Wests Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis has delivered a savage spray at a fan and passionate podcaster, labelling the 50-year supporter ‘disgraceful, hypocritical and intimidating’.
A fired up Hagipantelis sent Tigers tragic Rob Bechara – who co-hosts the popular Westslife podcast – a highly aggressive text, stating: ‘The venom with which you spew forth your abuse is disconcerting if not disgraceful.’
It came after Bechara, who has long been vocal in his criticism of the joint venture outfit, invited Hagipantelis to give a right of reply as to why the club is seemingly in freefall.
The Tigers chairman was in no mood to engage with Bechara, who claims his podcast attracts 3000 downloads a week.
‘What could possibly convince me to go on your podcast given the vitriol and abuse you have directed to the Wests Tigers in general but to individuals within the organisation in particular?’ Hagipantelis wrote in a long-winded text message.
Wests Tigers chairman Lee Hagipantelis has delivered a spray for the ages at a fan and passionate podcaster, labelling the 50-year supporter ‘disgraceful and intimidating’
Tigers supporter Rob Bechara, who runs a popular club podcast, shared a long-winded text message from Lee Hagipantelis on his Twitter page after he offered the chairman a right of reply in relation to the flagging fortunes of the NRL club
‘How you call yourself a fan of the club is difficult to understand. You do nothing but criticise. I have never seen you post anything positive about the club.
‘We are not immune to legitimate criticism. But the venom with which you spew forth your abuse is disconcerting if not disgraceful.’
Hagipantelis wasn’t finished yet, calling out Bechara for not being a paying club member.
‘I appreciate those who are prepared to financially commit to the club, like I do,’ the text continued.
‘As to your kind invitation to appear on your podcast, I decline so that you can comfortably continue with venting your spleen, which obviously appeases your need to be relevant.
‘You are perfectly entitled to your opinion, but it carries no weight whatsoever. It may have if you had even committed to become a member and put your money where your mouth is. You don’t even do that.’
Bechara wasn’t intimidated by Hagipantelis’ choice words, labelling the text message ‘quite derogatory’ before stating we (the fans) are ‘acting as the opposition trying to keep these guys (Tigers board) in check’…and that ‘we should (always) be on the same page’.
Bechara brushed off the criticism, asking why fed up Wests Tigers fans should accept continued mediocrity
On the field, the Tigers are also a rabble, with Luke Brooks set to be dropped for the first time in his NRL career ahead of the round 16 clash versus the Warriors due to poor form
It is just the latest drama to engulf the struggling NRL club, and comes as halfback Luke Brooks is set to be dropped for the first time in his career, which has spanned 185 games.
Interim coach Brett Kimmorley is poised to select Adam Doueihi and Jackson Hastings in the halves for the round 16 clash versus the Warriors in Auckland on July 3.
Brooks, who made his first grade debut in 2013, is set to play NSW Cup with Western Suburbs in a bid to gain some much needed confidence in his game.
The Tigers – and their long suffering supporters – have endured yet another season to forget.
Once again they won’t play finals footy, having won just three games across 15 rounds this year.