Monday, 21 January 2013

Has Bath’s Bruce Craig Project Been Successful?

Ever since Bruce Craig began pouring money into Bath Rugby, the levels of expectations from supporters has gone up in turn. The former scrum half, who made his millions in the pharmaceutical industry after playing for Racing Metro, began the amazingly expensive business of funding a top flight rugby club in 2010, and was greeted by many as the answer to Bath’s problems of traversing the issues associated with professional rugby.

As a local man returning to assist the club he loved as a youngster, Craig was rightly viewed as a real lifeline in an increasingly money driven industry. He is a regular figure at matches, often having flown in from France in his helicopter (yes, really). His background as a rugby fan and player helps ease any thoughts that he will be treating the club badly or as a real business concern. He sold his company for nearly a billion pounds, so he is hardly short on cash.

While it is true that money is not always the answer to all the questions life can throw at you, in the era of professional rugby (becoming more and more like football by the minute), money does talk. I doubt Bath would have attracted players such as Stephen Donald and Francois Louw (or lured some away from the mortal enemy; Leicester) without being able to show them around the magnificent headquarters and training facilities at Farleigh Hungerford.

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