Austerity measures strike Esher
Chairman John Inverdale has insisted cut-backs at Esher are designed to give the club the best possible chance of returning to the Championship at the first time of asking.
Mike Schmid will become master of all he surveys at Esher after being unveiled as the club’s first chief executive as part of stringent cost-cutting measures at Molesey Road.
The former Canadian international, in charge of Esher’s on-field fortunes for the past seven years, moves up stairs in the wake of last week’s Championship relegation, leaving Esher hunting a new head coach.
The drop has blown a near £400,000 hole in the club’s finances – largely because of a £313,000 cut in central funding from the RFU – leaving the futures of the club’s top earning stars in doubt.
Inverdale has not set a timeline on recruiting Schmid’s replacement, but has already received a host of inquiries in connection with the post.
But the BBC TV presenter admitted the new man needed to be in place sooner rather than later if Esher were serious about their ambitions for next term.
“The bottom line is we cannot afford to employ as many numbers as we have done in the past. Some tough decisions have had to be made,” he said.
“Several of our leading players have expressed an interest in staying with the club and we hope to be in a position to sort that all out in the next 10 days.
“We haven’t had to appoint a new coach for several years so we will not be rushed but we recognise that this needs to be done sooner than later.
“The club accountants are still looking at the books to see where we can save money so we can give whoever comes in the chance of success.
“We want to have a core of the squad secured but we don’t want the new coach have his hands tied. He needs to be able to bring in the players he might want.”
Schmid takes charge of the whole club having been appointed director of rugby in 2005 after finishing his playing days at Rotherham.
The 42-year-old led them to the National Divisional Two title in 2007 and into National Division One (now the Championship), before relegation in 2009.
Esher bounced back to the Championship by securing the Division One title in 2010 and Inverdale admitted it was vital the club retained his expertise.
“The more professional we have become on the pitch has not necessarily been reflected off it,” he added.
“Appointing Mike is a case of getting back to basics and taking a more business-like approach.
“Mike is respected throughout the club and knows the club from top to bottom, which made him a very valuable asset that we wanted to retain.
“It is a change of career and a positive move for him.
“After the initial sadness of relegation I’m excited about the challenge.”
And Schmid insisted lessons could be learned from neighbours Harlequins – relegated from the Premiership in 2005 – as to how to get their house in order.
“We have the chance to renew ourselves and change for the better,” he added.
“You need look no further than Harlequins, who embraced their new situation when relegated and created a stable platform from which to deliver on their ambitions. We will have the same attitude.”