Why Glasgow Warriors were left with little option over Danny Wilson sacking

In the end, Glasgow Warriors could not risk further alienating their supporter base.

The club’s more strident fans had taken to social media in recent days to express their dissatisfaction with the direction in which the club was going under Danny Wilson’s stewardship.

You suspect there has been little rush to renew season tickets, a key consideration for a club who have become accustomed to success in recent seasons and who regularly sell out Scotstoun.

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Saturday’s humiliation against Leinster in Dublin was the final straw and the head coach was shown the door on Monday.

A statement issued just before 4pm was fair in its praise of Wilson and you hope for his sake that the terms of his severance were equally generous with a year left on his deal.

Wilson is a decent and likeable man but it would be hard for any coach to survive a 76-14 shellacking in the professional era, even when it comes at the hands of the four-in-a-row champions.

In truth, the seeds of Wilson’s demise were sown two weeks earlier at Murrayfield where a pallid Glasgow went down 28-11 to Edinburgh in a winner-takes-all inter-city derby.

At stake was the 1872 Cup, the Scottish-Italian Shield and a place in next season’s Heineken Champions Cup. Edinburgh scooped the lot - and that was despite Glasgow going into the game with a 13-point advantage from the 1872 Cup first leg.

The Warriors have been on a difficult run of late. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

The failure to qualify for the Champions Cup was particularly hard to take. The last time Glasgow were not involved in European club rugby’s elite tournament was the 2006-07 season when Edinburgh and the long defunct Border Reivers pipped them for places.

Capital comparison

Of course, there are now only two pro teams remaining in the Scottish game and they are inevitably measured against each other. And while Glasgow and Edinburgh won the same number of games in the league this season (ten) and both were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the URC and the Challenge Cup, an air of optimism surrounds the capital club.

Mike Blair took over at Edinburgh last summer and immediately revived the team’s fortunes after a disappointing final campaign under Richard Cockerill.

Danny Wilson has been relieved of his Glasgow Warriors duties. (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)

It could be argued with some conviction that expectation levels were far higher at Glasgow where the fans have become used to their club reaching the latter stages of competitions and playing the sort of exciting, attacking rugby now on show in Edinburgh’s new stadium.

The Warriors reached the Pro14 final as recently as 2019 and won the competition in 2015, captained by Al Kellock, now their managing director. The manner in which results tailed off this season did for Wilson in the end, with the club losing five in a row.

All were away from home and the coach was unlucky that the fixtures panned out that way but Glasgow’s failings on the road have been their Achilles’ heel all season, with just three victories to their name.

Kellock and Scottish Rugby will now cast their net wide in their search for a new coach capable of restoring Glasgow’s position as Scotland’s top dogs and challenging in a league structure made all the harder by the inclusion of the four South African franchises. It is a tough task but there will be plenty willing to take it on.

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