Bristol Rugby to reveal who is staying at the Memorial Stadium
BRISTOL supporters are finally set to receive some long-overdue positive news today when Steve Gorvett announces which players have agreed revised deals to stay at the club.
The chief executive had initially planned to make a definitive statement yesterday – but was still locked in talks with several players.
Gorvett has been working tirelessly behind the scenes over the past few weeks to put together the strongest possible squad for Bristol's 2010-11 Championship campaign.
At the same time, he has had to work within a drastically-reduced budget following the club's failure to win promotion back to the Guinness Premiership.
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All first-team players were initially asked to take a 50 per cent pay-cut or find a new club – but, with most clubs having finalised their squads for next season, there has been very little movement.
Centre Luke Eves had agreed a move to Newcastle even before Bristol's play-off final defeat to Exeter, while the out-of-contract Alex Crockett joined Worcester soon after.
Lee Robinson (Leicester), Luke Arscott and James Phillips (both Exeter) and Redford Pennycook (Newcastle) have since found new clubs, freeing up a significant amount of money for next season's squad.
But players are still being expected to take pay-cuts and sign new terms before pre-season kicks off on Monday.
Even last night, players such as flanker Iain Grieve were still in talks with Bristol over the finer details of the club's proposal – even though he has reported having positive discussions.
The 23-year-old is likely to be among those who stay with the club after saying: "The situation is not great with everything that has happened, but the boys are starting to look forward now.
"With pre-season training starting next Monday, players need to know where they will be – and the club need to know which players they will have."
Darren Crompton, Roy Winters, Jack Adams, Dan Norton, Mark Irish, Wayne Thompson and Robbie Shaw are likely to be among those who are staying at the club, while the future of players such as Jason Spice remains unclear.
Despite having faced Exeter as recently as 30 days ago, Bristol's Championship campaign kicks off against Rotherham in little more than two months.