DAVID Dunn has revealed he would not rule out a dramatic return to Bournemouth after the club’s tumultuous week ended with relegation from National Two South.
Two days after it was announced director of rugby Budge Pountney would stand down at the end of an ill-fated campaign for personal reasons, yesterday's 57-26 thumping at Southend finally consigned Lions to the drop.
Former Scotland captain Pountney, who replaced the long-serving Dunn at the start of the season, did not travel to Essex as Bournemouth surrendered their fourth-tier status with three matches to play.
During more than a decade at Chapel Gate, Dunn successfully masterminded no fewer than three promotions, including an imperious march to the National Three South & West title in 2012.
Having presided over a season of consolidation a year later, Dunn admitted Lions’ fall from grace had been hard to take and cited a lack of strength in depth and the departure of influential coach Tim Collier as factors in the club’s on-field demise.
And while he stopped short of making a definitive play for a return to the hot seat, the man who guided the club through its most successful spell would love to bring back the good times to Bournemouth.
On the prospect of a return, Dunn told the Daily Echo: “If the club wanted to talk to me then I would never close the door completely.
“I had many wonderful years there but things would have to change and work differently. I deliberately took a step back this season and have had several offers to get involved in rugby again next season.
“The ball is in their court. If the club believes a return is in their best interests then great. If they don’t then we all move on.”
Dunn, a regular onlooker around the region’s rugby clubs this season, added: “Relegation will be a bitter blow for the players and one they will take personally.
“They put in a tremendous amount of hard work and personal sacrifice to get promoted and I am desperately disappointed for them more than anything.
“If you leak as many points as they have, you’re always going to struggle. That has been the most noticeable part of their downfall.
“Games at this level are generally very close and you need to know the teams you are playing against, when to turn it on against them and when to be resolute.
“I also felt the loss of Tim Collier had a major influence. He has such drive and his departure would have had a significant effect on team spirit.
“When you get a big name in (as director of rugby), you expect to be able to attract players. We knew a year ago that we would need to strengthen the squad in some areas but this doesn't seem to have happened"
On Pountney’s departure, Dunn said: “It must be a major blow for the committee having nailed their colours to the mast.
“Whatever happens now, I hope they can start building some confidence again for the sake of the players. That is my greatest concern.”