Back in December the Board of Yorkshire Tykes Limited took control of the club and new Chairman David Dockray met with the Fans Forum recently.

During that conversation, David revealed the ambitious plans for the club moving forward and believes that the outcome will not only be good for Yorkshire Carnegie but good for Rugby Union across the county and help the code complement other top sports at Headingley Carnegie.
 
David starts the story. “I am Yorkshire born and bred and have always been passionate about sport in the county. I enjoy all sport; most of my time is at Headingley watching rugby and cricket but I go to Elland Road as well. I fully believe in Yorkshire having a Rugby Union team in the Premiership, indeed I think it’s necessary to retain and expand our pool of talented players.
 
Stopping full time work some years ago has allowed me to watch even more sport which indirectly resulted in my involvement with Yorkshire Carnegie. The idea to get involved with the club first came about when I met with Paul Caddick, Gary Hetherington and Sir Ian McGeechan on the Lions tour to Australia in summer 2013. Having been a supporter for many years I was keen to understand what the ambition should be and how it could be realised. So, Ian and I set to work to define how that could work out. Our planning has built on Ian’s original vision and extended to put in place the key elements to get started. The motto is ‘be careful who you have dinner with!'"
 
One of the key elements was the change of name to Yorkshire Carnegie and David believes that move was crucial to moving forward.
 
“We knew that the name change would not be universally popular, these things never are. However, we believe it will enable us to expand our pool of talented players across Yorkshire. We also believe it will open up new opportunities for commercial sponsorships for investment in the club. We have already seen that with Provident and there will be more to come”.
 
David added: “Securing the Yorkshire name was important but the process of agreement was lengthy. However, it has produced a clear collaboration with the Yorkshire RFU in developing our playing strength throughout the county and we believe that clubs around the county will benefit from this as well as ourselves and you will see evidence of the Regional Academies being set up.”
 
The second key element was to secure the club’s long term future at Headingley Carnegie, the training facility at Kirkstall and a set of related services which would  enable us to operate cost effectively.
 
“We're very clear that our home ground should be Headingley. It’s the only Rugby Union ground in Yorkshire that meets Premiership standards and fits our vision. It is also intended that it will be redeveloped significantly over the next few years. By then, I hope there will be three teams playing at the top level here. We already have two of those and our intent is to deliver the third."
 
The next stage was attracting new funding which took five months and culminated in the announcement at Christmas.
 
David continues. “Our shareholders have not invested in this club for it to be a Championship club. We want a Premiership club in Yorkshire, based on Yorkshire talent with Yorkshire support. We have almost 10 percent of England's population and one in seven all time England internationals were born in the County. We can strengthen our player development still further and use that as a source of advantage. When we combine that local strength with other top class players from further afield who subscribe to our vision and culture then we will be able to create a sustainable model.
 
"We now have seven shareholders. All of those shareholders support the vision and have been prepared to provide funding with no expectation of financial return. They have provided funding simply because they believe this is a worthwhile thing to do and they are in a position to help. We have not yet contacted everyone who might share our objective and be able to help and we intend to secure additional investors over the next couple of years."
 
Details of our current shareholders are as follows:
 
Jon Wright is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Xercise4less, an award-winning national gym group, headquartered in Leeds. Jon has nearly 20 years experience in the Health club industry. He is also a former Rugby Union player with Leeds and Harlequins, but his playing career was cut short by injury. Jon lives near Leeds and has been a sponsor of the club for several years.
 
Mike Shotton is the former Chairman of textile group Quantum Clothing who recently led a group of local investors to buy out Huddersfield based Sellers Global Engineers Ltd which trades in 60 countries worldwide, where he is now Chairman. He lives in Harrogate and has been a member of Headingley Taverners for many years.
 
Dr. Keith Howard was one of the founders of Emerald Group Publishing and Chairman of the Trustees of Emerald Foundation. Keith has wide interests and is a benefactor to Opera and Leeds Grand Theatre, Yorkshire Cricket, and both codes of rugby at Headingley.
 
Tony Snowdon was until recently Marketing Director for Leeds based specialist engineers, FTL Technology for 30 years, which was sold to a large global USA based company. He now spends much of his time as a 'Business Angel' seeking out opportunities where his attributes can improve and enhance company performance. A graduate of Leeds Metropolitan University, Tony is also a keen rugby enthusiast.
 
Howard Illingworth has been a director at Robinson Group and Northern Energy and associated businesses for over 20 years and a regular at Headingley during the past decade. He is a former Rugby Union player.
 
John Swarbrick is the Head of Portfolio at the Business Growth Fund (BGF) that was created two years ago with an initial £2.5bn fund. John began his career as a corporate finance advisor with PwC and is an Economics graduate from Leeds University. He has previously supported the Club from the terraces and resides in Harrogate.
 
David Dockray was formerly the European Managing Partner of PwC Consulting, and subsequently Global Board member for IBM Global Business Services, the world's largest consulting and systems integration enterprise. David now runs his own consulting business and has been a member of the Headingley Taverners club for several years.
 
The final step was to construct the Board of Directors for Yorkshire Tykes Limited. The Board now consists of three Executive Directors and four Non-Executive Directors. The three Executive Directors are Sir Ian McGeechan as Executive President, Gary Hetherington continues as Chief Executive Officer and Rob Oates as Commercial Director. The four non-Executive Directors are Alastair Da Costa, Jon Wright, Prof. Paul Smith and David Dockray, with David also becoming Chairman of the Board.
 
Alastair Da Costa is the Chief Executive of Prince's Trust International, the charity which focuses on youth employment and strategies for countries around the world. Before that, Alastair spent 20 years practicising as an international corporate lawyer, most recently with DLA Piper. Alastair lives in North Yorkshire and has been a supporter of the club for many years.
 
Prof. Paul Smith is the Deputy Vice Chancellor of Leeds Beckett University, our major partner. Paul also has a rugby background and has been involved with the club for several years.
 
David Dockray concludes: “The Board consists of people who know about Rugby as a sport and as a business. Our vision is based on success on the field but that needs to be supported by success off the field as well. The different perspectives, experiences and contacts of the Board members will be very important to us on the journey we are starting now and we are committed to achieving our vision of  our Premiership team in Yorkshire."
 
Date for your diary
 
The club will be hosting an Open Evening on Tuesday 17th February at which members of the new board will be available to speak to fans and answer their questions. This will take place in the Premier Suite at Headingley Carnegie Stadium at 7pm. To confirm your attendance please email fansforum@yorkshirecarnegie.com.