Gloucester Rugby CEO Steven Vaughan has admitted in an exclusive interview with Park Life Sport that he’s now glad that the proposed takeover from Mohed Altrad didn’t happen.
Mohed Altrad, owner of Montpellier, tried to takeover the West Country club last season, but following a vote from the other Premiership clubs, the takeover was dismissed on the grounds that it would be a conflict of interest to have Altered owning two European teams in the same competition.
Whilst at the time Gloucester were keen on the idea and thought Altrad could bring about a positive influence into the club, Vaughan has since admitted:
“We don’t know how much it could’ve helped the club fully, but hindsight is a wonderful thing. Genuinely now, I’m glad it didn’t happen. At the time, I was very pro for it to happen and come off, but some things that have happened since then, some of the information that we’re hearing from Mr Altrad himself saying that he was going to bring these three players in, and do this and that.”
Vaughan says that Altrad was saying that he was going to get involved in the playing department, but the CEO says that would never have been the case had the takeover happened. “Firstly, it’s nonsense because if he was to come in, it would’ve been as a minority shareholder and would’ve had absolutely no say over the playing department. Secondly it was absolute nonsense because even as a majority shareholder at the moment with Martin St. Quinton, Martin doesn’t get involved in team affairs. Martin would never have allowed him to anyway, so it would never have happened from that perspective.”
He continued to say that had Mr. Altrad come in to the club, his money wouldn’t have been able to have been spent on the playing department, but instead would’ve helped grow the club in other areas.
“If Mr. Altrad was to come in and bring the money he was saying, it could’ve been transformational, but we’re already paying the full salary cap and we’ve already got two marquee players. So it probably would’ve been more transformational off the pitch, with regards to accelerating our plans around stadium improvements and things at Hartpury College. But genuinely, hand on heart, I’m glad it didn’t happen.”
Gloucester have announced already this season that they will be installing a new hybrid pitch at Kingsholm over the summer break in what the club are hoping will give them more of a home advantage and the ability to host community games at the stadium too.
“We’ve had a real issue here with our pitch, it gets very soggy in places and hasn’t fully allowed to us to play the type of game that Johan wants to. It’s a bit like a carpet really, you can keep vacuuming it, but if you spill enough red wine on it, it’s not going to be fit for purpose. We need a new pitch because we need the boys to be able to do a team run before games, which they can’t currently do. We also want them to be able to train here more to get more of a home advantage. Also the new pitch will allow to us to hold more community games here as well.”