Worcester Warriors: Dean Ryan backed with 'spectacular' 25 per cent budget increase

Jim O'Toole
Jim O'Toole took over as Worcester Warriors chief executive in March 2015

Worcester Warriors chief executive Jim O'Toole claims director of rugby Dean Ryan will have one of the six best budgets in next season's Premiership.

It was reported last week that Ryan was unhappy with the money available, and also linked him with a move to Premiership rivals Bath.

But O'Toole told BBC Sport: "He's getting approximately a 25 per cent increase on last year's spend.

"In today's market place I'd categorise that as spectacular, in any industry."

O'Toole told BBC Hereford & Worcester: "In terms of players' salaries and related costs and backroom staff, we'll probably have a top-six rugby budget, if not top five."

Worcester were so concerned at one newspaper report that they released a statement on Friday highlighting their budgetary plans.

And, prior to Ryan's return to his desk from holiday on Monday, O'Toole emphasised their continued commitment.

"I was a little bit miffed to read that piece in the Times which indicated that we were reducing our investment," he said.

"That's what prompted us to release that statement to clarify exactly how much money we were spending at the Warriors and that will continue."

Ryan's time at Sixways

Ryan, who took over in May 2013, suffered relegation in his first season in charge, won promotion in 2015 and then kept Worcester up last season.

But, highlighting the achievements of last season's runners-up Exeter as an example of just what can be achieved, their aim is to establish themselves as a top-six, if not top-four side.

"Dean Ryan is under a long-term contract with the club," added O'Toole. "He retains the full support of the board who are pleased with the progress made against the club's five-year plan."

Warriors to start new season on road

Worcester have asked to start the new Premiership season away from home, to smooth over the process of laying the club's first artificial pitch at Sixways.

Next season is scheduled to start on the first weekend in September (2/3/4), with the fixtures are to be announced on Thursday 7 July.

Chief executive Jim O'Toole says the laying of the pitch is currently a week ahead of schedule and should be ready by mid-August "despite some dodgy weather". But he wants to ensure as much time as possible to ensure that the £750,000 organic all-weather surface is ready.

"The prospect of not only not being able to fulfil three pre-season friendlies, but our first Premiership fixture was not a happy one, so we've asked for that," he said.

As part of this summer's Sixways refurbishment, Warriors have also spent £3m on a new outdoor artificial training pitch, a new grass training pitch and their indoor training facilities.

New faces for next season

Worcester have so far have made five new signings for the 2016-17 season, headed by rugby league convert Ben Te'o.

They will also be bringing in another centre, New-Zealand-born Jackson Willison from French side Grenoble.

They have signed three forwards, South Africa-born Northampton hooker Matt Williams, Bath lock Will Spencer and Bristol flanker Marco Mama.

In addition, South African scrum-half Francois Hougaard has completed a move on a three-year contract, having initially signed on loan.