BFC Executive Statement 9.12.15

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During the past two seasons our on field progress has been steady. Our teams are delivering good results and Membership numbers are on the rise once again. However with the pressures of National 1 Rugby our Club is struggling to secure a strong financial foothold and has difficulty coming to terms with balancing our ambitions and living within its means so that it continues to provide a stable foundation for future developments and aspirations. With this in mind, and driven by concerns about the immediate and long term financial future of our Club, the Executive have decided, after much soul searching, that the only solution is to play our League Rugby at Well Hall starting 2016/17 Season.

There will be two “trial games” towards the back end of this season, so that we can test the feasibility of this plan and start addressing any problems in readiness for next season. We had hoped to find a way forward with our current Landlords at Rectory Field but that was not to be and we must now take this opportunity and take control of our own destiny. The Rectory Field will still remain a cherished part of our portfolio and will be used for our non 1st XV rugby – e. g. our burgeoning Women’s XVs, Men’s XVs and age groups, – as we move into this new and exciting era.

We are exceedingly aware of the heartache and disappointment this may cause some of our most ardent supporters but in the true fashion of “loyalty to the cause” we hope, by understanding “Why?”, they will come with us as we take the best available option for the health and well being of our club.

“The Club” has a tremendous History which will never disappear; it will continue and flourish as we strive to guarantee our future before it is too late.

Blackheath FC Executive Committee 9.12.15

Tim Brindle

20 Comments

  • Trevor Allman says:

    This decision to move away from The Rectory Field is so unexpected……….not.

  • Clare Elliot says:

    The Rectory Field has a big place in my heart having played rugby there for many years. Having trained and played at Well Hall, I know it to be a great facility and one we should make the most of. I will be pleased to cheer on the first team there. A tough decision to make but I think it is the right one.

  • Phil Laurie says:

    Not a surprise, as noted and probably necessary. But sad non the less.

    We are walking away from a lot of history. We have witnessed so many clubs gain promotion, get into financial trouble and drop past in the leagues, if walking away from our roots means we over reach financially then it will prove a very bad day for the Club. On the plus side it is good that the executive have ambition and want the Club to go on to bigger and better things.

    I must also add that Well Hall is a lot easier to get to for me so thats a plus as well.

  • Richard Clark says:

    Watched my first ever rugby match at the Rectory Field in1970 v London Irish who had British Lions Ken Kennedy and I believe Tony O’Reilly whilst the club fielded England’s Peter Bell and Simon Clarke. A couple of weeks later Cambridge Univ arrived with TGR Davies and our Tony Jorden so huge emotional attachment to the Rectory Field for me as others.
    That said the club members have always been good and making history rather than just reliving past glories so lookling forward to making some more at Well Hall. C’mon Club!

  • Graham Colledge says:

    As a kid, my then local club (West Hartlepool) didn’t secure their finances properly and virtually disappeared from existence. A couple of decades or so have passed and they’re still making their way back. It is sad that Rectory Field won’t be as heavily used by the Club in the future but the most important thing has to be to ensure the Club are financially stable and moving upwards. I’m sure We’ll Hall can be made the new home of “Club Rugby”. Hard and brave decision but I think probably the right one for the long term future of the whole Club.

  • Lawrence Mayne says:

    Good luck
    although I have not been a member for a number of years I have watched with interest the rise through national 1 and have always been proud of the club. Good luck on the new pitch and come on the women & junior sides make rectory field a brilliant place to play.

    Blackheath is always in my heart

  • Ron squires says:

    Can understand the reasoning behind this decision , but surly the members must have a say in such a massive
    move. While. I know we have an excecutive to deal with the day to day running of the Club, from past history the executive were voted in to run our wonderful “Club,” but over the last few years, some positions were already
    Cast in stone before any first and seconded at the AGM. First the red book now the home of Rugby?

    • Glenn Filer says:

      I strongly echo the comment of Ron when he says “but surely members must have a say in such a massive move”.
      Such a proposal must be the subject of a full debate and decision by the WHOLE MEMBERSHIP and not merely by the unaccountable and undemocratic means by which the Executive is trying to force this decision through.
      I await details of a Special General which must be called asap during January.

  • Markus Burcham says:

    As a player, Rectory Field has been my playing home for the last 3 seasons and I thoroughly enjoy playing there. However, it has been noted by many that a move to Well Hall is the best way forward for the club in terms of its survival and progress in this competitive National League. With plans to revamp some of the facilities, the new playing surface is hopefully an idication of the emmaculate standards we may see. I know that as a player group, we are very much looking forward to becoming part of the clubs new history, which will start when we play our first game there this season.

