Gloucester Rugby will emerge ‘vastly improved’ from the pandemic

Lance Bradley’s leadership of Gloucester Rugby during the pandemic, the focus on local businesses and community, has produced a ‘stronger and vastly improved’ club.

If Lance Bradley were to leave Gloucester Ruby tomorrow his legacy, particularly during the pandemic, will be a stronger club.

He is open about the intense scrutiny the club put itself under through lockdown and does not flinch from communicating the gravity and impact of it all.

As financial pressures bore down, he made sure Gloucester Rugby chose community, re-invigorating links to county rugby clubs, taking on five young people via the government’s Kickstarter Scheme, and pursuing how it might be of more benefit to businesses.

‘You have to do that. You have to look after the people close to you. People have been living through some very difficult situations and they have always been there for us as fans and a city.

‘It is important to support them like they have stuck by us,’ said Mr Bradley, whose tenure as chief executive officer began September 2019, following a successful career at former Gloucestershire business giant Mitsubishi.

Connecting with the community has been about the grass roots of the game as well.

‘We have appointed Carl Hogg, Trevor Woodman and Tim Taylor. They are the very highest calibre, because our academy is serious for us. It is important people from Gloucester have a pathway through to play for the club.’

A key off-field appointment was Richard Smith as finance and operations director.

Embracing the Kickstart Scheme may have been made more attractive because of cashflow, but for Mr Bradley it is about the club’s business side also providing meaningful opportunity.

He made that clear in a sit-down chat alongside Gloucester MP Richard Graham, a champion of the job creation scheme for 16 to 24 year olds, and Oli Rice and Emma Rotherham – both working at the club as part of the scheme.

Financial pressures were alleviated by the government’s £88 million loan provision to Premiership Rugby Union clubs, but challenges came thick and fast.

A potential big hit came mid-pandemic when major sponsor Mitsubishi moved on as the car marque wrapped up its business dealings in the UK. But while not completely sidestepped, Gloucester Rugby has since secured a number of sponsorship deals, including the likes of Big Dug and Karcher, remaining on the lookout for a new main sponsor.

‘We have gone through every aspect of the club. Greene King is still our drinks partner, but we have renegotiated our deal. Winslow Brown has done a great job for years with our catering, but we are bringing that in-house.

‘We will focus on locally produced food and drink. We want to do what we can to support local businesses.

‘We have looked at ourselves and what we can do for businesses. We felt we could do more.’

Membership of its business club is currently free for any company which has been adversely impacted by the pandemic, with 160 already signing up.

‘We have done a massive amount of work in the last 12 months and we will keep working. We will come out of this stronger and vastly improved,’ said Mr Bradley.

By Andrew Merrell

Follow SoGlos on LinkedIn and sign-up to the weekly SoGlos business newsletter for the very latest Gloucestershire business news stories.

© SoGlos
Wednesday 02 June 2021

More news you might like...

ProCook founder and ceo, Daniel O’Neill, with his wife, Sarah O’Neill and brother Mike O’Neill, fellow owners of the Gloucester business.

Gloucestershire kitchenware brand is set to float on the stock market for £300 million

A Gloucestershire businessman who left school aged 15 is about to float his company on the stock market with a valuation of...

Discover the most wearable trends of autumn/winter 2021 at Regent Arcade shopping centre in Cheltenham. © Schuh

New autumn/winter fashion trends arrive at Regent Arcade

Shop this season’s hottest trends under one roof, as Cheltenham’s Regent Arcade highlights its autumn/winter 2021 must-haves...

The Dean Close Schools in Cheltenham have vibrant music departments with dedicated instrumental teachers – including the internationally renowned Carducci Quartet.

Award-winning Cheltenham school reveals its impressive musical offering

Singers and instrumental performers can develop their musical skills at award-winning Cheltenham independent school Dean Close.

Single Window by Gloucestershire poet Daniel Sluman has been shortlisted for this year’s TS Eliot prize.

Gloucestershire poet shortlisted for the TS Eliot prize

A Gloucestershire poet is on the shortlist for the TS Eliot prize, revealed at Cheltenham Literature Festival this October...

Cheltenham’s new all-weather ice rink will join an extended Christmas market as well as the town’s spectacular Christmas lights.

Cheltenham ice rink gets the go ahead

It’s official! Cheltenham will get its very own ice rink this festive season, set to open in Imperial Gardens this November...

Don’t miss

Unmissable highlights