OWNERS Colin Goldring and Jason Whittingham vowed not to surrender any stake in Worcester Warriors with “very friendly money” available to fund development plans.

“Sweating the asset” of the largely unused 39 acres around Sixways Stadium is the cornerstone of Whittingham's plan to buck the trend of Premiership clubs losing millions every season, targeting a break-even position after three years.

Warriors lost £5.8million in the 2017-18 season with Whittingham anticipating losing “several million” when the next set of figures come out but insists he and Goldring have the funds to cover the shortfall while cash-generating projects come together.

In the meantime outside investment involving “seven-figure sums” is set to help part fund capital projects.

He acknowledged Warriors “would probably never break even" on its own "unless something significant happened with sponsorship or broadcasting deals”.


“The feeling we get from other owners is that everyone is sick of losing money so there is a big shift,” said Whittingham.

“We had to go to the RFU as part of the new owners’ approval process and took along some very detailed cashflows, something I have been doing for years.

“Their view was very much ‘forget about that, you’re going to lose £5million a year’. No we are not, we are going to change that.

“What this club has that many others don’t is 39 acres of land that has never generated any significant income for the club.

“It is much publicised, planning for a hotel, retail, we now need to do that, not just for us but for the club and the future.

“Certain costs are fixed. Player salaries, we spend the cap. There are certain costs to the stadium being open, then there are fixed incomes – from the Premiership, the RFU.

“Those incomes are way out of line with the outgoings so it is about sweating the asset, the non-rugby related aspects.

“Sure, we want to attract more fans to every game. An extra 1,000 fans can generate another £1-1.5million turnover but that is not enough to cover a £5million loss.

“Conferencing and hospitality comes into it and one thing this stadium was crying out for was big events, concerts, food festivals, a winter wonderland, summer sevens tournament which we are doing this summer.

“None of these things were done before and they are not rocket science. We have come along to do the things Cecil (Duckworth) always wanted to do, what any rational businessperson would do.”


“We have access to some very friendly money which does not require shareholding,” said Whittingham.

“Colin and I will now own 100 per cent of this club until whenever, at some point in the future, we choose to sell it.

“We have money ourselves to put into the club and access to very friendly money but we are not selling pieces of this club to get that money.

“When we do the development, we are not selling any of that land. It is our intention to always own every piece of land that we bought into.”

Goldring added: “There are lots of different ways you can be creative for financing a club, certainly at this level.

“There is a lot of interest from institutional lenders. We have one very substantial pension fund trust with huge pools of money behind them that is very supportive of Jason and I, something we are very thankful for.

“We have had conversations with them about the development of the site and how we would fund and finance that.”


“We have a very clear plan about how to move back towards sustainability and there are losses to be incurred along that route,” said Whittingham.

“Do we have the money to cover the losses and get to that route? Yes we do. In terms of the level, it is (how long is) a piece of string, we don’t know.

“We have just gone through the budgets for next season, which have been done in very great detail, and of course we are being realistic.

“We are planning to lose several million (again). Do we have the money to support that right now without bringing in external (cash)? Yes we do.

“If we lost £5million next year, okay, we have the money to do that but it is not the plan, we have no intention of losing £5million but there is money there if we need to call on it.

“The point of this is sustainability. Any money we do bring in is to help development, it is not for cashflow.”

Goldring added: “Jason is exceptional when it comes to cashflows and budgets. I have had a level of working with Jason, we have Morecambe and other businesses together as well.

“The more I become involved with the Warriors, the more impressed I am with Peter (Kelly, operations director), Jason and the way the teams react to their strategies, objectives and budgeting connected with that.

“There has been a great deal of time invested by the management team and departments in very considered budgeting, what money is needed to grow those departments.

“Each has grown in one way or another with extra staff, investment in the stadium facilities, renovation projects. There is a lot going on but everything we spend is carefully considered.

“It is not just about throwing money at something. One of the worst things that can happen to any sports business is a billionaire playboy coming in and spending as much money as he wants until he gets bored of it.

“Working towards break even, proper commercial acumen being involved in every decision is the best way forward and it is not just about cutting, it is about investing in the business to the point it gets to break even.”


Premiership Rugby sold a 27 per cent stake to CVC Capital Partners Fund for around £200million with £8.2million making its was to Warriors in March 2019 according to information attached to the club’s latest set of accounts.

When the club was up for sale projections from the previous owners showed the business would be capable of profitability by 2020, albeit based on some sharp rises to income.

“Break even in 2020 is not realistic,” said Whittingham.

“I would say it is a three-year plan to break even at best.

“One of the unknowns to affect that for the better is CVC. Their first big deal will be bringing in a new broadcast agreement in 2022-23.

“Our plans are based on nothing from CVC. At the time we were looking at the club it was not done.

“In spite of that we had a three-year move towards sustainability and break even.

“None of this about big profits for us, not at all. That sustainability comes from the fact we know we can do these developments.

“If we were solely reliant on this club it would probably never break even unless something significant happened with sponsorship or broadcast deals.

“It is slightly out of our control but that is going to happen in two years and our plans move us towards sustainability regardless.

“This is about the development of these 39 acres. Next week we have an initial view of what this site should look like in five years’ time and then we will start to pick the pieces that generate the cash early on.

“Some of those have been built into this three-year plan but it is a very steady, considered approach.

“2020 is impossible and I would be lying if I said we could do that. I think three years is possible but it could be in the third year if CVC do something more significant.”