Lichfield Rugby Club “just about managing” through Covid, says chairman

Lichfield Rugby Club chairman Paul Massey has admitted he is concerned about what impact the repercussions of Covid-19 pandemic has, and will have, on his club.

Massey, who is the custodian overseeing the club from the top, is all too aware that these times provide the stern obstacle of having a lack of revenue.

As a result the club has had to take out loans.

Just like many sports outfits, Lichfield are having to take lockdown measures on board and react accordingly, with all rugby postponed at grassroots level until 2021.

A concern players may ‘drift away’

Despite these financial restraints, grants they have been able to secure will stabilise Lichfield for the next few months.

However, Massey conceded that keeping a strong connection between the club and its members is a real problem given the lack of games.

He said: “Financially we’re just about managing to hold our own – despite all of our main revenue streams being significantly down. 

Photo Credit: Lichfield Rugby Club

“We’ve cut our costs as much as possible and obtained a few grants and loans, so from a cash perspective we can get through a few more months. Obviously not ideal, but manageable.

“The bigger problem, particularly now we’re closed completely again and there is no date in sight for a return to any sort of real playing action, may well be more that the longer there is no connection with the club, the more likely people are to just ‘drift’ away from rugby and find other things to do.

“We were at least getting some traction with training and touch rugby but that’s stopped now.

“We send out regular communications so that people know as much as possible about what’s going on, but after while there’s not too much to say.  

“It is just difficult to keep people involved in any meaningful way.”

The physical and mental impact

Massey also expressed the worry of not being able to see the positive effects that exercise brings, both physically and mentally.

Photo Credit: Lichfield Rugby Club

“We may not be able to really see this yet, but I believe the impact will prove to be very significant indeed,” he continued.

“For the mini juniors not to be able to meet and enjoy any sort of physical activity with their mates, it cannot be good either physically or emotionally.

“For the seniors, it was hard enough when they could only train but not play. Now that they can’t even do this together.

“Rugby in particular is all about team and social activity. Not being able to do any of this for many months is very hard for everyone.”

Looking ahead to the 2020/21 campaign

Massey reflected on how the Men’s first XV were came close to securing a promotion from Midlands One West last season and assessed how they may fair next campaign, while stating that the women’s team is going through a change of guard with a promising future lying ahead.

“The Men’s first XV were very close to promotion last season – before the season ended prematurely due to Covid-19.

Photo Credit: Lichfield Rugby Club

“If and when a new season finally starts, we expect them to again be one of the main contenders for promotion. 

“The Ladies first team finished mid-table in their league (Championship North) with a fairly young and inexperienced team. 

“We have a new head coach who is optimistic about their chances of finishing higher next time.

‘But with the structure of Ladies rugby there is unfortunately no possibility of promotion any way.

“There has been an active and thriving rugby club in Lichfield for almost 150 years. We were founded in 1874, making us one of the oldest rugby clubs in the country.” 

Definitely something the club can take pride in.

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