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20 March 2021

With the season upon us I am sure everyone connected with the Lions is eagerly awaiting the start of what promises to be an exciting journey and glad to be back playing after what has been a traumatic past year.

The performance at Bradford Bulls in the pre-season friendly showed what this club is all about – character and determination to clinch a deserved victory. The victory was marred by the devastating injury to Jose and the club fully supports Jose in his recovery programme. Jose has stated he will come back stronger and in the meantime he will be involved in many off-field Lions’ initiatives.

There are various groups to say a big thank you following the past year, which to say has been challenging for the club would be understatement.

I have stated previously our supporters are the best in the league and I truly believe that with the various adversities that the club has faced and overcome  yet we continue  grow stronger and stronger. The significant financial donations through 2020 season tickets plus the superb work of the Supporters Trust and Pride Builder are pivotal to our growth on and off the field so thank you.

In such an unstable period I say a big thank you to our business partners who continue to support the club with valued sponsorship. I look forward to working closely with our sponsors as we continue to grow.

Our playing, coaching, backroom staff were faced with the uncertainty of when we would be returning to train and play, but the professionalism of everyone in ensuring fitness was maintained emphasised the dedication and commitment of our staff so a big thank you.

The work needed to meet Covid protocols, firstly to return to training and then to get sign off to play behind closed doors has been a minefield. This has resulted in many, many long days, nights, weekends by so many people to ensure we get sign off by the RFL and local authority to get to the place where this Sunday can take place. My personal gratitude to all concerned. This has not been straightforward.

I just want to say how the RFL have supported all clubs in getting season 2021 up and running and in the many meetings we have had it is obvious our governing body is held in high esteem by the Government and has represented our sport effectively.

Our community work continues to grow and we have close partnerships with our partner clubs Folly Lane, Belfast Eagles, Devon Sharks, Longhorns and the Kano Lions, with the Lions supporting each club in their development. Work continues in various different strands of community engagement so watch out for more news on this front.

The Lionesses are an integral part of the club and the commitment and enthusiasm of all concerned is fantastic to see led by Head Coach Martina and it will be emotional and exciting to see the Lionesses start playing in our famous kit up at Folly Lane.

The club is in a solid position on and off the field with professionalism in every aspect of what we do. This is evidenced by the purchase of state of the art software for training analysis and the development of our own club gym at the AJ Bell stadium.

Our relationship and standing with the RFL has never been stronger and this is due to the club being outward looking and showing how relevant we are to the game and leading on certain initiatives.

I would like to say thank you to my fellow Directors who have worked tirelessly to ensure the club has met the many challenges in the past year and we will be in a strong position to face the every changing landscape of our beloved game, however that may look in the new broadcasting deal commencing 2022.

I started by saying this is an exciting journey and this is a fantastic time to be part of the Lions family, and together we can enjoy this journey so let’s all get behind the boys. This is a special time and I cannot wait until you are all allowed back at Heywood Road and creating our unique special atmosphere. In the meantime I encourage you to purchase the streaming packages as it assists the club and you don’t miss the action.

I look forward to renewing acquaintance with you all.

Please keep safe.

Stuart Fletcher, Chairman, on behalf of The Board


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