FORMER Plymouth Albion chairman Peter Vosper has admitted his surprise that the new owners of the club, Dave Venables and Bruce Priday, did not want to work with Graham Dawe.
Former England international Dawe was asked to stand down from his coaching role last week despite totally rebuilding Albion in the summer and helping them gain more wins than all other team in National One this season, part from champions Richmond.
Dawe has also enjoyed success with Cornwall in the last year and was asked to help England out before their Six Nations campaign.
In a statement, Vosper: “Following the sale of Plymouth Albion we welcome the positive and ambitious statement from the new owners in Saturday’s programme.
“Not surprisingly many supporters, including myself and Roger Harris, have expressed disappointment that Graham Dawe is not part of their immediate plans.
“We were always in the belief he would be part of the new set-up and therefore the outgoing board would like to pay this tribute to him.
“Graham has done a fantastic job starting from a point where virtually all of the previous squad had moved on.
“Our three-year plan allocated him a budget, which he adhered to, and created an exciting and successful young squad which exceeded our objectives and expectations.
“Furthermore, when we were not getting enough income from sponsors and attendances he played his part in taking out costs.
“Graham has been an honour to work with and his commitment to Plymouth Albion will be forever embedded in the history of the club. His integrity and loyalty to the club and players is unquestioned.
“Obviously, the board is sorry we failed to deliver a long-term financial situation and attempted to reach a solvent solution, but we have said consistently if Plymouth wants first class sport we need ongoing support from everyone to sustain the necessary financial base.
“We can genuinely say that both the World Cup and the terrible weather did not help but we failed to produce enough income from sponsors and supporters to take the club forward.
“However, it has been good to see improved support at the last four games and see some very attractive rugby from our winning team.
“I hope all these supporters come along again next season and we wish Plymouth Albion every success in the future.”