The East Terrace - For the rugby football enthusiast

Saracens admit to ‘forgetting’ they had signed Andy Farrell

Farrell mix-up
Saracens: Unaware of player base

Posted 10th August, 2006

Saracens have admitted they had ‘completely forgotten’ that they had signed rugby league legend Andy Farrell to their squad in 2005.

In what can only be described as a major embarrassment to the Premiership side, the club has revealed that the former Wigan player has been injured so long they wholly forgot they had even signed him in the first place. The East can divulge that Farrell was a matter of hours away from being wiped from the club’s payroll system.

‘We were sorting out all the club finances for an internal audit,’ said Richard Wills, an accountant at the club, ‘and I kept seeing this A. Farrell cropping up on the system. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out who he was. I was almost convinced it was a fake name and someone at the club was trying to steal some cash or launder some money. It was only when I reached for a file on my shelf and I knocked down an old copy of Rugby World magazine that it all clicked. I started scanning through the pages and I saw a feature on us signing this big name star from rugby league and suddenly it all made sense.’

The turnover of coaching staff since Farrell signed in 2005 is thought to be a contributing factor to the way the player slipped through the net. Alan Gaffney, who took up the reigns at the end of last season, had not even been informed that the player was on the books.

‘I kept wondering who this bloke was that turned up on all the club socials and sponsorship events, but then would be nowhere to be seen on the training field,’ said Gaffney.

‘At first I thought that maybe he was one of the admin guys or something. Eventually, when he started using the club weights room all the time I started to get really curious. I was just about to kick him out, saying the gym was for players only, when somebody came in from the admin department and told me who he was. I was pretty relieved, it could have been quite embarrassing.’

Farrell, considered one of the greatest British rugby league players in modern times, has suffered a run of ill-fortune preventing him from playing even a single minute of rugby union since he joined the Watford club in 2005.

A serious toe-injury in pre-season training forced him to miss the start of the 2005-2006 season and this setback was followed not long after by Farrell suffering a prolapsed disc in a car accident.

Saracens have promised to launch a full investigation into the whole affair and ensure such a thing does not happen again at the club. Sources close to the club are hinting that nametags could be mandatory at the club for all playing and coaching staff.

Officials have even promised to check to see if they have signed Colin Charvis, just in case he has also slipped their notice.