FOR too long now, Warriors have been forced to rely on a disparate bunch of past-it players with no real connection to the club, affinity to the city or any great desire to see the famous Gold n Blue colours hoisted to new heights.
That has to change before Warriors can change as a club. When there is once more pride throughout the squad in pulling on a Worcester jersey, then – and only then – can the club’s exciting new journey begin in earnest.
Although everyone was rooting for Warriors to pull off the ‘great escape’ in the closing weeks of the season, part of me feels it is probably better that they have gone down.
The Premiership is an unforgiving environment and one that in which it is very difficult to build a whole new club ethos from the bottom up.
Director of rugby Dean Ryan has made some exciting signings for next season and Warriors’ focus will very much be on the promotion and development of their talented youngsters.
Therefore, surely these bright young things will be able to thrive in a slightly less pressurised situation.
Added to that, Warriors should be winning week in, week out in the second tier and victories – albeit at a lower level – will naturally help to rebuild the fragile confidence in a squad that has been battered from pillar to post this season.
All self-respecting professional rugby players want to test themselves against the best and at the highest level but, with time, that will be the case for Worcester once again – hopefully after just one season away.
In the meantime, trips to the likes of Cornish Pirates, Moseley, Bedford, Rotherham and Jersey will go a long way to establishing the kind of values Ryan wants to instil throughout his squad.
When all is said and done and the dust settles on the 2013/14 Aviva Premiership season, Warriors can have no complaints about their fate.
Along the way there have been defeats snatched from the jaws of victories, bounces of balls not going their way and even criticisms of referees’ decisions, but as we approach the final weekend of the league season the table does not lie.
One win from 21 outings is the bottom line and, however they want to dress up the reasons for that statistic at Sixways, the truth is they have not been good enough to compete at this level.
The side has started to make progress under Ryan’s guidance, but is it fair for him to lay the blame for Worcester’s demotion solely at the feet of his predecessor?
Ryan regularly goes on record to say how poor the squad and infrastructure he inherited when taking the hot-seat.
Indeed, Richard Hill’s decision to basically disband the Sixways academy was short-sighted in the extreme.
However, despite all of Ryan’s explanations and excuses, he was only able to lead his side to one victory in 21 games this season so far.
In pretty much any other sport, a coach in charge of a team with such a record would have been out on his ear.
Luckily for Ryan, he was obviously very persuasive in selling his long-term vision for the club to the Sixways powers-that-be. Now is the time for him to start delivering on his promise.
Man of the match: Chris Pennell – no-one did more to try to keep Worcester in the Premiership and does not deserve to be relegated.