'Pride and ambition spur on rugby club

PUBLISHED: 11:31 08 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:48 11 May 2010

David Gee, left, and Jamie Johnson. L1200306

David Gee, left, and Jamie Johnson. L1200306

FORMER Royston Rugby Club chairman David Gee believes the club is in good hands following his decision to step down. After a year at the helm, Gee, who had previously been the club s sports development officer, is leaving for New Jersey in America becaus

FORMER Royston Rugby Club chairman David Gee believes the club is in good hands following his decision to step down.

After a year at the helm, Gee, who had previously been the club's sports development officer, is leaving for New Jersey in America because of work commitments, but insists his original vision of moving the club forward remains firmly on track.

He said: "I've enjoyed my time at the club. On the whole it went well, with some major developments and improvements taking place to set the club on a stronger course for the future."

His personal highlights include the junior teams' results last season and the club's achievement of being awarded a seal of approval accreditation for its high quality.

Gee also described the club's work with schools as a "resounding success" and praised the efforts of the first team that at times managed to field three senior teams.

He said: "A lot has happened in my year of tenure. I am proud of my time at the club, and I regret that I cannot be around to help the club kick on next season.

"There is still a lot to do and some ambitious plans are already in place, but I think we achieved a lot in the past 12 months.

"Royston is a strong town club, with pride and ambition. And those ambitions are not limited to just senior rugby.

"The aim is to be a positive force in the community and get more children playing the game.

"The club's plans are ambitious, but at the same time, realistic. It has the foundations of a club that could eventually compete at a higher level - the potential is certainly there."

Gee's enthusiasm and eye for development will certainly be missed.

However, new chairman Jamie Johnson certainly has the credentials and experience to carry the progress forward.

Johnson said: "I have been club secretary for the past two years and involved with the club in a variety of roles for about 20 years.

"So I suppose this is the natural progression.

"And I am looking forward to the challenge - we have big aspirations for the year ahead.

"The RFU has promised to help us with a changing room block, and hopefully we will have that sorted by the end of the year.

"We're also looking to continue our youth development programme within the schools, following David and Kevin Green's (first team coach) hard work over the last year.

"In rugby there comes a point where you can no longer play, which I'm discovering for myself, so in order for a club to be successful, we need to re-generate.

"Therefore we need to create a conveyor belt of young talent, which is something the club has been working extremely hard for.

"On the field, I'd like to see us consolidate our position in the league," said the former Crows captain.

"Last season we finished near the bottom, and we must improve on that.

"I think it's a little too soon to be talking about promotion, but we must look to finish as high as possible."

The 51-year-old says he will bring "continuity" to his new position.

He said: "Having been involved with the club for so long, I have an in-depth knowledge of how things work.

"David brought a fresh outlook on how things should be done, and I will look to combine that with my experience, and keep pressing forward.

"Over the last 20 years I've enjoyed watching the transformation of the club, and I am now looking forward to witnessing the next phase of development.

"David's involvement will be missed greatly. He put a lot of time and energy into the club, and hopefully I can maintain that, although I don't think anyone can match his creativity and ideas - that would take some doing."

Gee said that he hoped that he provided the club with a "spurt of enthusiasm and momentum".

He added: "Jamie is the perfect leader and ambassador to channel the club's drive and energy. He will help the club grow further, and achieve greater things on and off the pitch.

"I would like to thank the committee, club members, supporters, and parents of our younger players, for their kind support over the year, and wish everyone well and success over the next year and beyond."

However, in moving to a country not necessarily known for its rugby prowess, it appears Gee is moving at the right time, with more than 75,000 Americans now involved with the sport, increasing investment set out for the next 10 years, and 24 clubs in New Jersey.

Gee said: "I've already spotted three rugby pitches in the Princeton area, and who knows, one day I may even set up a sister club for Royston!

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