Sir Clive a big hit at Pythons Dinner

As the 20th Anniversary of England’s RWC glory approaches Harrogate Pythons managed to book the only Northern Hemisphere coach to achieve a World Cup victory.  Held once again at The Old Swan in Harrogate, the prospect of listening to Sir Clive attracted over 380 guests resulting in a possible record evening raising around £20k for the club.  With Simon Croft hanging up his gavel, TV personality John Inverdale took over the MC and auctioneer role.

The evening was supported by regular Main Sponsors Don Elec, Oracle Finance and Ripon Select Foods.  New to the event as Main Sponsors were Sand Communications, HSBC and Andrew Jackson Solicitors LLP.  Sir Clive and John mingled with the main sponsors for pre dinner drinks before sitting down to a 3 course meal.

At Sir Clive’s request he delivered his main speech between the starter and main course – a strange request but it worked really well.  He spoke of how he prepared his team for the 2003 world cup utilising the attitudes and skills in business to develop an elite sports approach to selection, training and coaching.  He eluded to individual players already in his squad as well as those he needed to target, recruit and develop.  He included some amusing anecdotes as well as some very interesting processes to improve how the game was managed on the pitch, his infamous TCUP – a method to coach pressure, Thinking Correctly Under Pressure.  The room was spell bound as he recounted how those principles played out in the final stages of the final – a superb speech.

John Inverdale kept the evening on track.  His innovative method to play Heads n Tails became true or false with questions on snakes!  Thanks to Stu Illingworth for donating his winnings back to the club.  The live auction delivered a record amount and we await the final figure from the silent auction run once again by Impulse Decisions.

The evening was rounded off with a Q&A run by John with questions from the guests.  Once again Clive showed his absolute enthusiasm for English rugby and the players who are yet to feature as regulars in the squad.  Clive was generous the scores of selfie request and signings.  Proceedings were completed around 11.30pm.

Club Chairman and organiser Julian Tatlow said, “What a great evening and what a brilliant speaker Sir Clive was.  Thanks to Dave Wheat at Don, Peter Brook at Oracle and Tom and Martin Wood at Ripon Select Foods for their continued support.  Massive thanks to the newcomers being our own Steve Smith from HSBC, Adam Sinclair from Andrew Jackson LLP and Si Rodham from Sand.  Such generosity,   without them we couldn’t even dream of such a high profile speaker.  But how can we top this next year?  John Inverdale has already agreed to come back and I’m working on a couple of big names”.