Trevor Barton MBE Reflects On 2012 & Looks Forward To 2013
22 December 2012
Christmas and the New Year are now rapidly approaching and Chief Executive
Trevor Barton MBE takes a quick look back at 2012 and a long look forward to what
we believe will be a highly productive and exciting season in 2013. This is also an sight into what our staff and volunteers do,
I have come to realise that there are several teams that add up to one hugely powerful team that is the phenomenon called Leigh Centurions. There is the playing side, led by Paul Rowley, Coach of the Year. Paul has selected a very competitive squad, which epitomises that marvellous blend of young people going forward and senior players who have massive experience at international and Super League level. Immaterial of age or ability they have blended into a really ‘die for each other’ team. He has also assembled a coaching staff (Neil, Ando, Nathan, John, Simon, Stuart, Bob, Martin and Tim) that is locally based who also act as a team, working with our superb community clubs, ensuring that our local talent becomes as good as it can be.
Our new Leadership Team, with Team Captain Rob Parker and Vice-Captain Bob Beswick, together with Club Captain Stuart Littler will give the whole of our playing squad leadership, inspiration and rock solid advice. They will be supported by our first class medical team (Leigh and friends) and our welfare team (John, Rob, Morris, Leigh, and our Chaplain Sam). Our players’ medical insurance this year is the best that we have had for some time. Our stats are carefully gathered by Cliff Sumner and they are the pre-cursor to top class video analysis.
The training regimes that our players have undergone are frightening. They are getting very fit and have probably seen more hills than Sherpa Tensing (the first man to climb Everest for the benefit of our younger readers)! There is a nice combination of quick, skilful players but we have some very big units as well. The friendlies will be anything but that. Several of our players have never had a full pre-season before because of injury or internationals so they should hit the ground running at Featherstone, for the start of the season proper.
Another team is the backroom staff (Tommy, Rudi and Tom) , ably led by Frank Taylor. As well as making sure that the team has everything it needs for every single training session, Frank and his wife Christine, in conjunction with Gill, have put together a retail outlet in the indoor market, which is nothing short of superb. Frank managed to get both the home and away kit replicas as well as matching polo shirts on sale at the end of November and in plenty of time for Christmas. Those who have been to the stall will know that there is an extensive range of product lines. The designs for next year must be good because we have had unprecedented sales requiring the re-ordering of various lines. As this team is efficient and quick to respond, we will have the re-ordered lines on sale before the first League game proper but apologies for the temporary disappointment caused, strangely, through unmitigated success.
Our next team is the Lottery, Commercial and Ticket Office. Through unfortunate staff absences they have had to work even harder than ever in getting ready for next season but all the prices, offers, etc. are now on our website and we are working hard with the LSV team to get the information out to the public at large. The advance sales of season tickets and boxes is most encouraging. Christine, Johnny and Annette are part of the back room team who, together with Jane in finance, quietly deliver the goods. Andrew adds greatly to this with his knowledge of IT, the ticketing system and the website.
An unseen team is our lottery collectors. They do an incredible job and our lottery is unique in our sport. The lottery staff act as the hub for a small army of people who, in all weathers, serve the whole of the town of Leigh and beyond. They visit several thousand people who might not have been able to get to a game recently but even in our pressing financial times, they are still able to find the £1 a week to take part in our terrific lottery. Our recent lottery Christmas raffle netted in excess of £2,500. Well done to the winners but an even bigger well done to those who bought the tickets.
The lottery is overseen by the Hilton Park Society trustees (Don, Derek, Kath, Eric, John) and three of those double on match day with others to meet and greet the fans and run the half time draw and the raffle.
The next team most worthy of mention is LISA. They broke all records in 2012 and we hope that the public join LISA in even greater numbers and allow Keith, Lynda and Peter even greater success.
One of our newest teams is the Touchdown Club. You will recall that the Touchdown Club started in times of emergency and after one year, are now making the necessary changes to be even more successful going forward. Steve and Alan are also working well with LSV Co. and producing a product worth having.
Our lottery, this year, teamed up with the Leigh Junior Centurions for a joint Christmas party. Again, we were bedevilled by our success. We had an attendance threshold of 250. The party was over-subscribed and so some people missed out and we will try to do something to make up for this in the New Year.
John Williams, who runs the Junior Centurions, is going to have to expand his team of volunteers as the Junior Club starts to get bigger. John is part of the other team of volunteers, the Professional Support Group (Trevor, Cliff, Frank, Alan, Malcolm, Mike, Eric, Mish, Peter) whose knowledge and experience, particularly as regards governance, audit, finance, communications and websites, is nothing short of terrific.
I would say that our match day programme (Alan Edge’s baby) is considerably better than most and certainly as good as anything in Super League.
I must also mention our match day meet and greet squad, David, Amanda, Kath and Tommy, all of whom do a terrific job in making sure our guests get a very warm welcome on a match day.
Our match broadcasts, in conjunction with the Leigh Life team, have now spawned Leigh Life Radio. The match day commentary and video recording are in the hands of the Parkinson team, Fred and David. They work with our match day announcers, Chris and Clive who with Michael’s expertise on the PA system and big screen keep the crowd informed and entertained.
The LSV Co. Team has also many smaller teams within it. Simon has some high quality individuals who achieve the delivery of great meals and beverages, a small army of ground safety staff and stewards and of course, an award-winning grounds man in Keith Porter who, together with his staff, achieved the accolade of Grounds man of the Year in Rugby League. Mind you, those of us who travel away regularly do know that there is nothing else out there that holds a candle to our pitch and our stadium.
I guess the last team worthy of mention is the Board of Directors (Keith, Phil, John and Miranda and John our board secretary). They face an invidious task They risk the loss of personal investment and must try to balance the books to make sure we are sustainable going forward. They sometimes have to say ‘No’ even when they would like to say ‘Yes’. They take the flak without recompense.
The other parts of our network of teams are, of course, the Indoor Market, the sponsors and advertisers, the ball boys, the apprentices, the emergency services, the Local Authority, our partners in the Village and especially our hard working and committed friends in LSV Co. The schools and the community clubs are getting closer to us but there is so much more that can be done.
Let’s also remember our inspirational mascot Parky Pig and his support team that not only raise our spirits buts lots of money for local charities and good causes as well!
As a volunteer you can only give of your best but whilst you seek no remuneration you do appreciate recognition. Hopefully here we have tried to recognise the people who go the extra mile and that the whole really is greater than the sum of the parts. I wonder if you knew just how many people are involved.
We are all committed to and accept freely the rigours that accountability and transparency bring. We have many different teams that collectively produce the Leigh Super team, which allows us to go forward with confidence and excitement and when one of us is kicked, we all limp. Please talk us up, tweet your head off and fetch Bob! Oh and if you can sponsor us in some way or another, please ring me.
On behalf of our Super team (and I apologise if I have missed anyone out), have a very merry Christmas. Here’s to a great 2013.
I beLEIGHve we are going places.
Trevor Barton MBE
Chief Executive Officer."