Former Scotland Under-21 star Ross Cook on selling Macron to the world

Ex North Berwick, Hawick and Boroughmuir man says that Macron's new partnership with Colin Campbell Sports can be a major boost to rugby clubs across Scotland

Ross Cook at the Principality Stadium after the announcement that Wales had become the third Six Nations team to be supplied by Macron.
Ross Cook at the Principality Stadium after the announcement that Wales had become the third Six Nations team to be supplied by Macron.

ROSS COOK’S playing career took him from his hometown of North Berwick, to Hawick, to the Northampton Saints Academy, to the Newcastle Falcons 1st XV squad, and then back north of the border to Boroughmuir for half a season, before an opportunity to play overseas in Italy midway through the 2001-02 campaign sent his life in a whole new direction.

It was initially supposed to be a three-month gig, but he is still there now, and still involved with the game as Senior Sports Marketing Manager for Macron – the technical sportswear company which has grown from relative obscurity during the last 20 years to become one of the biggest kit suppliers in Europe, with a growing portfolio of clients worldwide.

“It was 2010 when I officially hung up the boots and began with Macron,” explains the former Scotland Under-21 utility-back. “They were looking for a mother-tongue English speaker, who could speak good Italian, and who also had a bit of sporting pedigree so that they could talk that talk whatever language it was in. I had been lucky enough to pick up some commercial experience through rugby by being involved in club management, starting up academies, helping with ticketing, maximising club facilities, all sorts of things like that.

“I suppose I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time, but it was a job that I really wanted so I put together a very elongated presentation and it went well.”


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It is not just rugby he deals with but given his background it is inevitable that Cook has a particular passion for developing that arm of the business – and he is quick to point out the important role of Scottish Rugby in helping Macron to become one of the biggest kit suppliers in the sport.

“Whatever team sport you want to ask about, we produce it,” he explains. “Football and Rugby Union are what you might call the two core sports in my remit, but we do rugby league, Australian Rules, basketball, hockey, and the list goes on.

“We moved into rugby in 2010, when we established partnerships with two rugby league clubs – Wakefield Wildcats in Super League and Featherstone Rovers in the Championship – plus Edinburgh Rugby, and of those three Edinburgh Rugby was the real catalyst.

“We initially pitched for the Scotland team but the guys at Murrayfield basically said that we didn’t have the rugby pedigree – it is a different sport in terms of what you are asking the garments to stand up to – and I’m really glad that they did that. When the next tender came round in 2013, we pitched for Edinburgh, Glasgow and Scotland altogether, and by that time we had got that understanding of what was needed for the professional game.

“From there, we’ve gone from strength to strength. In the PRO14, we’ve got Edinburgh, Glasgow, Cardiff, Scarlets and Zebre, as well as the referees. In the Gallagher Premiership we have Bath, Northampton Saints and Newcastle Falcons at the moment, plus a few additions which we will be announcing soon. And in the Six Nations, we are really delighted because we now have three of the competing teams in Italy, Scotland and Wales for the first time this year as well.

“The great thing about this job is that no two days are the same,” he continues. “I deal with the UK & Ireland, North America and Oceania, and I look after all the sponsored clubs within those regions, as well as the merchandising and retail side of the business, so everything from putting collections together with the design team and club, to how to manage distribution, to our Macron Store projects.”

 

And it is the Macron Store project which has brought him back onto The Offside Line’s radar, with his name cropping up during a recent interview with Colin Campbell, a long-standing and highly respected teamwear supplier in Scottish football, who is now hoping to bring his experience and expertise to Scottish club and schools rugby.

Campbell recently decided to take the plunge by becoming an exclusive Macron store, which is a big commitment for a guy who has spent the last 40 years working as an independent trader, but both parties believe that a shared approach to customer service and product quality means that they can be a perfect fit for one another.

“The Macron Store concept came about in 2010 and we now have roughly 150 outlets all across the globe,” explains Cook. “We have invested heavily in the technology so we now have an intranet system which means every one of our stores can see in real time what we have in our warehouse – which typically carries five million items – at that moment. And if something is out of stock, then the system can say when it will be available again. So, if someone comes in to speak to Colin or Scott at the Colin Campbell Store in Edinburgh, they have that personal experience of seeing and touching all the individual articles they are thinking of buying, and then have accurate information on availability and arrival times for anything they choose to buy.

“The big thing for us is that while we do everything in our power through our Macron Store Project Team to ensure that the store works in the best possible way, the key person is the person who is running the store,” he adds. “Before I got into rugby, I played football, and I remember Colin from when I was knee-high to a grasshopper. Even back then, he was the go-to guy for amateur and youth football clubs, because of the service he was ready to bring.

“So, that’s why we were excited to bring him on board with Macron. In football, he is internationally renowned in the industry, and we can see that if he is going to do rugby then he is going to do it right. Frankly, we wouldn’t be dealing with the guy if we didn’t think he was going to be great for us on rugby as well as football. Our relationship with Scottish Rugby is too important for us to be taking this lightly.

“Someone with Colin’s experience, from our point of view, is a game-changer, so we’re hugely excited to get him on board.”

  • The Offside Line’s grassroots rugby coverage is supported by Macron Store Edinburgh (Colin Campbell Sports), suppliers of Macron rugby strips and teamwear.
    • Click HERE or mail info@colincampbellsports.com to find out more about how Colin and his team can help your club with their kit requirements.

Colin Campbell ready to take on Scottish rugby with Macron

About David Barnes 3995 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.

2 Comments

  1. While the quality is good, why are the sizes massively out. Those in the know ensure that they buy two sizes bigger than usual. The problem is that when bought as a gift by family members, they are always too small.

    • I’ve generally found the sizing to be fine. Guess it depends to some extent on personal preference e.g. whether you prefer a loose or closer fit?

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