The Bedford Blues AGM was held on Wednesday evening with shareholders being invited along to Goldington Road to hear an update from Chairman Geoff Irvine and then have the opportunity to ask any questions that they may have.

Speaking to the packed meeting, Mr Irvine said: “We’ve had a fantastic season and I think we’ve played some of the best rugby this year that I’ve seen. The result of that means that financially we are in the best position that we’ve been in for 15 years. Hopefully, one day I’ll be able to show everyone a set of accounts where we break even!

“There’s lots to look forward to,” he added. “We’ve got a great team both on and off the field and I’d like to pay tribute to our brilliant supporters and our fantastic sponsors. With the exception of Bristol, we are the best supported club in the Greene King IPA Championship and that is clear to see every weekend whether it is home or away. We’ve also seen an increase in local businesses becoming more involved with the club and that is a real credit to the team in the background who do such a good job.”

In regards to the future of the Bedford Blues, Mr Irvine referred to an announcement that he made two years ago about stepping back from the club and seeking a succession plan. During the meeting Mr Irvine said that things had progressed well and the club had identified a number of potential avenues and he was confident that when he did step away, then he would do so leaving the club in very capable hands.

The floor was then opened to shareholders who were given the chance to ask questions and several took the opportunity to quiz the Chairman about a range of subjects. Mr Irvine confirmed that if Bedford were to win the play-offs then they would not take promotion as Goldington Road does not meet the Premiership criteria. If that happened then the ‘relegated’ side from the Premiership would remain in the top flight.

“Look,” said Mr Irvine. “It cost Worcester Warriors £5million to get out of the Championship. I don’t have that sort of money and if I did, then I can think of other things that I’d prefer to spend it on. We are the 16th best club in the country and I think that is something to be really proud of.”

A question was also put forward asking if any plans were in place to offer Paul Tupai a testimonial or whether the club would wait until he hit 50? In response, Mr Irvine said: “I think that Toops is probably one of the best signings that we’ve made during my time at the club. There are no words to describe the value of Toops to this club. On the field he is a talisman and he is also an example to the young lads coming through.

“The club is well aware of the value and contribution that Toops has made during his time with us and, when the time comes, he will be honoured in an appropriate manner.”