‘Clock ticking’ for Mick Crossan over London Irish buyout

CHRIS JONES
Exiles offer: London Irish president and majority shareholder Mick Crossan is under pressure to deliver an answer over selling up: Getty Images

Mick Crossan, the majority shareholder in London Irish, has been told “the clock is ticking” to accept an offer of more than £3million to buy the struggling Premiership club.

Club president Crossan owns 70 per cent of London Irish Holdings, with Phil Cusack having 20 per cent and Glenn Kielty 10 per cent.

Crossan is understood to have been given details of the offer from the five-strong consortium — consisting three businessmen from Ireland and two based in England — last week but is yet to give an answer. Cusack has already stated he is prepared to sell.

Standard Sport understands there is a time element to the offer. Crossan is the key to the deal and made it clear last summer that he needed to attract new investment of around £10m over the next three years for the club to survive. Crossan and his own group of Irish businessmen bought Irish for £2.5m in 2013 but playing fortunes have hampered their attempts to build a solid financial base. Irish are nine points adrift at the foot of the Premiership, having managed just one win in the top flight since gaining promotion from the Championship. They ended an 11-game losing run in all competitions in beating Russian side Krasny Yar 47-17 in the European Challenge Cup on Saturday.

If Irish are relegated, they will lose around £2m in central funding but the deal is not dependent on them beating the drop. Irish are due to share a new stadium with Brentford at the start of the 2019-20 season, which only adds to the financial pressure on the club.

Billy Vunipola is expected to be out for at least 12 weeks after breaking his right arm in Saracens’ European Champions Cup draw with Ospreys, ruling him out of the Six Nations.