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Exclusive: ‘Iron Mike’ Teague cuts ties with Gloucester

Gloucester legend Mike Teague

MIKE Teague’s disenchantment with Gloucester has led the talismanic England and Lions flanker who played with such distinction for the club to demand the return of his  memorabilia at Kingsholm.

Teague told The Rugby Paper that he had advised the Gloucester chief executive, Lance Bradley, of his decision: “I have said I want all the memorabilia back – murals, shirts, whatever. Anything to do with my name I want out of the club and gone.”

Teague, known to Gloucester fans as ‘Iron Mike’, made 291 appearances for the club after watching them from The Shed as a youngster.

He made his debut at 18 and went on to a stellar career in the back row for England and the Lions, winning the player of the series award for the Lions after their 1989 triumph against Australia.

Teague added that he liked Bradley, but that he did not like the way the values at the club had changed.

The rugged back rower said: “It’s honesty, loyalty, accountability, and hard work that gets you success, but I do not see that at Gloucester. All I wanted to do as a young lad was to play for Gloucester, and playing for England and the Lions was the icing on the cake.”

Teague said he could remember the pride that Gloucester players had in the shirt, embodied by men like their England flanker John Watkins. “In the halcyon days, I can still remember John Watkins and the team talks he gave. What a man. What he said about playing for Gloucester, that shirt, it gave you goose-pimples.”

Teague takes umbrage with the way the club’s history has been erased by dubious commercial decisions. “The crest of Gloucester is special, and to see that badge being altered for one with a lion, which had no relevance to Gloucester rugby, eroded the club’s history.”

He added: “We all understand the money machine, but we have lost the culture, and it is a mess. There are enough good guys in and around Gloucester to sort out the problems, but they haven’t been asked, and I don’t want to be associated with it. They are all taking, and not many giving.”

Bradley said: “ I can’t say what caused Mike to ask about his memorabilia.

“What I can say is that he came in and had a coffee with me a little while before lockdown and we had a great chat.

“I told him he was always welcome at the club and hoped he’d come and join us for a game some time. He seemed genuinely pleased by that and we’ve spoken a couple of times since.”

Teague’s nephew Rory was turned down for the role of head coach at Gloucester, who appointed George Skivington last week, but sources say that has no bearing on Teague’s decision.

NICK CAIN

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