It hurt like hell to leave Leicester Tigers – Lewis Moody
Former Leicester Tigers flanker Lewis Moody has lifted the lid on the controversial contract negotiations that led to him leaving the club for Bath.
In his new autobiography, the 33-year-old refers to the conversations leading up to him leaving Welford Road after 14 years of service as a "complete joke" .
The man who skippered England through their World Cup campaign says that the club's eventual refusal to offer him any deal at all was very "painful" and "hurt like hell".
The book, 'Mad Dog: An Englishman' goes on sale today and contains chapter and verse on his 14 years at Welford Road as well as a first-hand insight into England's disastrous World Cup campaign.
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In a chapter called 'Farewell Tigers, Hello Bath', Moody tells the tale of the 12 months which led to him leaving the club for bitter rivals Bath in the summer of 2010.
The final year of his contract began with Moody expecting to leave through a desire to finish his career playing in France.
But, by Christmas, he said his mind-set had changed and that his "love for Leicester had been rekindled".
He went into contract negotiations with Tigers' top brass around Christmas and claims that Tigers made him an initial offer that was 20 per cent less than his existing deal.
Moody refers to a meeting between himself and his agent and Tigers head coach Matt O'Connor and director of rugby Richard Cockerill.
"O'Connor asked me if I was intending to retire from Test rugby after the 2011 World Cup," said Moody. "It annoyed me because it felt like the club were more or less telling me to retire after the World Cup, whereas the decision was for me and me alone."
He added: "They wanted to know what my demands were and I said that I wanted to stay at Leicester but to receive an offer that meant there was no way I would leave for France. We were not holding a gun to their heads."
Moody said the following month went by and agent Mark Spoors suggested Moody should see if any English clubs were interested in his services as French trio Toulouse, Clermont and Racing Metro had already made advances.
With Bath showing a strong interest, Moody says he was asked to go for a one-on-one meeting with Cockerill when he says he was told he would not be made an offer.
Moody said: "Cockers went on to explain that it was nothing personal but purely a business decision based on the fact that there was every chance that I would be away for autumn tests, Six Nations and then for the first part of the following season due to the World Cup.
"Cockers argued that Leicester couldn't and wouldn't compete with rival offers.
"I offered my hand as I left the meeting but I was bitterly upset and angry and it hurt like hell."
He added: "There will always be a bit of green, red and white inside of me and, of course, Leicester Tigers continue to be the best and biggest club in the country."
Mad Dog: An Englishman is out today priced at £20 through Hodder & Stoughton. Moody will be at Waterstone's book shop on Market Street, Leicester, on Thursday to sign copies of his book from 12.30 to 1.30.