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'Will never forgive those responsible': Players wade in on Worcester demise

By Ian Cameron
Sixways Stadium /PA

As the dust settles on the demise of Worcester Warriors, a whole range of emotions regarding the fiasco continue to be shared on social media.

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On Tuesday WRFC Players Ltd – the part of the business responsible for paying the players – was liquidated, while WRFC Trading Limited was formally placed into administration. The club are now the first Premiership team to go into administration in 23 years and although Worcester’s end had become something of a foregone conclusion in recent weeks, the sport is still reeling from the shock.

As Worcester Warriors head coach Steve Diamond put it: ‘This is the darkest day for English rugby’.

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While there is a great deal of sadness over the demise of the club, which the RFU confirmed will be relegated to the RFU Championship, the overriding emotion remains anger at owners Jason Whittingham and Colin Goldring.

The pair have been painted as the villains of the piece and players, both former and current, laid into the duo on social media.

Former hooker Niall Annett, who now plays for Bath, wrote that he could never forgive ‘those responsible’, who were today replaced: “A family, friends for life and a chance to pursue and chase my ambition. That’s what Worcester Warriors gave me all those years ago. Will never forgive those who are responsible for taking the lifeblood of the community away from its people. Sending love to all those affected.”

Current front-rower Jack Owlett wrote: “Gutted and shocking it’s come to this with Worcester Warriors. It’s something you never think will actually happen but I can’t express how grateful I am to the players, staff, supporters and everyone else that has stuck by us through thick and thin.”

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https://twitter.com/JackOwlett/status/1577649496573583361

Women’s player Josie Symonds struck a poignant note, writing: “For the games I’ve played; For the games I’ve worked; The players I’ve helped; The colleagues I’ve learnt from; The friends I’ve made; The wins and the losses; The resilience and unity; For everything it’s given me; Forever, grateful; Forever, home.”

Worcester lock Joe Batley said that the players did take a paycut, something the owners suggested hadn’t happened, or at least that said cuts weren’t not of a sufficient amount. Batley told Sky that: “I don’t know what their game-plan was in the long term. The more you look into it, the more sinister it seems. I’m not assuming too much, but upset and let down is how I feel in this situation, and they are the brunt of it.

“It’s tough to hear [owners’ statement] because we did during Covid take a wage cut. It was forced upon us and then later on we decided to continue it for the betterment of the club. There’s been anger and detest towards them for standing by and letting this happen.”

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On a lighter note, the former England U20s star thanked the club for all it has done for him on Instagram. “Worcester, I want to say simply Thankyou. You’ve been home to me and my family and will forever be Wilfred’s first home. I can’t fathom how this can possibly be the end. The city, the club and the fans have been fantastic. I have had the pleasure of meeting and playing along side so many incredible people. So for now I need to look towards a new chapter.

While Worcester Warriors’ end game is nigh, the fallout in a sport that finds itself forever on a metaphorical knife-edge will no doubt continue.

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