1:10pm Wednesday 16th October 2013
DESPITE a loss there were celebrations at Pontypool Park at the weekend as the target 1000 campaign proves to be a success.
The Target 1,000 campaign was launched by The Free Press earlier this summer with the aim of raising the attendance of Pontypool RFC home fixtures to 1,000 fans and beyond.
As Pontypool RFC took on rivals Ebbw Vale RFC at their home ground on Saturday, attendance figures soared to 1,050 supporters.
Pontypool RFC Corporate Director, Ben Jeffreys, said: “Pontypool RFC is delighted that an attendance of over 1,000 has been achieved so early into the season and for that we must thank everybody who supported the club through what has been a whirlwind twelve months.
“It was a day many have all been dreaming of for so long, it was an incredibly special and emotional moment to see so many people huddled together enjoying a fantastic game of rugby.”
Last year one of Wales’ most famous rugby clubs was in crisis after being relegated from the Premiership by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).
It was then left financially broke after losing a High Court case against the decision to demote the club.
The club stood a very real chance of disappearing, but twelve months on, the mood has changed.
Mr Jeffreys said: “I think the attendance figure represents how Pontypool RFC is a club that is moving forward.
“We must remain firmly focused on continuing to improve the club season by season with the aim of achieving a self sustainable model that facilitates success on the pitch. This will take time and we all accept that, but it was exciting to see that the progress is tangible.”
The club rose to fame in the 1970s for its stars Charlie Faulkner, Graham Price and Bobby Windsor.
But following the court case, it left the club with no more money to pay players and run it day to day.
Then fan of the club, entrepreneur Peter Jeffreys stepped in by agreeing to pay the players and coaches for the remainder of this season out of his own pocket, and also put forward £60,000 towards paying solicitors fee.
Speaking after Saturday’s game, which finished Pontypool 13 and Ebbw Vale 19, Mr Jeffreys added: “Moving forward, we hope Saturday's success acts as the catalyst that sees attendances at Pontypool Park continue to rise.
“It demonstrated that Pontypool RFC and the town still has a key role to play in the Welsh sector of rugby and again, we pay great thanks to everyone who continues to make this development possible.”
See match report on P40.
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