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Supporters Direct has three subsidiary democratic bodies, the England & Wales Football Council, the Scottish Council and the Rugby League Council. These bodies assist the Board by monitoring activity against budgets, development plans and other Key Performance Indicators in their particular area and contributing ideas and suggestions regarding SD strategy in their area for consideration by the Board. Several seats are reserved on the main Board for individuals who serve on these Councils.

Positions for these three Councils are made available on an annual basis and will be advertised through normal Supporters Direct channels, and are usually for a 3 year term.

Here you can find details of the Rugby League Council members and minutes from their recent meetings.

Rugby League Council

Martyn Cheney - Chair 
Elected until 2018

Martyn has worked in the Rail Industry since leaving school, working in various Yorkshire Locations, and ending up at East Coast Mainline Company as Payroll Manager. Previous roles have included analytical positions and various HR positions.

As well as being the Payroll Manger, Martyn is one of the Management Representatives for the company, representing the managers in the company. He is also very active in his local Constituency Labour Party.

He has been watching Bramley since 1979, and became involved with the Buffaloes following the original clubs demise in 1999. Involved from the start with the Trust, firstly as Web Designer, then Secretary and since 2005 Chairman. He has overseen the most successful period in the clubs history, winning five consecutive minor premierships, two championships and five consecutive grand final appearances.

David Bulcock
Elected until 2018

David has worked within the social housing sector for nearly 30 years, initially as a joiner/carpenter, rising through the organisation, to my current position within the management team. The company has now become the first employee/tenant social housing co-operative in the UK.

He has watched Rochdale Hornets since the sixties travelling home and away.  He became a member of the Hornets Nest Egg a supporters organisation, which raised funds for the Club.  Then in 2009 when the club went into administration, he became a member of the Trust that reformed them as a supporters owned club. He has volunteers for the club in various ways.In 2013, he became an elected member of the club’s board and stayed on the board until 2016. He was elected to the SD Rugby League council in 2013.

David was a volunteer for the 2013 Rugby League World cup and still volunteers for Team13 the RFL volunteers team at rugby league events throughout the country.


Liz Hindley 
Elected until 2019

Liz is a Rugby League council member and secretary of Trust in Widnes since its formal incorporation as an IPS. Liz offers regular advice and support to new members to the RL fraternity.

Within Trust in Widnes, Liz has been responsible in writing funding bids and has used these to help establish a number of community initiatives, including a healthy lifestyles promotion across all the primary schools in Halton Borough delivered in conjunction with Widnes Vikings community team, along with the establishment of a Women’s RL team within Liverpool University and the setting up of a Wheelchair Tag Rugby League team named ‘Mersey Storm’. Two of the team currently represent England and the coach has been selected as Welsh coach for the up and coming four nations. The current challenge involves the start-up of a community band and if this is successful, on to a community choir.

Stephen Johnson
Elected until 2018

A lifelong supporter of Swinton Lions, Stephen was elected to the board of Swinton Supporters’ Trust at its inception in 2002, moving into the newly created role of Vice-Chairman early in 2014.

Stephen became a Rugby League Match Official in 1997 progressing to the role of Touch judge within the professional game until he withdrew from active officiating in 2013, and he now carries out an administrative role within the Match Officials development programme for the north west of England.

He joined Barclays bank in 2001 on a Modern Apprenticeship, having progressed through a number of role he is currently Team Leader of the Northern Account Management Team within the bank’s Corporate Office in Manchester.

A keen follower of a number of sports, Stephen regularly attends the matches of Manchester United FC and Lancashire Country Cricket Club, in addition to Rugby League across all levels.


Paul Thexton 
Elected until 2019

Paul is a lifelong Warrington fan and has been an active contributor to online Rugby League supporters websites and newsgroups since the late 1990s.  He was heavily involved in the early days of the RLFans online supporters network which saw rapid growth when the online fans network decided to withdraw their support for Rugby League fanzines.

Professionally he is a computer software engineer with 16 years experience.


Paul Cunliffe

Co-Opted until 2018

Paul is a 3rd generation Rugby League supporters with St. Helens RFC, his grandad watched the club at Dentons Green in the early 1890s.

In 1998 he setup the worlds most popular rugby league supporters website RLFANS.COM which is still running today.  

Paul has spent the past 20 years promoting the supporters voice in 1999 he started the Independent Saints Supporters Association which was instrumental in changing the old guard directors to a supporter friendly board, the club since has gone from 12 hours to administration to a new stadium and profitable business model, and Paul is still a shareholder.

In 2002 Paul became Press Officer for the Rugby League Supporters association who campaigned in changing the way the fans were listened to and involved within the game.

Paul always strives for the supporters voice within the boardroom and has spent the past 20 years striving for this to happen.