A new age at Gloucester

Ryan Walkinshaw does not have the life of an average 23-year-old.

"Most of my time is spent on planes - I've had 36 long-haul flights in the last eight months which has been pretty hard work," he said.

Clocking up airmiles has become the norm for Walkinshaw after the death of his father and Gloucester chairman Tom meant the former Newcastle University student had to put his hopes of becoming a club DJ on hold.

Walkinshaw Jnr has now taken over the running of his late father's motor racing company, based in the UK and Australia, and has stepped up to become a non-executive board member of the Gloucester board.

"My involvement with the club has always been strong from a young age but now it's taken a more commercial business role," he told BBC Gloucestershire.

"My understanding of business in general is vastly different to how it was eight or nine months ago after the passing of my Dad.

"But I'm loving it and I'm just trying to make sure we keep Gloucester at the top.

"I'm pretty sure he always expected me to get involved in all his businesses. For the last three years he'd been mentoring me quite a lot.

"The music industry work has taken a back seat, and quite rightly it should."

Ryan's arrival on the Gloucester board continues the Walkinshaws' involvement with the club, which started in 1997 when former racing driver and entrepreneur Tom took over as a majority shareholder and chairman.

He quickly became a well-respected figure among the Shed faithful and as chairman of the Premiership's umbrella body, Premier Rugby, was seen as a figurehead in developing the professional game.

During his four-year stint with Premier Rugby, he oversaw the introduction of the salary cap and the average attendances in the Premiership increased by 33%.

There was also a steady development in Gloucester's form, with them finishing top of the Premiership table on three occasions.

But they failed to take the title after losing in all three of the play-offs and claimed just one piece of silverware - the European Challenge Cup in 2005.

But shortly after Tom passed away, aged 64, they won the LV= Cup, and subsequently earned automatic qualification into the Henieken Cup.

And Ryan is now looking to play his part in helping to fill the depleted trophy cabinets at Kingsholm.

"Bryan [Redpath, head coach] has done a really good job this season of getting a strong level squad and basing that squad in a World Cup year and everyone is happy from all areas of the business," he said.

"The LV= Cup was a bit unexpected and everyone was happy with that result. But the squad is different in key areas this season, so it's going to be a test for some of the young guys.

"I think I'd be right in saying is that I want to see the club win the Premiership, that's my ultimate goal.

"It was always my dad's ambition, and his hope and dream, to see Gloucester lift the trophy at Twickenham at the end of the season. Three or four times we got there and we've narrowly missed out.

"Part of my hope and desire being involved in the club is to accomplish what we've come so close to in the past."

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