Millward can lead us to play-offs – Tigers chief

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CHIEF executive Richard Wright (pictured) is confident Castleford Tigers will halt their slump under new head coach Ian Millward.

The Tigers are bottom of Stobart Super League after losing seven of their first eight matches but Mr Wright (pictured) said: “Myself and the board of directors have every faith that, in Ian Millward, we have the man to lead us out of this tough run and to meet our objective of making the play-offs.

“Further, Ian will have scope to improve the squad next season with several players off contract allowing for changes to be made if necessary.

“In the meantime, I’m sure we will climb out of this dip and get back on track very soon. We were close to a win on Sunday and I believe a slightly improved performance will stand us in good stead on Friday.

“I share all of your frustrations at the club’s present position at the foot of the table and at being overlooked by Gareth Ellis. At the end of the day, we are not in a position to match the salary that Hull offered him and fair play to Gareth there.”

Meanwhile, Mr Wright has expressed his sadness at this morning’s news that Bradford Bulls require donations from fans in order to survive next month owing to severe financial difficulty.

He said: “It is very sad and in many ways very disappointing to hear of the financial difficulties the Bulls face and I wish everyone concerned over at Odsal our very best wishes in their bid to survive. It would be a tragedy for the game to lose any professional club, never mind one of such tradition and history.

“While it is with great sadness that I receive this news, it does put into context the challenges faced by our own club, the tough market within which we operate and it also highlights the hard and invaluable work that takes place behind the scenes to maintain Super League in Castleford within the constraints of our current facility.

“Bradford have highlighted the lack of a wealthy benefactor as the main reason for their plight. We at Castleford are forever indebted to our chairman Jack Fulton and his son Ian for their financial support without which our club would have faced a similar plight on many occasions.

“That said, Jack and Ian are not in a position, nor do we expect it of them, to bankroll the club beyond its means. Our philosophy has always been to run the club sustainably and securely within its means, for which at times like the present, where we find ourselves in a run of defeats, myself and the board of directors have faced heavy criticism.

“Much of the criticism in recent times has centred around a perceived lack of activity in the transfer market ahead of this season. Let me tell you, nothing would please us more than to put a team of world class players in black and amber, but as a club we are not in a position to sustainably spend salary cap.

“On gates averaging 7.5k compared to clubs like Leeds, Wigan etc who are averaging 15k and upwards, it is impossible to compete financially on a level playing field sustainably. The new stadium provides the key to providing the club a platform from which to compete with the big boys and we are very close to completing the next piece of the jigsaw; the signing of an agreement with a food operator.

“The granting of planning permission for a supermarket will see the funds unlocked to build the new stadium.”