Matt Banahan has criticised Bath for the way in which they treated him after 12 years with the club.
The now-retired Banahan first joined Bath in 2006, after spending time with London Irish’s academy, and quickly became a fan favourite at the Recreation Ground thanks to his try-scoring exploits.
It was announced in 2018 that Banahan would be joining Bath’s west country rivals Gloucester, in a move that came as a major surprise to fans, that he has now explained in detail in an interview with The XV.
Banahan, who hung up his boots at the end of last season, revealed that he originally had no intention to ever leave Bath.
Matt Banahan on his departure from Bath.
“Hindsight is a wonderful thing in sport. I’d have loved to spend the rest of my career at Bath but after all those years, I had a piss-poor contract offer.
“Given the salary cap had risen by £2.5 million over my time there, I’d say my market value had gone up. I asked if I was getting a testimonial and they said no.
“The penny then dropped that my loyalty to Bath was between me and the supporters, not me and the club.
“Corin Palmer had said to me all those years ago at London Irish, ‘You have to remember rugby is a business. If it’s not you, they’ll find someone cheaper.’ I had to get my head around it.”
Only five players have scored more Premiership Rugby tries than @mattbanahan1 👀
Best memory of him?
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) June 9, 2021
Rugby players on the lack of loyalty in the professional game.
Banahan isn’t the only rugby player to have spoken out against the lack of loyalty shown by professional clubs, with former England international Mike Brown and former Ireland international Dan Tuohy having made similar claims.
Brown was informed last season that his services would no longer be required at Harlequins after 16 years with the club in a “four-minute conversation”, in a an interview with the Daily Mail.
Tuohy, who played with several clubs across England, Ireland and France throughout his career, took to Twitter last year to announce his retirement and to say that “integrity and loyalty is a thing of the past” in professional rugby.