Stourbridge have asked Neil Mitchell to remain as director of rugby and restore the club’s National One status.
Less than 48 hours after the Stourton Park outfit’s relegation was confirmed the club’s board re-appointed Mitchell for the 2012-13 campaign.
That will be their first at level four since 2001 and not one either party will countenance extending for more than a single year.
Indeed, neither the club’s directors nor Mitchell has concealed their desire to make immediate recompense for what has been a disappointing season by retuning to level three at the first time of asking.
Despite starting their programme with genuine optimism of a top-half finish, Stour have won just six times in 27 attempts, with Saturday’s loss at Blaydon the final swing of the axe.
However, they have opted not to wield their own blade in Mitchell’s direction and have instead identified him as the ideal man to lead them back.
“We think Neil is the best-positioned person to secure the players we already have and whatever additional ones we need for 2012-13,” said board spokesman Peter Thompson. “We all felt he is definitely the man who is going to get us back into National One.”
Mitchell was also keen to stay having secured the assurances he required about the club’s competitiveness next term. “I went to them because I felt I have got a duty of care, which is why I have accepted reduced terms to stay at the club,” he said.
“Stourbridge belong at level three and I have asked the board to support an immediate return to it. I am hoping to keep the majority of our squad and add to it. Many of the squad have expressed a sense of responsibility and accountability for our predicament.
“Far too often clubs have been comfortable after relegation having ‘found their level’. We have spent a decade at National One level. This will be my ninth season at Stourbridge as DOR, I want to spend the tenth where I started it.”
Mitchell’s first task will be to tie as many as possible of his leading players to contracts and also sort out his coaching team, which this year has been made up of forwards coach Chris Fortey and backs specialist Thinus Delport.
If he could retain the services of the ex-Worcester pair that would be an important attraction to new recruits in an area where the competition for talent is going to be extremely high.
With Bromsgrove, Luctonians, Rugby Lions, Birmingham & Solihull and possibly Dudley Kingswinford potentially in the league next season, several clubs will be fishing in the same pool and the presence of a former Springbok and Premiership star would be useful bait.