Sale Sharks and director of rugby Steve Diamond have parted ways in a stunning development at the Premiership club.
One month after the club appointed a new chief executive in Sid Sutton, Diamond has departed Sale after eight years in Manchester.
His exit comes so early in the season, with Sharks winning two of their three matches in the Premiership thus far heading into this weekend’s Champions Cup clash at Toulon.
“After 10 proud years with Sale Sharks I have taken the decision to step away from the business,” Diamond said in a statement.
“I feel that this is the perfect moment to hand over to someone else, given the club is now stable and in a great position to compete at the highest level.
“We have acquired a world class training facility, built an academy that is the envy of many premiership clubs and constructed a squad that can win tournaments and trophies at domestic and European level.
“I know Simon and Ged will continue with the progress we have made together, and I now look forward to taking some time out and planning my next challenge.”
Diamond did not specify the reasoning for leaving, but after guiding Sale to within a hair’s length of the play-offs last season his mother passed away in November following a short illness.
At his press conference on November 25, Diamond spoke of a number of people at the club hit by bereavements in recent weeks.
“Around the building, in our little environment here, we have had four family deaths over the last six weeks for various reasons and none of them thankfully Covid. It puts in perspective kicking a ball around,” Diamond said.
“Manu’s (Tuilagi) dad passed away. John Kirkpatrick, the conditioner, his dad passed away. Valery Morozov’s brother tragically died in a car crash the week before last, and my mum passed away last Thursday. She played a big part in my life. She was 85, she had a good innings… she wasn’t a big person actually but in the realms of personality, she could swear with the best.
“She was driving the car three days before she died. It was a very short illness. Tough lady. Six kids, all born at home, all born within six years. Had no records of her in the hospital. The last time she went to hospital was 1961.
“The way I deal with the players is a lot of the way I was brought up. My dad died when I was 15 so my mother was on her own for virtually 40 years. That’s a tough life. In the world that we live in people could take a leaf out of those days, how people lived and how people were resilient. That is what I have always taken and that is what I do.”
After bringing the likes of Jono Ross and Lood de Jager to the club, Diamond took Sale towards a first Premiership play-off since they won the league in 2006 only for a Covid-19 outbreak within the squad to derail their season.
Dealing with 19 positive cases, Sharks had their match against Worcester Warriors cancelled which allowed Bath to progress to the semi-finals.
Attack coach Paul Deacon will assume responsibility for first-team matters as head coach, as Sale now begin a recruitment process for someone to fill the void left by Diamond.