A message to our supporters from Lance Bradley, CEO
You will have seen in the news about Worcester Warriors being suspended from all competitions, and subsequently going into administration. You will also have read that Wasps are facing significant financial challenges, and have given notice of applying for administration.
Firstly, I wanted to say that I’m sure, like me, you have huge sympathy for the staff, players and fans of those clubs going through that uncertainty. We may be rivals on the pitch, but not off it – they’re all people like you and me.
You may also have seen speculation in the press and on social media about the overall financial state of English club rugby.
I wanted to take a moment to give you a few facts, and to reassure you about the position that we are in at Gloucester Rugby.
Through careful planning, the efforts of our fantastic staff across the organisation, and, of course the tremendous support we enjoy from our fans and business partners, our financial position is the best it’s been for many years. As we emerge from the impact of Covid our operating profitability is heading towards positive levels, and last year saw our highest ever turnover. We have developed a five-year plan which shows both those key measurements continuing to improve.
We’re not where we want to be yet, but we are heading firmly in the right direction.
You may have read that both Worcester and Wasps have significant debts with HMRC. We do not owe anything to HMRC.
There was an article in an online newspaper a couple of weeks ago which ended up being widely shared which suggested that Gloucester Rugby’s debt was around £27 million. That figure is completely wrong. Our debts are nowhere near that level. It is reasonable to assume that as that newspaper got our numbers so wrong, that their other numbers are also wrong.
We did take out a loan from DCMS as part of the Sports Survival Package (every Premiership club took out a similar loan, some for more, some for less than ours). We have robust plans in place which will allow us to pay back that loan when the payments become due in a couple of years’ time. The repayment period is over many years, so will not put undue pressure on us.
Unfortunately, Worcester being suspended from competition and then going into administration means that our scheduled game against them on Saturday has been called off. It has not yet been decided whether it is postponed or cancelled. That will depend to some extent on how quickly Worcester are able to come out of administration. If it happens quickly, and only a game or two are missed, then I expect the game will be rescheduled. If not then I expect it will be cancelled.
Having a home game cancelled does, of course, have a significant financial impact on us. It also has an impact on the many local businesses that depend on Gloucester Rugby match days to boost their income. As a fan of the Club, and perhaps as someone who enjoys a pre-match routine at local pubs or restaurants, the one big thing that you could do to help is to come to more games, buy one more pint, buy one more pie.
If everyone came to one more game than they had planned to do this season, that would overcome the impact of the potential cancellation of Worcester game – on both your Club and all those local businesses.
And with the way the squad is playing this year, you’re pretty much guaranteed a really exciting day out. Our next home game is against Bristol on Saturday 15th October, and the one after that is against Exeter on Friday 28th October. You can buy your tickets here.
We have announced an open training session on Saturday instead of the game. If you haven’t been to Kingsholm so far this season do please come and join us. It’s free to get in (although you will need a ticket – click here for yours), so why not bring the whole family? You’ll have a chance not only to watch the senior men’s team train, but also to meet the players afterwards. Full details are here. You can even get your rugby match fix by staying on in the Stowford Clubhouse to watch the Saracens v Leicester game with us on BT Sport.
We look forward to welcoming you to Kingsholm soon.
Gloucester Rugby sign Cardiff star
Gloucester Rugby is pleased to announce the signing of centre Max Llewellyn, who will arrive at Kingsholm this summer ahead of the 2023/24 season.
Llewellyn, who qualifies for both Wales and England, moves to the Cherry & Whites from United Rugby Championship side Cardiff Rugby, where he has made 40 appearances, scoring five tries.
The 24-year-old also spent time with Cardiff RFC in the Welsh Premiership and represented Wales U20s 14 times between 2018 and 2019.
At 6’5’’ and 105kg, Llewellyn brings a significant physical presence into Gloucester’s midfield options.
Max comes from impressive rugby stock, his father, Gareth Llewellyn, having won 92 caps for Wales.
Gloucester Rugby Head Coach, George Skivington, says the young centre is a welcome addition to the squad.
“Max is a young player that has a huge amount of potential and we’re excited about him seeing him in Cherry & White. He’s been really impressive for Cardiff over the last couple of seasons and we know he’s relishing the prospect of challenging himself in the Gallagher Premiership.
“He’s obviously a big lad and he enjoys that physical side of the game but that’s not the only string to his bow.
“Max will have some experienced Premiership backs to learn from here in addition to the coaching staff, so he’s in a great place to develop, and we’re looking forward to seeing him in Cherry & White.”
