NEW Tigers chief executive Steve Ferres has pledged to make Castleford the “best community club in rugby league” after taking over from Richard Wright at the weekend.
Mr Wright stepped down on Friday after 15 years in charge, following weeks of rumour about his position.
He said: “I have made this decision to move on with a great deal of thought, 15 years in the role has taken its toll on me. The job consumes you for seven days a week and it’s time to give priority to my family.”
He will remain a director at the club, and assured fans his resignation would have no impact on the new stadium project.
He said: “The new stadium and youth development are the keys to a sustainable future and winning trophies.”
Mr Ferres said he was still getting up to speed on the issues facing the club, but added the new stadium project would be a priority: “The stadium is a big issue and not an easy one. The stadium that is required, with 12,000 or 10,000 seats, will cost £12m, and it’s a lot of money to find and there’s no easy answer for us to generate it. It’s got to be done with the sale of the ground.
“Having only just taken on the job, I’ve not done as much research into what’s happening with the stadium as I would have liked to have done.
“But my eyes are wide open and whatever comes in front of me, I’ll take it head on and move forward with it.”
Plans to build a new stadium at Glass Houghton depend on selling the current Wheldon Road site to a supermarket.
Tigers signed a deal last year with developer Opus Land (North) Ltd to sell the ground for redevelopment, and use the cash to build a new stadium, helping the club retain Super League status. It has been in talks for several months with a major supermarket – believed to be Tesco.
Mr Ferres added: “The club faces many challenges, but the solutions to the club’s problems are in the hands of the people who live in the Castleford area.
“Changes won’t happen overnight. I have to gain a thorough understanding of what structures are already in place at the club before generating a plan to move forward.
“Fans will be heavily involved throughout the process and I want Castleford to be the best community club in rugby league.”
Mr Wright, a lifelong Tigers fan, first became involved with the club in 1990 as a sponsor through his business in Castleford, and was appointed to the board in 1996, before taking the chief executive role in 1997 at the beginning of the Super League era.
He added: “It has been a real privilege for me to work at this great club, and while I leave my role with sadness, I believe there are good times ahead.
“I want to thank the staff both now and in the past for their hard work and commitment, I really appreciate their support and respect, we currently have some very talented people at the club and I wish them every success for the future.
“Finally, I would like to give a big thanks to the fans, who in many ways have given me some of my best moments.”