A meeting with a president:
The student elections at the University of St Andrews have now been over for weeks. The notifications from electoral pages have blessedly ceased, and the walk to the library is no longer fraught with the danger of small talk with strangers. The elections provide an opportunity for the student’s voice to be heard, allowing everyone to agree with each other that the housing situation is not optimum whilst quietly accepting there is nothing that will ever change. In the world of student sport there is a new face on the front page, a new man with a new plan, a new link between the students and the organisation that make student sport happen, the Athletic Union. After one of the closest run elections in the history of student politics, ‘The Tribe’ sat down with the elected President of the AU, Tom Abbott, to pick his brains on his plans for the future.
Name: Tom ‘The Bish’ Abbott
Hair: Curly- ‘Bishfro’
Favourite place to eat in St Andrews: The Balaka
Favourite drink: Tap water, chilled
Degree: Chemistry, seemingly never-ending
Strengths: Sports administration, small talk, being nice
Tom Abbott is refreshingly laid back for a man with such pressing responsibility. Today marks his last day in charge at the University of St Andrews Cricket Club, with the Annual AGM scheduled after a curry and a pint in the world famous Balaka restaurant. His year as President of the cricket club has been one marked by almost unprecedented success, both on the pitch and off it. Tom himself noted the challenge left to him and his committee after a string of high profile leavers played their last innings for St Andrews and graduated at the back-end of last year. Since then, under Mr Abbott’s stewardship, the club has gone from strength to strength. The first team were promoted into the English Premier league, a tour to south Africa was widely described as ‘a success’, and the inaugural Cricket club charity ball (hilariously called, no-ball) was held. Now Mr. Abbott turns his weary gaze to the AU and the AU presidency. His is now top dog, head honcho, the big cheese, el presidente, the archbishop, The Big Bish, I could go on- here is what happened when we sat down with the man himself to pick his brain.
What are your fondest memories of sport at St Andrews?
My memories of sport at St Andrews are numerous and wide ranging. From ‘thinning it’ through the window of a parked car on the 18th at the old course, to smashing a 50 for the cricket club in the Indoor league. A personal favourite was watching Finn Nelson convert the try against Edinburgh in the varsity game 2 years ago to win by a point. I believe however that success is a relative concept, but I would most certainly say there have been more good times than bad on the playing fields of St Andrews.
Your campaign was noted for its jovial spirit- are you actually the nicest bloke in St Andrews?
Oh urmm, I don’t know…I can’t really say. Too difficult to judge, I mean, where are your criteria?
So that is a yes then. Tom, your campaign focused heavily on tangible issues that have affected both you and the Saints Sports community- What are you main hopes for your time as AU pres?
I’m looking forward to sitting down with the clubs and finding out what they actually want from the AU! I’m also looking to sorting all the huge kit issues out with PlayerLayer, who have been really difficult to a lot of clubs.
You are the new AU pres, but you don’t play rugby, isn’t that weird?
Not really one for Performance Sports, me. Urmm. I don’t know, is it?
Good point Tom, perhaps it isn’t. Anyway, let’s get to know a bit more about the man behind the role – Who would you say is your sporting hero and why?
My first would probably be Andrews Strauss, the former England cricket captain and now sports administrator. He made a seamless transition from top sportsman to top sports administrator and that is something I would love to emulate. He also took that worldie of a catch in the 2005 ashes- I’ve got that poster on my wall at home. Really nice little grab.
My second choice would have to be Tom Brady, the New England Patriots’ quarterback. He was never seen as anyone who was going to be a success (he was taken #199 in the 2000 NFL draft), but stuck at it and recently won his 5th Super Bowl title. He’s also got a load of money and is married to a Brazillian Supermodel which can’t hurt…