It’s only two short years since Edinburgh finished second in the Magners League and there is a great belief that we can return to those great days of top-four finishes and Heineken Cup quarter-finals. Everyone is convinced we can develop a club to honour the traditions of one of the world’s great rugby cities, writes Jim Calder, the Edinburgh Chariman.
There are two key reasons for my optimism. Firstly, I can see the abilities of the young players we have coming through and secondly, I’m delighted with the arrival of Michael Bradley as the new head coach.
I took an instant liking to Michael. He’s astute, bright and a very able coach, who is his own man. He’ll bring a tougher culture to Edinburgh, one that in my opinion will benefit the club.
As the club’s focus is on winning matches, as well as developing talent for the national teams, I think someone coming in from outside has the ability to shake things up a bit.
Michael is an inspiring leader, a people person who will also help us achieve our goals off the pitch. We’re committed to having a better relationship with the people of Edinburgh and Michael and the players are crucial in delivering this. Everyone at the club wants to drive up attendances.
I look at Premiership clubs like Leicester and Northampton as having a much closer relationship with their supporters. We’re making great strides with both the rugby and business communities in Edinburgh to ensure that happens.
To help the team on the pitch we’re looking for new initiatives all the time as we try to enliven Murrayfield. Next season we’re experimenting with a standing area next to the pitch on the running track to get our supporters far closer to the action. We’ll also be improving the bar facilities.
We need to attract new fans, as well as looking after the current ones, and initiatives like this will help. We’re also setting up a business club to try and bring the club into the city, like they have done so successfully at Bath.
The World Cup will see a good number of players away at the start of the season and the absentees present a wonderful opportunity for younger players and those from clubs like Melrose and Currie, who along with Ayr are pulling away from the rest and setting up semi-professional teams.Already Matt Scott, a very promising outside-half, has joined us from Currie.
On the field, we all know the results weren’t good enough this season and success will bring more supporters to Murrayfield, but even in defeat this season we were still playing good rugby. We had the league’s leading try-scorer in Tim Visser and I think back to that first half against eventual runners-up Northampton in the Heineken Cup as an indication of how well this team can play.
Edinburgh v Ulster – Tim Visser try…
This article appeared in the July 2011 issue of Rugby World Magazine.
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