Gloucester set their sights high
July 15, 2012
New Gloucester boss Nigel Davies will be expected to steer the side towards the top of the Aviva Premiership table © PA Photos
Gloucester executive chairman Ryan Walkinshaw has thrown down the gauntlet to new coach Nigel Davies by declaring that anything but a top four finish in the Aviva Premiership would be a "disappointment".
Walkinshaw, who took charge of the Cherry and Whites following the untimely death of his father Tom, the former chairman of Premier Rugby, 18 months ago, has grand plans for the Kingsholm-based club and is determined to see them shed their reputation as a 'sleeping 'giant'.
"The absolute minimum is top six in the Premiership," the 24-year-old told The Rugby Paper. "Not being in the top four would be disappointment because we are a club that should regularly be in the play-offs, but we have to be in the Heineken Cup, pushing our brand in Europe, trying to get into quarter-final and semi-finals."
The club finished a lowly ninth in last year's Premiership, meaning no Heineken Cup rugby this coming season, and has experienced a troubled few months that has seen former boss Bryan Redpath quit the club in controversial circumstances and the death of stalwart John Brain.
But the arrival of Davies and the recruitment of the likes of England international Ben Morgan, Billy Twelvetrees and more recently Rob Cook offers hope to fans that the club can turn things around this term. "Once Nigel Davies has had a few years to get everything in place, we should definitely be in the top four of the Premiership," insisted Walkinshaw who is determined to raise the bar on and off the field.
"We've proven we can make money and our latest accounts reflect that, so we need to keep doing that and then we have three main goals if we are to achieve our ultimate aim, which is to turn Gloucester into a flagship club in European rugby.
"One is to keep turning a substantial profit that we can reinvest in the club an prove that sports clubs can make money and still be successful, the second is to make our stadium more of a venue of choice within the region, as we did by staging the Tom Jones concerts last week, and the third is the team, which is the most important stage."
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