GRAHAM DAWE felt he should have been given the chance to see out of the season with Plymouth Albion.
The former England international was sensationally shown the door by the new Albion owners on Sunday with two games to go, despite guiding a newly-built team to an impressive 20 wins from 28 matches this season.
Dawe, like all the rest of Albion’s coaching staff and players, would have been considering his own future anyway at the end of the campaign in the light of the takeover by former Plymouth players Bruce Priday and Dave Venables, but he said he would never have walked out on his team mid-season.
“It obviously came as a bit of a surprise and a shock really,” said Dawe, who was informed of the decision the day after Albion beat Loughborough away.
“I was quite happy to go through to the end of the season. I thought it was only right and proper that I should have that chance to take the team right through.
“This is not something I would have planned. Any project I take on, I always want to finish it.”
Dawe, who was asked to help England ahead of their Six Nations campaign, felt he had managed to put together a ‘special squad’ this season similar to the first one he built at Plymouth at the start of the millennium. It was why he was so desperate to make sure the club kept the majority of them to try and push for promotion back to the Championship next term.
“It’s a team who have played exceptionally well travelling the length and breadth of England,” said Dawe. “We have enjoyed each others company and built some real strong bonds. There’s a lot of trust and integrity and it’s a shame we can’t just finish the season altogether.”
He added: “You spend a lot of time building and developing players and building a team ethos.
“The number one thing we have worked on is growing and performing as a team. We never pick out individuals in the changing room and on the pitch the captain makes the decisions and everyone accepts with them.”
Dawe met Priday and former Albion coach Nigel Sparrow, who is part of the new set-up at Brickfields, on Sunday where they told him they wanted to take in the club in a different direction.
The new owners have turned to Exeter to fill Dawe’s void. Chiefs’ assistant academy manager Rob Gibson, who worked under Dawe at Albion years ago, and Sam Morton were introduced to Albion’s players at a meeting with the new owners on Monday night. Chiefs’ Academy manager Robin Cowling was also there.
The players were told the Exeter coaches would help out until the end of the campaign and during pre-season, but the club would look to appoint a new director of rugby/head coach for the start of the 2016/17 campaign.
The players were also informed that the club would be looking to use more Chiefs academy players next term.
The new owners, though, are hoping current Albion assistant coach Simon Lane will continue his part-time work at the club until the end of the season.
Dawe said the new owners told him they wanted a ‘clean slate’.
“Bruce and Nigel explained this was the decision they had made,” said Dawe. “They said it may not be the right decision or a popular one, but it’s a decision they’ve made. They see it as the way forward for them.”
I totally understand why GoD would be surprised and shocked at his dismissal. What did he do wrong? Faced with a mass exodus of players when Albion crashed out of the championship, Graham pulled together a young team from who, whilst they took a few games to meld, became a serious force in National Division 1, and looked like they would be a significant contender for promotion next season. In short, a great job. Instead, under the new owners, he gets shown the door with immediate effect.
What miracle did he have to perform to keep his job?
It seems there sn’t even a Plan B, no rival messiah waiting to take over the role.
The young players will probably vote with their feet in their droves, and the team will once again be decimated. The supporters are equally unhappy, and attendences will drop away. What a situation – all done without the opposition raising a finger!!
So the new owners want to take Albion in a different direction. The team was on an upwards trajectory. A different direction may not lead to a bright future.
What a joke, Graham is a very good coach, now Plymouth Albion will be turned into a feeder club for Exeter, which means the club will never hit the heights of the premiership ever, academy players from exeter taking over the spine of the team. Feel sorry for dawesy played against him and nearly went to play for Plymouth, hope he gets another good coaching role he’s proven himself time and time again