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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

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Barrow Raiders coach is boss of chairman – off pitch

ROLES have been reversed for the chairman and coach of a rugby club.

As chairman of Barrow Raiders, Jimmy Tongue is club coach Darren Holt’s boss. But off the pitch, Mr Holt is in charge, having just taken over Mr Tongue’s health and safety training firm Accounting 4 Safety.

As joint owner of TKM Construction Recruitment, Mr Holt is in charge of a team of 100 staff, and his business has developed links with Mr Tongue’s over a number of years.

But Mr Tongue, 65, has now decided to take a back seat from the business and Accounting 4 Safety is being merged with TKM.

He said: “I set the company up in October 2004, I was a senior lecturer in health and safety, but wanted to offer more. Over the years we’ve trained up hundreds of people in health and safety, through the national examination board, but I decided it was time I took a step back.”

Although 35-year-old Mr Holt will now be, on paper at least, Mr Tongue’s boss, the pair insist they will be working alongside each other “as a winning team”.

Mr Holt said: “I caught the health and safety bug when I came on a course run by Jimmy, and it made me want to continually develop myself and keep training.

“Although Jimmy may technically be my boss at the club, and I may technically be his when it comes to the business, we’re very much equal partners, we’re a winning team.”

Both TKM and Accounting 4 Safety, which will continue operating as a separate business, are based at Phoenix Business Centre in Barrow. TKM, jointly owned by Mr Holt’s brother-in-law Mark Croskery, was set up in Manchester 20 years ago by Mr Holt’s father-in-law. Mr Holt, who admitted he had little spare time outside of the rugby and the businesses, said he worked best under pressure.

He added: “Three or four days a week, I go straight to rugby training from work at 5pm, and I’m not getting home until 8pm, but I knew it would be like that when I took on the job. I like to keep busy.”

Mr Tongue, who took over as Raiders chairman last November, was keen to praise Mr Holt’s achievements with Raiders during “a difficult past few months”.

He added: “We’re already achieving tremendous success on the pitch and that’s down to Darren. It is an equal partnership, both in terms of the club and the business, but I don’t interfere with what Darren does, and that’s how it should be.”

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