ENOUGH is enough for big Michael Reid, as he resigns after 12 rollercoaster years in the role as chief executive of Ulster Rugby.
Reid, the first of Irish rugby’s chief executives, has been under increasing pressure to keep the bean counters in Dublin happy.
The inability to reach the knockout stages in Europe and escalating player wages has seen Ulster’s finances suffer. There have been heated discussions with the IRFU in the recent months.
Reid says he has been long enough in a job which has brought him great satisfaction, but it was time to seek other outlets.
“I am greatly fulfilled by the career I have had at the helm of the Ulster Branch but feel the time is now right for me to step down,” said Reid.
“We have achieved a great deal in establishing a successful Ulster brand; have enjoyed Celtic and European success on the pitch and the game across the province is in a healthy state.”
Reid, whose father Ken was a former IRFU president, joined the Ulster Branch in 1997. He guided them through some very tricky waters when Irish rugby was dragged kicking and squealing into the professional game.
He was at the helm when Ulster shocked the rugby world when they won the European Cup in 1999 beating Colomiers at Lansdowne Road.
Reid handled that massive occasion with aplomb as Ulster milked the occasion with typical zeal. But off the field, the inability to reach the knockout stages of the competition since has had an enormous financial downturn.
Ulster also won the inaugural Celtic Cup in 2004 and then the Celtic League two years later under Reid’s watch. However, while Munster and Leinster can request and pay for top-notch players at will, Ulster appear to have it more difficult. With Ireland squad contracts made up mainly of Munster and Leinster players, the respective provinces do not have to top up players’ wages. Ulster, however, do as they have less association with Declan’s Kidney’s squad.
The IRFU and Ulster Branch will be advertising for a new supremo in the next couple of weeks with David Humphreys a possible candidate.
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