Leicester Tigers stands as one of the great bastions of the amateur era standing strong in the professional age despite a recent dip in fortunes. The last half a decade has been one fraught with difficulty for a club so used to success and silverware.
Many have criticised the board for Tigers’ troubles. However, following the reshuffle of directors in recent days, including the departure of CEO Simon Cohen, perhaps things are changing at Leicester Tigers.
David Challis explains what the problems are with Tigers current structure and how it works. Also looking at what the future may look for the Midlands club and how they can rebuild that glory side of the early 2000s.
Leicester Tigers announces the departure of Simon Cohen as Chief Executive and that, with immediate effect, Andrea Pinchen will be the club’s new Chief Executive, having previously been its Chief Operating Officer.https://t.co/Ng5Fkqhlaj
— Leicester Tigers 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘩𝘰𝘮𝘦 🏠 (@LeicesterTigers) May 11, 2020
Too Many Cooks
Leicester Tigers has one of the most convoluted coaching and management structures in the game. At one point the board of directors appeared to be exponentially growing, including numerous non-executive directors.
On the coaching side, things do not look straightforward either. Geordan Murphy is now Director of Rugby but was once supported by Mike Ford and Pat Howard in mentoring capacities. It was previously unclear where the power lay in this setup and remains so.
Steve Borthwick has been installed as Head Coach in what appears to be a great appointment. However, his working relationship with Murphy and the rest of the structures above him could prove problematic going forwards.
Board to Blame for Recruitment
The turnover of players at Leicester Tigers in recent years has been a constant source of concern for fans. Few signings of late have stuck and it is fair to say that recruitment has been borderline disastrous. JP Pietersen, Tatafu Polota-Nau and Jean de Villiers are just a few of the big names that have not caught alight at Welford Road.
This can be directly linked to the cumbersome board structure in place a Leicester Tigers. Unlike other clubs the board a lot of control over recruitment over contracts and signings. This outdated philosophy takes agency out of the coaches’ hands creating a disconnect between board and playing level.
This season Tigers have taken the step to release a number of players with little coming the other way. This may change in the weeks to come but currently, it looks as if recruitment is still a sticking point for the re-energising of this team.
In recent days the signs show a reduction board power perhaps leading to a cohesive power structure throughout. Ultimately the coaching group needs to have the power over recruitment rather than the other way around.
It remains to be seen if this is shift materialises but Leicester Tigers look to have taken a step in the right direction. However, given the current climate, there are no short-term solutions.
Recovery is a long road ahead for this club. However, if they have addressed the fundamental top-level problems that have held them back then that road will become more accessible. Cautious optimism may be appropriate for Tigers fans but in a world full of uncertainty it is a waiting game.
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