THE last time Worcester were relegated to the Championship, former Sixways and Ireland flanker Neil Best did little to ingratiate himself with the blazers at the RFU.

The outspoken Ulsterman, who had signed for Warriors from Northampton prior to relegation being confirmed, declared: “The Championship is a shocking league, the grounds are awful and the changing rooms and pitches are really poor.

“It was a wasted year for me because there’s nothing you can look forward to.”

While I doubt any of the current squad would be so forthright this time around, I’d imagine similar opinions are widely held in private.

Worcester failed to learn the lessons from their last visit to tier two and find themselves in the same predicament again now after a depressingly hapless debut campaign for director of rugby Dean Ryan.

No-one can deny that Warriors improved under Ryan’s stewardship once the former Gloucester man had finally got his house in order, but two wins from 22 league games cannot be dressed up any way other than an unmitigated disaster.

To be fair to Worcester’s bank-rollers, no stone has been left unturned in fulfilling every backroom whim of Ryan and high performance director Nick Johnston.

The Sixways club now has more coaches than Astons, not to mention the legions of physios, conditioners, nutritionists, analysts and so on and so forth.

From the impressive stadium to the extensive support staff, Warriors are nothing but professional in everything they do off the field.

However, the muddy, uneven and unkempt playing surfaces at the likes of Doncaster, Rotherham and Plymouth will be a great leveller.

Warriors’ season begins with a Sky-televised cracker at the Ashton Gate home of primary promotion rivals Bristol but, after that, the campaign will be a withering trudge around various rugby outposts in what is basically an elongated pre-season before the play-offs.