Flicking as I do through The Sunday Times’ appointment pages, in the vain hope that this will be the week someone somewhere in the world wants a slightly squishy-around-the-edges aft grinder for the forthcoming America’s Cup, I happened upon a couple of interesting vacancies.
Both were adorned with the famous Red Rose and both were seeking applicants for new roles created by John Steele’s management restructure at the Rugby Football Union.
The first post, Chief Financial Officer, is something of a strange situation in that Nick Eastwood, hitherto the Finance Director, has bequeathed a truly outstanding legacy having helped the union navigate choppy economic waters pretty expertly.
The governing body’s 2009-10 results were largely impressive and while profits and revenues were down, the climate in which they were harvested provides ample explanation. It would be a major surprise if Eastwood is not retained in some capacity.
It is, therefore, the job of Chief Commercial Officer that causes most interest – certainly for readers in this area where the current commercial overview is either non-existent or embarrassing at some clubs.
I have to exempt Worcester from that criticism. Far from reacting to relegation by swinging the axe at the non-public-facing departments, they have just taken on a new manager solely dedicated to increasing non-match-day revenues.
That will also be one of the responsibilities of the RFU’s new Chief Commercial Officer. The current situation is pretty good and unlike some local clubs there is actually a product to sell.
Twickenham is a monument to the sport, there’s a museum, a hotel, an enormous retail outlet and a thriving on-line business – and that’s before you even start selling tickets for internationals.
But what there isn’t is adequate sponsorship. Neither in naming rights at the stadium itself nor for the union’s major competitions.
While the Premiership pulled a rabbit of the hat when Aviva took over from Guinness, the union’s failure to attract anyone to lend their name to the Championship is little short of negligent.
So whoever comes in as CCO their first priority should be to right a wrong and apply balm to a festering wound that threatens to infect negotiations with the level two clubs.