Steve Diamond says it would be “a professional rugby tragedy” that would leave families “shattered” if the Worcester Warriors hit the wall after revealing that up to six of his players have already been approached by other clubs.
Potential investors submitted proposals to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports on Monday in an effort to bring Worcester back from the brink a week before the start of the new Premiership campaign.
With players deemed free to leave Worcester after a fortnight without receiving their upcoming August salary and paycheck, suitors are running in circles. Diamond has promised to help his players find clubs if they are forced into unemployment.
Diamond’s side continued preparations for a preseason friendly against the Glasgow Warriors on Friday. Messages of support from fans were also shown that had been collected over the weekend.
Diamond will not stand in the way of accusations eager to leave, but has begged the group to stay together and avoid a mass exodus until he believes the situation cannot be resolved.
“There are a lot of clubs that pay a lot of money for speakers to help them become more resilient,” he said. “Fortunately or unfortunately, that resilience is built with us to the minute.
“We have a very, very mature group that, over the years, seems to have been pushed from pillar to pillar. What I’ve done, hopefully, is give them a sense of confidence in what we’re trying to do.
“Even with what’s happening outside, they trained very well today. We will train tomorrow and we are not in control of these external events.
“There are five or six players who have received offers from other clubs,” Diamond added. “To one man, I asked them to refrain from being desperate right now. Those clubs can wait another three or four days.
“I told the players, ‘Until I give you the nod, we’re still in Worcester.’ When something else is clearly clear to me, I will explain it to them.
“I told the guys today that I will be the first to call other clubs for them if that happens.”
Diamond joined Worcester last year, initially as a consultant, after a decade at Sale Sharks following his stints with England Saxons and Saracens. In two decades of coaching, this is the hardest time he has ever known.
Having recruited players from all over the world to Worcester ahead of this season, including Italian full-back Renato Giammarioli and Argentine exponent Santiago Medrano, Diamond is determined to transform the Warriors into a competitive team capable of qualifying for the European Cup. . On Monday night, he exposed the human cost of folding the organization.
“I left Sale after a long time and was fired from Saracens and if I’m being honest, you look to yourself and ask how you could have done things differently and how you could have learned,” said Diamond.
“This case is worst of all. There are maybe 250 people who will lose their jobs if it doesn’t go well. There are people who work in rugby and their wives in commercial. Whole families are destroyed.
“People have come from Italy, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia, as well as people who have been in the man and boy club who are going through this state of limbo.
“If it turns out well, it will be great for Worcester. If not, it would be one of the tragedies of professional rugby. “
Despite the high stakes, Diamond described his outlook as optimistic. It was revealed on Friday that Worcester’s longtime partner Adam Hewitt had amassed money to finance the pre-season trip to Inverness and the Warriors are still looking forward to their Premiership match against London Irish on 10 September.
“I am always confident,” concluded Diamond. “I have the main sponsor to pay for flights and hotels for Friday night. And we are moving forward. Until we are told otherwise, let’s move on. “