23 Dec 2020

Christmas message from the board

Chairman Andy Mazey provides us with the latest club update.

"Christmas messages are normally pretty easy to start off. I can usually reflect on what has happened on the pitch and within the club over the past 12 months. The highs, the lows, etc etc.

The truth is, it has been an unusual year and mainly for the wrong reasons which are out of everyone’s control.

Nevertheless, as this unprecedented and difficult year draws to its conclusion, I would like to take this opportunity to express, on behalf of the Club, the sincerest thanks to our supporters, players, management team, CEO, board, volunteers, sponsors, partners and Rochdale Council. Your support has been magnificent and has made it possible to navigate through the many, many challenges created by this pandemic to date.

Recently our application to be elevated to Championship was pipped by Newcastle’s extremely strong submission. We have since embraced the opportunity to take feedback and indeed only last week Steve Kerr and I met (virtually) with Air Commodore Dean Andrew OBE, Chairman of the panel that delivered the recommendation to the RFL board. Dean was very open and honest, taking time to talk through the process, providing us with valuable feedback some of which I was keen to share with you. This feedback has been summarised in a very complimentary thank you letter which is now on file at the club and concluded that our submission was comprehensive, visionary and honest.

Dean also stated that the application process highlighted how the club is making significant progress under new ownership this despite the pandemic and has quickly re-kindled old and generated new relationships with interlocutors, in particular local politicians, who can help unlock the potential of the Hornets large catchment area.

It was commented that our bid was a credit to everyone that contributed, and It contained impact statements, letters of support and other evidence that showcased not only the effort the Club has put into the submission, but equally, the central role Hornets play in the town. It demonstrated the commitment of the current ownership is clear and brings with it a sustainable investment strategy, and a set of skills that place the club on an upward trajectory with momentum to overcome COVID pandemic fallout with the backing of everyone connected.

Some of the highlights which received plaudits within the letter where as follows.

Hornets Social Delivery Programme which has delivered to over 17,000 young people across 57 schools. The programme has an overall social return on investment of £350,000.

‘Back-on-Side’ programme with wider health initiatives, a focus on wheelchair rugby and development of the women’s game. These highlight the club’s outstanding community engagement efforts.

An innovative engagement strategy of the board targeting fan engagement and increased attendances in 2021 and beyond. The strategy is underpinned by an outstanding social media programme that Dean revealed the panel considered has the potential to become one of the best-in-class in the sport.

A foundation development plan that facilitates our new and exciting ETP “English Talent Pathway’ evidenced through the Hornets commitment to community clubs and its outstanding partnership with Hopwood Hall College. This was considered best in class by the panel.

The panel also considered the playing and coaching squad strong enough to avoid relegation from the Championship in the first season and, with a couple of additions, to cement a mid-table position.

Moving on, we returned to training early this month and Matt has been delighted so far with the application and effort of the group. It’s clear to see from my visit to the training base and regular communication with Matt that the team spirit and positivity within the group is already showing really promising signs.

I can’t wait for 2021. It is going to be a very special year and with your continued support and by working TOGETHER we will ensure this club remains on the front foot in what is set to be an extremely exciting and important 150th year.

Wishing you my best wishes for a safe and healthy Christmas.

Andy."

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