Leicester Tigers fans had the chance to quiz club directors, coaches and players at an Open Supporters Forum on Tuesday evening.
Around 300 supporters attended the evening in the 1880 Club in the Holland & Barrett Stand at Welford Road.
The panel comprised chief executive Simon Cohen, director Rory Underwood, head coach Matt O’Connor, head of rugby operations Ged Glynn and coaches Geordan Murphy, Brett Deacon and Boris Stankovich as well as club captain Tom Youngs and Australia international Matt Toomua.
They discussed on-field and off-field issues over almost three hours of questioning, kicking off with the first-team’s current run of form.
Cohen said: “It’s a situation that no-one wants to be in and it really hurts for everyone who is involved in it day to day because we don’t get away from it at all.
“The league position is not great at the moment but the players feel very positive about this all coming right.”
O’Connor, who told the forum that Tigers expect to announce a new forwards coach this week, said: “The players give their 100-per-cent commitment, the character and passion they invest is total. We haven’t been as good as we want to be but the guys are working incredibly hard to turn that around.
“Everyone is frustrated with results at the moment but there are plenty of positive things that are happening and a lot of talent coming through.
“We are really lucky at Welford Road to have highly-educated, passionate fans who understand there are a lot ways to win games and, with the players we have and the adjustments we are making among the coaching team to resource those areas, we can certainly get back to where we want to be.”
During an evening of wide-ranging discussions, Glynn explained the process of recruitment and retention in light of the Premiership Rugby salary cap. He also talked about the work of the academy and the pathway through the development squad to first-team rugby.
Cohen answered fans’ concerns about the funding of the proposed hotel on the former Granby Halls site and multi-storey car park on the Crumbie Car Park side of the stadium.
“There are a lot of misconceptions about the hotel, the main one being we are spending a lot of money that we could put into the playing side, which I can put to bed,” he said.
He said a developer will pay for the land and the hotel build, and will retain it on a long lease and the club will get a third of the land back for fanzone activities.
He added that the car park was essential for the club’s matchday and non-matchday operations, and explained the build would not impact on the playing budget.
“We think we have done a good deal which costs the club nothing and is better for the future of the club,” he said.
The panel also fielded questions on club merchandise, on injuries and on kick-off changes and TV scheduling, as well as other issues, and took time after the Forum to speak to supporters individually.