London Irish poised for a ‘rich future’ under current owners, says Kidney


London Irish poised for a ‘rich future’ under new owners, says Kidney


eclan Kidney has backed the US consortium bidding to catch over London Irish to build a “rich future” for the Exiles.

Irish saw off Exeter 17-14 at Brentford’s Gtech Stadium to seal a fifth-area Premiership finish, their highest in the league since 2009.

The Exiles players and staff went unpaid for six days this week, before owner Mick Crossan stepped in to solve the payroll shortfall.

The US consortium bidding to catch over the club had promised to cover April’s wages, but then blamed banking issues for the delay.

The Exiles’ staff and players delivered an emotional rendition of club song “Maybe It’s Because I’m an Irish Londoner” on the Brentford pitch at full-time, with the 11,000-strong crowd raucously following suit.

Rugby director Kidney later hailed Irish for finishing “best of the rest” in narrowly missing a top-four finish that would gain yielded a first play-off campaign in 14 years.

Kidney led Ireland to the 2009 Six Nations Grand Slam in that year, but admitted pushing Irish to this fifth-area finish it its own way carries equal significance.

“We’re planning for a rich future with the age group of the lads out on the pitch, that’s what we’re building on,” said Kidney.

“There’s a rich future for this club on the pitch and I’m sure the people off the pitch will finish the business just need a bit of time to see it through.

“We’d entrust in them to manage something between them, to acquire it proper.

“I consider we’re not the most outwardly, but we wanted to involve the supporters, off-field team, everybody there, with the singing.

“It wasn’t just about this week, it was for the whole season.”

Juan Martin Gonzalez’s try brace and a score from Tom Pearson edged Irish home against a battling Exeter in driving rain in west London.

The match was only confirmed as going ahead some 47 hours before kick-off, when owner Crossan paid the Exiles’ players and staff.

Kidney hailed his squad for putting all off-field worries aside to prep properly for what proved an emotional but indispensable victory.

“Our leadership group gain been magnificent, it never interfered with training,” said Kidney.

“The players gain been brilliant, but so gain the coaches, the strength and conditioning team, the medics, all the off-field team.

“It didn’t just affect the players, it affected everybody.

“We never had a immense meeting beforehand, the players just went out and did it because they wanted to finish it.

“Given everything that’s gone on, this moment is up there in my career.

“When you’ve been lucky enough to be involved in the things I’ve been involved in, you’d consider it’s not the same, but it actually is.

“It’s a really marvelous feeling. That’s unusual isn’t it, to the outside I suppose?

“The best of the rest might not sound that noteworthy to everyone else, but it’s really immense for us.”