It was all set to be third time lucky. The new funding model was in place in good time, announcements regarding contract extensions were well underway and rumours of much need forward signings were strong.
Then the Coronavirus hit and suddenly everything became uncertain with the season suspended indefinitely and revenue streams drying up. Now that’s not to say there’s an immediate risk of losing any players or missing out on signings, but there’s quite clearly going to be a financial impact on the club.
That could well prevent Cardiff Blues achieving everything that was wanted ahead of next summer, and if the Guinness Pro14 opts to try and get this season to a conclusion over the summer then changes in contract terms could also alter plans.
Essentially what I’m trying to say here is that John Mulvihill is cursed when it comes to building a squad.
Rewind to his first season at the Arms Park and the summer before saw the Australian appointed our new head coach in late March, after the usual recruitment window of November to February, leaving us on the back foot when it came to adding new faces.
Head forward 12 months and once again it’s late March before Mulvihill can even think about adding to his Cardiff Blues squad as Project Reset puts everything on hold. Pre-Reset budget estimates are thrown out of the window and the signings of Josh Adams and Hallam Amos leave no money left to strengthen the pack.
Now there’s uncertainty for a third year in a row and it’s starting to feel like our head coach will never get the chance to properly build the squad that he wants, which is frustrating as the squad still feels as if it’s very close to being competitive.
Hopefully we will shortly be able to announce the signings of Rhys Carre and Cory Hill, plus potentially another overseas second row and an addition to the midfield, and at that point the curse of Mulvihill will officially be lifted.
Until then he will never be able to build a squad of his own…