Ex Welsh international Adrian Hadley has joined the Valleys Rugby advisory board.
The former Director of Rugby at Sale Sharks and now Deputy CEO at St David’s Hospice Care, the largest independent hospice at home in the country, joins as plans for the fan-owned side pick up pace.
Mr Hadley spent his amateur rugby days with Cardiff RFC, winning 27 Welsh Caps, before turning professional with Salford RLFC in 1988. He joined Widnes RLFC in 1992 and continued to gain international honours.
He came back to rugby union when the game became professional with Sale Sharks as Player Manager and on retiring from the game became the club’s Commercial Director before taking up the Position of Director of Rugby in 1999, a position he held until 2001.
A regular rugby pundit with the BBC, Adrian joined Bridgend RFC as their Chief Executive in December of 2001 and was there until the regional restructuring in 2003.
Pontypridd-born Nigel Greenaway, who is partner at Berry Smith Solicitors and behind the campaign, said of Adrian’s appointment: “Adrian has great experience within rugby both as a player and in a business capacity. He has led top flight teams such as Sale Sharks but also has Welsh rugby experience gained at Bridgend RFC. He is well known within rugby circles and can undoubtedly bring a lot to our advisory board as we continue to shape our plans and drive forward our ambitions of creating a People’s Region.”
Since plans were unveiled for Valleys Rugby at Sardis Road earlier this month, Valleys Rugby has sparked a lot of interest from the local community and former players. The Welsh Rugby Union has now invited Valleys Rugby in to present its plans to the Union’s executive leadership and advisers.
The business model outlines a new type of structure for a region in Wales, where community ownership and engagement is key to its vision. The ‘People’s Region’ is aiming to generate subscription from 10,000 fans at £100 per person, per annum, alongside commercial sponsorship.
On joining the board, Adrian said: “As soon as I heard about plans for Valleys Rugby, I wanted to get involved. The pilot proposal demonstrates that this is both a financially viable and realistic opportunity. At the moment, Welsh regional rugby has some serious flaws, not least in the dwindling and worryingly low crowds that the four existing regions are attracting. You only have to look at Martyn Williams’ farewell game at the Blues recently that only pulled in 3,850 fans, in a 27,000 seat stadium
“The Welsh valleys, the heartland fan base of the game, are disconnected with the current regional structure and from the support we have received to date we are confident that the fan base within the Valleys is strong enough to support such a venture. I’m delighted to be on board and look forward to working with the advisory board to develop the proposed plans further.”
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