Club Statement: Name Change

Dear All,

From this season onwards, the team known as Leeds Celtics will be known as the University of Leeds Gryphons American Football.

The decision to change names was not an easy one; the club is proud of its heritage and aware of the reputation built up since 1989 amongst the UK American Football community. However, the results from the past three seasons have shown a trend emerging that revealed a lack of structural elements key to success both on and off the field. Identifying the issues was the first step, and over the summer Club Captain Felix Titherley had several meetings with Head Coach Steve Robeznieks and other members of the coaching staff. The result of these meetings was a feeling that the previous approach was not sustainable and needed to change.

Since his election in April of this year, Felix Titherley has been in almost daily contact with Leeds University Union (LUU) and Leeds Sport to discuss the club’s development, and to formulate a strategic approach that will enable the club to be successful. The discussions with LUU and Leeds Sport were extremely productive and the team were able to produce a strategic plan and receive access to a number of key facilities. However, in order to continue along this path the club were told that they would need to fully integrate into the Leeds Sport brand.

As a society, American Football has always felt on the very fringe of university sport. The name change reflects not only a willingness to integrate in the Leeds Sport brand, but it also reflects the generosity of LUU and Leeds Sport, and their faith in our American Football programme.
Since changing names, the Leeds Gryphons have received a number of benefits and assistance from LUU, the University of Leeds, and Leeds Sport.

These include:
• Members of Leeds Gryphons of American Football are no longer required to buy the £75 Sports Pass to use the University of Leeds Sports Facilities.
• Leeds Gryphons have received a funding increase of over 50% to assist with the costs of running the club, purchasing equipment, and engaging with students at the University of Leeds.
• The £6,600 Footsteps Fund Application was heavily supported by LUU, and the club received extensive support and guidance during the application progress.
• The club is receiving extra funding to help cover the costs of moving to a new home ground, complete with a 3G artificial grass pitch.
• Members of Leeds Gryphons are entitled to a heavily subsidised Physiotherapy service, which is not available to sports clubs that are not part of the Leeds Gryphons programme.
• Members of Leeds Gryphons will receive weekly strength and conditioning sessions, provided by qualified coaches at The Edge at the University of Leeds.
• The club will receive increased levels of support and guidance from LUU to help with planning the annual Varsity game, and increasing the attendance at this fixture.

The club understands that there is a long and proud history behind the Leeds Celtics name, but with the extra support that we have received from LUU, Leeds Sport, and the University of Leeds, we hope to start a new era of American Football at Leeds which will be defined by sporting success, high level athletic achievement, and academic excellence.