Manchester Rangers: A professional club for the future?

With Wigan, Salford and Leigh on their doorsteps, Mancunians are blessed with a premier local Rugby League scene. But how many of them are actually aware of their city based club? Here we take a closer look at Manchester Rangers…

In partnership with our Manchester based partner Stand-Off Media, we have been working closely with Manchester Rangers in order to raise both participation and spectator numbers in the North West.

We recently caught up with the club’s development manager Matt Valentine to discuss the club’s background and how the local community can get involved!

Firstly could you tell me a bit more about Manchester Rangers and what you do as a club both competitively and in the community?

Manchester Rangers

(Image Credit: Manchester Rangers)

“Competitively we have two teams competing in leagues, our first team are currently in the North West Mens League Division 2 and our Reserves compete in North West Mens League Division 4.

Just two years ago (our first formal year) the first team were in Division 4 and have jumped through the ranks since, we are aiming for the play offs in 2017.

Community work is the largest part of what we do as a club, we employ full time members of staff who go out into the community and deliver in schools to try and drive participation and increase awareness of Rugby League.

We have recently set up a junior club, Belle Vue Bees, who are based out of the Belle Vue Sports Village. We coach in 6 High Schools and countless primary schools to achieve our aims.”

You pride yourselves as a community based club. Arguably the best in Manchester, but what distances yourselves from other nearby clubs?

“I think the sheer level of engagement we have is what sets us apart. As mentioned, we have two teams competing in leagues every week which is something that some of the more established clubs struggle to do.

Our community engagement for Rugby League is unparalleled within the city and we are working hard to grow a sustainable base for Rugby League to exist in the professional ranks, which is our ultimate aim.” Manchester Rangers 1

(Image Credit: Manchester Rangers/MJSoutherden)

Where is the club based and what sort of areas are you open to welcoming players/supporters from? 

“We utilise three fantastic facilities across the city as part of our club. Our training base is at the wonderful Platt Lane Sports Complex, which provides everything we could need from 4G pitches, to a strength & conditioning Suite, to a video analysis room. Platt Lane

(Image Credit: http://www.bubblefootie.co.uk)

Our Reserves play their home games at the brand new Belle Vue Sports Village, which is also the base of our junior club Belle Vue Bees.

Finally, our first team play their home games at the 6,500 capacity Manchester Regional Arena, part of the Etihad Campus. Sport City

(Image Credit: Gibbos92.wordpress.com)

We welcome players and supporters from all over. We have players who come from as far as Bradford, Telford and St Helens whilst we have club members based in Liverpool, Newcastle and Essex!”

For someone who is interested in trying Rugby League, they could be quite hesitant in getting involved due to a fear of having a lack of ability etc, is this something to be worried about or do you welcome new players from all abilities/age ranges?

“A beginner to Rugby League should never be worried about ability, especially not at Manchester Rangers. We have a track record of taking new players to the sport and allowing them to grow and develop at their own pace.

Just this year we have had that happened with three or four players who have gone on to make appearances for our Reserves.

As we run two teams, there is plenty of opportunity to get game time at a suitable level and grow in confidence.”

Similarly to the question above, what.. age ranges, ability levels and backgrounds do you welcome players from?

“Our current players come from a wide range of backgrounds and that is something we are proud of.

Our players age from a range of 17 up to 41 and they all play regular rugby, we have complete beginners up to recent ex pros and everyone works together to ensure each person is developing and getting better.”

Pre-Season-MR-v-UOM7D_IMG_016557

(Image Credit: Manchester Rangers/MJSoutherden)

From personal experience I can state that playing or training with a club such as yourselves requires a high level of commitment due to the training and match-day schedules involved. Typically how many times and on what days do your teams train/play on, just so prospective players are aware?

“We train twice a week at Platt Lane Sports Complex, M14 7UU. This is on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 8pm – 9pm.

Our games are typically on a Saturday afternoon, though we do have some Friday night games also dotted throughout the year.”

Some players naturally have the dream of playing professionally or at a high standard within the game, is there a route/pathway into this via gaining experience playing for your club? Or is your club based more around enjoyment and participation?

“The ultimate aim of Manchester Rangers is to become a professional team in the short to midterm future, we will do what we can to assist any of our players who wish to play at that level.

We also have a large group of players who just want to play because they enjoy Rugby League and this is something we value massively. If players are enjoying themselves playing here, that is all we can ask for!”

Manchester-Rangers-v-Rochadale-Cobras-380

(Image Credit: Manchester Rangers)

Any prospective players or anyone who is interested in becoming a member with the club should contact Matt on: 07801 522 320 or at matt.valentine@manchesterrangers.co.uk

The club are also available on the following social media outlets:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rangersrl/

Twitter: @MCRRangerRL

You can follow our partners Stand-Off Media on Twitter , Facebook and their Website

 

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