John Mann, outgoing head of development at Ross Sutherland Rugby Club, believes the Invergordon side are well placed to continue to grow after his departure.


John Mann of Ross Sutherland has left his role as head of club development.

Mann had served the club for nearly six years, but with his new job only taking him to Fortrose as an active school coordinator, he will continue to play at the Naval Grounds for the foreseeable future.

The past few years have been a period of off-court growth for the Stags.

John Mann has left his role as Ross Sutherland’s development officer – but will continue to play for the club. Photo Peter Carson

Work on a new clubhouse is nearing completion, while away from the first team efforts have been made to establish touch rugby over the summer, rugby on foot sessions and a girls’ and women’s first section at Invergordon.

These are things Mann will be remembered with as much fondness as his tenure as development officer draws to a close.

“I had been in this position for six years, so I was looking for opportunities to progress and I was lucky to get this position,” Mann explained.

“In a way the timing is difficult because with the new clubhouse opening hopefully next month it’s the perfect time to get involved, but it’s not often that things line up perfectly.

“I have a lot of good memories – during this time we started the girls’ and women’s section.

“The obvious highlight that everyone would jump to is the Murrayfield experience, but I’m looking at things like seeing how our summer program has grown over the last two years, or how we’ve taken on more staff.

“It’s seeing that development. We will always brand ourselves as a grassroots rugby club, we need to keep that image, but we also want to grow and do more within the community.

“We want to use our facilities to extend that reach a little further and engage people.”

While there have been many opportunities for growth in recent years at Ross Sutherland, there were also significant challenges, namely the pandemic and the ripple effects of Covid.

Mann, however, is proud of how the Stags have come back strong after essentially having a year off, and believes the pandemic has only underlined how important clubs like Ross Sutherland can be.

“There was the obvious buzz when we came back from Covid,” he added.

“I think ourselves and a lot of other sports clubs have been very successful in retaining that, and it just shows the benefits of being involved in a sports club.

“Whatever that sport is, it doesn’t matter. Once they’re in a club, you don’t see too many people leaving.”

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