At the Club AGM in June there was an open and frank debate about various funding, sponsorship and outgoings issues which resulted in a bit of a challenge to the Committee to come up with a better model going forward on how to reduce match related costs and regularly furnish the teams with new playing kit. The answer we arrived at was to follow the Stonehaven Youth Football Club model of including a surcharge in the subscription fee for a playing top which the kids/parents will own and be responsible for cleaning - with no sponsors coming forward we were stuck between using the old outdated strips or moving to this model where the players can self fund new playing strips to give the Club a single identity from Micros all the way up to the 1st XV.
Please Note: This does not replace the kids getting an all-weather drill top as they go into the Minis(P4) and the Club tie that the boys get when they move to the Youth sections (S1) - this cost is absorbed by the Club to prevent "forcing" any parent to purchase anything over and above their subscription fees.
After many conversations with suppliers, we have managed to source a reasonably priced deal with customised playing tops coming in just under the £30 uplift in fees and the ability to deliver in a 3-6wk timeframe from order. The tops will have no sponsor this season so the Committee can't be accused of double dipping the parents and re-allocating the sponsorship monies for use in another area. The tops will be size specific to the child (hence the sample strip trying on session over the next few weekends at training/matchdays) and personally customised with the kids initials instead of numbers (numbers are not a mandatory thing until U18 level). At the end of the playing year these tops can be used as a training top or leisure top or be signed as a commemorative thing for the kids and their team-mates to hold onto as a souvenier.
The children will still pay £2 match fees to cover post match snack/drink for them and their opposition.
On the subject of fees we were very conscious that we would never knowingly price anyone out of participating in rugby and have advised coaches to work with any parents who may want to pay fees over the course of the season or in some other alternative manner that can arranged via the coaches/Executive Committee - the Club have done this for a number of years now as we know that people may not be in the same financial situation as they were previously due to the various industry downturns prevalent in the NE at the moment - this facility, or its use is never broadcast or highlighted to avoid any unnecessary upset to player or parent.
We hope to be able to share the final design on the website in the next few days (once we have the various approval from BT Murrayfield on some outstanding queries) with the tops being issued at the end of October - in future years we will hopefully be a bit more organised and be able to have the tops available for issue earlier in the season (i.e. before the Tattie Holidays) but as this is Year#1 of this new initiative it has been a significant effort to organise in a relatively short space of time.
Hopefully this answers the various questions being raised to coaches and committee members and gives you the relevant background information on the increase in fees.
As ever, any member of the Executive Committee is happy to meet and discuss but this was an AGM initiated change which we have hopefully addressed to the approval of the majority of the membership which will hopefully also improve the balance sheet when it comes to match day related costs.
Yours in rugby
(m) 07790 494349