STALWART Mike Vandenberg has been praised for his many years of service to Chobham as he announced he is to step back from much of his work at Fowlers Wells.

Mark Fisher, the Scarlet & Golds’ chairman, said: “Mike has decided that, at the end of the season, it’ll be time to reduce his considerable efforts that he performs for the club.

“Mike’s announcement isn’t surprising as he’s put in such a massive effort for so many years. 

“He’s selflessly given so much for the club and has been an amazing support personally as well as practically across all of the rugby club for many, many years.  

“Thankfully he’s not moving away or disappearing entirely and the club will continue to benefit from his vast experience and love of the club – but not with anywhere near the  same intensity. We’ll make a fuss of him later in the season.”

Vandenberg said: “The time has come for me to not hang up my boots – because I don’t play – but to hang up my keyboard.

“With five years under my belt with my son George and his age group, then 20 years on the management team running our fantastic club, it’s time to take a little step back.

“Life is changing direction with my wife Michelle and I becoming grandparents, weddings on the horizon and work requiring the final push to retirement, so something had to give.

“Having been age-group manager, minis festival organiser, minis chairman, comms manager, stand-in treasurer and my current position as commercial manager, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting some great people along the way and learnt so much. Many of those are now my closest friends.

“Please support me, Mark and the rest of the team to help find my replacement as we look to break down the wider elements I’ve been involved with over the years.”

Chobham are looking to make major changes off the field to ensure the club are a success for years to come.

Fisher said: “Separate from Mike’s decision, the management committee have been discussing succession planning.

“We want to ensure that the club are represented by a team who are relevant to the new generations that pass through that club and are best able to react to the needs of a community-focused, successful club while  building on the previous hard work that’s taken place by so many to get the club to where we are today.

“Over the rest of this season and next season we’ll be looking to shuffle the deck, review the roles that we have in place and pull together a refreshed team that’ll be relevant for the next five years or so. 

“We hope to achieve this while ensuring there’s continuity.

“It’s been very interesting to witness some of the changes that’ve already taken place.

“One example is that we’ve started a review of our IT and we have a list of more than 50 items that require an update maintenance review to ensure that our tills, communications, finance and rugby etc operate. 

“So I have a plea. Have you ever wanted to get involved on the club’s management committee or support the club’s operations? Do you enjoy commercial, communication, infrastructure, admin etc? If so, please send me a message.”

You can contact Fisher at [email protected]