Esher rugby chairman John Inverdale hoped a guilty conscience over Esher’s Championship demise would persuade players to out things right in National Division One next term.
Director of rugby Mike Schmid’s men were a point from their survival target when they conceded the bonus point try that condemned them to the drop, despite a 31-26 final day win at London Scottish.
Esher had to beat the Exiles by a eight points to stay up – scoring four tries and stopping the hosts notching four of their own in the process.
Tries from Luke Daniels, Charlie Walker, Stuart Mackie and Sam Stitcher put Esher 26-19 up and within sight of their target, before centre Charlie Hayter’s 66th minute interception levelled the scores to make Walker’s late winner irrelevant.
The result is likely to see a host of first team players – and possibly Schmid – leave the club as the axe hangs over the club’s playing budget.
The chairman, in a series of meetings this week, is conducting a ‘root and branch’ review into what went wrong this term, to identify where savings can be made.
But he is adamant the responsibility lies largely with the players and warned life would not be easy on or off the pitch next term.
“Tough decisions will have to be made, but the onus is on the players now,” he said.
“I would hope some of the players who came up short this season, will be determined to prove they can play well in National Division One.
“But with every season that goes by, the quality in every league gets higher.
“Only an idiot would expect us to come back up at the first time of asking.
“We will give it everything we can – within certain financial constraints – and give it a good go.
“We have to re-think and re-group on and off the field.
“It is not going to be easy and everybody’s position is being reviewed.”