SAINTS’ departing chief executive Tony Colquitt has looked back with pride on his time at the club.
The St Helens born and bred businessman announced on Monday he was stepping down from the role he has held for the past four and a half years.
He now plans to take some time out before deciding on his next career move, but says he will always look back with pride on his five years at Saints.
“I’ve said that I started as a fan and I’ll finish as a fan, so I’ll be going back to the terraces now,” Mr Colquitt told the Reporter.
“I have been a custodian of the club. We only really do that and hand it on to whoever comes after us.”
Mr Colquitt has – along with club chairman Eamonn McManus – been a major driving force behind the move to the new stadium. And he decided that once the new ground was safety in Saints’ hands, he would take his leave.
He said: “There was no dramas, I have always said that once the stadium was done then I would move on. There’s certainly no ill-feeling, and me and Eamonn (McManus) are still good mates.
“I never had any real ambition to carve out a career in sports administration, but I was on the board in 2005 when my predecessor left and I sort of ended up taking on the role and going with it.”
From those beginnings, Mr Colquitt has become a major player in driving the club forward to its current state, boasting a brand new stadium and modern training facilities.
He’s proud the club he loves is now secure over the long term and rates them as being in “the strongest position of any rugby club in any code”.
But he cites the day-to-day involvement with his boyhood club as providing him with his stand-out memories.
“I’ll still be there for the game – it’s just that it won’t be on my shoulders anymore,” he said.
“I’ll be sad to leave the people that I’ve worked with. And I’ll miss being around the players.
“Really as a fan, that has been one of the best things. Being around the players, being in the dressing room, sharing in the glory and losses.”
Close friends and colleagues of Mr Colquitt have known for some time he would be leaving at the end of the year.
But that hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from churning up several bizarre theories to explain his departure – chief among them an outlandish tale that he was set to take over the reins at Wigan.
“I told my dad about that one,” laughed Mr Colquitt, “and he said, ‘If you go to Wigan, don’t bother coming round to this house again’. I am not going to Wigan.”
And his proudest moment at the club?
“It was definitely kicking the first ever goal at the new stadium when no one else was looking! The only trouble was there was no cameras there to capture it posterity.”
n SAINTS have streamlined their top management team following the resignation of Tony Colquitt from one of the leading RL club posts.
The new-look management team will be headed by club chairman Eamonn McManus, supported by Paul Kitchen (finance), Steve Davies (marketing and sales), Jenny Gibbs (hospitality and events) and long-serving Mike Rush (academy rugby and stadium operations).
All will report directly to Mr McManus along with head coach Royce Simmons.
Mr McManus also paid tribute to his former chief executive’s contribution to Saints’ success over the past five years.
“Tony has contributed greatly to the development of the club over a very challenging five years in office,” he said.
“Saints now stand poised to enter an exciting new phase in their history with confidence and would like, both as a colleague and friend, to thank Tony for his contribution and efforts in helping us achieve our aims and dreams.”