Bristol Bears will be taking on the Gallagher Premiership challenge next season...

BRISTOL Bears will be the new name, from June 1 2018, that will be appearing in the Gallagher Premiership next season as they herald a new era in their roller-coaster 130-year history.

The club were presented with the Green King IPA Championship trophy on Friday night at Ashton Gate after their 68-10 ten-try victory over Doncaster Knights having, seven days earlier, secured promotion.

But when the new Premiership season starts in September they will be known as Bristol Bears but the Bristol Rugby will remain the registered name of the company and they will continue to honour our proud heritage.

“This is an exciting and major commitment to ensuring the future success of the club. This is an exciting and major commitment to ensuring the future success of the club,” said the club’s Guernsey-based owner Stephen Lansdown. “In order to succeed in our mission to Inspire Our Community Through Rugby Success, we must make bold changes to ensure we are prepared for the demands of this highly competitive, dynamic environment.

“We have to be prepared to break the mould and be relentless in driving the progression of this rugby club. In a challenging market, in order to attract investment and new audiences, we must be brave in our vision.”

There will be a new home and away kit for their return to English rugby’s top flight which will retain the traditional Blue and White hoops on the sleeves and socks. The home shirt will be a blue and red gradient design with the away shirt being all black

Lansdown added: “The development of the brand expands our appeal to a global audience at a time when the appetite for professional rugby is growing in international markets.

“We believe these changes – alongside the matchday improvements to Ashton Gate and the continued engagement with local schools and our community – are critical to enable long-term success.

“We recognise that there is a history and tradition associated with all sports clubs and we are conscious and proud of the loyalty, bond and passion so many share for Bristol Rugby.

“We hope that all supporters will embrace the changes and recognise the significant investment taking place – on and off the field – to bring success and a sustainable future for the club.”

This article first appeared in the Independent. To get the latest articles when they appear, buy the print edition every Sunday or subscribe to our online edition HERE.