  • Stacy Hodder says:

    I have just found out about the decision to move to Eltham Well-hall. Very sad to hear. I not only worked for the Rugby club in the 80’s but also have nephews that played for the Club.
    Surely there must be a way forward without leaving the home of the Club. Change is not always the best.

  • Colin Ridgway says:

    Dear all, thanks to those who have responded to the announcement. We are a members’ Club and it’s important that all subscription paying members that support the whole Club have a chance to respond to this decision.

    I have had the honour to play, captain, coach and now be DoR of this great Club and having taken the time to understand all the factors driving the decision, I am totally supportive of this switch. We and I mean everybody is so proud of our history but to continue to be competitive in the national leagues, we also have to look to the future and make commercial decisions that ensure the Club has a sustainable financial structure.

    Blackheath Rugby Club is a name that I always want associated with senior Rugby and not for it to fall down the leagues away into the abyss.

    The Rectory Field will remain an integral part of Blackheath Rugby Club – the facilities will continue to support much of our Rugby that is played across the whole Club. The history will never be forgotten but we, as a whole Club must look forward, make sensible commercial decisions that are driven by the demands of national league Rugby that we now face. Everybody associated with the Club, wants the next chapter of its future to be successful, a word that means different things to different people! I hope everyone understands, year on year National league rugby gets tougher and more demanding. If we stand still we run the serious risk of going in a downward spiral. We simply will not be able to compete at National level unless we have long term financial stability. Significant investment is going into Well Hall, it will provide an excellent base for all our membership and supporters to enjoy watching senior rugby.

    Thanks and best regards to all,
    Ridgy

  • Edward Smith says:

    So very sorry but it was inevitable. I really want to see us in the Championship and it was never going to happen at the Rectory Field. You can’t take issue with what Ridgy has said.

    Come on CLUB!!

  • Alan Thompson says:

    We watched a truly great second half performance at Coventry yesterday. Congratulations to the team and the management. What a comeback.

    I’ve had a look at the draft plans for Well Hall and it’s clear to me that this is the correct way forward for The Club to develop an excellent facility. There is great history at The Rectory Field. It’s almost 50 years since I watched my first match there. The lack of parking and need for stable finance mean that a move to Well Hall is the next logical step. It will be sad to leave The Rectory Field.

    The standard in National 1 is rising year on year and we need to keep pace with this both on-field and off-field. Needless to say, I have a particular interest in helping the executive develop a 21st century physiotherapy and medical facility that is up there with the best in the league.

  • Martin Worrow says:

    I’ve mused the move conundrum time and again. The RF is a smashing place, one which me and my family go to principally for two reasons: To watch the highest level of 1st team Rugby in the area and to catch up with our friends.
    If staying put on existing terms means that we cannot sustain our position in National League 1, let alone have any prospect of further progression but WH can (with guaranteed tenure for the long term) then provided our friends also decide to watch the 1’s, just a mile down the road, it would be a win win from my point of view.
    Whilst not going to RF as much will be missed, for the sake of continuing to watch Blackheath play in the higher echelons of the game it sounds more than necessary to me to move and therefore I support it.
    Come on Club

  • Nik Dinning says:

    Personally, I think it is a brave choice and one that could well bring in the funding that we have needed for years. Clearly this move offers us the best chance of securing our financial independence and security. Frankly, trying to raise funds to support the 1st XV without bar revenue was always a Sisyphean task. I am sure the first XV supporters would much rather see their money going over the bar back into the Club. I know I certainly would.

    As an added bonus we might even – on rare occasions – be able to get all of the men’s sides playing at the same venue on the same day. That would fantastic to see, and reminiscent of when I first joined the club in the early noughties and all players and supporters used to end up in the same bar for a few beers!

    Well done to the Exec for taking what must have been a tough decision.

  • Nye Bidwell says:

    A very difficult decision but now it has been made, it would be wonderful to see everyone directing their energy into supporting the success and growth of the Club at all levels and the first team’s move to Well Hall. I don’t see that there was any other option and it is great to see hunger and ambition to reach the Championship.

  • Michael Wear says:

    The Ide Hill Chapter will continue to give resurgent Club our full support at Well Hall. Good to see that the Exec has the ambition and courage to make the difficult decisions.

  • paul montague says:

    I fully support the decision. Anything that sustains and supports the club’s longterm future has to be worth trying.
    Also closer links with the Juniors potentially assists with both the next generation of players and supporters.Paul

  • Barrie Wooderson says:

    It is very heart warming to read so many messages showing support for our great Club. The history of Blackheath is well documented however I firmly believe the Rectory Field to be the heartbeat of The Club. I still get that indescribable feeling walking on the pitch in the knowledge that the game’s true greats have played on this outstanding surface. Just to mention one name a young Gareth Edwards, in the colours of Millfield School, played here on a very cold New Year’s Day, all those years ago.

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