Goodbye to Bristol following their relegation

Bristol’s defeat to London Irish on Saturday confirmed the inevitable and sent Paul Hull’s side tumbling out of the Guinness Premiership and into National One.

Paul Hull

Whilst it has been on the cards for some time, confirmation of the fact is marked with sadness as one of rugby’s most charismatic sides will leave rugby’s top flight.

Some have suggested that Bristol’s financial difficulties mean that they may struggle to bounce straight back up, in the way that other relegated teams have done over the past few years, and that this could spark the beginning of a downward spiral.

Although I’m in no position to comment knowledgeably, I am optimistic about their return in 2010 based on the coach’s comments following the game. Hull suggested that the club was in better shape than when they were relegated previously, and is hopeful of a swift return. Other sides that have spent only a season on National One have demonstrated that retention of talent is a key factor, so it will be interesting to see which players remain on the Bristol payroll next year.

There seem to be 13 sides that can compete in the Premiership, so ultimately, one of them will have to play in National One every season. Next year it is Bristol’s turn to follow Harlequins, Northampton and Leeds, but should there be a place for all of them? Expansion of the Guinness Premiership anyone?

3 thoughts on “Goodbye to Bristol following their relegation

  1. Very funny (I assume it was a joke?) I’d vote for contraction. Get it down to 8 or 10 and limit the number of foreign players (a la France).

    That said, I’m sure we all share your sadness at the demise of Bristol. On the plus side, I’m excited to see how well Backy does in the top flight next year. The Leeds-Leicester games in particular will be worth watching out for.

  2. Doesn’t the golden parachute just about guarantee that they shoot straight back up . It must dishearten the other sides in that division to some extent.

    I remember in my short trousers days in the 70’s that the 3 English sides that drew any crowds this side of the Severn ( and put up a good game too) were Coventry, Mosley and Bristol whither the other two now.

  3. Not sure, in spite of the money, that there are 13 clubs who can compete in the premiership. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that the distribution of funds ensures a closed shop by any other name. There are a number of 1st division clubs, who given the financial backing of the existing elite 13 , would make as good a fist of the premiership. It is, however, virtually impossible for them to break the cartel who have absolutely everything stacked in their favour, even though, and in spite of this biased funding, the likes of Worcester, Newcastle, Leeds and Bristol have hardly made a success of their Premiership tenure over the years, and it remains to be seen whether Northampton can replicate the success of Harlequins following relegation.

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