Pertemps Bees' director of rugby, Phil Maynard, yesterday proved that there are some things money cannot buy as he launched a scathing attack on Zurich Premiership clubs' plans to buy off their less wealthy brethren in National One.
Maynard was responding to reports that some topflight clubs were preparing to pay £500,000 to every First Division team in exchange for them waiving their right to promotion.
That would safeguard established but endangered clubs from the cataclysmic effects of dropping out of the top flight and into a division where revenue from the Rugby Football Union and crowds would be a fraction of that in the Premiership.
The Sharmans Cross Road outfit had not been approached but, describing the possibility as 'cynical' and 'predictable', he made sure the club's position was clearly understood.
"We have not been contacted but if we were we would not take the money under any circumstances," Maynard said.
"If this plan was to come together it would not only be cynical but it would be very predictable and totally in keeping with what we know about some Premiership clubs - they will do anything for their self-preservation."
Early reports had suggested that the only clubs who would reject the offer would be Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth Albion and Penzance & Newlyn, all full-time outfits challenging at the top of National One.
The plan would need a twothirds majority from First Division clubs and if Bees were to join the South West quartet by coming out against it in any future vote that would kill the idea.
The indignation with which Bees have reacted is a measure of how unpopular the move would be. The Solihull side are hardly wealthy and, since they are not expected to vie for promotion in the next couple of years, they could well do with a half-a-million pounds windfall.
It would represent a doubling of their playing budget but for Maynard the wider issue of movement between the divisions is more important. He said: "What would be the point in taking the money if there is no light at the end of the tunnel. The whole sport should be based on trying to strive forward. It is not right that a few very rich people can buy their way out of a bad season without punishment."
For Maynard, the progress Worcester have made in their first Premiership season is a sign of what is possible if a club gets itself in order on the pitch and has a wealthy backer with vision off it. He sees them as a blueprint for all National One sides and maintains that other clubs must be given the opportunity to repeat what the Warriors have achieved.
Coventry's chairman, Keith Fairbrother, is equally horrified at the idea but is concerned that many teams in National One would rather take the money. He said: "With the greatest of respect we have got teams like Henley, Sedgley Park, Nottingham, Orrell and a few others who have absolutely no intention of ever trying to get to the Premiership and have not invested a penny in their grounds."
Fairbrother expressed his concern that enough clubs might vote to take the cash although he urged them to look at the long-term view, saying: "It is all very well just taking the money but then what do you say to your sponsors and supporters when they realise you have got no chance of going anywhere? They might as well go off to Leicester or Northampton."
While Coventry and Bees will not be affected this season, both have ambitions to gain a seat at the top table.
National One leaders Exeter stand to lose most. Their director of rugby, Ian Bremner, said he felt whoever suggested this scheme could be charged with bringing the game into disrepute.
Bremner said that no Premiership side had contacted Exeter and he summarised the club's stance thus: "We are not interested in it.
"Only two weeks ago we started building a stadium that will fulfil Premiership criteria, we have worked very closely with the RFU on this so it would not be in our interests to take any money."
Promotion rivals Bristol also condemned the plan through their director, David Powell, who said: "If we win the league we will be promoted. We have signed contracts on the basis that promotion and relegation will remain."
Bristol were relegated from the Premiership in 2003 and accepted their fate with good grace. Powell, who expects others to do the same and honour the agreement that year that enshrined promotion and relegation until June 2009, added: "We were in devastation when we went down, the club nearly collapsed but rules are rules. Some clubs want guarantees in rugby but there are not any and they have to get used to it and grow up."