Programme notes originally published in Sharks Life 15/9/17 (Sale Sharks v London Irish)
Everyone was obviously disappointed at losing out to Newcastle last week.
As owners we share the frustrations of our supporters, players and staff when we lose but I have no doubt that things will soon click into place and that we will enjoy a successful season. We only have to look at the talent we have and we are bringing to the club to make that statement.
From a personal point of view I am delighted to be involved at Sale along with Simon Orange, Steve Diamond and the squad. My route into the sport goes back around 10 years to when my sons went to school in Wales. One of my first questions to them was: “Did you make the football team?” After the first week they replied: “No Dad, we’re in Wales – the only game we play here is rugby union!” That was my entry into buying season tickets to watch Sale back when they were playing at Edgeley Park in Stockport.
What quickly inspired me about the same was seeing what a superb attitude the players showed towards the supporters and how much they were involved within the community too. You couldn’t help but be impressed at how friendly and accommodating they were and how well they conducted themselves – on and off the field. You also only need to look at how they respect the decisions of the officials to see they are a credit to the sport.
Now I have ended up being one of the owners here along with Simon and, through that, my son George is helping with the Sale kit-men. It was an expensive purchase to help get my son a job as a kit man! But, on a serious note, it is wonderful to be part of what we are all trying to build here at Sale. Looking forward, I believe the work we have been and are doing in the community will be of huge importance. Getting the buy-in of the community, be it through schools of junior clubs, is going to be a vital part of what we all want to achieve.
Today’s schoolchildren represent the future and engaging with that audience will be so important. Those youngsters are hopefully going to be the next generation of our supporters or even future players, so the earlier we engage and get them enthused the better. Sale are already rightly renowned for what they do within the community but our task now is to build on that work and drive it further forward.
I must thank all staff associated with this and there is no finishing line in what we do.
Obviously we are competing against the many football clubs in the region but we have a huge catchment area to work with stretching from Staffordshire up to Cumbria. If we build on the positive foundations that have already been laid then we can all look forward to a successful future.
We are playing the long game here and I’d like to think my family and I are prime examples of how people can become hooked on the sport once they experience what rugby is all about.
Let’s get behind the lads!