Worcester Warriors' owners have their COWBOY status confirmed

CHRIS FOY: Worcester Warriors’ owners have their status as COWBOYS and CHARLATANS confirmed… after co-owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham shamelessly deflect blame onto players and supporters

  • Worcester Warriors co-owners claimed squad members refused to take pay cuts
  • It is essential the RFU and Premiership recognise their failure to spot trouble 
  • Both bodies must establish a far more stringent system to assess owners’ plans 

 Where to start? Well, it is safe to say that the Worcester owners’ astonishing, disgraceful attempt to pass the buck has confirmed their status as cowboys and charlatans.

The statement issued by Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham on Friday evening beggared belief. With the club teetering on a cliff edge as a result of their mismanagement, they tried to deflect the blame on to players and supporters. In a masterpiece of passive-aggressive fantasy fiction, the pair claimed squad members had refused to take pay cuts and fans hadn’t turned up in sufficient numbers to keep the club afloat.

It was the lowest point yet in a tawdry saga and provoked justifiable outrage. Social media erupted with a mass backlash, but there was dark humour, too. When many critics raged that the owners dare not show their faces in Worcester, others noted that Goldring and Whittingham prefer to stay far away, in Essex.

Worcester owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham hit out at the players and supporters

They have been absent without leave amid the collapse of the club. Staff haven’t seen them. They’ve barely heard from them, either. Instead of providing leadership at a time of crisis, they have been ducking and diving. All those who care deeply deserve so much better.

Let’s cut to the chase: the whole thing appears a hoax. These owners have not had any intention to protect the interests of the Warriors; they’ve sought to slice and dice it all up for their selfish ends. Within their fictional statement, they dared to make a claim about ‘the significant personal funds we put into the club’.

Unless they have kept receipts to prove it, that is news to anyone with knowledge of financial matters at Sixways. The consensus view is that Goldring and Whittingham have squandered other people’s money, whether from the dying Cecil Duckworth or the Covid relief fund managed by Sport England. They are universally regarded as chancers.

Sixways Stadium Ltd was one of the Worcester companies to have entered into administration 

Ignore their protestations and pay heed to comments made by Marco Mama, the back-rower who retired last year after serving Worcester with distinction. He wrote: ‘The rugby world is now understanding the characters in charge at Worcester Warriors.

‘This is a reality that many within the organisation have been aware of for some time. The lies, manipulation and selfishness have been present throughout. Players and staff have swallowed the shenanigans and allowed them to get away with it.’

Mama went on to add: ‘The mistake was allowing people of this nature to step foot in a club built by one man’s vision (Duckworth) for the people of Worcester.’

Worcester Warriors captain Ted Hill told the BBC that his side needed to prepare for ‘plan B’

Those words should hit home in English rugby’s corridors of power. It is essential that the RFU and Premiership Rugby recognise how they failed to spot trouble under their noses.

Both bodies must establish a far more stringent system to assess owners and their funding plans. The sport cannot afford to be hoodwinked so easily again. The authorities here should accept the observations made in the Mail on Sunday by Simon Gillham, president of French club Brive, who said: ‘There are strict financial controls in place here and we have total transparency with the audit police of the league.

‘You can’t start a season if you don’t have your budget in place. You can’t pretend you’ve got money that you don’t have. In France, there’s no way you could see a club going under in the middle of the season.’

Here, that pretence has been possible and Worcester look destined to go under. This can’t be allowed to happen again. Cowboys and charlatans cannot be permitted to take control of cherished rugby institutions. The likes of Goldring and Whittingham must be exposed and barred.

Worcester are second bottom of the Gallagher Premiership after only one win from three

Share this article

Source: Read Full Article