Rugby Union: Mike Aspinall unsure over his Harrogate RUFC future

hsb   Mike Aspinall.  (131214M4f)
hsb Mike Aspinall. (131214M4f)

Harrogate director of rugby Mike Aspinall is stalling over a new deal until assurances are given about the direction of the club.

Harrogate will move to their new base at Rudding Lane over the summer but there is uncertainty over who will lead the club next season in National Two North.

Aspinall held talks with chairman James Smithies this week to discuss the future ambitions of the Claro Road outfit.

However, Gate’s supremo has yet to put pen to paper for a new contract .

It is understood Aspinall is concerned about the club’s playing budget and has requested more funds to target an assault on the top of the table.

Aspinall told the Advertiser that he needed to be convinced that the club would make the most of their move to Rudding Lane.

He said: “For me to be convinced, I need certain assurances for what the club looks like. I need to be part of a club that can progress.

“If I was to stay at Harrogate, it would be to make the most of Rudding and progress the whole club.”

Smithies said: “As far as I am aware, he has committed to carrying the ball forward at the new ground.

“My discussions with him where very positive and very constructive

“All directors of rugby’s have their own ambition and it’s safe to say at some stage Aspy might have aspirations for a higher level. But my understanding is that he is committed to Harrogate Rugby.”

Aspinall masterminded Gate’s return to National Two North in 2013 and his team have since held their own on a shoe-string budget.

Seven consecutive victories sent Harrogate up to third over Christmas but a series of injuries since the turn of the year has seen them fall to six.

The club only ended a six-game losing streak with a narrow margin win over bottom side Stockport on Saturday (report on page 94).

However, Aspinall left coaching duties to head coach Kerry Wood and forwards coach Andy Boyde for the trip to Greater Manchester as he went to support the club’s second-string, the Georgians, lose heavily against Ilkley 2nds.

“It wasn’t taking the Stockport game lightly,” he explained. “The second team really needs some support and we are looking at how we remedy that as a club to develop into next season

“We wanted to look at how it would work if I am not there and trying to support the second team.”

The Georgians play their final match at Claro Road this Saturday against Sheffield 2nds, while Gate are on their travels for a second week running against Chester (3pm).