Interview with John, the New General Manager of Burnage Rugby Club

  • Date: March 3, 2024
  • Categories:News

Today, we are speaking with John, the newly appointed General Manager of Burnage Rugby Club, located at the heart of Varley Park in South Manchester. John, with over 20 years of experience working for Wetherspoons Brewery as an area manager and troubleshooter, has now taken on the mantle of managing Burnage Rugby Club and its grounds, not just as a sports facility but as a premier venue for corporate events and more in the region.

Q: John, welcome! Can you tell us a bit about your background and what brought you to Burnage Rugby Club?

A: Thank you! It’s great to be here. My background has been deeply rooted in the hospitality industry, particularly with Wetherspoons, where I’ve spent over two decades managing various aspects of the business. My role required me to enhance customer experience, manage large teams, and ensure the profitability of the venues under my care. Transitioning to Burnage Rugby Club was driven by my desire to apply these skills in a setting that not only serves as a sports facility but also plays a significant role in the community.

Q: Varley Park is described as one of Stockport’s best-kept secrets. Can you expand on what makes it so unique?

A: Absolutely. Varley Park is a gem within Stockport, sprawling across 11 acres. It’s not just about rugby; we host a variety of sports, including football and five-a-side on both grass and artificial surfaces, with floodlights for evening use up to 10 pm, golf, footgolf, and Aussie Rules. Football and Rugby alone attract over 1500 children and adults weekly, playing just for fun or in competitive team environments. Beyond sports, our facilities are designed to cater to the community’s needs, offering spaces for corporate and private functions. Whether it’s christenings, weddings, or corporate events, our club rooms, bars, outdoor patio, and marquee are perfect for any occasion.

Q: With your extensive experience in hospitality, how do you plan to enhance the facilities at Burnage Rugby Club for corporate events?

A: My focus is on leveraging the club’s versatile spaces to offer tailored experiences for businesses looking for a unique venue for their events. This includes offering top-class catering options, both on-site and outsourced, to fit various tastes and dietary requirements. We’re also emphasising our selection of cask beers, fine wines, and spirits, ensuring we provide great value without compromising on quality. It’s about creating a welcoming environment where businesses can hold events that are both memorable and effective.

Q: Can you give us an insight into the types of corporate events that can be hosted at Varley Park?

A: Varley Park is equipped to host a wide range of corporate events, from smaller team meetings and workshops to large-scale conferences and team-building days. Our facilities can accommodate groups from 50 people up to several hundred, making it a versatile option for any company. Additionally, the diverse sporting activities available offer a unique opportunity for corporate teams to engage in team-building exercises beyond the traditional conference room setting. 

A great example of this is the addition of Footgolf to our offering. For over 15 years we have provided public access to a 9-hole golf course on a pay-and-play basis. But just prior to Covid we developed a dual use for the existing course and started to offer competitive footgolf on the same golf course footprint. Not everyone can swing a golf club, let alone get it near the hope in the par 3 target, but people of all ages and genders can kick a football and with the hole about the size of a dustbin lid, it makes for a fun conclusion to a corporate training day that suitable for all ages, genders and abilities. It has proven a popular add-on for a number of business events since we introduced it. It is low cost and a 9-hole round typically takes around 30 minutes.

Q: Sustainability and community seem to be core to Burnage Rugby Club. How does this ethos translate into your offerings for corporate clients?

A: We are very focused on serving and enhancing our diverse community, which translates into how we approach corporate events. We aim to offer sustainable options, from catering to waste management, ensuring that events held at our grounds have a minimal environmental impact. Furthermore, by choosing Varley Park, corporate clients directly contribute to supporting community sports and activities, reinforcing their corporate social responsibility efforts.

Q: Finally, what message would you like to give to businesses considering Varley Park for their next event?

A: Varley Park is not just a venue; it’s an experience. With our extensive facilities, commitment to quality and sustainability, and the unique backdrop of sporting activities, we offer a distinctive setting for any corporate event. I invite businesses to discover the potential of Varley Park, where your event can support community sports while providing an unforgettable experience for your team and clients. With my team we can work with corporate enquiries to custom build an event day that meets the commercial needs of the sponsoring company, but also entertains staff and guests in what we hope with me a memorable day for all.


John’s vision for Burnage Rugby Club is clear: to make Varley Park a beacon for corporate and community events alike. With its versatile facilities, commitment to quality, and unique setting, Varley Park stands out as a premier choice for businesses looking to make an impact with their events.




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