The polo playing consumer champion – George Mountbatten
It is not strange to find an aristocratic polo player; in fact, many noted players of the sport are drawn from the upper echelons of society. But George Mountbatten – or George Ivar Louis Mountbatten, 4th Marquess of Milford Haven to give him his full title – has an especially interesting background.
Who is George Mountbatten?
Not only is he the Queen’s cousin, and a descendant of the Russian monarch Catherine the Great, but George Mountbatten was the founder of uSwitch.com, the energy price comparison site which grew to become recognised as a csonsumer champion. That’s because of the thousands of pounds it saved UK consumers, who took advantage of new deregulation laws to switch to a better gas or electricity deal.
But what of George Mountbatten the polo player?
Well, for starters, he is much more than just a player. George Mountbatten is a certifiable kingpin of UK polo, being the man behind Trippetts Farm, recognised as one of the largest polo yards in the UK. As well as being the ground of four high-goal teams, including George Mountbatten’s own Broncos outfit, it is also home to 350 ponies in stalls, can accommodate 70 grooms, and possesses no less than 26 paddocks.
Trippetts Polo Club
Trippetts reflects George Mountbatten’s travels all over the world as a polo player – he has attempted to take the very best elements from the facilities he has seen, and incorporate them into the Trippetts set up. The grooms themselves, coming from as far afield as Argentina and Chile, are housed in relative luxury in deluxe cabins. The food is healthy and in no short quantity, while a lounge provides a pool table, table football and a wide screen television.
George Mountbatten oversaw the construction of Trippetts, which was no mean feat. His family trust bought the 1,000-acre site back in 2005 when it was still a dairy farm. So, one of the first jobs involved clearing out the cows that were the original inhabitants! The mass of ground water underneath the site meant that a network of drains had to be built to make sure the site didn’t end up underwater. It would have been such a shame to compromise on the location – there is surely no more idyllic setting in the British countryside than this part of West Sussex. There were plans for a pioneering all weather polo ground at Trippetts, and subject to planning permission, we may see it surface at some point in the future.
The Broncos team itself is the longest running of its kind in the UK, having started back in 1987, and they have access to the enviable facilities at Trippetts, which actually doubles up as the Mountbattens’ UK home.
A number of overseas professionals make the UK their home during the polo season, and these players have come to see Trippetts as a ‘home away from home’. Trippetts is not a commercial operation as such, but it still acts as a bedrock of polo in the South of England.
George Mountbatten is a good example of how sport and business are quite often in synergy – the determination and drive to be successful in one, lends itself to performing well in the other.
In founding uSwitch.com from scratch to being a company sold for £210 million six years later, he proved he has what it takes to firstly, spot a gap in the market, and secondly, see an idea through to fruition. The fantastic complex at Trippetts is another great example of an individual who is forward thinking, thorough, and focused in delivering what he sets out to achieve.