Bedford Blues ‘cannot survive in its present form’ - consultation held on the future

Bedford Blues v Saracens at Goldington Road.
Bedford Blues v Saracens at Goldington Road.

Bedford residents are being asked to contribute to a consultation document to help determine the future of their rugby club.

Stalwart Blues chairman Geoff Irvine has decided to step down at the end of the 2015/16 season and the document intends to ‘gauge opinion on the importance of rugby to Bedford and the way forward.’

The document states: “It is clear due to the cost of the players and maintaining Goldington Road, the club cannot survive on the income from the rugby matches alone. The club requires £250,000 per annum of donations and sponsorship to survive in its current format. If the club did not come forward with a proposal it would not survive in its present form. Without new donations and sponsorship or a new wealthy benefactor, it will not survive. To make the Goldington Road site self-funding will require significant investment.”

Proposals mooted include turning the pitch around to meet top-level criteria, creating a floodlit 4G pitch which could be hired out to all clubs, a centre of rugby excellence where all Bedford borough’s players and clubs could train, and improving the clubhouse and facilities at Goldington Road which “are in need of modernisation - with separate facilities for women.”

Mr Irvine said: “The club officially endorses this consultation. I will stand down as chairman in May 2016. I’ve kept the club afloat for 14 years and I don’t think anyone can accuse me of not doing my best for the club. This is about the club’s future.”

Jo Marks, chairwoman of the Trustees of the Marks Trust, a Bedford charity commissioned by the club to compile the consultation document, said: “We have three months to determine the future of the Bedford Blues. I urge everyone in Bedford to log onto the consultation website so your views can be registered.” Visit www.markstrust.org/bedfordrugby Registration will close by midnight on October 30, 2014.