I trust that you have all managed to have the best Christmas possible and some of you will have been able to spend some time with family and friends and will hopefully now be getting ready to join me in welcoming in a new year that can only get better for us all.
2020 has been, without doubt, the most difficult I have had to face at the club as I approach 10 years at the London Broncos. There have been many up’s and down’s throughout my time with the club but to have so many issues to deal with over 9 months has been like nothing else in my tenure and I have enjoyed a couple of days with family to reflect on what has been a very strange year at the club and for all of society.
We should probably take time to remember that some of our supporters have had major changes to their circumstances, either through their employment or in some cases health and the thoughts of all of us at the club are with these people. The Broncos family looks after their own and to hear of fans struggling makes for difficult reading.
Thanks to our owner, David Hughes, the club continues to be in a strong position moving into 2021 and I have spent the last fortnight, since discovering the outcome of the Super League bid, speaking to clubs, players and agents with the view of putting together a squad capable of challenging for promotion next season. Without confirmation of our league standing, start date and knowing when we can begin pre-season, it has been hard to know exactly which targets to go for and when. We are however now in full swing adding to our squad and announcements will continue to come as we step into the New Year.
There has been speculation about where we will be playing our Home fixtures in 2021 and I would like to respond to that in the only way I can at this stage. Since Spring, myself and our Commercial Manager, have visited a number of Stadiums and facilities as well as entering negotiations with 2 of them. The reason for this is predominantly down to Super League making it clear that Ealing, in its current guise, would not be accepted as a venue for us to play games at should we be promoted back to Rugby League’s top flight. As a club we knew that with an ambitious owner and coaching team, not to mention our fans, we simply had to find the type of venue that would not only be accepted by Super League but also give us facilities that allowed our ambitious corporate and commercial plans to develop.
As with all business deals, speculation and rumour do not help negotiating stances, and with the club speaking to other parties we were not in a position to comment on potential moves. At this moment I am still not prepared to say anything other than confirm that we have got to a stage with AFC Wimbledon which has meant that they will consult their fans and take a vote as per their own statement released recently. Out of respect for their club and supporters any comment from us will come after that vote is concluded. What I can say is that this was not a rushed decision based on the Super League bid, it is part of plans for the club to be Super League ready in 2021 should we manage to gain promotion via our on-field performances.
In addition to the move we will also move to a new training facility and news on this will be given as soon as all of this is confirmed.
I’m aware that our supporters are keen to get information about season tickets and I can assure them that we would very much like to get them on sale too however until the Stadium is confirmed, and our fixtures are also made clear, we have had to hold back on this. I expect it to be mid to late January when we can put these on sale.
2021 will be a difficult year for many and we expect to face many challenges as a club. Until we are presented with them it is difficult to make conclusive and detailed statements however the Broncos are determined to ensure that the year is successful both on and off the field and our wonderful fans are there to share the journey with us. We cannot dictate the rules regarding attendance but we will be fighting for you to be back in the stands as soon as possible.
Recently we have announced several new corporate partnerships and I’ve been really impressed by the work going on within our commercial team given the circumstances many businesses find themselves in at the moment. A strong business network around the club will give us a platform to build from in the future and we are heading in the right direction in this sense. The new Broncos Business club is sure to be popular and I’d like to thank all of the sponsors and partners that have stepped forward in recent months to back the Broncos for next year.
I’d like to end by thanking all of the players who have left the club in 2020 for their time and dedication to the London Broncos, in particular two of them, Kieran Dixon who will always have a place in the heart of many Broncos fans and Rob Butler who I have seen progress through our system and sincerely hope he kicks on to be a success with his new club Warrington.
Enjoy the last few hours of 2020 and from David, myself and the staff of the London Broncos we wish you a very Happy New Year.