sport news Where it's all gone wrong for Leicester Tigers as they go up for sale

Leicester Tigers the most decorated club in English rugby history - are up for sale.

An admission that the once-great institution - who have won 10 Premiership titles and two European Cups - is failing to keep up with the Premiership big boys?

If not that it certainly is the next stage in a sorry saga that has been playing out for the last three years.

A steady decline of poor performances, a loss of identity and a succession of sackings accelerated Leicester's decline last season - their worst ever.

And now the club has put itself up for sale, hoping to be bought out for around £60m, reset and renew, Sportsmail asks: where has it gone wrong for Leicester?

Leicester Tigers have announced that the club has been put up for sale for a reported £60m

Leicester Tigers have announced that the club has been put up for sale for a reported £60m

THE PERFORMANCES

Having made the Premiership play-offs every year between 2005 and 2017 – including making nine finals in a row – Leicester fell spectacularly last season.

They finished a desperate campaign in 11th, 10 points clear of Newcastle, beating the Falcons very late in the season to save their bacon.

Hammerings at the hands of Exeter Chiefs (twice by 30 points), Gloucester, Bristol, Saracens and Sale made it a harrowing season.

Geordan Murphy's side narrowly escaped relegation last season - as they finished 11th

Geordan Murphy's side narrowly escaped relegation last season - as they finished 11th

Before the 52-20 home defeat by the Chiefs when it looked like Leicester might be for the drop, the club chairman Peter Tom was seen walking past the press box and motioning a noose around his neck.

The gallows humour did not make Leicester's concession of their most points in a league game since 1988 any easier to take – and fans made their feelings known to Tom as they walked out of Welford Road that day.

Tom, along with a board comprising a chairman, chief executive, head of recruitment and director of rugby or head coach all having a say in major decisions is known to be cluttered.

Peter Tom is part of a hierarchy at Leicester that have seen major decisions become cluttered

Peter Tom is part of a hierarchy at Leicester that have seen major decisions become cluttered

Most concerning to the Tigers faithful has been the perceived lack of backbone on the field at Leicester.

A club once feared for its gnarly, brutal and uncompromising pack now had a boy-band backline - of Ben Youngs, George Ford, Matt Toomua, Manu Tuilagi, Jonny May and Telusa Veainu but creaked loudly up front.

Long gone are the days of the A-B-C club front row, Martin Johnson, Ben Kay, Neil Back, Lewis Moody, Martin Corry and the like.

Neil Back was an integral part of the Tigers' best days during a 15-year spell at the club

Neil Back was an integral part of the Tigers' best days during a 15-year spell at the club

THE EROSION OF A FORMIDABLE CULTURE

It was the Youngs brothers - Ben and Tom - who admitted it during last season's decline.

Asked in an exclusive Sportsmail interview in April whether the Tigers aura had gone, Tom said candidly: 'I would say we have.

'With Leicester one of the things you get is expectation to win something,' he explains.

'We've tried to chase success by doing what has happened in the past.'

Ben Youngs (left) and his brother Tom have admitted that Leicester have lost their aura

Ben Youngs (left) and his brother Tom have admitted that Leicester have lost their aura

With Ben adding: 'I wouldn't disagree that we have lost our identity and our aura.

'When you have lost as many games as we have at Welford Road you do lose something.

'As players you scratch your head. For a while we have looked at short-term fixes.'

No one fears Welford Road now. Leicester lost 15 of 22 league games last season - with their last-gasp loss to Bath on the final day their 10th defeat of the campaign at home in all competitions.

Leicester lost 15 of 22 league games last season in a season to forget for the Welford Road side

Leicester lost 15 of 22 league games last season in a season to forget for the Welford Road side

THE PLAYER DRAIN

Tigers have managed to keep fans happy with a few big-name acquisitions - like May and Toomua (who has now since left) – but have lost many who have starred elsewhere.

Harry Thacker, a hooker at Bristol, has been a revelation in the west country. Vereniki Goneva left in his 30s and went on to be crowned Premiership Player of the Year when Newcastle pipped Tigers to fourth in 2018.

Ed Slater was swapped for May that year and joined Gloucester - he never wanted to leave his boyhood club and now is a cornerstone of a vastly better pack at Kingsholm.

All were allowed to leave with little coming in to replace them properly.

At least for next season Leicester have snapped up some forward grunt, with no-nonsense Argentina lock Tomas Lavanini, Crusaders' flanker Jordan Taufua and Munster back-rower Jaco Taute coming in.

Hooker Harry Thacker has been a revelation at Bristol since leaving Leicester last summer

Hooker Harry Thacker has been a revelation at Bristol since leaving Leicester last summer

THE SACKINGS

It has been a revolving door at the top. Richard Cockerill was sacked in January 2017 at the beginning of Leicester's limp - and since there have been three other head coaches.

Cockerill, before he went, had been undermined by the board bringing in former All Black Aaron Mauger. The Kiwi was thought to be the man to transform Leicester from their beat-em-up style to a side that could wow in attack too.

But the messages all became

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