stream activity for more and more individuals. So please forgive the slightly tenuous link, but I would like to use part of my New Year’s message to urge more supporters to step forward to help out at the Club. You may well remember Dai Watt’s plea in recent match programmes that the more stewards we have on the rota the less games an individual needs to cover. Well, the same goes for all aspects of running a semi professional club.

Marketing and Sponsorship make up the shortfall from the WRU grant and that allows the Club to compete in the Premiership. We are always in need of volunteers to source, co-ordinate and develop a relationship with sponsors – old, new and as yet un-discovered. Using Dai’s point about stewarding, the more volunteers in the Commercial Group, the less work for everyone. To be honest, running our own business 24/7 and trying to run the Club with a small number of active volunteers is getting more and more difficult. Please think hard whether you can spare a few hours a week to help your Club compete in an ever-increasingly competitive Premiership. It will be difficult to keep things as they are unless this support is forthcoming.

On a more positive note virtually all members of the squad are fit and ready to play rugby again (the injury update appears on the home page), and we are in discussions with the region to bring in additional Academy players to bolster the squad. I know the league table on points gained looks close at the bottom, but we are only half way through our season and still have to play those three clubs above and below us, so lots can happen.

Trust me, we are not complacent, just remaining calm and focused on our own performance.