RICHARD Rudge was branded ‘The Special One’ as he guided Longlevens to RFU Junior Vase success – now he is aiming to build a sustainable future for the club.
The ‘Levens coach and chairman has been dubbed Jose Mourinho by his fellow backroom staff following a string of super substitutions throughout season.
And after his side stormed to a 23-12 victory over Rugby Lions at Twickenham, he is determined to ensure the glory days keep coming.
“It’s a bit of a joke which started following the Liskeard game and a couple of league matches where I made a couple of replacements which seemed a bit bizarre but they paid off.
“But Sunday was just a great day, I’m so proud and over the moon, I was close to tears. It’s something we worked for all year.
“We had an unbelievable reception back at the club with a massive tunnel guiding us in which allowed the boys to really revel in their achievements. I called it a day around 11.30pm but some of the boys carried on into Monday night!”
Since being elected chairman this year Rudge’s attention has quickly turned to improving facilities at the Longford Lane club.
Longlevens have always boasted a strong junior section but players have often drifted away and into the hands of local rivals.
But after fielding a starting team that contained 12 players who had come through the age-grade ranks, Rudge has set out a four-year plan to develop the club’s facilities.
He said: “We’ve always had a really successful junior section, with over 350 players, and the seniors have always been roughly in the same league
“But we have so many players who have gone onto Gloucester and even become internationals – now we want to start building on the senior section.
“The majority of boys on Sunday have come up from just seven-years-old winning at Twickenham.
“We would never stop a player from going onto a higher level but we would like to keep everyone else who comes from our junior section at the club.
“I’ve just become chairman and we have a four-year plan of what we want to do at the club.
“We managed to develop the club and changing rooms approaching 10 years ago now but we still need to improve our facilities.
“First of all we need to renew the kitchens and sort the bar plan out. Then we will turn our attention to the training areas. Ideally we would like to get some floodlights installed to serve two senior pitches and a couple of junior ones as well.
“Hopefully that will ensure players come right the way through the different age groups, come into the senior system and stick together.” Rudge remains equally ambitious regarding on field matters and he has already set the target of earning promotion to Gloucester Premier.
He added: “We missed out on promotion by just one point. A few injuries cost us and if we didn’t hit the post with one kick against Bream we would have gone up.
“We are only losing one player in the summer, Thomas Griffiths who is going to Hartpury, so we will continue to build and go for the league title.”