Chairman’s Address to the Membership


Chairman’s Address to the Membership 


‘The Club Vision 2023 and beyond’ 


This month Chairman John Brodley invited the club membership to an address where he laid out his vision for the club for the forthcoming season and beyond. For those unable to attend the meeting below is a synopsis of the main points. 

The Chair became involved with the club in November 2016 when the club was at a low ebb being controlled by Oxford Harlequins, with no senior players, no money and a mini and junior section held together by Kevin and Tony. 

It would take all his 50 years of experience of running clubs to turn Oxford RFC around, but the fact he had a blank page to start from he found it incredibly exciting and a rare opportunity. Success depended on laying firm foundations and taking some defining, difficult decisions. 

  1. Masters of Destiny

Quins were using and running the club as part of a failed inter-club partnership, but they were not investing in the club. The first decision was to ask Quins to leave – which they did. 

We still look to be complete masters of our own destiny as we hope to become a limited company by guarantee and incorporated this season. 

  1. One Club: Many Teams

The Chair explained at length his unshakable belief which has driven him on for 50 years, that the most successful clubs are tolerant, diverse and fully inclusive community clubs. That is a club which is far more than just inviting the community to hire the buildings although that helps, but, one that is a living and thriving community which looks after its own. It is a place to escape, to find support in difficult times and a place to celebrate members success whatever their involvement with the club. It is NOT just a place to play the game.

This season the focus is all about convincing members to paraphrase JFK ‘Ask not what the club can do for you, but what can you do for the club’. 

There is a need for: 

  1. a) A team of people and a leader to sell and market the club. To look at the recruitment of players of all ages and levels. 
  2. b) A team of people and a leader to increase our number and range of commercial partners. 

Each team needs a leader, someone with some experience but more importantly with the passion to drive the club forward. We have great people in place on social media and looking after commercial partners but they need bringing together and helping. The guarantee is that if you do one job you will not be asked to do anymore! 

  1. Financial Stability and Growth

Following initial work by Andy Lloyd and Chris Mulhall the club moved towards financial stability. There were many skeletons in the closet but they have now been dealt with and we are now growing and investing in the facilities. 

We have a 3 year £125000 grounds investment plan which was kick started with the new training lights. We seed, spread fertiliser and drain the 3 club pitches every year and contract mow every 2 weeks. 

Our aim going forward is to produce a 1st class grass, playing and training facility for the members and for hire. Hiring the club land and buildings is by a long margin our greatest source of income. The aim in the future is to grow daytime use of the facility. 

The club building’s repair budget is £10000 this year but a further £15000 will be spent on improvements. The clubhouse has been renovated on the inside but looks poor on arrival despite a new car park. Our priority is to paint the outside and improve the entrance. 

There are parts of the club which get lost and the grassed car park is one of those. It is on the margins of the club but it still needs updating and improving this year. What that entails is still under investigation.

  1. Playing at all Levels 

We currently have 2 senior men’s teams on a good day, a terrific number of U16’s but the reality is that for the Colts, U15’s and U14’s to give our boys games we have to merge with Abingdon, Bicester and Grove respectively. Coming through from the mini section again the numbers are patchy. 

Quite simply, we have a band of coaches who create a terrific atmosphere on a Sunday but we do not have anyone with the desire, passion, time, commitment and experience to run Sunday rugby. To do so you do not need to know anything about the game. You just need to know how to run a small business. 

We should be learning from Banbury, Chinnor, Quins, Henley and Wallingford but who is going to lead us on that journey? It is no coincidence that the Chair worked for 3 of those clubs. 

We would love to open the game to girls and women but who is going to lead that development? 

We started Special Needs rugby before the pandemic but it has fallen away? Who would like to bring it back? 

What about Walking Rugby, a Vets team, Tag Rugby for adults and Touch rugby – it is crazy that we are a preferred venue for 2 private tag and touch organisations but do not run our own section. 

The Chair concluded with the fact that it is People who make a club not bricks and mortar. ORFC needs more people volunteering to give back to this evolving club. If you do it will pay you back 10 fold with a huge sense of achievement and accomplishment, which will just make you feel good. 

Contact the Chair [email protected] if you can do a bit more – he is always at the club, or at least that is what his wife says! 

Useful Links 

ORFC Website Oxford RFC Website

ORFC Nomads 1909 Clubhouse Venue Hire [email protected]

All General Enquiries [email protected] 

John Brodley Chair ORFC