New but familiar chairman of rugby for Barnstaple RFC

Barnstaple have brought Kevin Squire back to the club as chairman of rugby two years after he went into self-imposed exile.

Squire, a former Barum youngster and England colt, went on to have a brief career in rugby league with Leeds before injury ended his career prematurely.

His first spell as part of the Barnstaple management was between 2005-2010 when, as director of rugby, he helped steer the club to two promotions after they had dropped down the divisions to Western Counties West.

Squire took a break for a season, then came back for two more years in the same job as Barnstaple consolidated in National Three South West.

There was a second parting of the ways in 2013 attributed at the time to a clash of attitude between the playing side and the club board.

Squire was sounded out during the summer about a return and after a low-key start it has been made official.

“I am sure my detractors will say the only reason I am back with Barnstaple now is because we are top of National Three South West – but that’s not the case,” said Squire.

“Jackie Jewell did the same job before me for five years and he stood down after a job well done back in the summer.

“I was asked then if I would like to return, long before we kicked a ball or threw a pass in anger.

“My first reaction was ‘no’, but the chairman (Craig Bulley) persisted and I said only if the coach and captain want me.

“I spoke to Steve Perry, who I helped to bring to the club as player-coach, and captain Winston James, and realised the love was still there.

“I stayed away after leaving the last time as I didn’t want to be hovering in the background like Banquo’s ghost behind my successor.

“So far I have been to every game but one this season and while I had been trying to keep a low profile it was time to make it public.

“So it isn’t a case of jumping on a bandwagon. This is where I always wanted Barnstaple to be and I now have the chance to make us one of the top dogs.”

Perry remains head-coach, chief selector, tactician and play-maker.

“Steve has a huge amount to do on the field and off it – and part of my role is to take some of the weight off him,” added Squire.

“I am not the director of rugby, but have a slimmed down role, putting my two-penneth in if needed.

“The chairman has also asked me to look at the other teams – seconds, colts – and improve the liaison between all of them.

“It isn’t something that’s been done badly, but something that can be improved.”