THE Dragons have appointed Rodney Parade stalwart Mark Jones as managing director.

The 53-year-old from Caerphilly has been chosen as the replacement for Mike Davies, who left in April after less than a year in the role.

Jones has been a firm fixture at Rodney Parade since joining Newport Athletic Club as grounds manager, responsible for the cricket, hockey, tennis and bowls as well as rugby, in 1985.

He has been heavily involved in all facets of the Dragons, most recently as head of operations, and will now take on the title of managing director.

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“I have served a 34-year apprenticeship and I don’t think there is a screw in Rodney Parade that I am not familiar with,” he said. “It’s the same with the staff, I feel that I can add value and that I can hit the ground running.

“I have seen every single CEO and MD come in as outsiders and it takes time to get to know the place, the business and the staff. I know all of that and there is nobody who knows Rodney Parade better than me.

“There have been some big-ticket items, like hosting the police for the Nato summit which made a large amount of money, but on the flip side I have been Shane Howarth’s kicking coach, announced on the PA for Newport against Munster, I have edited programmes.

“There is pretty much no job in the business that I haven’t done myself, so perhaps that will help when I am asking people if we can do things better.

“I am still prepared to do those jobs and I am not going to lock myself in an office – I will be like a football manager in a tracksuit rather than a suit.

“There will have to be some delegation and we will empower staff, but I will speak to them all on a daily basis and I will stay at the same desk. It’s an open-plan office, so I can’t say it’s an open-door policy because I haven’t got a door!

“But I will be speaking to everyone and will treat everybody the same – I respect every single job in the business because I have done most of them myself.

“I am excited about what we can do here and there are some quick wins that we can enjoy. There will be no stone left unturned when it comes to looking to increase revenue.

“I am running one side of the business to generate money to pass to Dean Ryan, so he can spend it on his side of the business.”

“I am in this for the long term. I didn’t envisage going anywhere else before this role and I don’t now.

“I’d like to think that I will get there to 50 years when they can present me with a tie, gold watch or whatever! That’s when I’d like to think I can look back with pride at all that we have achieved.”

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Chairman David Buttress, who is continuing talks with the Welsh Rugby Union over the Dragons returning to private ownership, believes Jones is the perfect fit for the role.

“When I think about what we need to build the club, Mark has the values, experience and the skills to be a really well-respected leader,” he said.

“You need a lot of passion to build things and anyone who knows Mark would tell you that he is a very passionate guy.

“It became pretty obvious that this was the right way to go and the timing is right.

“We will be demanding of each other and that is a good partnership; Mark is probably the person who has challenged me most over the last 18 month and that is something that you need to get things done.

“On the rugby side of things, what resonates is how clear Dean is on what you need to do to be successful and that clarity of thought is needed on and off the field. Mark also has a clear picture of what needs to get done here.”