West Hartlepool Rugby Club announce new president

dave stubbs
dave stubbs

WEST Hartlepool have named Dave Stubbs as the club’s new president.

The 63-year-old, the most successful coach in the club’s history, will head the National Three North club and will have evergreen stand-off Graham Frankland as his vice-president.

Stubbs is a popular choice to succeed Reg Turner, who died minutes after watching West pull off a super league win over Chester at Brinkburn in February.

Turner had been a highly-respected and much loved president having played for the club, captained West and went on to play an important role in the club’s rise up the rugby ladder.

And Stubbs ticks those same boxes and much more.

No one has played more games for West or coached them in more matches than the former county star.

Stubbs was a highly-talented winger, centre or full-back in his playing days and even had a stint at hooker towards the end of his career.

But it was after his retirement from playing that he made an even bigger impact at Brierton Lane.

Stubbs took over as West coach in the early 80s, leading the club to the Northern Merit Table title in 1984 as well as the quarter-finals of the John Player Cup.

That success laid the foundations for the club when league rugby was introduced in England in 1987.

And Stubbs guided West to their famous ‘3-2-1’ promotion as they went from the Third Division to the First with an almost exclusive local-built squad in three breathtaking seasons.

West were relegated from the top flight at the end of the 1991-92 season but Stubbs led them straight back the following season, only to be replaced by a director of rugby, Barry Taylor.

And when West parted company with the colourful Aussie midway through the 94-95 season, Stubbs returned and kept the team in English rugby’s elite division.

He has had occasional stints in charge since then, notably in North One East in 2005-07, when he took over from Rod McLure and Keith Lupton, before handing over the reins to Tim Sawyer.

Stubbs, who also had a successful time in charge of the Northern Division, will have another West stalwart as his right-hand man.

Frankland, who has still been turning out for the Fourth XV into his early 50s, has represented the club in their time at Brierton Lane and Brinkburn and was one of the key figures in the West Amateurs set-up.

West chairman Peter Olsen said: “The club is extremely lucky to have people like Dave and Graham on board.

“They have a wealth of experience, both on and off the pitch, and, of course, both hold down very senior positions with the local authority.

“They have busy lives, but will share the official presidential duties as well as making a valuable contribution at board meetings.”