Back from the brink: rugby club survives to kick off season

All set for the new term: Croydon RFC’s first XV squad

Down in Surrey 3, the area’s lowest-ranked rugby club began the 2017-2018 season on Saturday with defeat. But the fact that Croydon RFC had a team playing at all was remarkable for a club that was within 24 hours of going under, as their chairman, TREVOR HENDERSON, writes

There’s something quite amazing going on at Croydon Rugby Football Club. You can feel the buzz in the air and see the excitement in the players.

For a club that was 24 hours from going bust this is a truly incredible turnaround.

Fourteen months ago, Croydon RFC was on the brink of disaster. With suppliers due to enter the premises and cut off their services, one member actually referred to the club as “a dead man walking”.

An emergency rescue plan was formed with the assistance of Surrey Rugby and the club was rescued just before services were scheduled to be cut off.

Now, a year later we’re looking at a club that has turned itself around dramatically. The list of changes is truly remarkable. With debts cleared, bills paid and cash in the bank, the finances of the club have been restructured to ensure long-term security.

Trevor Henderson, chairman of Croydon RFC

It doesn’t end there. Croydon RFC has attracted the services of Niall O’Doherty, an outstanding level 3 coach with a proven track record. Niall’s enthusiasm and tough, no excuses coaching is having an incredible impact on the team, you can see the motivation in the players and the vast improvement in their skills. To secure a coach of this calibre is a real achievement.

In yet another coup, Croydon RFC hosted guests David Smith and Josh Carroll, Croydon-based Sports Performance Coaches, who coached the players in mindset techniques, introducing elements of sports psychology into an amateur community club.

How has Croydon RFC made such a dramatic change in such a short space of time? Significantly, high performers have been placed into key positions in the committee. These changes have managed to secure the finances of the club and put the club on this journey of development and innovation.

If you want to be part of the next big success in Croydon, check out

Whether you want to be a player or spectator, everyone is welcome at the friendliest community club in Croydon. Training is on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7.30pm.

And it has the cheapest members’ bar in Croydon.

Contact your local rugby clubs here:

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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