Enthusiasm was dwindling, admits departing Swaffham chairman ‘Spike’
- Credit: Matthew Usher
Stalwart Ian Milligan walked away from his role as Swaffham chairman before he fell out of love with rugby.
The 47-year-old had been involved with the club in a number of capacities for the past 15 years before deciding to leave.
His third season at the helm has been a difficult one, especially at first-team level, with the side bottom of Eastern Counties One and staring relegation in the face.
The man known as Spike said: 'There are quite a few things that have contributed to the decision, some of which I'm prepared to share. Off the pitch the club is still in a reasonably good position.
'On the pitch, it's not going as well as we'd like at first team level, and although I don't think my influence has had any bearing on our form, not that it should, I don't see where a change is coming from. Somebody has got to take responsibility for that and ultimately I think that rests with me.'
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Increased work commitments have not helped Milligan who has played a huge role in increasing Swaffham's mini and junior section and securing strong links with Leicester Tigers. But there are wider issues affecting the sport that have really seen his enthusiasm dwindle.
He said: 'There's lots of in-fighting within the game at regional level between bodies and there are things and initiatives that are coming down from the RFU that for me are diluting mini and youth rugby.
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'The game is not what it was and as chairman how can I expect to support and implement these things if I don't agree with them? I can't and that immediately puts the club at odds with the governing bodies and that's wrong. I can't do that to the club.
'Swaffham has been phenomenal to me and my kids and it's been a pleasure and an honour to coach so many that have gone on to play at a high level. And that's part of why I've decided to walk away now. While I've got great memories and I still love the game. If I keep pushing on I fear I might end up hating it.'
Swaffham, 12 points from safety, visit Newmarket tomorrow while Wisbech host Wymondham.
In London Three North East, third-placed West Norfolk – hot on the heels of the second promotion slot – travel to Wanstead.
- This story appeared in Friday's EDP.