You can’t take a pill for experience’, or so the saying goes. I think it fair to say that my learning curve has been near-vertical since I took the helm at Brickfields. Experience is invariably a good thing, but I feel sure we could all do without the restrictions of this year’s lockdown Easter.
Nevertheless, Easter signals winter coming to an end with the sunny blue skies of summer soon to be with us. In many ways, Albion is similarly positioned with the harsh realities that befell our much-anticipated end of season celebrations prematurely halted in their tracks. Coronavirus certainly hit us hard, but we were not alone with that experience.
We read several Gallagher Premiership clubs are struggling with cash flow problems following the sudden cessation of their income streams. Indeed, rumours abound suggesting 3 or even 4 top clubs are teetering on potential insolvency. Something we know about at Brickfield. In the true spirit of the rugby family, we wish them well with their cash flow challenges.
Here at Albion, we are in a far better position and busy putting plans and strategies in place so that we can fast track progress once the Coronavirus lockdown is over. I have already mentioned the discussions we are having with Raiders, Argyle and the Council. Exciting, aspirational and at a collaborative level previously unprecedented in Plymouth sporting history. More of this in due course.
First up in this week’s message is news that we are soon to announce exciting plans for the ‘Albion Heroes 2020 Crowd Funding Initiative’. Designed as a vehicle to allow Albion friends, sponsors and fans to step up to the mark and support our cash flow with advance funding of season tickets, memberships and other club benefits.
More on that one next week. Watch this space!
Facing the unparalleled reality that just about everything in the business and commercial world remains in suspension, we are busy putting in place a ‘Virtual Reality Plan’ to kick start progress once the lockdown is eased. Hard-bitten experience teaches us to be thorough with our due diligence and detail. We must, of course, remain patient until the Coronavirus crisis is over, but we must also be prepared and ready, on the starting blocks, to move forward with ambition and confidence into the new season.
Brickfield traditions and culture run deep with tried and tested systems for coaching, fitness and player development already in place. Albion’s medical support, human performance and sports rehab are similarly in good shape. Our administrative infrastructures have benefited greatly from the challenges and experience of recent seasons.
On the commercial front, we have shaped and agreed ambitious and exciting plans to build on our firm foundations to develop the ‘business of business’ so essential to success in the modern world of elite-level rugby.
Initially, we will be building on the firm foundations that we put in place over the past three seasons. It does not stop there as we focus on developing new and sustainable long-term Sponsorship Partnerships with the Plymouth business, political and commercial community. More of that in due course.
At this juncture, we are addressing the crucial appointment of a new Head Coach to take charge of the pointed end of the game. Again, the Coronavirus shut down restricts our actions, but I am delighted to confirm that several high-profile candidates have thrown their hats into the ring.
Three candidates in particular with hugely impressive track records as players and life at the very top of the game are in discussions with us. Recent experiences have taught us much about the importance of appointing the right people to the top position guiding and shaping our coaching programme, character and playing culture.
Yes, we need our leader to be technically excellent and proficient with the various elements expected of the senior coach, but experience tells us that we want to go the extra mile to appoint the right man. Honesty, passion, loyalty and a long-term commitment to Albion’s Cause is high on our agenda.
Senior management are ambitious for the future of ‘OUR CLUB!’ We view it as more than just a steppingstone for coaches, players and of course our Head Coach. I think it prudent at this time not to mention names, but I will be making known more details of the progress we are making in securing the right man at the top of Albion’s coaching ladder.
Moving on to matters of honouring a larger than life player, the ever-popular Herbie Stupple is having his Testimonial Season next term. It promises to be a year of fun, frolics and many memorable events.
Yes, the going remains challenging but the scourge of Coronavirus and the resultant lockdown will pass. Normal service will be resumed, and Plymouth Albion will be positioned and ready to lead the way.
Remain strong, firm, focused and above all stay safe.
Managing Director, Max Venables