As Lions across the world celebrate Christmas and 2018 comes to a close, Swinton Chairman Andy Mazey shares a personal message to supporters.
As 2018 draws to a close we can all certainly look forward to 2019 with a great deal of optimism after what has been a very solid year of progress off the pitch, and a positive conclusion to the year on it.
The strides made by the club in a short space of time is outstanding and that is testament to the hard work being done by everyone. There is no “l” in “TEAM” and without your support we would not have been able to make such remarkable progress.
At the same time, I must stress to be able to sustain our club in the Championship and to push onto the next level we simply can’t rest on our laurels, we must all spread the word of the Lions and work even harder to ensure our crowds and numbers continue to grow in 2019.
On a personal level, one of the major challenges I faced upon committing to the Club in 2017 was to put in place an operational board with all the necessary skill sets and required qualities to move the Club into the future. I’m therefore delighted and extremely proud to be heading into year two of our ‘New Era’ with this current board in place and a group of individuals who all share the vision and enthusiasm for this fantastic club.
More hands make light work as they say but it’s not just hands a professional organisation needs. The right calibre of person is required and the people we have in place at this club bodes well for the future.
With David Jones remaining as supportive as ever from the background as our club president, Steve Wild working tirelessly in his day-to-day role picking up many of the thankless administrative tasks that nobody enjoys in a business, but never-the-less are fundamental to success, and Alan Marshall working closely with myself to ensure strict financial control we had a great base on which to build.
The strategic appointments however and much needed additions of proven quality business people in Peter Smith (Commercial), Richard Heyes (Media & Communications), John Coyne (Digital & Marketing) and our most recent addition of Tony Sheridan, to oversee the implementation of our in-house retail operation and brand development, means we are in a very good place.
Add to this Stephen Parker having now been confirmed as the new Supporters Trust Chairman and board representative, this gives clarity and the visibility and transparency which has been craved in the past.
With the board now fully developed and important duties assigned, it has meant I have been able to focus more of my time on supporting Stuart with the emphasis on retention of players he wanted to keep and the recruitment of new personal he had targeted to bring in. The Chairman and Head Coach relationship in any club is a vital one and Swinton Lions could not be stronger on this front.
I firmly believe we have one of the brightest young coaching talents in the British game and Stuart has been relentless in his planning and preparation for 2019 along with his fantastic staff.
Having carried out a full review of 2018, many lessons have been learned and subsequent improvements made. Observing now I see a completely different mentality, attitude and team spirit from the squad as a whole and it’s clear Stuart has made major improvements to the culture and I believe he and the staff are creating a truly special environment for a great bunch of players.
I mustn’t go any further without a mention for the special efforts of our wonderful media team: Ian, Colin, Chris, Stormme, Peter and Josh who portray everything we doing in such a creative and positive way. With Richard Heyes at the helm, the content we produce and consistency is outstanding in particular the efforts of Chris and Josh day-to-day with our social media attracting many plaudits from all quarters in the sport this year.
As a semi-professional organisation we have a large number of volunteers working in various roles around the club. This process is assisted greatly on match days in particular by the efforts of our magnificent Supporters’ Trust, a key partner without doubt so a special mention for the outstanding work they do especially at this magical time of the year with for our young people and junior lions.
Our sponsors are also invaluable to us and again I thank them all sincerely. We have attracted some new high profile partners for 2019 to add to those sponsors who have stayed loyal and extended their support.
We as a board are all motivated to invest our own time and money into the club when we receive such fantastic backing from our our partners. I’m extremely grateful and looking forward to building on our already good relationships with them in 2019.
Pride Builder has been a major highlight for me in 2018 and has already played a significant role in assisting Stuart and I when securing the services of Gavin Bennion as a marquee signing. Further contributions towards the re-signing of Will Hope and the addition of Oscar Thomas have been made also, so a big thanks to all who have contributed in any way.
Ultimately for this club all roads now lead to Agecroft and everything we do is with a view to our long term goal of returning the Lions to our spiritual home in M27. This will never change so long as I’m at the helm and I firmly believe 2019 will see major progress for the project, so it truly is exciting times.
All that remains is to wish all the supporters of this great game of rugby league and everyone involved at the mighty Lions a very Merry Christmas and a fantastic New Year. Enjoy the time with your loved ones and cherish every moment.
See you all at the AJ Bell in January, if not before.
Swinton Lions Chairman