Plymouth Albion / Rugby

Graham Dawe feels expectation levels are higher for his second spell at Plymouth Albion


GRAHAM DAWE says it is difficult to compare joining Plymouth Albion for the first time in 1999 to taking over for a second spell this year.

When Dawe became chairman of rugby 16 years ago, Albion had just survival relegation to regional rugby on the final day of the season.

They sat at the foot of National Division Three South (now known as National Two South).

However, unlike this time around, Albion at least had two teams of players, with most of them totally amateur, and expectation levels were low.

Now Dawe finds himself trying to rebuild a club that has just been relegated from the Championship, has been beset by financial problems for years and has just two contracted players on their books and no second or development team.

But because he changed the club’s fortunes once before, guiding them to two successive promotions and to the brink of the Premiership, Dawe knows there is more pressure this time.

“They are different scenarios,” said Dawe, who has taken over from James Shanahan.

“There is far more expectation now because Plymouth have been a relatively successful club over the years and people expect success to return.

“But there have been cases where clubs that have been successful for more than a decade have not returned to their former glories.

“We have got this one opportunity to try and re-ignite Plymouth Albion’s fortunes over the short period of the summer

“But it is a very competitive world now and there are a lot more clubs than just Plymouth Albion giving it a crack.”

Dawe previously had a reputation for finding and nurturing young talent. Players like Dan Ward-Smith, Lee Robinson, Luke and Tom Arscott, Nic Sestaret, Robin Copeland, Matt Hopper and Henry Slade all got their first real chances in English league rugby under him.

He said: “Fortunately, Plymouth Albion have a bit of a legacy and have produced some good players, but that was about getting the right culture for those players to breath.”

Trying to re-create that right culture at Brickfields is top of Dawe’s list, but he knows that is easy said than done.

The task he has on his hands is a big one, but he is determined not to let the pressure get to him.

“I have learned not to get too stressed about it because you can’t do your job properly under stress,” said Dawe, who is busy trying to put together a competitive squad.

He added: “Sometimes you can speak to two or three players in the same position and they all have options.

“But, in this first year, we just hope we get some quality players in the right positions.”

Dawe has said deals have been agreed with some players for the 2015/16 but any announcements are not likely to take place until next week after the County Championship final.


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