Steve Diamond fumed last night at Worcester being allowed to “go to the graveyard” when he urged his players to treat tonight’s tie against Newcastle as if it were their last game at Sixways.
The Warriors will fulfill the game and then have a roster night before preparing to be banned from all competitions. Worcester has until 5pm Monday to convince the RFU they have the means and plans to remain viable, but there is a strong chance they will go into administration that day.
“We’re in limbo from Monday,” said Diamond, the club’s rugby director. “We have been in purgatory for some time and it is gradually coming to a head. I’ll be looking at some places in the sun over the next fortnight when we’re suspended. I might give the players time off, but whether they can afford to go on vacation is another question.
“I don’t know how it came about. It’s sad and devilish that he was allowed to virtually go to the graveyard himself. I never thought it would come to this.
“It’s like the death of a dog – you don’t want the poor thing going to the vet with its last legs, but you have to endure it.
“Management could be a savior but it is also a reorganization and it is not what it was. It can’t stay that way because it failed. If there is light at the end of the tunnel, then it is not light.”
Meanwhile, RFU and Premiership rugby sources have revealed they have not been briefed on the wealth cut that took place in Worcester last month – a revelation that raises fresh concerns about the running of a sport on the brink of financial meltdown stands.
Worcester’s financial woes have been compounded by an extraordinary change in their tenancy at Sixways Stadium, Sportsmail revealed this week. Owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham formed a new company and donated all club earnings from match days, hospitality and sponsorship to it.
It left a club already saddled with £30m in debt, without its main sources of income other than television and season ticket earnings. The £15million loan Worcester received from Sport England last year was also a private matter between the government and the club, with rugby authorities not involved in the discussions.
In addition to the downsizing of Sixways Stadium, Goldring and Whittingham borrowed £500,000 from former Worcester owner Cecil Duckworth when he died of cancer two years ago, which his family has not been repaid.