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Statement from Chief Executive Officer, Lance Bradley

Statement from Chief Executive Officer, Lance Bradley
First of all, we all hope that you are keeping safe and well in these unprecedented times.

I wanted to update you in as much depth as I can on how things are going at the Club, of course from a rugby perspective, but also from a financial one.

Most importantly, I wanted to let you know where we are in our search for a new Head Coach. You know that Johan Ackermann will be leaving us to join the Red Hurricanes in Japan in July. As I have previously said, we had known about Johan’s wish to pursue other opportunities for a little while, so had made plans as far as we could before his announcement.

With a return to training now expected to be a month away, however, (see Q&A here), we have decided to take more time to finalise our appointment. Our objective is to ensure that we appoint the Head Coach we feel will give us the best possible opportunity for success on a sustainable and long term basis.

We will be talking to our shortlist of candidates over the coming weeks, and expect to make an announcement in early July.

In the mean time David Humphreys will be working with our Head of Performance and our senior coaches to ensure that our players are fully prepared for a return to training and play over the coming weeks.

You can read the Q&A here for some more details of what we’ve been doing to keep the players, and other staff, involved and up to speed during the lockdown.

I also want to take this opportunity to update you on our financial situation.

The country, indeed the world, is facing a crisis the like of which hasn’t been seen since World War II. As well as the health crisis that Covid-19 has caused, we are also facing a serious economic crisis. Sport in general and rugby in particular has been affected as heavily as any other part of the economy, with no games being played in the Premiership since early March.

While no-one has experienced a crisis quite like this one before, the team we have managing things here at Gloucester Rugby is uniquely placed to steer the Club through these turbulent times. Our management group consists of me, David Humphreys (Director of Rugby), Alex Brown (Commercial Director) and Lee Ferraby (Finance and Operations Director) and between us there are decades of business experience and decades of rugby experience. This group is supported by a board lead by Martin St Quinton, whose experience and commitment to the Club are well known.

Throughout this crisis the Club has been on the front foot, using our experience to take the decisions we needed to in order to ensure the Club comes out of this crisis in the best possible way. We were the first to agree salary cuts with all our staff, for example, a move which other clubs then followed.

We were also the first club to use the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, more commonly referred to as the furlough scheme, to the fullest extent possible, with all but seven staff being placed on furlough as soon as the scheme was announced.

With early decisions like these being taken we will ensure that Gloucester Rugby emerges from this crisis not only fully prepared to take on the restart of the Premiership season, but also in better shape than most of our rivals to face the challenges that lie ahead.

It is important, of course, to understand that this crisis is not just affecting Gloucester Rugby. While one or two Premiership Clubs may have extremely rich owners, we are all facing similar, very challenging, trading conditions. Indeed, clubs and unions all over the world are struggling.

Gloucester Rugby is in a better position than many clubs, but we still rely very heavily on your support, and will need to rely even more heavily upon it in the coming months. We do understand that some of our supporters are in a difficult position themselves, and of course we will help where we can. But if you are able to continue your financial support you will help us come out of this in the best possible shape to bring the success we all want.

In the Q&A, which is linked at the end of this article, will find the most common questions we’ve been asked recently and our answers to them. I’m sure you’ll understand that commercial and personal sensitivities mean we can’t always be quite as open as we’d like to be, but I hope you find these useful and interesting.

I would encourage you to pay particular attention to the last point, and make sure you’re signed up for our regular updates. Please don’t assume that you are signed up, double check – it’ll only take you a couple of minutes.

If you have other questions of your own, not covered in the Q&A, then do please feel free to get in touch via [email protected]. We will answer as many as possible in our weekly update.

Thank you, and we look forward to welcoming you back to Kingsholm as soon as we safely can.

Lance Bradley

Chief Executive Officer

Please click here to read the full Q&A.