Worcester Warriors call on retired players to fill bench amid financial crisis

Published by
Peter Kavinsky

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Worcester Warriors have been forced to call up two players out of retirement to allow the crisis club to face the Premiership Rugby Cup with Gloucester at Kingsholm on Wednesday night.

Academy fullbacks and transition coach Jonny Goodridge, a former full-back at Gloucester in a career that also included stints at Leeds and Bristol, played his last competitive game nine years ago.

The 41-year-old is joined on a bench that includes just seven substitutes by flanker Mat Gilbert, who retired at the end of last season with Cinderford, his last club, although he also had spells in Worcester and Bath.

Four years younger than Goodridge, Gilbert hung up his boots in April to run a pizzeria and is one of five guest players in 22.

It comes as Worcester continues to fight for its future, weighed down by debts totaling more than £25m, including at least £6m in unpaid taxes.

Full payment of salaries to staff and players for the month of August has yet to be made amid growing anger felt towards owners Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham, who have been accused of stripping assets of the club.

As recently as Sunday, it was claimed a deal with new buyers was imminent, prompting a derisive response from assistant manager and former England number eight Nick Easter.

“The number of false promises made to staff could well be in double digits now in less than a month. I wonder who will be blamed this time. “The computer said no ‘maybe,'” Easter said on Twitter.

It was a reference to Goldring and Whittingham saying earlier this month that the reason players and staff had not received their wages for August was because of a computer error at the bank.

Sunday’s home debut against Exeter was only given the go-ahead 48 hours earlier and on Saturday they are set to host Newcastle, although that fixture is in serious doubt.

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Peter Kavinsky

Peter Kavinsky is the Executive Editor at cablefreetv.org

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