Football president resigns after nine years

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Stu Reid’s rise to the top of the Richmond Athletic Football Club was far from conventional – his exit, however, will be much more dignified.

After nine years as president of Richmond Athletic, Stu has decided to quit the job to spend more time with his family. He says he’s “burnt out” after almost a decade running the club, but has no plans to leave the club entirely.

“I will continue to play and will continue to be involved in the club, and I’m really looking forward to just standing on the deck on Saturdays and watching football with a rum in my hand.”

Stu’s involvement started with Richmond as a five year old when his father signed him up to play midgets.

His dad was already well-known to the club as a player and his mum as an enthusiastic supporter and club volunteer.

“My parents came over from Scotland and the story is that they arrived in Nelson on the Wednesday and Dad started playing for Richmond on the Saturday.”

Stu played for Richmond as a youngster and when he returned to Nelson in 2000, after 14 years working in other parts of the country, he joined the club committee.

He was vice-president when the club qualified for the Mainland League in 2006, one of the highlights of his time at the club. “That was a massive day for the club. There was a huge crowd and everyone ran onto the pitch afterwards.”

The following year, with the club playing in that league, Stu received a phone call from then-president Phil Whitley.

“He said ‘my lawyers have advised me to resign as the president as of now. Good luck.’ And that was it, I was president.”

The fallout from Phil – and his money – leaving the club was huge, with numerous out-of-town players leaving when their pay check was no longer guaranteed.

The club was relegated the following year.

Stu says it was a tough start to his time as president but he’s enjoyed plenty of success since.

“There have been lots of highlights and some lows as well, but just being involved in the club has been a real highlight for me. Playing for the more social teams in the club and watching our top team win leagues and Chatham Cup games.”

Last year, the club celebrated its 50th anniversary and Stu was presented with a life membership of the club.

It is the one achievement he holds above all else.

“To be on the honours board with my mum and my dad is a buzz. It’s not what I’m involved in the sport for, but it has certainly been pretty special.”

Stu says he had hoped to complete ten years as president before resigning but now is the right time to step down.

“It’s time for someone else to step up. Volunteers get burnt out and I’m just burnt out. It’s time someone fresh and enthusiastic took it up.”

Stu says he will tender his formal resignation at the club’s AGM in either October or November this year.