Cornish Pirates owner Dicky Evans leaves after 20 years

Cornish Pirates owner Dicky Evans is to leave the club after 20 years of involvement at the Mennaye.

The Kenya-based businessman will hand the club over to a new set of shareholders and a seven-strong board of directors on 1 July.

Evans will continue to sponsor the club, which has risen to the Championship under his tenure, for the next two years.

Evans previously said he would give up ownership of the Pirates in October.

Analysis

"There is no denying the fact that without Dicky Evans the Cornish Pirates would not exist as a successful club with real future Premiership aspirations.

"When he took control in 1995 Penzance and Newlyn RFC, as they were then, were plying their trade in the Western Counties Leagues and in a financial mess. Bankruptcy was a very real possibility.

"Under the leadership of the Cornish-born Kenyan-based businessman things changed.

"With their finances in order the Pirates blazed a trail through the National Leagues producing great performances players and coaches as they went. Their 43-16 win against Exeter Chiefs at the County Ground in 2005 was a real stand out for me.

"The EDF National Trophy in 2007 and British & Irish Cup win in 2010 gave the Cornish Pirates a taste of real success and Evans leaves them ready for their next big push - the Stadium for Cornwall and a future Premiership promotion attempt."

"Family, age, health, distance, weariness, frustration, other business commitments stacked up and brought me to the conclusion last September that I should resign and I did so but kept it amongst close colleagues initially," he said in a statement.

"We have reached the final stages and I sign over the shares this next week in Kernow Sport, to just over 70 new shareholders.

"They inherit the club in a considerably better position than it was in 1995 when I became seriously involved, as we have no debt and are in the top 24 teams in England. Long may it last.

"I have sold the business totally debt free for £1 and written off all loans to both the professional club and to the members club including numerous costs over the years associated with the upkeep of the clubhouse Westholme as well as the nursery training pitch sorted in the late 1990s.

"The Pirates will now move into an exciting new era with new ideas and new energy," he added.

Evans brought in former England player Josh Lewsey to assess the club last year and has been exploring ways of getting a new stadium built capable of hosting Premiership rugby.

Under Evans' tenure the Pirates won the 2010 British and Irish Cup and twice made the Championship play-off final, losing to Worcester in 2011 and London Welsh in 2012.