Cornish Pirates – In My View, by Dick Straughan
THE last seven days in the world of the Cornish Pirates have been far from dull, despite the club not having a fixture.
The impending departure of Rod Coward as chief executive was probably one of the worst kept secrets in recent times while the appointment of his successor, Josh Lewsey, was arguably the best.
Bringing in a former England international of proven pedigree, a World Cup winner, British Lion, and successful businessman into the bargain is the boost the club has been waiting for. And at just 36, Lewsey is still hungry enough to implement the changes they so desperately need and drive the Pirates forward.
A fortnight ago I argued in this column that the Pirates had reached the stage of their evolution where they needed to revisit what they are all about and decide again exactly what they want to be. It now appears that the Pirates board are readying themselves to do exactly just that.
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Lewsey's appointment is short-term and his brief wide ranging, giving him not a lot of time to start implementing the off-field improvements he will no doubt quickly identify. But a man of his calibre with a proven recent track record working alongside major firms as PriceWaterhouseCooper and Citibank might help the Pirates attract new investment and alleviate what club owner Dicky Evans periodically refers to as "donor fatigue".
Then of course, there is the Stadium. Lewsey is a public supporter of the Stadium for Cornwall bid but regardless of the final stages of the planning application, if this venture is ever to succeed more big hitters with financial reserves to match will need to come to the table. If he can help facilitate that as well in just six months, the Pirates fans will love him.
Another key part of Lewsey's thorough brief is to help identify a permanent CEO to take up the reins at the start of next season. Some big names have been mentioned and the name which refuses to go away is that of former Harlequins supremo, Mark Evans.
This is still very much speculation but he, along with others of his ilk, would never relocate to Cornwall to run a club going nowhere fast, so the coming months really are key to club's long-term future.
Then there is Josh Lewsey himself; what are his long term plans within the game? Does he fancy becoming the next Rob Andrew, starting out by leading an ambitious club to the top flight before becoming a major figure within the administration of the sport? The truth is we do not know, but hopefully many questions regarding the future of the Pirates will begin to see some answers in the next six months or so.
– Dick Straughan