BILLY McHARG has confirmed that he is staying on as president of Ayr for at least one more season. The long-serving club official had announced in December that he was going to step down after 16 years as a senior office-bearer at Millbrae (the last 12 as president), citing concerns about Murrayfield’s controversial Super 6 programme as a key consideration, but he always maintained that he would remain involved on a less formal basis.
However, at the request of the Ayr committee, he decided to stay on as president next season a number of weeks ago, and the club officially announced that decision yesterday [Wednesday] so as to provide sponsors and other potential partners with clarity moving forward.
“At first, I was unsure of the club’s future but due to recent developments, in the past couple of months, I’m as confident as ever and looking forward to what lies ahead,” said McHarg in a statement released on the club’s website.
“We have a clear goal and I’m confident in placing the right people around me in order for the club to succeed. The developments in Super Six have been a key factor in my decision.”
Ayr are one of 12 clubs to have applied to take on a Super 6 franchise, along with Boroughmuir, Currie Chieftains, Dundee, Edinburgh Academicals, Gala, Glasgow Hawks, Hawick, Heriot’s, Melrose, Stirling County and Watsonians.
Each applicant must now go through an interview process with a panel consisting of Stewart Harris (chief executive of sportscotland), Andrew Healy (SRU director of finance), Gregor Townsend (SRU national team head coach), Gemma Fay (SRU head of women’s and girl’s rugby), Stephen Gemmell (SRU technical director), Mark Dodson (SRU chief executive) and Sir Bill Gammell as chairman.
“There are still a lot of discussions to be had and there is going to have to be some give and take from both the clubs and from Murrayfield if Super 6 is going to happen and be successful, but I’m encouraged by the tone of recent conversations with Mark Dodson [the SRU’s chief executive] and others,” said McHarg to The Offside Line.
“Ayr have worked very hard to get to the top of the club game in Scotland and that’s where we want to stay. There is a lot at stake and it is going to be an interesting month.”
The identity of the six successful candidates will be announced on 1st May.