Dean Ryan's just the man for support role - Chris Booy
CHRIS Booy is confident Dean Ryan is the right man to support and help head coach Liam Middleton as Bristol pursue promotion to the Aviva Premiership.
Former Bristol head coach Ryan was confirmed as the club's rugby consultant earlier this week – and made it clear he was not returning to step on anyone's toes.
And chairman Booy, who said Bristol deliberately avoided appointing a director of rugby, believes Ryan is a perfect fit for last season's Championship semi-finalists.
"I had been looking for someone like Dean for a long time – and Liam, as a young coach, rightly supports it," said Booy.
"Like all of us in life, I think it's very important you have other people to talk to – and being a head coach in professional sport is a really tough role. You have the ambition of the directors and shareholders above you, as well as the playing side below you. It can be a lonely job and head coaches can feel a little isolated.
"So, if you can get some support in there, that is clearly a huge advantage. A lot of people have gone for the director of rugby concept, which we are fundamentally against, because we think it can create conflict.
"But we think this arrangement, with Dean coming in as a consultant while continuing his career as a commentator, will work well for us. When someone of Dean's calibre and experience is available, it would be silly not to talk to him and get him on board."
Ryan, meanwhile, believes life in the Championship will become more challenging now that London Welsh have been promoted on appeal and Newcastle have come down. "The dynamics of the Championship are changing a considerable amount, with Newcastle coming down and having Premiership finances. They will be strong," he said.
"But also, the London Welsh appeal decision will change dramatically what Bedford believe they can do and what Cornish Pirates believe they can do.
"The dynamics are changing, so if I can help in any way when people are having to make decisions at board level or on the playing side, that's hopefully what I am there to offer."
Ryan left Bristol for Gloucester in 2002 – and said the fact he had maintained a good relationship with the club over the years made it easier to return in his current role, which officially started yesterday.
"Bristol are a side I played for and coached. I moved on, and you often have to make decisions in your career, but it's always been a club that has treated me well," said Ryan.
"The supporters were always fantastic whenever I returned – and that stays with you. When I left, I never had any issues with the club, and my experiences of going back there were positive.
"When you leave somewhere in the right way, there is always a chance you can come back – and I think this is an opportunity for both of us to do something we will benefit from."