whitehaven rugby league the Marras  

Haven Immortals

Haven chairman Tom Todd

Coach Gary Charlton
Assistant Coach Jonty Gorley

Details of March 25th 2015 announcement....

To contact Club officials

Whitehaven RL
Recreation Ground
Coach Rd
Tel 01946 328088
Or contact Club officials please email to: commercial@whitehavenrl.co.uk

Earlier Boardroom Changes

October 2011
Dick Raaz stands down as chairman.

April 2009
The Board of Directors at Whitehaven RLFC are delighted to announce that former President of the Rugby Football League, Former Club Chairman and distinguished player, Ralph Calvin, has agreed to join the Board to add his experience and knowledge to the clubs drive for sustainability and professional success.

January 2009-New Board takes the Helm

To rousing applause an extraordinary general meeting of Whitehaven RL Club welcomed a new Board led by cigar chewing US businessman Dick Raaz. Mr Raaz who brings a wealth of professional experience to the post will be joined on the board by Michael Wood, Barry Richardson and Copeland councilors Tim Knowles and Cath Giel.
Mr Raaz thanked outgoing chairman Gordon Grace for his work. Mr Raaz conceded that financially the club had 'sailed close to the wind' but he was adamant; "the cashflow issue is manageable and the club is solvent."

The new team was endorsed at the meeting by Steve Ferres, representing the rugby football league. He said: "These people (the new board) will bring a level of professionalism to this club....as the governing body we endorse what you are doing."

While Mr Raaz is managing director of the Drigg LLW Repository Ltd he said he was "putting his neck on the line as an individual."
Mr Raaz said he felt "extremely proud and somewhat frightened at the potential of what you have asked me to shoulder." He welcomed Mr Wood "as I asked him to help us manage the sometimes tortuous waters of financial solvency..to look after the books and produce a thorough account of company affairs."

Among those in the egm were members of previous administrations, including Mr Ron Batty, Mr Des Byrne, Mr Harry Edgar, Mr Dave Farrell and Mr John Reed. At the outset of the meeting Mrs Giel confirmed the powerful role Copeland Council holds with 30,000 shares in the 1992 company that has a controlling interest in the main Whitehaven RL Ltd. She reminded the meeting that the 1992 company holds over 14,000 of the 20,000 shares of Whitehaven RL.


The 2008 Board had been led by Gordon Grace in the chair with Vice chair: George Rowlandson.
Co sec: Chris McMellon
Operations director Iain Irving


WHITEHAVEN rugby league club has bolstered up the Boardroom(28 May 2008 ). West Cumbrian businessman Phil Clarkin has rejoined the board and legal eagle Chris McMellon, the company secretary who works for a big American company, has also been made a director. Harry O'Neill, and Paul Goodwin, are given fulltime jobs as commercial and general manager respectively.


FOUR veteran Whitehaven RL club directors have quit the Board. They are the "old guard" of ex-chairman Des Byrne, Ken Shepherd, Ron Batty, and Dave Farrell.

The resignations were revealed in a guarded official statement which read: "The club will make no comments on fiancial matters other than those that have already been stated until the 2007 accounts are completed.

"There will be as soon as practicable an annual general meeting where the accounts can be discussed in an open and transparent manner. Dirctors can then be appointed and a positive way forward can be proposed."

In the meantime, Haven will operate with a caretaker Board of chairman Gordon Grace, Barry Richardson and Mike Graham who were appointed two weeks ago. Gordon Grace gave credit to the directors who have resigned for the team's on-field achievements, adding: "We have a great coach, a tremendous set of committed and professional players combined with the best supporters in rugby league. It is now time for everyone to pull together for the best interests of Whitehaven RLFC."

13 Feb 2008 - Whitehaven RLFC announced the following changes to the Board of Directors at the Club Whitehaven chairman Des Byrne has stepped down from the post afterthree years in charge. And there is now a new-look regime at the Recre with four fresh directors joining a revamped board. Des has been replaced by Gordon Grace, a former Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy, prominent Haven fan and sponsor.

The exact state of club finances is not yet known, as the new board
is awaiting the latest accounts. But it is believed that Haven's financial situation needs attention.
And respected former chairman Barry Richardson, credited by many as the architect behind the club's transformation in to the game's leading part-time club, also returns to the board, to take charge of all financial matters.

Grace, 60, paid tribute to the work of the departing chairman, who will remain a club director, and stated his intent to place Haven on a more stable financial footing. "Finances are very tight in rugby league and Whitehaven is no exception,"said Grace, who, after leaving the Navy, went on to senior management roles with Marconi Simulation, the UK paper industry and more recently in launching GEN II Engineering and Training at Cleator Moor.

Along with my colleagues we intend to urgently review and address our financial difficulties and develop new income streams.

Retailer Billy Rudd, another well-known sponsor, who holds the club's merchandising contract, will be director of rugby.

He will manage all coaching, playing and medical staff, take charge of player-contract negotiations, developing and delivering community programmes, and attracting fresh backers for team clothing and club merchandise.

And a fourth new face on the board, former Tory leader on Copeland Council Mike Graham, has been appointed as hospitality director.Every director will have a well-defined area of responsibility under the new regime. Each will be accountable for the budget allocated to his area and these will be reported and monitored monthly. Board meetings will switch to monthly from weekly. A statement of progress will also be required from each director on a monthly basis in advance of the board meeting.

