Leicester Tigers fans are rejoicing after club legend Pat Howard has returned to Welford Road in a mentoring role to help head coach Geordan Murphy.
Howard had a long career with Leicester, both as a player, where he won the Heineken Cup and Premiership, and a coach, where he guided them to another Premiership win. He was a central figure in the Tigers team during their glory days of the 2000s, as was Murphy, and the board are clearly seeking to rediscover those days.
Leicester endured a horrendous campaign last season by their standards, finishing 11th in the Premiership, crashing out of the Champions Cup in the group stages, and failing to qualify for Europe’s elite competition for the first time.
For a club that is used to being at the pinnacle of English and European rugby, last season must have come as a shock for their fans. That is why they are welcoming back Howard ahead of a more promising season.
However, some fans have also highlighted that this appointment may indicate that the board do not have full trust in Murphy. The former fullback is entering his first full season in charge at the club, after replacing Matt O’Connor in September 2018, and throughout his troubling first year his credentials were questioned.
Murphy is relatively inexperienced to take charge of such a big club, and some felt that he was given the role simply because of his history as a player with the Tigers. That is not always a recipe for success, and that is why Howard may have been recruited.
This is what the fans have said:
Now that is good news. https://t.co/owtSsTpySM
— Steven Pass ? (@steven_pass) June 26, 2019
Awesome news – has just the skill set to get the club into a better place. Will tell it like it is, GM free to concentrate on the rugby side, will give shape to the overall direction of development. The role has been needed for ten years or more – only Woodward more qualified.
— Oxford Cleaver ???? (@oxfordcleaver) June 26, 2019
Wow great news ???
— Suzanne Deacon (@deacon_suzanne) June 26, 2019
We played some really intelligent rugby under him, I hope that he can help Geordan replicate that and then exceed it! COYT
— DanB15 (@B15Dan) June 26, 2019
Great to see Pat Howard back. Hoping he can repeat have the impact he had as a player and coach last time. Welcome back.
— Neil Kennard (@Tigerfeet13) June 26, 2019
Great news. Love this guy!
— Chris Lewis (@Terracetiger) June 26, 2019
Great to have Pat back, but define 'mentoring role'?? You either have faith in the coaching set up or you don't. Seriously what is going on with that board? https://t.co/iL9diaXWYU
— OfficialTigersUltras (@Tigersultras) June 26, 2019
Surely this is just another admission that he’s not up to the job? Yes he was a great Leicester player, but his record in his numerous coaching roles does not read well.
— Ben Cottrell (@big78ben) June 26, 2019
All Leicester fans will be hoping that this reunion between Howard and Murphy will help them revive the success they both had as players at Welford Road, but it has left some skeptical.
What certainly is promising is the number of signings that they have made ahead of next season, and given a full preseason under Murphy this time around, they could be a completely different force come the beginning of next season.
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