Bob, the UK’s leading after dinner comedian, is one of the most popular figures in the sporting world and will be hosting the NSC’s famous banquets at The Park Lane Hotel bringing a wealth of sporting and event knowledge to his role.
Lee Gregory, CEO of NSC, says ‘It is Bob’s passion for both the integrity and values of sport, and British sport in particular, that reinforces the appropriateness of this appointment as President of the NSC. He has been a great friend of the club since 1866′.
About The National Sporting Club
The National Sporting Club (NSC) opened for business on 5th March 1891 at its new premises at 43 King St Covent Garden. Its active early members included the 5th Earl of Lonsdale (the Club’s founder) and the Marquess of Queensberry.
The arrival of the NSC put professional boxing on an entirely new footing. It became respectable and was keenly followed by gentlemen of means. The frequent Club contests afforded an opportunity for “gentlemen’s entertainment” and the chance to gamble on the contests.
The Club gave dignity to the sport and wrote its famous Queensberry Rules. Boxing was administered by the NSC right through until the creation of the British Boxing Board of Control in 1929 by which time the sport was in good shape and widely followed.
The Club always maintained a tradition of banquets, honouring sport and sportspeople and continued in this vein through the 1930′s and 1940′s in its various West End venues, functioning as a gentlemen’s club with live boxing as its main ingredient.
The Club was already installed at the Café Royal when Charles (later Lord) Forte bought it in 1954. He could see the considerable potential for food and drink sales and allowed the club to prosper through the 50′s, 60′s and 70′s. He appointed a series of well known sporting names to act as General Secretary including the golfer Dai Rees, the footballer Danny Blanchflower and the football commentator Ken Wolstenholme.
In 1982, Forte was persuaded by Jarvis Astaire to merge the NSC at the Café Royal with his Anglo American club based at the Hilton. The newly merged club would move to another of Forte’s properties at the Grovesnor House hotel on Park Lane. The merger lasted until the late 1980’s before the NSC returned to the Café Royal and the Forte family.
The former England cricket captain Bob Willis and partners approached Forte at this point, taking over the NSC and introduced sporting corporate hospitality into the NSC and maintained the programme for sporting lunches and dinners at the Café Royal. The link with boxing was retained and four or five black tie dinners were held each year under the auspices of the British Boxing Board of Control.
The Club remained active in this way at its Regent St headquarters until the Cafe Royal closed for extensive modernisation and re-design in December 2008. Thereafter the NSC continued to develop the sporting corporate hospitality brand into one of the most respected in the industry.
The Club was approached by many institutions in the period before choosing The Park Lane Hotel. The hotel is the perfect new home for the NSC with its unique Ballroom, banqueting facilities and West End location.
From June 2014 the story continues…
National Sporting Club’s Sports Lunches and Sports Dinners
Being steeped in history, the National Sporting Club has a rich tradition of honouring both sporting individuals and teams for their achievements at our sports lunches and sports dinners. The Club is returning to London to its new home at The Park Lane Hotel and will be at the forefront of sporting and social life so attendance at one of our sports banquets is a must. Whether you are a sports fan or not, our sports lunches and sports dinners provide the perfect setting to entertain and impress clients as you will be privileged to join us in honouring sporting legends and teams alike. Over the years we have played host to some of the World’s greatest sporting celebrities and legends including Sir Bobby Charlton, Sir Henry Cooper, Muhammad Ali, Sir Stanley Matthews, Jackie Stewart, Steve Davis, Brian Clough, Frank Bruno and Gary Lineker to name just a few and we look forward to welcoming old friends and new to our sports lunches and sports dinners
Our famous sports lunches and sports dinners will take place at the prestigious Park Lane Hotel in elegant surroundings providing easy access with its convenient Central London location which is perfect for corporate entertainment. You can enjoy the excitement that these sports banquets bring as you and your guests rub shoulders with some of sports most iconic individuals.