Bath owner Bruce Craig covets 2015 Premiership title

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Craig expecting Bath to progress

Bath owner Bruce Craig has revealed that he harbours ambitions for the club to become English champions in 2015.

It has been almost 20 years since Bath, who finished seventh this season, last lifted the Premiership title.

"I want to help develop things - I want the city to have a club to be proud of," he told BBC Points West.

"If Bath could be English champions in 2015 it would be fabulous. It's our 150th anniversary, and it is a World Cup in England."

He added: "That's a great ambition to have, it's a great focal point to look forward to, and hopefully some of those things could come true."

Despite having lifted the Premiership title six times in their amateur years, the Somerset club have failed to mirror that success since turning professional in 1996.

However, millionaire Craig - who made his fortune in the transport business - took over the club in 2010 and made his ambition clear from the start.

He has previously stated that Bath could become "the top club in Europe" under his guidance, purchased a 99-year lease on an administrative headquarters and began plans to secure a long-term solution to the club's ongoing stadium issues.

But, having missed out on a Heineken Cup place for the last two years, Craig now says that he underestimated the speed at which the club could progress.

"From the point where I took over the club, the expectation of where we were going to go and how quickly we were going to go was maybe exaggerated because we didn't necessarily understand the depth of the work that needed to be done," he admitted.

"What happened was probably sub-optimal. It was not what we would have liked, but there was a reason behind that.

"But now with hindsight, the things that are being built today we feel are the right things."

Bath have already started their player recruitment for next season and are currently in talks to sign London Welsh fly-half Gavin Henson.

Craig feels that with the investment that he has ploughed into Bath, both on and off the field, the club can begin to break even in the next three years.

"I knew that this club needed significant investment," he reasoned. "So the losses for a number of years are understood and accepted, and it's my passion, it's my pleasure and it's the creation of something going forward.

"If you don't have a vision of what the future is likely to look like, then it's a bottomless pit of money just being put in.

"So there needs to be a plan and a vision of what it looks like, and I think in 2015-2016 our plan is to break even.

"We can compete in the next few years, and I will be expecting success. There's a point at which we expect to see an article which looks finished."