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The Heart and soul of WASPS RUGBY
Discussion started by Waspie1867 , 07 October, 2015 09:39
The Heart and soul of WASPS RUGBY
Waspie1867 07 October, 2015 09:39
Last month one of our very own was recognised at the RFU National Rugby Awards. This award encapsulates all branches of our sport including, playing, coaching, administration, management or any combination of these skills. It is aimed at nominees who have devoted a major portion of their lives to the sport and deserve recognition for their efforts. The focus is on work and commitment, not necessarily success.

Lawrence Dalaglio, Sue Day, Simon Shaw, Joe Worsley, Rob Andrew and many, many others – Legends. Legends in rugby, and legends at Wasps Football Club.

But few true Wasps are ignorant of the identity of the man who has devoted his adult life to cultivating the platform from which they became legends. Ivor Montlake: True legend in the world of rugby and true legend in the world of Black and Gold.

At times eminence grise, at times manifest figurehead, Ivor Montlake has undertaken every conceivable role in the development of Wasps Football Club. In the seventies and eighties he ensured the club ran harmoniously from top to bottom, in an era when Wasps had up to 10 teams. Later, he successfully developed Wasps Stewards, which provided event security at Wembley Stadium, deriving a crucial revenue source at a time when amateur rugby faced the pressures of imminent professionalism. Needless to say, he played a key role in navigating the club's transition to this new era, when it came – almost overnight – in 1995. He was influential in the early days of ladies rugby, having the vision to support, mentor and encourage the founders of that now potent playing section. He drove the club’s successful litigation in 2003, which generated the funds to purchase the Wasps’ current home in Twyford Avenue. He has more recently provided enlightened advice to the new owners of Wasps professionals following their takeover in 2013.

Ivor became Honorary Solicitor and Vice-President in 1966. He has held, at different times, the roles of Honorary Secretary (1973-2001)(2013-present), trustee, secretary of numerous sub-committees, executive committee member, company director and company secretary. However, it is not just the official titles that illustrate his impact on the club.

He has been the most consistent influence on the club in anyone’s memory. Sage, visionary, supporter and mentor, steely negotiator, fixer and meticulous professional, he has done his very best in a lifetime of service, for the club that we love.

Legends leave legacies. Without the steel nerves of Ivor Montlake, it is unlikely that Wasps Football club would be one of only two in London to fully own its home, let alone 23 beautiful acres in West London. Without him, it is unlikely that Wasps Football Club would be a powerhouse in Ladies rugby. Without him, it’s unlikely that mini and youth rugby would be so strong, producing players fit for the professional era every year. Without him, it is unlikely that thousands of amateur players and their families would follow the fortunes of amateur and professional as though they were one club.

Ivor Montlake would be a deserving winner of a life-time award. There are no doubt unseen family heroes who have loved and supported him in the background, but for us, he has straddled the worlds of amateur and professional, grassroots and top-class rugby and has done so for over half a century. Two rugby clubs, one professional and one amateur, who share a common history, have much to be indebted to Ivor Montlake.

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