Grace, who is now retired from business, will also be in charge of deciding future strategy, sponsor-liaison, ground development and legal issues. As commercial director, George Rowlandson, former vice-chairman, will lead the search for new business and income streams.

Ron Batty, another huge club sponsor through his firm B & H Motors, will spearhead all club social events, while Kenny Shepherd will be in charge of ground maintenance and safety issues, in addition to having a major match-day role. Dave Farrell, as business support director, will assist with the reserve-grade side, service website and IT needs and prepare all club documentation.

Director John Reed has stepped down from the board. No vice-chairman has yet been appointed. In March 2007 Haven director Phillip Barwise stepped down from the board due to new business commitments.

The Board were joined by Phil Clarkey.

 October 2007
Whitehaven RLFC have appointed Paul Crarey former coach of Barrow Raiders as their new coach. The 42 year old former Haven player last night signed a twelve month contract with the club.
November 16 2006
Vice Chairman Barry Richardson has stepped down with immediate effect to take a well earned break. Barry has for the last five years performed the role of Chairman and Vice Chairman which have been two very demanding positions. He feels it is now time to take a break and recharge his batteries as well as spending more time with his family. Chairman Des Byrne said, "Barry has worked very hard for the club over the last five years and has been the driving force behind the success of recent seasons. He will be a big miss to the club but the Board respect his decision and fully understand the reasons behind it. Everyone at the club wishes Barry well and thanks him for the tremendous contribution he has made to the club over the last five years."

Director Gary Barwise has stepped down from the Board with immediate effect also wishing to spend more time with his family and concentrate on his business. Chairman Des Byrne said, "The Board are sorry to see Gary leave. He has been an impportant part of the recent success of the club and worked very hard to achieve that. The role of Director is a very demanding one as this Board are all working Directors and Gary has put many hours in on club business. We wish him all the best for the future and thank him for his efforts."

The club have also announced the appointment of a new Company Secretary. Chris McMellon has been appointed as Company Secretary and Honary Club Solicitor. Chris is a Solicitor based in Lancashire but belongs Whitehaven and has followed Haven for some time. He has played professional rugby league for Hull and Rochdale and has been helping the club on an informal basis for some time. Chairman Des Byrne welcomed his appointment saying, "Chris brings some valuable experience to the club at a time when we need it.The club has grown tremendously over the last few seasons both on and off the field and Chris's appointment can only benefit the club. He has been kind enough to help us on an informal basis on a number of issues and it is welcoming to make this arrangement more formal." This position was formerly occupied by Director Dave Farrell who remains on the board.

October 2006
John Cox has decided to step down.

Nov 3 2005
Whitehaven RLFC have appointed St Helens Assistant Coach Dave Rotheram as their new Head Coach. The former London Broncos player and Assistant Coach has joined the club on a two year deal. The thirty seven year old was chosen from a short list of five applicants and the Board feel that Dave is the right man to take the club further forward. He has coaching experience at all levels and has worked alongside coaches like Tony Rea, Ian Millward and Daniel Anderson.

April 2005:

Everyone at the club was saddened and shocked to hear today of the sudden death of Club President Bill Madine at his Whitehaven home.

Bill was a prominent local businessman who retired several years ago , but had been a life long Haven fan , he proudly claimed to have been present at the clubs first ever game v Hull FC in August 1948 .

In recent time he was a director and secretary of the club and became president in 2002.

Board Changes

WHITEHAVEN’S hugely-respected chairman Barry Richardson, stepped down this week (March 1 2005) because of work commitments, but he looked back on his three years as chairman with with pride and satisfaction .

The highlight of his time at the helm came last October as Haven met Leigh in the NL1 Grand Final in at Widnes, with a Super League place at stake, ranks top of his list. “I led the team on to the field in Whitehaven’s first ever final, which was fantastic,” said Barry , who left the Chairs seat at The Recre because of the increasing demands of his job as a manager at Sellafield.

Barry looks back to the start of things in 2001 and reflects on the progress the club has made in that time " we were down to 600 or 700 supporters at home games,” recalled Richardson, “The main thing was to make the club financially viable and ensure it kept moving forward,” Richardson said.

“But I don’t think we could have envisaged what’s happened over the last three years. We’ve probably moved forward quicker than anyone envisaged. The growth has been phenomenal. Turnover is two or three times what it was, and it’s all down to hard work by a lot of people.”

Haven averaged almost 1,800 at home last season and its two profitable lotteries have put the club on an even keel. Richardson is also delighted that the club has received positive national recognition during his spell as chairman.

He said: “It was brilliant when in 2003 we were named National League Community Club of the Year. The Rugby League said we were a great example of how clubs should move forward - and last year we went on to win the overall NL Club of the Year award.

“I’ve been delighted with the support from my fellow directors, who all work hard, and whose encouragement has been fantastic. I’ve also been very fortunate to work with two fantastic coaches - Paul Cullen and Steve McCormack.

Richardson has overseen the most dramatic transformation in the club’s fortunes for decades and will remain on the board. “I’m prepared to continue to work with the other directors, supporting new chairman Des Byrne and Graeme Thompson in his new role as chief executive, in anything they need,” he pledged. Haven fans have a lot to thank Richardson for and will be relieved to know that he will still be around to continue that work that he and his fellow directors have done so well with in recent times.
Whitehaven RL
Recreation Ground
Coach Rd

www.marras.co.uk the web site of Whitehaven Rugby League