2004 April Squadbuilder Meeting

April’s Squadbuilder focussed on the contribution that Squadbuilder is making to the future of the club, and Neil Kelly, Gary Chambers and Vinny Webb from the club were on hand to demonstrate how the funds are really making a difference.

Neil Kelly gave a presentation outlining the structure of the Football Department at the club which is headed by Head Coach Paul Cullen and provided an insight into the ethos behind it. The work going on behind the scenes gives the impression that phrases like “committed to providing a winning culture” and “inspire and motivate the Warrington community” are not empty words by any means. At junior levels the Service Area provides a school and club based structure for representative rugby, and the Scholarship Scheme for the 12-16 age group aims to develop future professionals. Squadbuilder funds are playing an important role in player sponsorship, scholarships, nutritional programmes, player coaching education and camp support (which has no involvement from Maurice Lindsay). In the future an exchange programme with Australia would be a further development if funds permit.

Assistant Coach Gary Chambers mentioned how the under 21s had gone well last year but the squad had been partly disassembled as the club had taken the decision to largely assemble a fresh squad. He spoke of how the club was being able to recruit elite youngsters and it won’t be long before they start to come through.

Scholarship Manager Vinny Webb spoke about how the under 16s are developed, including skills and fitness assessments at Wrexham and the introduction of sub-maximal weight training at such ages. 11 of the under 16s squad of 20 are from Warrington, and the squad recently attended a weekend teambuilding camp down at Thetford. Various activities over the weekend including fitness training with Mark Forster, a psychology lecture from Brian Chambers and the change to “go ape” with outward bound challenges to develop teambuilding and communication skills. There were some fun competitions, including a “guess the baby” competition using a baby photo of each participant – unfortunately some squad members failed to identify Vinny Webb’s own baby photo and that was the only one in black and white ! From the squad of 20, 9 have currently been signed on contracts, including local lad Kevin Penny who was introduced to the meeting as a winger of great speed and promise. The part Squadbuilder has played in all this has been to fund the 9 signing on fees to prevent these players being snapped up by bigger clubs, and to foot half of the bill of the Thetford camp.

Finally the ideas for Corporate Squadbuilder were presented which will enable local businesses to contribute to the club without the financial outlay of the sponsorship packages. If you work for such a company then now is the time to start lobbying for interest, as companies will be able to benefit from a business networking environment whilst raising Squadbuilder funds at the same time. Finally members were given a sneak preview of the “End of an Era” book which has finally made it into print at long last, and a complimentary copy is available to season ticket holders from the shop where there are also some copies for sale. Next meeting is Tuesday 18th May, with club Conditioner Tony O’Brien and possibly some of the injured players (spoilt for choice at the moment).

Thanks to Squadbuilder member Martyn Ford for the report and pictures from the meeting.