'Commitment - Loyalty - Belief' - that has been the strap line at NEC Harlequins since that fateful and painful moment on 30th April when we were relegated to National Division One.
An awful lot has happened at the club since that day. Some of which has been very painful, but much of which has been incredibly uplifting in the way that both our sponsors and supporters have got behind the club and shown their commitment to NEC Harlequins.
Well tomorrow afternoon it is the turn of the playing department to start returning that faith, belief and commitment. Tomorrow afternoon against Pertemps Bees at Sharmans Cross Road we start the 26 game journey which we all hope will see us return to the Guinness Premiership by the end of April 2006.
In many ways it is a step into the unknown. We will be playing at grounds that we do not know, facing opponents, particularly early in the season, that are new to us. It is an adventure that we would clearly have preferred not to have undertaken, but now that we are here we are going to enjoy.
Following the game at Pertemps Bees on Saturday, we have an A league game at home to London Wasps on Monday evening at the Stoop, kick-off 7.30pm. The team for this will be announced on Monday, but it is set to include a number of our academy players such as England Under 19 internationals James Inglis and Alex Rogers, as well as a host of other up and coming talent.
On the injury front, Ceri Jones underwent an operation this week on his knee which he injured against Saracens last weekend and will be out of action for approximately six weeks. Henry Barratt ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament about ten days ago, which means he could be out of action for up to nine months depending on how his re-hab goes, while Mike Brown fractured a bone in his hand against Saracens and will be missing for a couple of weeks.
I understand there will be a crowd of approximately 3,500 at Sharmans Cross Road tomorrow afternoon, which should create a tremendous atmosphere for both teams to perform. We are all looking forward to kick-off at 3.00pm and the opportunity to start repaying that 'Commitment - Loyalty - Belief.'
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.