Ted Hill: Worcester players all want club to survive but need ‘Plan B in place’

Club captain Ted Hill accepts that Worcester players will require a “Plan B” given the huge uncertainty surrounding Warriors’ future.

Administrators Begbies Traynor are continuing to try and find a buyer for the suspended Gallagher Premiership outfit.

Worcester’s debts total more than than £25million, including at least £6m in unpaid tax, while owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham have been accused of asset-stripping the club.

Ted Hill
Ted Hill, centre, at this season’s Gallagher Premiership launch (Aaron Chown/PA)

The Warriors’ Premiership game against Gloucester on Saturday is off, with their next fixture scheduled at home to Harlequins on October 8.

Two consortiums, one involving former Worcester chief executive Jim O’Toole, are understood to have expressed interest in buying the club out of administration.

Warriors failed to meet a Rugby Football Union deadline requesting proof of insurance cover and funding for the club’s monthly payroll, which resulted in them being suspended from all competitions.

The next wages payment day is on Friday. If players do not receive their September salaries, then they can move elsewhere after completing a subsequent two-week notice period.

While England international Hill says “everyone wants everything to work out at Worcester,” he acknowledges the wider situation.

“People at this current moment in time are going to have to be doing their due diligence because they don’t know what is happening in the future,” Hill told the PA news agency.

“Boys are having to make sure that a Plan B is in place. Everyone wants everything to work out at Worcester, but at the end of the day, we are professional players.

“I think people will be being advised by their agents about what is the best thing to be doing going forward. First and foremost, we want Warriors to work out and for it to be moving in the right direction.

“We are all hoping we can be back as quickly as possible. We have all got everything crossed and are relatively positive that we can be back playing again soon, hopefully.”

Worcester players are training individually or in small groups this week, although away from the Warriors’ Sixways Stadium as no public liability insurance is in place.

Hill added: “Mentally, it is very tough. It has been difficult for all of us.

“We’ve had games where we’ve had meetings beforehand about whether there is insurance in place, ‘is the game going ahead?’ It has not been easy for anyone: players, staff, families. It affects a lot of people.

Worcester players at the final whistle following victory over Newcastle in their last game before suspension (Zac Goodwin/PA)

“We understand there is a lot to do to get back where we want to be.

“But you have to be positive in some ways – we are optimistic – otherwise you end up being in a miserable state. We are trying to push the positivity, but we also understand the seriousness of the situation.

“Hopefully, the administrator can do all the right things, hopefully, buyers who we believe are out there will come in and help the club out.

“It is a massive part of the community, and people are desperate for it to be back to its former glory.”

Rob Baxter
Exeter rugby director Rob Baxter (Adam Davy/PA)

Exeter rugby director Rob Baxter, meanwhile, believes a complex situation at Worcester could take its time to be resolved.

Baxter said: “On the whole, the situation at Worcester appears so complicated that I don’t think anyone is predicting a fast outcome there.

“I think it is probably going to shock some people the time it is going to take to work through.

“There are no fast answers, no fast solutions, and if there are no quick solutions it is hard to see them playing any more part in the Premiership season, I would say.

“I am not sitting here thinking this is something that is going to get sorted out in two or three weeks’ time.”