Future of Legion Rovers in doubt

CONCERNS have been raised over the future of Hawick Legion Rovers.

It is understood financial pressures and a shortage of committee members is threatening the existence of the Border Amateur ‘C’ Division side.

A ‘feeder’ outfit for the Hawick Legion team, all five of the Hawick-based players selected for the recent Border Amateur select side started off at Rovers.

But Legion chairman David Fraser admitted it was becoming increasingly difficult to operate the two teams.

He told the Hawick News: “Unfortunately, we as a club have made fairly significant financial losses over the past three seasons.

“We are in an almost unique position in the Border Amateur league of needing to raise double the amount of money that every other club requires in order to survive because we run two teams.

“We are scratching about and competing with two other Border Amateur sides, Hawick Royal Albert and of course all the rugby clubs and other sporting organisations in Hawick for sponsorship money from local businesses.

“It’s getting increasingly harder every year.”

Rovers are past winners of the Border Amateur ‘B’ Division (1972/73); they won the Wright Cup in 1966/67 and 1972/73; Walls Cup (1966/67, 1993/94); Collie Cup (1996/97); and Sanderson Cup (2001/02).

From the hard-working committee of 12, two thirds are players and this impacts on the ‘off-field’ help needed for match days.

“In reality our committee is too small to effectively run two sides,” confessed Fraser.

And although the club is set to celebrate its 60th anniversary this year, he conceded that tough decisions would need to be taken if Rovers, who are managed by Luke Cooper, are to continue.

But he believed that, if the club folded, it would be a big blow to football in Hawick.

He said: “The heart perhaps rules the head on this issue more than it should.

“If we looked at the situation with no sentimentality then I don’t think the Rovers would be here today.

“However, if the Rovers fold then the town loses a team that has been going half-a-century, a team with a proven track record of starting players on the right path. A team that provides young players with the best grounding in making the step up from youth to amateur football.

“The knock-on effect is many players in Hawick would be lost to the game were the Rovers not here.”