We will now draw a very thick black line under the 2001/2002 season and move onwards and, hopefully, upwards towards the new season.
The signing of former South African Captain Andre Vos, announced on Monday, was a real coup for NEC Harlequins. Andre is a world class player, a strong leader and an impressive young man who will help take NEC Harlequins forward over the next few years.
We are still waiting to here from David Wilson as to whether or not he will be returning to England next season to play. Medical reports from the consultant in Australia indicate that he should be fit to play professional rugby union at any level, but it is a big decision for David and his wife Nicole as to whether or not they want to bring their young family half way around the world once again. We will have an answer from David in the very near future.
I have noticed with interest that we have now entered the 'silly season', with NEC Harlequins being linked with every player that announces that he is looking to move or come to England to play. The speculation is fun, but we will announce any new signings as and when they are completed, and will certainly not comment on the speculation, accurate or otherwise.
On the coaching front, there will be no changes on personal for the new season. Our Chief Executive Mark Evans will continue to head up the coaching team, working with John Kingston and Richard Hill. We are all aware that mistakes were made this year, but determined to ensure that this does not happen again. With this in mind the entire coaching, fitness and medical team have spent two days this week discussing the structures we have in place on the playing side, questioning everything we do to ensure that we get the best possible results next season.
The players themselves have been through a gruelling two days of fitness testing designed by Paul Pook and Dave Bell. At the end of a long season you might expect the results to be disappointing, but the squad have done very well and their attitude during testing was excellent. The players will now have some 'active rest' until the 10th June when the majority of the squad will return to Aldershot to commence pre-season training.
With next season in mind, and with our first pre-season game set to be around the 10th August, NEC Harlequins this week also announced the launch of our new season ticket packages for the 2002/2003 season, with prices starting from as little as £75. For more information on season tickets and to guarantee your seat at all of next seasons Zurich Premiership and Parker Pen Shield home games, then contact the Quins Club Office on 0208 410 6000.
Finally, I would just like (once again) to thank you all for your magnificent support this season. It goes without saying that your support was a huge help to the team in those difficult closing weeks to the season. Just like you, we are all looking forward to moving forward with NEC Harlequins and making the Stoop the best ground to watch Zurich Premiership action.
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.