Worcester Warriors: CEO Jim O'Toole explains change in Sixways management


Ex-Scotland international Carl Hogg was brought to Worcester by director of rugby Dean Ryan in May 2013

Worcester chief executive Jim O’Toole says giving head coach Carl Hogg sole charge of the first-team was necessary because players ‘weren’t getting’ the dual-management structure.

After former director of rugby Dean Ryan’s exit on 30 June, Hogg and high performance director Nick Johnston initially shared duties.

But Warriors have opted to change things after a run of poor results.

“Giving Carl sole leadership is now right for us,” O’Toole told BBC Sport.

“It all goes back to Dean Ryan’s departure in the summer. When he left, aside from his considerable experience and rugby intellect, what we in effect lost at short notice just before the start of the season was his level of management.

“Carl, as head coach under Dean, was responsible for the first team. Nick was responsible for the athletes and their preparation.

“We took a decision at the time to pioneer a duo-management system, which I’ve heard (England boss) Eddie Jones talk about as being how the southern hemisphere does it. He’s a big advocate of that type of structure.

“After six months, we reviewed it. My view, shared with my fellow directors, was that the players weren’t getting it.

“Nick continues in his role, but streamlining the management by giving Carl sole leadership is the right thing to do. Ultimately, the players have to be clear about what they’re here to do.”

Nick Johnston was brought by Dean Ryan to Warriors from Northampton in November 2013

O’Toole ‘on message’ with Warriors fans

Injury-hit Warriors have won just twice in 14 matches this season, picking up only one victory and two draws in the Premiership.

Following Sunday’s 26-12 home defeat by Wasps, they are 11th in the table, six points above bottom club Bristol, where they will travel on Boxing Day.

Having twice before suffered relegation since first reaching the Premiership in 2004, their current woes, although exacerbated by a large injury list, have led to criticism from frustrated fans.

O’Toole has addressed that by arranging a meeting with 40 of the club’s more regular critics, and sees handling disgruntled customers as a major part of his job.

“Modern communication channels are open to everybody,” he told BBC Sport.

“I have daily communication with supporters on Twitter, on club forums, on e-mail, telephone and text messaging. I’ve even had messages sent to me on Facebook Messenger from people who I’m not friends with, who insist on getting their message across and like to tell me how things can be improved.

“I didn’t come to run a rugby club to hang around with the players. For me, it’s about the excitement and passion of dealing with a large number of committed supporters and the environment that creates.

“People like to give their opinions and I’m here to receive them. If people come to me and communicate politely, I take it all on board. It’s the old point about ‘the customer is king’.

“They’re not always right and some people get a bit carried away but people aren’t unpleasant just for the sake of it. You know it’s only because they care.”

Jim O’Toole became Warriors chief executive during their 2014-15 promotion season

Jim O’Toole was talking to BBC Sport’s Ged Scott

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