Fifty Shades Of Graeme – Introducing The New Chairman

New club chairman Graeme Taylor leads the Saints in 2017

With preparation for the 2017 season in full swing, we thought it was about time to formally introduce the club chairman of the Oxford Saints, Graeme Taylor.

During the 2015-2016 season, chairman Andrew Peart led the Saints committee with Graeme acting as his vice-chairman. Under Andrew’s charge, the Saints continued to strive for excellence off the field, with the key change being a relocation to Tilsley Park.

Following a move to Leeds due to work, Andrew stepped down from the position shortly after the Saints national final win in September 2016, recommending Graeme as his successor. Graeme acted as interim chair until the appointment was formalised at the club AGM in October.

The backroom staff is well placed for the 2017 Division 1 season with Ben Denton as Vice-chair, Luke Fry as Secretary, Chris Roberts as Finance Director, James Dunstan as Marketing Director and other supporting staff.

When I joined the committee I was very fortunate to work with such a pro-active Chairman who shared a similar vision for the future of the Club

I am hoping that over the next 5 years, we will be able to continue to develop the Saints Senior Team on and off the field, as well as provide more opportunities for everyone in Oxfordshire to take part in American Football.

Background in American Football

Graeme was first introduced to the sport when living in the United Arab Emirates, where he attended an American curriculum high school.

In 2004, he played for the Stirling Clansmen whilst studying at the University of Sterling. During this time, he gained experience at in both offense and defense, playing center, tight end, full back and linebacker. He also served as Club Secretary for 2 years.

After graduating in 2008, Graeme looked to expand American Football in Scotland by establishing a new adult team, based in central Scotland. The club was successful in securing venues for games, training and recruited 40+ players. However, struggling to obtain the much needed sponsorship to purchase kit and equipment, the team never became fully operational.

Edinburgh Wolves & Further studies

In 2009, Graeme joined the Edinburgh Wolves as a linebacker. In 2010, they were the Scottish champions but were knocked out in the playoffs. He continued to play with the Wolves until 2011 when he required surgery for a shoulder injury.

Whilst recovering, Graeme took a break from American Football and returned to university, gaining a masters in Sport Management, which included modules in marketing, finance and venture management.

Graeme rejoined the Edinburgh Wolves for the 2014 as a defensive tackle, which saw them gain promotion to Division 1 after finishing 2nd place in Division 2.

At the end of the season, he relocated to Oxford.

Oxford Saints

Joining the Saints in 2015, Graeme played linebacker and reached the Division 2 quarter finals before losing to the Sussex Thunder.

In 2016, he took on the committee position of vice-chairman alongside playing, with the team completing their first undefeated season in team history. The Saints claimed victory over the Cambridgeshire Cats in September 2016, to be named the Division 2 South Champions.

During the first few months as chairman, Graeme has put his education and experiences to good use as the Saints continue to go from strength to strength.

During this time, he has led a successful funding application for the Oxford Saints Women’s Team and has re-structured the committee to support future growth and work more efficiently.

I am hoping that we can continue what we started under Andrew Peart’s guidance when we welcomed the Oxford Saints Women’s Team to the ‘Saints Family’, and develop a Youth programme and Flag programme to get more people involved with the sport across every age range.

I have an excellent committee and I am confident that we have all the pieces in place both on and off the field to eventually get the Saints to where I believe we belong… in the Premiership Division.

Working Life

Professionally, Graeme works for Oxfordshire Sport and Physical Activity. Part of this role is to help support the development of clubs, which includes securing funding, developing governance and strategic plans, club ‘health checks’, creating development plans and marketing plans.

Alongside the Saints, he is often working with other teams and organisations, to develop opportunities for Sports across Oxfordshire.

The Saints are confident that his background in American Football and Sports Management make him well suited to be chairman for the Saints and lead the club forward.