2013 already looking good for Centurions
PUBLISHED: 14:26 08 February 2013 | UPDATED: 14:26 08 February 2013
THE New Year is already looking prosperous for St Albans Centurions Rugby League Club.
Not only are they moving into their own stadium for their upcoming season, but they have announced their new coach is to be former Scotland international Andy Champ.
For the last two years the club has been playing their senior and junior games on pitches at Toulmin Drive Sports Ground, St Albans.
The club has one all year round pitch and two summer only pitches that are marked out when the football season has ended.
But now, thanks to negotiations between the club chairman, Brian Parker, and St Albans District Council, the club has been offered the sole use of the sports stadium that sits in the corner of the complex, which has a stand, two permanent dug outs, a barrier and footpath around the pitch and a high hedge that surrounds the whole area.
Following negotiations, it has been decided that after April 2012 – when the last local football final has been played, the control and use of the stadium will pass to St Albans Centurions and be used for rugby league games.
The council will continue to own the land, and the club will pay them rent, but Centurions will be in charge of the day to day running of the stadium and the maintenance and upkeep will be shared between the club and council.
The club are also keeping its 12 month pitch next to the stadium and are in talks about having mini/junior size pitches set out nearby during the summer months.
Chairman Brian Parker, said: “When I approached the local councillors and the district council with this plan I didn’t know what to expect, but I have met with nothing but helpfulness and interest from all concerned.
“This council seem to really back it’s local sports clubs.”
Club secretary Tony Bottomley has also confirmed that Cambridge University head coach and London Broncos U19s assistant coach, Champ will be taking over as head coach at the Cents in February 2013, after he has taken his current club, Cambridge University, to the Varsity Match against Oxford.
Secretary Bottomley said: “We are extremely lucky to get a coach of Andy’s ability. His credentials speak for themselves. He has played Union for Gloucester and Bath, and played hooker for Hemel Hempstead and was a Scottish international.
“He has played and coached rugby league at Bedford, Cambridge University and the London Broncos. He is recognised as an up and coming young coach.
“I went down to Wembley stadium to meet him and found that while we had been doing our homework about him, Andy had been doing his homework about us, and liked what he found.
“He was as keen to join the Cents as we were to have him. He believes there is a great deal of potential in our club, and wants to be part of it. I look forward to working with him in the future.”