Bedford Blues RFC: Chairman Geoff Irvine to step down after 20 years

Irvine has been the Chairman of the club since 2001
Geoff IrvineGeoff Irvine
Geoff Irvine

Chairman Geoff Irvine will step down from his role at Bedford Blues at the end of the Championship season.

Irvine has been Chairman of the club since 2001 and has also enjoyed a successful 12-year tenure on the RFU Council as well as the long-standing position of Chairman of the Championship Clubs from 2010 until last year.

Part of the group that saved the club in 1999, Irvine leaves a longstanding legacy when stepping aside from the Board of Directors and will now assume the Honorary role of Club President.

The departing Chairman was due to retire at the end of the 2019/20 campaign, but with the early termination of that season, and the consequent turmoil in the rugby world caused by the pandemic and RFU funding cuts, it was in the club’s best interests for Irvine to remain on board for the following 12 months.

Now that Championship rugby has restarted, and the future of the Club is assured, Irvine has decided the time has come to move aside.

He said: “I have spent over 20 years on the Board of Bedford Blues, taking the Chair following the tragic passing of my great friend David Ledsom.

“There have been some incredible highs during that time, such as the winning of the Powergen Shield at Twickenham in 2005, and the away win in the B&I Cup at Munster in 2018.

“Inevitably, there have been some lows too, but through it all, I have continually tried to keep Bedford Blues moving forward both on and off the field.

“I am proud of the fact that Bedford Blues are widely respected as one of the most consistently successful clubs in England’s second-tier; we are a club that attracts quality players through our brand of rugby and our unique and close relationship with our supporters.”

On stepping away, Irvine added: “Although, in many ways, it will be a sad day for me, I have always said that all businesses have an obligation to ensure the right succession is in place, and I am confident that my colleagues on the current board will ensure the continuing prosperity of the club.

“At the end of the day, the club is always bigger than any individual.

“I am pleased that the board has asked me to assume the honorary role of President, and I have accepted this position.

“I will leave the board and stand back from the day-to-day business of the club.

“Its welfare will always be close to my heart and Sara and I will continue to support the Blues.

“Perhaps this is the right time to pay tribute to my wife’s dedication in all of this: Sara’s support has been unwavering, and I could not have carried out either my role at Goldington Road, or at Twickenham, without it.”

Bedford Blues Director, and incoming Chairman, David Gunner added: “Under Geoff’s stewardship, we have developed a Club model which is the envy of many in English rugby. His service to Bedford Blues has been in a word, invaluable.

“This is very clearly not a goodbye to Geoff, more of an au revoir.

“When we have a clearer idea of the shape of next season, we will be organising a proper evening in the Marquee to say thank you to Geoff and Sara in the traditional Blues fashion.”

Despite a determined performance Blues were beaten 27-19 at Doncaster Knights on Sunday, in the latest round of Greene King IPA Championship games.

They took the game to their high-flying hosts and deserved at least a losing bonus-point after their tremendous effort at Castle Park.

Blues had controlled the first half and led 19-12 at the break, with Oli Robinson bundled over for the opening try, which Will Maisey converted.

Josh Gillespie dotted down the next after Connor Tupai and Maisey combined with Robinson and Ollie Newman scored his first try for the club.

Next Friday evening (May 14) Blues host league leaders Ealing Trailfinders for a 7.45pm kick-off.