10:56pm Wednesday 30th May 2012
By Alan Birkinshaw
The man who has masterminded the dramatic transformation of Ilkley Rugby Club is to stand down.
Richard Scargill has revealed that he is to relinquish the role of chairman after ten years at the helm.
The 64-year-old believes the time is right for a new man to take charge and guide the club through the next stage of its development.
Whoever takes over will have a hard act to follow as Scargill has been the driving force for a radical change in the club’s fortunes.
And he bows out after a final season that has seen the club’s award-winning £1,7m clubhouse completed and Ilkley play at Twickenham for the first time when they were beaten 34-18 by East Grinstead in the RFU National Intermediate Cup final.
“It’s the right time to bow out,” said Scargill. “It has been a full-time job but I have enjoyed it very much.
“It is so good to see the club making such big strides forward, but it hasn’t always been that way.
“We have had our tough times but the members have been superb. They have supported us magnificently.”
Scargill, a former player, inherited a club with big problems when he took over. The first team was wallowing in Yorkshire Division Two and the club’s finances were in a parlous state.
Both the wealth of the club and the fortunes on the pitch took an upward turn as Scargill exerted his influence.
The club enjoyed two promotions and had two seasons in North East Division One before returning to Yorkshire Division One.
In 2011 the club won the Yorkshire Shield which qualified them for this season’s National Intermediate Cup.
But the biggest achievement by far, and the thing that Scargill will always be remembered for, is the relentless drive and enthusiasm he brought to the club’s impressive transformation of their Stacks Field ground.
“It was leaking money,” recalled Scargill. “We had to replace the old clubhouse and I am delighted that after four years of sheer hard work by everybody connected with the club, we now have a facility we can be proud of.
“I feel it is a part of Ilkley and it is the community connection that is so vital. Much of the funding was only achieved through us pledging to build a community resource.
“Now we have many local organisations using our facilities. That is a source of tremendous pleasure, as is the fact we have a thriving junior section with 400 members in addition to our three senior team.s.
“But the thing that gives me greatest satisfaction is the fact that the club’s finances are in good order.
“We have no debts and going forward the new clubhouse will help us to generate greater income.
“These are exciting times and I will
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