A Club Statement from the Hon Secretary

Dear Members

I would like to take this opportunity to send you the following update.

As you will be aware it is around this time of the year we gather for our AGM. Unfortunately, due to restrictions related top Covid 19 which requires strict social distancing, the Club Executive have decided to postpone the AGM until it practicably possible to safely facilitate the meeting. The Executive had considered hosting an on-line AGM, however, we felt that this may restrict certain members from attending. We continue to monitor the current situation and will update you on a date for the AGM in due course.

Sadly, we can announce the passing of Mark Prosser who sadly passed away recently aged 68. Mark played on the 3rd. and 4th teams in the 80’s and 90’s. Known as a fantastic member who always supported the club. Richard Tricky who played with Mark in the 4th team during the twilight of both their rugby playing days, said that, ‘Mark always enjoyed the social side to the full and was a true gentleman with a good sense of mischief. We had a memorable tour to Morecambe with the 4th team where we played against Vale of Lune and won. We had a few stars such as Levings, Drake and Wilkinson on that tour with Mark, although the rugby was somewhat slower, we did enjoy some good times.’ The club sends its condolences and best wishes to Marks wife Delphina and family at this time. Please note that there will be a celebration of his life at the Bulls Head, Hale Barns at 7.00 o’clock on Saturday 5th. September and all those who knew Mark are welcome to attend.

Sadly, we also lost a stalwart of Sale FC Rugby and Sale Sharks last Wednesday. Alan Blease unfortunately passed away from cancer last week. He was surrounded by his loving family and we are thinking about them all at this time. Steve Smith reminiscing about Bleasy said

 He was a pretty good prop but probably not quite as good as the first team prop at the time Fran Cotton. Playing 2nd team rugby and then becoming the person with the most difficult job in any rugby club, 3rd Team Captain. “Bleasy’s Blunderers” as they were known were held together and lead by a true club man who was Sale through and through. He was a genuinely lovely man. We will all miss him.  

I have no doubt like us you are looking forward to the club house at Heywood Road being opened again so we can get together with friends and enjoy a few drinks. We would like to clarify questions we have had regarding why we have not yet opened up our Heywood Road clubhouse. As you know may know, we are in a fantastic position to have such a facility, however, due to the size and capacity of Heywood Road, it is licensed as a stadium, which means that we come under the same restrictions as Old Trafford Football and Cricket Grounds. This means that unlike smaller clubs who do not have a main stand, we are still restricted from opening up our ground at this time. We are in regular discussions with the council and seeking continual guidance as to the situation.  Be in no doubt that when restrictions are lifted and it safe to do so, we will be open and already have events planned. We are working hard to implement all the relevant social distancing measures to make things as safe as possible on re-opening.

Our 1st XV are back doing pre-season and working under the strict guidelines set by the RFU. Director of Rugby Jonathan Keep and his coaching team have been working hard over the summer, as they look to do all they can to prepare the players for when rugby does start again. At this point we are unsure when that will be. Our Chair of Rugby Paul Kelly is in constant contact with the RFU and NCA as we he plans for the rest of the club players getting back onto a pitch. Having seen how popular our summer social rugby has become over the past few years, we are keen to do what we can to have people out exercising again. Paul will be sending out a separate rugby update soon and look out on our social media for 1st XV team updates from Keepie and his team.

In speaking with Councillor Boyes last week, we are aware that Mr Boyes was not interviewed by the press when they released a statement identifying him as senior member of Sale FC Rugby but was using the video minutes from a Council meeting to identify him as such. We would like to make it clear that Councillor Boyes does not speak for Sale FC Rugby club and he has said it was not his intention to be viewed as such. The exec accepts this statement.

Finally, we have almost completed the 1st phase of the development work down at Carrington, where we have created space for an upgraded clubhouse. We will shortly be inviting members down to have a look and for their input to how it could be fitted out, more importantly their offers of assistance so we can turn this into a fantastic space prior to the new season starting. We hope that this new clubhouse area will enhance the rugby experience for all those that will be using or visiting Carrington.

Best Wishes

Dr Scott Bamrbrick

Sale FC Rugby Hon Club Secretary

RIP Alan “Bleasy” Blease

 

We at Sale FC Rugby are devastated by the loss of a cornerstone of our rugby family. He was a friend to all, a colleague to some and a cheeky gossip to many. I was first introduced to him more than twelve years ago and he immediately struck me as a kind and engaging man who was always smiling. He was as happy chatting with rugby superstars as he was to the kids who did the tours of the AJ Bell, treating them with equal respect and kindness. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. We are all better for having known you.

 

James Hourihan,

President Sale FC Rugby

 

Steve Smith reminiscing about Bleasy said

 

He was a pretty good prop but probably not quite as good as the first team prop at the time Fran Cotton. Playing 2nd team rugby and then becoming the person with the most difficult job in any rugby club, 3rd Team Captain. “Bleasy’s Blunderers” as they were known were held together and lead by a true club man who was Sale through and through. He was a genuinely lovely man. We will all miss him.

We have included the announcement today from Sale Sharks.

Sale Sharks are deeply saddened to announce the passing of beloved kit man Alan Blease at the age of 69, following a second short battle with cancer. 

Alan, or ‘Bleasy’ as he was affectionately known throughout the rugby community, passed away on Wednesday 8th of July 2020 surrounded by his family. He is survived by his two daughters Beccy and Jo and his three grandchildren, Koby, Chloe and Belle.

Originally a geography teacher at Whalley Range High School in Manchester, Alan joined the club as a 22-year-old in 1973, where he played as a prop for Sale’s 2nd XV before going on to devote his life to the rugby club. He stopped playing in 1990 when he was asked by Fran Cotton to be Chairman of Selectors, a role he undertook with his customary calm organisation until the beginning of the professional era at Heywood Road.

During a career spanning 47 years, ‘Bleasy’ has held almost every position at Sale Rugby Club including Player, Team Manager and most significantly, Head Kit Man. Alan, who was the longest serving kit man in Premiership Rugby’s history, embraced this role alongside his best friend and life-long colleague Robbie Dickson. The pair would go on to reach legendary status at the club and across the rugby fraternity due to their unique friendship, working relationship and commitment to the club and game of Rugby Union. 

Alan was not only influential in his role at Sale on a day-to-day basis but in developing the culture that the club prides itself on today, enjoying a fantastic relationship with all staff and players, past and present. ‘Bleasy’ will be dearly missed by everyone at Sale Sharks.

Speaking on behalf of everybody connected with the club, Sharks Director of Rugby and life-long friend Steve Diamond said:

“There are so many meaningless words traded around like ‘legend’ and ‘family’ in this day and age, especially within sport. On this occasion, I can say that Alan Blease is a true legend of Sale Rugby. ‘Bleasy’ was one of the elders of the unique rugby family we possess here at Sale and everybody has their own story to tell about such a great man. I’m sure some of these tales will be revealed over a pint or game of rugby in the near future, but for the moment our thoughts are with Alan’s daughters, Jo and Beccy at this extremely difficult time.”

We ask that supporters respect the privacy of Alan’s family at this time. If appropriate the club will share further details of Alan’s funeral publicly, however if you would like to send any messages of support to Alans family please email info@salesharks.com

As a mark of remembrance, Sale Sharks will hold a minutes silence at our first available home fixture, and the players kit will be emblazoned with Alan’s initials for the remainder of the 2019/20 Season.

 

 

Robbie Dickson & Alan Blease in 2019