Joint owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring believe the coronavirus pandemic’s indefinite suspension of the Gallagher Premiership will prove to be a long-term tonic for Worcester Warriors. The pair, who also own League Two football club Morecambe, were initially appointed to Warriors board in October 2018 when a consortium headed by Jed McCrory took over before they confirmed as joint-owners eight months later.
Before they arrived, Worcester had wracked up losses of £13.8million for the years ending 2017 and 2018, the second-highest figure among the 13 Premiership stakeholder clubs who between them lost a combined total of £88.7m in this two-year period.
However, despite the coronavirus now bringing the 2019/20 season to an indefinite halt, the co-owners believe the eleven weeks they have had since Worcester last played on March 6 have been invaluable in allowing them to finesse their initial five-year plan aimed at turning the club into an English rugby powerhouse.
Taking to YouTube to answer questions from Worcester fans who learned in midweek that 2020/21 season ticket prices will be reduced to 2013/14 Premiership levels, Whittingham explained: “It has given us a real opportunity to look at where certain things needed improvement, where cracks are, stop painting over them, let’s actually fix the cracks and come through this in a much stronger position.
“We are doing lots of work behind the scenes, site development, engagement, commercial, just to make sure that when we emerge the club is stronger, not just financially but also in its efficiencies and in the way it operates and also with quite a few initiatives we are looking at to bring in to strengthen the business.
“This is a community asset and it is going to be here a long time after we are gone so everything we do now is working in the best interests of making this club sustainable. That has always been at the heart of everything we are doing here to make the club sustainable.
“We have stronger links with the community through this because the support from community and sponsors and partners has been absolutely overwhelming and where you get these shared experiences – everyone in the world at the moment is sharing this experience – it has really in my mind brought the club and the community much closer together.
“That is another strength that we will have coming out of this and we are hugely grateful for that support. Long may it continue when we come through.”
Fellow owner Goldring agreed: “I don’t think you can underline just how difficult the situation. It has been a challenge for everyone across the whole country but as a club, we have met it well. I’m very proud of the way we have dealt with it and coming out the other side just a bit stronger.
“It is certainly touching how much support we have got. We are getting through this together and we will get through it as one big club.”
Managing director Peter Kelly said; “We have made a big effort to keep in touch with all our staff and our players. Zoom has played a major part in that, an amazing thing that everybody found.
“We have kept in touch with everybody even though most of them have been furloughed and in the background, the owners and I have been looking at a stronger plan for when we come out of this from the basis of what would we do if this was a brand new club and we start again, what is the ideal scenario? We have plans for that.”
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