Gavin Hogg looking forward to Old Albanians challenge – but it was a tough decision to leave Bury

Gavin Hogg, left, with Bury Performance Director, Terry Sands

Gavin Hogg, left, with Bury Performance Director, Terry Sands - Credit: Archant

Outgoing Bury St Edmunds head coach, Gavin Hogg, admits his decision to leave The Haberden at the end of the season required “a lot of thought and conversation” – and he hopes to cross paths with Bury again.

The 35-year-old will be joining Hertfordshire-based National One side Old Albanians as their head coach next season – a step up the leagues for Hogg, as well as having the opportunity to get involved on the coaching side with London crack team Saracens, the current Premiership champions.

A big move for Hogg and one not taken lightly after the huge success he has enjoyed at Bury St Edmunds, guiding them from London 1 North, to their current position in National League Two South, the highest level a Suffolk team has ever played at.

“It has taken a lot of thought and conversation to make the move,” Hogg admits.

“The decision has taken me plenty of time to come to and I know it’s the right one. The opportunity has come at the right time. But I have a young family and I am sure we will have to relocate, there has been much to think about.

“I’m leaving a rugby club in Bury that is going places and did part of me want to be part of the finished process? Perhaps our two paths will cross again in the not too distant future in National One.

“Old Albanians are a fantastic club, this is a great chance for me and I’ve weighed it all up and am looking forward to the challenge.

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“They share a training site with Saracens, there is a direct link, so hopefully I will get involved, get a foot in the door so to speak.”

A former Stowmarket player/coach, Northern Irishman Hogg arrived at Bury in 2011 and guided the team through two promotions to their current position in National League Two South, with many great memories along the way.

“The promotions have been highlights, obviously,” Hogg admitted.

“It has been a huge amount of hard work from a tremendous committee and especially performance director Terry Sands, who has been a driving force.”

But it is the future now for Hogg that is understandably uppermost in his own mind.

“This move to Old Albanians is a big chance for me to prove my personal calibre,” he admitted.

“I’ve never been one to look too far forward. I’m ambitious enough to know what I want to achieve in the long term, but realistic to know it’s going to be tough.”

Meanwhile in a club statement issued last night Bury St Edmunds said: “This is a good move for Gavin, and after six years with us this comes at the right time for him and his career. What he has learned here at Bury will stand him in good stead for the next step on his pathway and he goes with our best wishes for the future.

“This development is not unexpected, and the club’s Performance Director, Terry Sands, who runs the club’s Pro-Am side, has been working actively in the background over the last few weeks to recruit a suitable successor for Gavin, and although discussions are well advanced, full details are not yet finalised. We hope to be able to make an announcement shortly after Easter regarding Gavin’s replacement, along with our plans for next season for the Pro-Am coaching team and management structure.”

Meanwhile Old Albanians are looking forward to Hogg arriving.

In a club statement they said: “Gavin will take up his new role immediately following the end of the current season, and he will be working closely with OA’s Director of Rugby Bruce Millar, to further consolidate the OA First XV’s status in National One, whilst implementing an integrated coaching and playing structure across all our senior teams at Woollams.”

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