Tim Sedgwick talks about his passion for rugby in the Yorkshire Post
Today’s Yorkshire Post Business section features our own Finance Director and joint company owner, Tim Sedgwick as he talks about the Leeds Rhinos in ‘My Passion’.
My re-discovery of rugby and love of the Rhinos.
I suppose you could say that I only really became passionate about rugby about 10 years ago. I’ve always been a lover of competitive sports, watching more often than playing, although my slightly bent nose and eyebrow scar do lay testament to my days playing rugby at school.
My first experience of watching rugby at Headingley came when I was very young and couldn’t even see over the wall. I’d been taken by my dad, a Leeds man and salesman who spent most of the week travelling up and down the country. Dad told me the reason I was going was so that in the future I could tell people I had once seen Lewis Jones play! It was a very sad day when my father passed away when I was just 10. My mother used to enjoy taking me to test match cricket at Headingley but I never really thought about watching live Rugby League again, although I have always looked for the Rhinos’ results and watched them on TV. As time wore on I became more engrossed in football, supporting Leeds United.
Around ten years ago I was becoming increasingly disillusioned with football, in particular with the behaviour of the players and managers, plus the attitude of FIFA. I’d started to watch Rugby League again on Sky and immediately felt enthused by it. It wasn’t long before I was back at Headingley, once again enjoying the live matches.
It’s a hard game: fast, relentless and very demanding of the players. The atmosphere at a rugby match is also very different to football. The game may be extremely physical but with very few exceptions the players and coaches behave with dignity and respect. I find it inconceivable that I will ever see at a Rugby League match the touchline antics displayed by football managers. This attitude is carried through to the fans, with fans of both teams mixing before and after a match. Fans are just there to enjoy the game and it’s a much better environment for families.
I have taken quite a few people, who have never been before, to Headingley to watch the Rhinos. Their reactions after the game have ranged from “much better than football” through “that was great, when can we come again?” to “How do I buy a season ticket?”! I would encourage anybody who has never been, to go along to Headingley to watch a Rhinos game. You won’t be disappointed.
As well as setting standards on the pitch, Leeds Rhinos are a really well-run organisation, where the attitudes of hard work, team work and always giving everything to the job runs throughout the club. Personally, with a business to run, I consider that there is a lot I can learn from them. I cannot think of a better example of why I love the club and the game so much than something which happened to me back in 2012. I was in the Long Bar at Headingley waiting for the team to return from Old Trafford after having won the Grand Final (yet again). The team were walking past me into the room with the trophy. I was joining in the applause and I just happened to say “Fantastic”. Danny McGuire, a real star of the game by any definition you could choose, turned round and thanked me. That, to me, says everything you need to know about a great club and a great game.
Tim presenting a cheque to Neil Kaiper Holmes, Chairman of the Leeds Rhinos Foundation in 2014. On the right: Training with the Rhinos on their annual fun training day at Kirkstall Road.