Inside the Halliwell Jones

The evening’s agenda underwent some major late changes. The Supporters Trust AGM, due to take place prior to the Squadbuilder meeting has had to be adjourned until September. On top of that, the “bumps and bruises” men (aka Jock Fawcett and Paul Doherty) were called away to under 21s duty for a re-arranged match at Headingley.

Fortunately, thanks to Richard Shanks, Neil Dowson, Allan Hoult and Andy Topham the evening was still an informative and enjoyable success.

The evening started with a highlights video of the Warrington Service Area season – teams representing the town at u12s, u13, u14s and u15s. Things certainly look promising for the future with some great play on show and some cracking tries scored.

Neil Dowson then took us through an update on off-the-field matters at the club.

The move to the new stadium has certainly been a huge success, exceeding all expectations. Season ticket sales reached over 6,000 (more than double those of 2003), shop income is up 80% and overall revenue up 70%. Finances are now extremely secure with losses turned into profits and several wealthy backers supporting the club.

The “hole” under the East Stand will soon see some activity, with a deal now confirmed with Warrington Primary Health Care Trust for a walk-in facility and offices. Construction is due to start after the Leeds game.

2004 represents the 125th year of Rugby League in Warrington. To mark this milestone, there will be a celebratory dinner at the HJ Stadium on Monday 18th October. There will also be merchandise available in the shop.

We then had a sneak preview of the home & away shirts for next year which looked very nice. Quality will be much better than this years shirt – this year the shirts weigh 150g/m2 whilst next years will be approx 230g/m2.

Bevan wall replica bricks will be ordered in the next couple of months, once everyone has had chance to check that their bricks in the wall are engraved correctly. Those that are wrong will be corrected at the end of the season.

There was a reminder of a Mark Hilton Testimonial evening at Bank Quay Social Club on Tuesday 3rd August. £10 a ticket includes hot pot supper. Forum to include Paul Cullen, Lee Briers and Karl Kirkpatrick.

Also mention of the conference and banqueting facilities at the Halliwell Jones Stadium – companies are using them for a wide variety of purposes with a wide range of room sizes on offer. Bear them in mind if you are involved in organising events where you work. Christmas party brochures are now available from the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

The group was then treated to a tour of the stadium – thanks to Neil Dowson, Allan Hoult and Andy Topham for guiding us round and answering questions. We do have very good facilities at the Halliwell Jones Stadium which ought to see us getting stronger and stronger both on and off the pitch.

Thanks to member Simon Bishop for the report.