Mike Aspinall wants start to Harrogate Rugby contract talks

Mike Aspinall
Mike Aspinall

Mike Aspinall has raised doubts over whether he will remain at the helm at Harrogate RUFC next season.

Harrogate’s long-serving director of rugby is frustrated by the lack of contract talks at Rudding Lane, stating that the club “needs to be better organised”.

The former Leeds Carnegie and Saracens players claims to have only held “very casual conversations” with chairman James Smithies and the Harrogate committee over a deal to remain at the club.

Aspinall’s backroom staff of former Leeds prop Rob Rawlinson and fitness coach Kevin Shattock have also not had deals firmed up.

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Asked whether he would be in charge next year, Aspinall said: “I’m not 100 per cent if I am honest.

“I would love us to be in a position when we have budgets and contracts out at this time of year. That isn’t the case at the moment.”

Aspinall had similar complaints 12 months ago before opting to stay for the historic move to the new Rudding Lane base after guiding the club to Yorkshire Cup success at the end of the season.

He had hoped to use that success as a springboard to a promotion challenge in National Two North this campaign, and called on committee members to make the most of the opportunities with moving ground.

A stop-start season, and problems with the playing surface at Rudding Lane, has seen Harrogate trundle along in midtable although they produced one of their best performances of the season on Saturday to see off fifth-placed Caldy 36-21.

Harrogate are still in the hunt to defend the Yorkshire Cup and will face a hotly-anticipated semi-final against fierce rivals Otley next month, a league and cup double.

Otley are directly above ‘Gate in the table but Aspinall’s troops have two matches spare – both against teams bidding to secure promotion.

Aspinall joined Harrogate as a player in 2005 and has yet to hang up his boots, remaining as a last resort playing option.

He added: “Staying at National League level would suit me from my family life requirements, and I am certainly not against staying.

“I don’t think there’s always opportunities (to move). I am not actively looking for other things or sending my CV out.

“We should have things nailed down by now but we don’t. That’s systematic of the club that these things are not organised.

“We have had very casual conversations.

“We still need to be better organised as a business.”

Harrogate are without a fixture over the Easter weekend and will return to action at Preston Grasshoppers on April 2.