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'We can look ahead to a bright future' - Booy

A GREAT deal has changed at Bristol since I assumed the role of chairman in 2009. It’s a position that I am incredibly proud to hold, particularly as we look ahead to a bright future for the club.

It’s almost ten years since we saved the rugby club from financial oblivion and look how we have come. From those dark days in the bottom half of the Championship, we worked tirelessly as a board to keep Bristol afloat and competitive. Since welcoming Stephen Lansdown on board, we have experienced a growth and progression but, in honesty, we have only scratched the surface with what we can achieve.

For the past two decades, this club has found itself yo-yoing between the top flight and second tier, whilst also suffering financial losses and losing our young, local players to more established and successful competitors. We won’t stand idly by and let this trend continue, especially now that the foundations are in place for Bristol Bears to finally push on and realise our incredible potential as an organisation and as a sporting city.

"Since welcoming Stephen Lansdown on board, we have experienced a growth and progression but, in honesty, we have only scratched the surface with what we can achieve."

Chris Booy, chairman

I cannot stress the importance of the brand new training ground located in Abbots Leigh. The state of the art facility has required significant negotiation and planning to get the ball rolling, but we’re now in a position to really move forward with the project and it’s a key part of our club vision. To have a world-class training ground – in close proximity to our Ashton Gate home – will be a major attraction to top class players, while also enabling us to drive the quality of our performance and conditioning preparation.

We must draw a line under what has gone before and now focus on bringing the rugby club – and the Bristol Bears brand – to the forefront of the domestic and European game. It’s well documented the mistakes that Bristol have made since the turn of the professional era, we won’t make them again. In five years, we hope that we can reflect on this rebrand as the catalyst for sustained success for the club. That’s something that we all want; players, supporters and staff.

I hope that our loyal fans understand the reasons behind this decision and throw their backing behind Pat Lam and the team. The unique spirit of this rugby club lives on and it’s your support that will play a significant role in ensuring we realise our unique vision in years to come.

Together we rise.

Chris Booy.