“I’m really excited to be coming to Gloucester” commented Llewellyn.
“It’s always been an ambition of mine to play in the Premiership and to do that for a club like Gloucester, it’s something I’m really looking forward to.
“I was fortunate enough to play at Kingsholm in pre-season and the atmosphere there was amazing; it’s somewhere you look forward to playing every week.”
Max is in for 2023/24, are you? Get your 2023/24 Club Membership before 5pm today (Monday 20 March) HERE to secure your early bird discount.
Dave Walder to leave Newcastle Falcons
Thursday 16 March 2023
Dave Walder will leave his role as head coach at Newcastle Falcons at the end of the 2022-23 campaign.
Following the departure of Dean Richards at the end of last season Walder has spearheaded the coaching department throughout the 22-23 campaign, which also comprises Mark Laycock, Mark Wilson, Micky Ward and Scott MacLeod.
While Dave will leave at the end of his contracted period he will step back with immediate effect, handing the reins to Mark Laycock until a successor is officially appointed in the coming months.
Speaking on Dave’s departure, Matt Thompson, chairman of rugby, said: “Realistically we haven’t been where we want to be for a few years now and as a club we recognise the need to make changes to our approach to achieve our goals. Transitional periods like this are never easy, and unfortunately we are going to lose some people along the way.
“A lot has happened, particularly this year, both across the sport and on and off the field at the club, and we need a bit of a reset across the board.
“Our aim is to be a sustainable club that is here for years to come and in line with that it’s important that we invest in the right areas, in the right way at the right time. We want to entertain our supporters and play an exciting brand of rugby, which also means having the right players and coaching personnel in place to take us forward, and that is part of our ongoing recruitment strategy.
“We’ve already made some great announcements including re-signing a number of players such as Ben Stevenson, Jamie Blamire and Adam Radwan. This has been bolstered by some new faces including Tim Cardall, Murray McCallum and Kiran McDonald. We also continue to recruit both on and off the field into the rugby department, including across the coaching team.
“The ongoing support from our loyal supporters and our employees is huge, and we want to thank them for the commitment they continue to show to Newcastle Falcons. We’re really excited for them to come on this journey with us and be part of what is shaping up to be both an exciting and sustainable future.
“On a more personal note, we’re immensely grateful for everything Dave has helped us to achieve. He’s been a massive part of our club for many years and as with all departures it’s been a tough decision, but ultimately the right one for the club as we move forward. We wish him all the best in the future and look forward to seeing what he does next.”
As a player Walder made 110 appearances for the Falcons, scoring the winning try in the 2001 Tetley’s Bitter Cup final and forming an instrumental part of the side which won the 2004 Powergen Cup final.
Going on to earn domestic and European honours with Wasps before finishing his playing career with Japanese side Mitsubishi Dynaboars, Walder joined Newcastle’s coaching staff in 2014.
Initially serving as kicking skills coach, he stepped up as backs and attack coach before being promoted to head coach in 2017, earning promotion from the Championship and helping steer the Falcons to their first Gallagher Premiership semi-final.
Newcastle Falcons is working to finalise the structure of the coaching team for the 2023-24 season, and further announcements will be made once the interview process has concluded.
Ollie Thorley re-signs with Gloucester Rugby
Gloucester Rugby is delighted to announce that academy graduate, Ollie Thorley, has extended his stay at Kingsholm.
The Cheltenham College product became the Club’s youngest first-team try scorer when he crossed against Ospreys in March 2015 in the LV Cup and he hasn’t stopped scoring since.
The explosive winger has scored over 30 tries in Cherry & White, including a chart-topping 11 tries in the 2019/20 season, the highest-ever Premiership total by a Gloucester player.
Thorley represented England at U18 and U20 level, winning the 2016 IRB Junior World Championship with the latter, he later went on to win his first England cap against Italy in the 2020 Six Nations and is widely tipped to gain more international honours soon.
He bounced back from an injury that kept him out of the start of the season and has hit form straight away, winning back-to-back Stowford Press Player of the Match awards against London Irish and Saracens recently.
Gloucester Rugby Head Coach, George Skivington, commented:
“We’re really pleased that Ollie has committed his future to the Club. He’s a leading example of a player that has developed in the Gloucester Rugby pathway and gone on to be a key figure in the first team.
“He’s naturally a very dangerous attacking player, but he’s always working to develop and grow his game which you can see in his performances this season.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Ollie represent this club for years to come.”
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