New Year's Message from Chairman Chris Noble MBE
I would like to wish the supporters, sponsors, partners, staff, directors and players of Sheffield Eagles a very Happy New Year!
I hope that you found time to relax and enjoy the holiday period with your families and loved ones and are now looking forward to what 2022 brings.
At Sheffield Eagles we have much to be excited about in 2022 and beyond. Our eight-year nomadic existence will come to an end with the opening of the community stadium at the Olympic Legacy Park, which comes as both great relief but also a great opportunity.
For the first time since the club was formed in 1984 we have the opportunity to sell and profit from food and beverage sales on a matchday and have the ability to commercialise secondary matchday sales like we have never able to before.
Having a fixed home and security of tenure allows us to reconnect to the local community in Attercliffe, our home for so long at Don Valley Stadium, and to be able to re-engage the wider public in Sheffield too.
Tubbs and the men’s team have been preparing during the off-season, with plenty of new faces joining some more familiar ones to be put through their paces during pre-season training and we had a great opportunity to introduce some old, new and returning faces to the supporters at the Supporters Club event in early December and hear about progress.
The new stadium gives us a wonderful opportunity to showcase our community work on matchdays, something which has been impossible to achieve during our time away from the city. Our Foundation, the oldest in Rugby League, enters its 21st year next year and is set to take the community work to new heights following an 18 month period of rebuilding after a few years of dormancy.
With the investment from the RFL, the club and local partners we have employed a Development Officer who, coupled with a refreshed board of trustees, have driven the programme forward significantly over the last 12 months, ensuring that we have emerged from lockdown restrictions with all guns blazing.
Highlights include reaching over 1,500 young people in schools in just three half-terms worth of delivery, launching a Wheelchair Rugby League team which has at least 16 attendees weekly and over 25 regular players and delivering a Street Games funded pilot “Fit & Fed” camp during the summer, reaching over 70 young people.
The financial position of the Foundation has also been strengthened, with our trustees having sought commercial investment and grant funding to secure programmes in the future and to improve the reserves position to protect existing work.
Our Women’s Rugby League team will launch in early 2022 and we have plans for a Learning Disability Rugby League team to follow shortly afterwards, bringing to life our vision of being a fully inclusive club. The Foundation will also be embarking on a number of fundraising initiatives to secure delivery staff to increase the number of young people being introduced to Rugby League locally with a view to increasing their long term participation in the future and of course we await news of our exciting National Lottery Heritage Fund application, which has received tremendous support from both local partners and within the Rugby League network.
Whilst there is still much to achieve, we are confident that we are positioning Rugby League very well at all levels in Sheffield and building the necessary partnerships, and the trust that comes with them, in the city to achieve long term success.
The city will also feature heavily in the Rugby League World Cup, with the England v Greece Men’s game taking place at Bramall Lane and the Group B and semi-finals of the Wheelchair competition being played in Sheffield.
All of the fixtures will be an amazing experience to be part of and I would urge everyone to secure their tickets early for the World Cup so that they do not miss out on the events, but also to help us all demonstrate the health and interest that the city has for Rugby League.
Once again may I take this opportunity to wish you a very Happy New Year and look forward to your support of Sheffield Eagles in 2022 and beyond!
Please keep safe.
Chris Noble MBE, Sheffield Eagles RLFC Chairman