Bedford Blues are delighted to announce that Director of Rugby Mike Rayer has agreed a new deal keeping him at Goldington Road until 2013.

The two year deal was agreed with Chairman Geoff Irvine earlier this week and Rayer is now looking forward to cracking on with the Blues preparations for the 2011/12 season.

The former Welsh international fullback said: “There has never been any doubt about my commitment to this club and I am delighted to extend my stay for another two years. During my time at the club I feel that we have made real progress both on and off the field. The main factor however in this decision is the support I have received from the Chairman who has placed a lot a faith in me and we have a great working relationship. We do have our ‘healthy’ discussions from time to time but that is a good thing and long may that continue. It keeps us on our toes!

“This season is another exciting challenge to look forward to and I think that the early signs are that we have established an impressive squad who can hopefully improve upon last season’s effort. I also want to take a moment to say a big thank you to all of the other coaches at Bedford Blues who contribute so much to the team. It certainly isn’t and never will be solo effort at this Club and I couldn’t do this without the support and commitment of such a good bunch.”

Rayer began his rugby career at Llandaff North RFC where he captained the Welsh Youth. In 1984 he joined Cardiff for the first time, and soon became a crowd favourite with his hard running and strong tackling. In 1996 Rayer moved to Bedford where he played for two years before returning to Cardiff for a second stint where he also became instrumental in the setting-up of the Cardiff Blues Academy. Rayer returned to Bedford in May 2005 and has cemented the club’s position as one of the best part-time outfits in England.

Bedford Blues chairman Geoff Irvine said: “On behalf of the club I was very happy to secure Mike’s services six years ago and even more happy that he is remaining with us for another two years. Hopefully this will stop any speculation about his future. Both Mike and I believe that we are on a journey with this club which is not yet completed and we have certain goals in mind that we would like to achieve together.

“It is my view that the level of competition in this division is going to be even higher this season which will make it even more difficult to achieve the same levels that we did last year. Mind you, however difficult it will be we set a standard last season and we hope to maintain that level of rugby once again.”

Bedford Blues supporters will be able to see the team in action during a very special pre-season fixture against Premiership champions Saracens at Goldington Road on Friday 19 August. Not only will Sarries be bringing a formidable squad, but they will also be showing off the Premiership trophy that they picked up after beating Leicester Tigers 22-18 back in May.

Looking ahead to the pre-season campaign Irvine added: “Both Mike and I are very happy with the relationship that we have built with Saracens which has gone from strength to strength and this is indicated by their intent to bring a strong squad and the Premiership trophy to Goldington Road for the fixture next month.”

The match is taking place in aid of the floodlight appeal and £5 from every ticket purchased will go directly into the fund needed to pay for the new Goldington Road lights which will be receiving their official opening on the night. Bedford Blues fans will also have the opportunity to see and purchase the brand new kit, supplied by Zoo Sports, for the first time.
Tickets for the match are now on sale with reserved seat in Eagle Stand costing £15 for adults and £8 for students and under 18s. Ground entry is £10 for adults, £5 for students and £2 for under 18s with children under four getting free entry. You can purchase your ticket online at or by calling 0871 871 1886.