Cardiff Blues chairman Alun Jones believes the club is in a ‘great place for next season’ as he answered questions ahead of preparations for 2019/20 getting fully underway.
In a Q&A posted on the Cardiff Blues official website, that didn’t touch on the Project Reset difficulties that have filled his first six months of involvement, Jones was optimistic going forward both in terms of on-field and off-field performance.
Looking back on 2018/19 he bemoans “those three games at the start and three games at the end that defined our season” but was pleased with “brilliant wins in the middle of the season and acquitting ourselves well in the Champions Cup against some massive teams.
“It gave us a taste of the standard we need to operate at to succeed at that level. Some of the younger guys, particularly in the pack, will have benefitted enormously from the experience.”
Despite supporters concerns in regards to a lack of depth in the front five of the squad heading into the new season, Jones maintained “we’re in a great place for next season”, pointing instead to re-signing 20 players as “keeping top quality players has to be a huge part of our succession plan and I don’t necessarily think we get the credit for that.”
He maintains that winning the Guinness Pro14 and European competitions are still his targets for the organisation, re-affirming much of what was delivered on his presentation to supporters in March, where spoke about the purpose, values and culture of the Cardiff Blues.
In a similar fashion he repeated the need for the business to embrace the commercial opportunity of the Cardiff Capital Region, containing “1.5million people, almost half the population of Wales, and about two thirds of the top 300 companies in Wales (by GDP) with collectively some £24bn of GDP.”
Jones was positive about the financial outlook, with “projected accounts for 2018-19 a lot healthier than in previous years and 2019-20 is again much healthier”, but warned “we will have to make further difficult decisions next year, the year after and I suspect each year. This isn’t a sport awash with cash and we have to make sure every penny counts.”
He also spoke about the Arms Park redevelopment but stopped short of offering an update on how it’s going, thanking CAC for their co-operation and confirming “we all want to see a modern upgrade to CAP which will guarantee top level rugby at the ground for decades to come.”
Finally, Jones praised the work of the Community Foundation and confirmed that season ticket sales are up on this time last year, asking “anyone who hasn’t renewed or is considering a membership to join us on the journey as we enter an exciting new era at the Arms Park.”