ALMOST a year on from his departure, former Newcastle Falcons head coach Alan Tait admits his time away from Kingston Park has given a greater sense of perspective.
The Scot was told to ‘take a break from rugby’ midway through last season’s Premiership relegation struggle, one which ultimately resulted in the drop despite a late resurgence under South African successor Gary Gold.
Dean Richards has now taken the reins as the Falcons sit unbeaten midway through the Championship season, Tait saying: “It is great to see Newcastle doing well, and I really sincerely mean that.
“The Falcons are a great club, and hopefully they can build themselves back up again. The foundations are the important thing, and I think Dean is doing a great job of getting that sorted so he can build on top of it in future.”
Never a man overly concerned with emotion or sentimentality, Tait is not weighed down by any sense of injustice at his own exit from a club he helped to their one and only Premiership title as a player.
He said: “In the past a lot of people who have left Newcastle Falcons have been bitter because of things that have happened above their head, but I am not like that. I enjoyed my time there.
“When I look back I realise I could have done things differently, but the Premiership is a bloody difficult league and it tests you every single week.
“I have been down to Kingston Park a couple of times this season when my son Michael has been involved in the games, just supporting my lad like any parent would do.
“The general response from the punters when they see me in the stands has been all right, and the players too have been good in some of the things they have said to me.
“I have spoken to a few of them after the games, and I think for everything that happened at least people can appreciate certain things that I did manage to do.
“I have got no problem with the club, they always looked after me and I’m not the type of bloke to hold a grudge against them.”
Installed last week as a 33/1 outsider to replace Andy Robinson as Scotland head coach, the fervent patriot admitted his would not be one of the CVs landing on the desk of the Murrayfield recruitment chiefs.
“No, I am not really tempted to throw my hat in the ring,” he said, busying himself with a house-building project while he considers his next move in the game.
“Head coach of a national side is another level. I dipped my toe in as head coach of Newcastle, and it is a difficult job. A lot more of your time is spent dealing with off-field than on-field stuff, and that was my big thing at Newcastle.
“I didn’t find the rugby coaching too much of a problem, but all the ins-and-outs, the politics and the distractions are what take up your time.
“I learnt a lot, though, and if I was to put my feet back into the pool it would be interesting to see how I am able to use that.” A renowned defence specialist before his promotion at the Falcons, Tait added: “I really enjoyed the attack coaching side of things, as it happens.
“You can only work so long coaching defence before you want to start scoring some tries.
“Maybe that was our downfall, but defensively I haven’t got a problem and I am confident I could go just about anywhere and coach defence.
“The line I am thinking at the moment is more a general assistant coach if and when I did come into the game
“And if you do that then you have a good mixture where you can use your defence knowhow but also influence the other elements.
“We’ll just see what opportunities turn up.”