During the summer there have been some personnel changes at Currie RFC. After a five-year period, John Muir has retired as President and I have been elected. At the same time, the position of Chairman has been re-established and Charles Mullins has accepted that role. Martin Craig and Robert Ormiston have stood down and Russell Broadley (Vice-President) and Grant Calder (Events-Coordinator) have been elected.
Additionally, after eleven years, Ally Donaldson and Graham Hogg have stepped down as club coaches, although Graham will Chair the Rugby Board and Ally will have a continued involvement in the club. We have been exceptionally fortunate to secure the appointment of an excellent new coaching team of Scottish international Ben Cairns and Fergus Pringle; they are already shaping-up the playing squad for the coming season.
I should like to thank John, Martin and Robert for their contribution to the Management Committee and club, as well as Ally and Graham for their input over the years. They have collectively overseen a period of significant development and substantial success, which has been greatly appreciated by players and non-playing members.
Currie RFC, like many other Scottish Premiership clubs – and indeed Scottish rugby generally – is facing challenges of change. We are a well-established club, with a distinctive history and a proud record. However, further development of the club will need a clearly-focussed approach to all that we do. We must seize our opportunities for success at premiership and age-group levels, whilst at the same time nurturing and developing young players to realise their full potential and their playing aspirations, whatever they might be.
These objectives require first-rate facilities, excellent coaching, sustainable finance and club-member participation in an effective club organisation. However, that organisation also needs to offer personal satisfaction, friendship and fun, since those qualities are at the heart of the Currie club’s spirit, commitment and core ethos.
I am delighted that our new grass pitch will be available for the coming season; thanks to Ivor Santer (Grounds Convener) for helping to transform this long-held vision into a reality. Additionally, through a community partnership initiative, Malleny Park will this autumn acquire a full-size artificial-surface (3G) pitch, suitable both for training and for matches. Construction will begin in the 3rd week of August and should be completed by early December. Building work should be confined to the 3G pitch area, limiting disruption to club activities. However, members and visitors should expect on-site building work to be evident, and they may be surprised by the scale of the construction.
This summer has seen the further development of the Youth Academy which is now starting to swing into full operation with an anticipated complement of Managing Coach and Youth Development Officers. Last season, thanks to Martin Craig, the club embraced the Positive Coaching Scotland (PCS) scheme. It is planned to build on this and, with the experience gained through the Youth Academy, to continue to enhance the excellence of our coaching programmes
During the coming season we are planning significantly to increase club activities and events, with new or revisited initiatives offering something for everyone. Member participation will obviously be of key importance, so come along and get fully involved!
Last, but by no means least, I would like to thank all the businesses and individuals who sponsor or donate to the club. I hope to meet you all during the course of the season and thank you personally. Your support is hugely appreciated and essential for the club’s success. With reference to our elevation above sea level, we often say that Currie is the highest Premiership club in Scotland – but that also reflects the ambition of the club of which you are an integral part.