Leicester board at crossroads as old ways start to look like the wrong ones | Paul Rees

Welford Road club find themselves in the position of Arsenal post-Abramovich, qualifying for Europe while living within their means and reducing debt

“Happy new year to you all,” wrote Richard Cockerill in what turned out to be his final programme notes as Leicester’s director of rugby on Sunday. Less than 24 hours later, the club announced he had been sacked following the defeat by the Premiership club who have become as dominant this decade as the Tigers were in the 2000s, Saracens.

Cockerill became the second director of rugby of a Premiership club to lose his job this season following Andy Robinson’s dismissal by Bristol and five sides are now under different management from last season, as are relegated London Irish. Leicester could not be accused of acting in haste as they faced up to a prospect of missing out on a trip to Twickenham in May for a fourth consecutive season, but as they showed in 2004 when removing another stalwart who had spent 23 years at Welford Road, Dean Richards, sentiment only stretches so far.

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