On and off the field, results continue to flourish for Exeter Rugby Club, members were told at the club’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday night.
Addressing a large crowd at the club’s Sandy Park base, club chairman and chief executive, Tony Rowe OBE, said it has been another ‘fantastic’ year for the Aviva Premiership outfit.
Members were informed that the Devon club had recorded their best-ever financial results, aided in itself by the excellent on the field displays from the Chiefs, who finished in their highest-ever position in the Premiership, as well as reaching the European Challenge Cup semi-finals and the LV= Cup final.
Mr Rowe also reported that additional events such as the three Rugby World Cup fixtures, as well as the European Grand Prix Sevens Series had also helped to boost the exposure of the club over the 12 months.
Off the field, the multi-million pound redevelopment of the main West Grandstand has now been completed and the Sandy Park side of the business had also grown year on year by 16%, even though the facility was shut for 10 weeks.
Reflecting on the club’s annual accounts, Finance Director Alan Quantick, said the turnover of the club was up almost £2 million or 17% year on year, whilst net profit after interest and depreciation was just under £900,000. He also reported that Exeter Rugby Club was one of just three or four top-flight clubs in England to declare a profit for the past financial year.
Mr Quantick said: “The club, under the chairmanship of Tony Rowe, is run as a business and this is the only way we can support Rob Baxter (pictured) and the team with the necessary funds to put the best players possible onto the field, whilst remaining within the salary cap. “Again, we have recorded excellent financial figures and early indications for this current year show we are making steady progress in the right direction.”
The positivity around the club was indeed highlighted to members by Mr Rowe, who described it as a “very busy year” for the club on and off the field. As well as hosting top flight Premiership and European action in the past 12 months, Mr Rowe reported on how the club had been received around the world, thanks to events such as the Rugby World Cup and European Sevens Series.
He said: “It was an honour and a privilege for the club and the City of Exeter to host the three Rugby World Cup games. The legacy it has left will last for a very long time and it has meant Exeter now has a much higher profile around the world.
“Off the field too, we have spent £250,000 on upgrading the stadium to enhance our whole match-day experience and average attendances for our home games have again risen in the past 12 months.
“As for the future, I am sure we will continue to improve as a club, but as always you have to remember it’s a long old season. As a board, however, we will make sure Rob has all the tools he needs to bring success to the club.”
Other highlights outlined by board members on the night, included the growing emergence of the club’s Academy system, which this year saw three players – Henry Slade, Jack Nowell and Luke Cowan-Dickie – all feature for the England national side.
In addition it was reported that the conference and banqueting side of Sandy Park continues to grow day by day, including news that over 4,000 guests have already signed up for one of the many Christmas party nights coming up.
Looking to the future, Mr Rowe stated that he hoped the club and all it’s members and supporters would continue to flourish and that he hoped 2016 would be equally as profitable, on and off the pitch.