Gloucester part with chief executive

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Gloucester's chief executive, Mike Coley, has left the Courage League One club after less than a year in the job.

He is a victim of the club's decision to restructure, although Gloucester issued a statement yesterday that said he had offered to resign, and announced they had reached an agreement over compensation.

Coley's departure follows Gloucester's decision to set up a new company to run the club and look for sponsorship to pay their players. "The general committee have endorsed the club's working parties' recommendations to restructure the club in order to meet the needs of the professional game," the statement read.

"As a consequence of this restructuring, the post of chief executive is no longer required and Mr Coley offered his resignation from that post."

Coley, Gloucester's first full-time chief executive and marketing manager, was shocked by the decision. "There was no acrimony," the 50-year-old former Rugby Football Union marketing manager insisted. "I accepted the decision. But it was as much of a shock to me as anyone else to learn I was no longer required."

The new company will be taking over from the existing Gloucester Ground and Athletic Club Limited, which was formed a century ago to look after the Kingsholm pitch.

"We decided a couple of months ago that we must become a limited company with the advent of professionalism, and we set up a steering committee," Alan Brinn, the Gloucester chairman, said.

"There will be a new trading company called Gloucester RFC Ltd, which will be run by a small board of directors. They will have the responsibility for overseeing finance and development at the club and players' contracts."

The England A flanker, Martin Corry, has turned down offers from Leicester and his former club, Newcastle, to stay with Bristol.

"I thought long and hard about the other offers but after lengthy discussions with coach Alan Davies, I have decided to stay," Corry, 22, said.

Davies, the former Welsh national coach, takes over at the Courage League First Division side on Monday from Brian Hanlon, who is returning to New Zealand after working with his successor for the past month.

The Leicester stand-off, Jez Harris, yesterday signed for local rivals Coventry as the Courage League Third Division champions announced seven new players for next season. The Leicester backs Richie Rob- inson and Wayne Kilford, Nottingham's Matt Gallagher, Mark Crane of Clifton, and the England Schools players Rich- ard Lloyd and James Brown are also joining Coventry.