Caerphilly RFC’s future looks to be in safe hands, according to chairman Gareth Ashman, after the club worked off £200,000 of debt.
It’s been a tough couple of years for the Cheesemen with financial problems affecting the club.
At the start of November 2017 the club was £267,000 in debt. This included a significant bill for hosting a regional rugby clash between the Dragons and the Blues at Virginia Park in 2017.
Brighter times seem ahead for the green and whites as current chairman Gareth Ashman said the club has turned a financial corner thanks to the hard work of volunteers and adopting a more business-based approach.
He said: “In addition to paying off a huge amount of debt, over the last two years we have also invested heavily in facilities making the club a more welcoming and family-friendly place to be.
“The job the people behind the scenes have done to get this club back on its feet has been absolutely massive.”
“We have worked so hard and are thrilled with the progression of the club after a really stressful time off the pitch.
“We are now running the club as a business. We are open and transparent with our members. We all have full time jobs and work extremely hard as volunteers to ensure the continued viability of Caerphilly RFC for future generations.”
The financial plight of Caerphilly and other nearby teams – Cross Keys launched a fundraiser to see them through to the end of last season – has put question marks over the game’s sustainability at this level.
“We have to diversify to survive in this current economic climate.” Ashman said.
“Finance is clearly a huge issue for all community clubs in Wales and I personally feel that semi-professional rugby in Wales is not sustainable.
“I hope that in the future, we see local players playing for their local clubs – that is what we are striving for here at Caerphilly RFC. The foundation for this are thriving mini, junior and youth sections that all want to play for their local club at a senior level.
“Testimony to this, we have our previous six youth captains playing for the first XV with the average age of the team being 21. We are building from the bottom up and the future for Caerphilly RFC as a community club is bright.”
The Division Two East Central side have also been able to bring in personnel after the appointment of former player and stalwart of the club Jared Lougher, who has taken on the role as director of rugby.
Lougher is in charge of all forms of rugby from the senior team down to mini and juniors, with the aim of providing a pathway to regional rugby for players coming through the system.
“Being able to bring in someone of Jared’s experience is extremely important in terms of keeping with our tradition of bringing players through, so they can hopefully go on and play at a professional level”, Ashman added.
“As a club we always look towards the future in terms of development of the team from age-grade and beyond. The majority of the players are local boys and the average age of the team is 21 which is something very unique.”
Despite Caerphilly RFC being just above the foot of the table with only one win from 11 games, the club is hoping its progression off the field will yield dividends on it.