WHILST Nottingham Rugby's season came to a disappointing
finish against Bedford last Friday 10 May, club Chairman Alistair
Bow took the opportunity to reflect on a promising season for the
Green and Whites.
EYES ON THE FUTURE:
Nottingham chairman Alistair Bow reflects on season of great
success. PIC: Alison Bowden.
Despite losing the two legged semi-final 49-38 on aggregate to
Bedford, Nottingham finished second in the league - the club's best
ever result in the Championship, and also qualified for the quarter
finals of the British and Irish Cup.
In fact, it was the club's highest league finish in more than
two decades since their relegation from England's top-flight.
"We set ourselves a target of the top four at the start of the
season and a place in the cup quarter finals. We finished the
league in second place and achieved our cup ambition. Whilst we
would have ultimately loved to have gone one stage further in
either or both competitions, on reflection, we are not too
disappointed with the overall campaign", said Bow.
The Green and Whites finished three points ahead of Bedford in
the league, beating their Midlands rivals at home in January and
losing out in the away fixture to a cruel try in the eight minute
of stoppage time. Nottingham also proved valiant opposition against
the promotion favourites Newcastle, holding the Falcons for 65
minutes of the game in the Northeast, and only losing out by two
points at home by a kick in the last five minutes.
"We have proved this season that we can compete with the very
best teams in the league. With the exception of Newcastle, we got
results against all the other promotion chasing clubs, including
Bedford, Leeds and Bristol," Bow said.
"We've done this with tight resources and a relatively small
playing squad. It's testament to the whole coaching, playing and
conditioning team, that we did as well as we did. They should all
be congratulated. They have done a fantastic job."
It's also been a pretty good season for the club off the field.
Despite the recent announcement concerning the need for new
investors, excluding the play-off semi-final, match day incomes and
attendances are up by 40% and 29% respectively. The average crowd
is almost 1,700 and with over 3,000 attending for the play-off semi
final, Bow is confident that a financially self-sufficient
Nottingham Rugby is not far away:
"We set ourselves some challenging targets for the business side
of the club this year and we have achieved some excellent results.
We've increased attendances and incomes, when most clubs in the
Championship have struggled to standstill. We have invested in our
community programme and started to re-establish Nottingham Rugby as
a creditable brand in the local rugby community, helping to create
our fans for tomorrow. I would like to say thank you to all our
supporters, sponsors and community partners, who have helped make
Another part of the club's marketing strategy for the season was
to create an all round entertainment experience at Meadow Lane in
an attempt to encourage new fans to try out Nottingham Rugby. The
addition of pre-match pyrotechnics, cheerleaders, half-time fans
activity and a series of local musical performances has created a
buzz around the club and helped to bring fans back for more.
"The whole team has been working tirelessly and combined with
the help from a very loyal group of volunteers and the local
community we have managed to put on a great show on match-day.
We've had some fantastic events, with the Fireworks back in
November and the boys and girls brigade bands on Friday being the
highlights for me. I would like to thank everyone involved with the
club, without your help we couldn't have achieved what we have this
So, the future looks promising for the Green and Whites who have
had their best season for over 20 years. But, in order to maintain
this momentum, investment is still needed and the loss on Friday
doesn't mean it's time to have a rest.
"We've had some encouraging conversations recently and the Board
has secured some initial investment to help us with the finances,
but we've still got work to do, both this season and next. With
playing matters finished, the players and coaches will quite
rightly put their feet up for a little while, but our hard work has
just begun. The Board desperately wants to continue the forward
momentum and deliver the vision of bringing premiership rugby to
Nottingham. We want to be challenging for the top four and the
chance for promotion again next season and to do this we need new
When asked why Nottingham is different, Bow continued:
"We think we've created a very solid base - the club reached its
first play-off semi, it has contracts in place for the majority of
the squad for next season, it has excellent training and playing
facilities, and we are busy securing agreements with existing and
new sponsors. All this makes me confident that we'll be able to
find the new investment needed and at least retain our position at
the top of the Championship next year."
Nottingham finished second in the league - it's highest ever
position and qualified for the semi-finals of the play-offs, losing
out to Bedford for a place in the final. It's hoped this is the
start of a special period for the club and not a one off