CHIEF executive Jim O’Toole said Worcester Warriors will push on to achieve their lofty ambitions after securing promotion to the Aviva Premiership.
Last Wednesday’s (May 27) dramatic last-gasp victory was hailed as ‘phenomenal’ by O’Toole who was among the 12,024 fans at Sixways.
O’Toole admitted Ryan Lamb’s 80th minute conversion, which completed a remarkable comeback by Warriors, could prove to be vital in the club’s long term plans.
“I was looking at the kick thinking I know the financial implications of him missing this,” O’Toole said.
“If we had lost by a point, the heartbreak of it all would have been just too much. But as it turned out he got it and the minute it went over I had sponsors, directors and members of my family jumping on me.
“There were men in tears around me as they were just overwhelmed by the stress of it all. It was just phenomenal.
“We were not looking forward to the prospect of another year in the Championship.
“If I am very honest I think it would have had an impact on people’s commitment levels and their willingness to come out and support us week in week out.
“That’s absolutely no disrespect to the Championship as we set out to embrace the experience, but in terms of our long term ambitions another season would have been difficult.
“The fact of life is that companies are attracted to the Premiership more than the Championship and the level of funding is approximately ten times what you get from the RFU when you are in the Championship.”
O’Toole said he was now keen to repay the supporters who have followed the club in English rugby’s second tier and try to attract more rugby fans.
“Rather than capitalising on this, the first thing we are going to do is to reward all of the season ticket holders who have stuck with us throughout this season,” he said.
“It is the sensible thing to do as we value their support very highly and it makes good business sense.
“We have also got a number of initiatives lined up to reach out to supporters, but we have also got a lot more in the pipe line in terms of how we engage with local businesses to get them behind the club.”