Following on from last week’s statement countering concerns raised around issues of finance and welfare, the rebranded Nuneaton Jaguars have shared further information relating to further allegations raised regarding club finances and recent fixture withdrawals related to the recently added Adult roster.
Shared by Nuneaton Jaguars Chair, Lawrence Grugeon:
ETONE JAGUARS OFFICIAL STATEMENT – PART-TWO
‘NO SMOKE WITHOUT FIRE’
Having taken in the initial reaction to the club’s first statement, the club decided to take its time before releasing the second part which will solely address the situation we faced with the senior team during the course of the last 12 months.
The following are facts:
- Representatives of the Jets approached me to take over the management of the team a month before their final game of an 0-10 season.
- I was required to first submit a breakdown of what my plans would be for the club should I gain full control:
- A complete merger and rebrand with my existing academy, senior team name change, to Etone Jaguars and relocation of training and games to Nuneaton.
- Training to be held on a Friday evening 2000-2200 to give the weekends back to the players to spend time with family and give the body an extra 48hrs recovery time.
- 12-month training programme to be held at a venue with a 3G pitch, floodlights, indoor sports hall and most importantly changing facilities with hot showers.
- Combine sessions at a local gym with discounts to gym memberships across several different sites in both Nuneaton and Coventry.
- Full use of all academy training equipment including helmet and shoulder pads for complete rookies making it cheaper to get into the sport to begin with.
- Local community-based sponsors including team apparel and social venues.
- The promise that any left-over money from the Jets account would be used to benefit firstly the players and then the club.
- All Jets training and game day equipment would be donated on handover to the Jaguars Academy.
- Strict Uniform rules would need to be adhered to including cleats, boots and swag.
- There would be NO voting rights for the players, the GM would have complete control of decision making at the club.
I also outlined that my services to do this would not come FREE and I would look take a management fee per month at my discretion to take on these extra duties of no more than £250pm or what was felt viable to make sure the club was running to its full capacity.
- The committee then forwarded my proposal to its current members to which I personally attended a training session to conduct a question and answer session with those in attendance. The decision was then taken to a vote with a majority decision in favour of the merger between the Jets and Jaguars and to hand the management reigns over to myself after the final game of the season.
- It was also decided that BAFA would need to be contacted and no official press release was to emerge till after the final game of the season. However less than 24hrs after the vote I was contacted by Double Coverage asking me for the details and then an impromptu and poorly worded statement was released by the Jets to confirm this.
- After the season concluded HC Sam Kendall, although being offered an alternative position at the club, decided to walk away and take a position at a rival club for what he stated at the time ‘logistical reasons’.
- I was later contacted by BAFA to explain that they had been officially informed via the former HC Sam Kendall on behalf of his partner the acting Chair at the time that the club had folded and ceased all operations. With this information, it was agreed by the then BAFA Chair Martin Cockerill and Operations Director Russ Hewitt that the new Etone Jaguars would be a completely new entity and if the club wanted to set up a senior team the club would be required to go through the associate process during the course of the 2019 season.
- This decision set-off a chain reaction for the senior side as after two appeals were rejected by then BAFA Operations Manager Steve Rains and current OM Clive Dobbin, veteran players decided to leave.
- Despite our lack of league status rookie days still brought in attendances of 40+ and over the course of the year the club had registered over 60 players. Discourse did not set-in until it became increasingly hard to get games due to the rules of the associate process, mostly having to play all games on a Saturday during the course of the season due to the lack of BAFRA officials.
- Attendances at training dropped, it became a routine struggle to get the required 35-man roster to commit to scheduled games and BAFA associate manager Richard Collin insisted we must move home venue twice. (The first time as the pitch was too far from the changing facility, roughly 400 yards).
- Our last scheduled events a set scrimmage with Leicester Falcons and our second away game vs Scunthorpe Alphas were both cancelled by the HC as the club received a lack of player commitment to both which would have created some real health and safety concerns not to mention a failure to reach the required 35-man roster for the game.
- It was at this point I disclosed to the players that a change of home venue and the fact they would be playing the remaining games of the associate process into a new league year meaning re-registering with the league at the new higher fees as well as an upfront subs payment for 2020 would be required to book the new home venue and continue the process. I received just one player’s response to this. It was then concluded that the senior team had run its course and I informed BAFA associate manager RC on September 10th the club would be withdrawing its associate application for the 2019 season. (I also wanted to give Scunthorpe adequate time to find a replacement opponent for their home fixture date).
I can only conclude that the toxicity brought over by former Jets players that ultimately led to the Coventry Jets downfall has been carried over into the Jaguars senior set-up and that last Friday’s spiteful array of allegations against the club and myself are from disgruntled individuals who have obviously more commitment to creating childish memes than their actual commitment to the team.
I would like to finish off by stating when first approached by the Coventry Jets they were unhappy with their management, I made it very clear I would take a fee for my management services (which did not equate to £3000). The Coventry Jets had just over £1500 in its accounts of which a substantial amount was spent on the wrapping of 35 former Jets players helmets to Etone Jaguars silver, service provided by Game Day Skinz.
Senior accounts have been verified by two parties, GDM Emma Benningwood and senior players representative Nicholas Jaco who have relayed that information to the senior members at the club.
At no time was any player strong-armed or forced to pay their subs, the only part of club uniform players were asked to purchase were their uniform socks of which a charge of £20 was required. (Two pairs black/blue both Nike branded to comply with strict club uniform policy).
Any club equipment sold by the team has had the funds put back into the club to go towards the purchase of new and better equipment.
The clubs recent rebrand was on the cards prior to any allegations and is unrelated to these events. The rebranded logo has been in design talks for weeks whilst we awaited BAFA approval which has since been granted.
I hope those persons of no association or knowledge of my club will refrain from comment and see the great achievements the club have made through the grassroots of our Junior, Youth and Cadet sides which has become one of the most successful Academies in BAFA during the course of the 2019 Season. This does not happen overnight or if indeed the club is in complete disarray.
I look forward to moving past this and starting our preparations next month for the 2020 season.