New Tigers stadium is ‘essential’ to success

Mark Gratton - Commercial Director, and Steve Gill - Chief Executive - Castleford Tigers.'p302c435
Mark Gratton - Commercial Director, and Steve Gill - Chief Executive - Castleford Tigers.'p302c435

A new £135m development at Glass Houghton would provide Castleford Tigers with the ‘only opportunity to deliver a stadium the club needs,’ according to chairman Jack Fulton.

Tigers hope to get the new stadium as part of the proposed Five Towns Park project in Glass Houghton – which will also include a food store, petrol station, high-quality shops and a country park – creating up to 2,000 jobs.

In a letter to Tigers’ supporters Mr Fulton said: “We have spent over ten years trying to secure a new ground and this is the only opportunity which will deliver the facility we need.

“The club does not and will not have the finances to refurbish Wheldon Road or move to any other site. Five Towns Park will provide a new home for the Tigers.”

Tigers have enjoyed a successful run to the Challenge Cup final this year, losing out to Leeds 23-10 at Wembley last month, and currently sit second in the Super League table. They are the only team that can prevent leaders St Helens from securing the league title this weekend.

Mr Fulton added: “I am incredibly proud of the club, the squad and its achievements this season. We waited 22 years to return to Wembley and we are a club that richly deserves the opportunity to play at the highest level.

“To do this we need the new stadium and to gain planning for the stadium we need your support.

“I have tried my best for the club over recent years. I now need your help.

“If you are a fan of the club and you want it to thrive, not just survive, then we need you to act.

“Please write and support the scheme. It is essential for the future success of Tigers.”

The stadium would accommodate 10,000 supporters as well as offering conferencing, hospitality and community facilities. The club would also have the chance to extend the stadium to a capacity of 12,000 in the future.

Steve Gill, Tigers’ chief executive, said: “Even though Super League is no longer a franchise I personally believe there will be something written soon where the league say clubs have got to have a certain standard of facilities.

“I don’t think we’d be able to meet those standards at Wheldon Road and we can only generate so much money at this ground. We want to be able to move on and this is perfect time to do that because of the success on the field.

“If somebody would have said to us at the start of the season here is a 12th place finish then we would have snatched at that. But our aims have changed and this stadium would allow us to achieve them.

“The Five Towns Park means we can move into a new stadium debt free. Our chairman Jack Fulton has bailed us out far too many times and invested so much of his own money just to help the club survive but we want to put a stop to that.”

Mr Gill said the town had been transformed by Tigers’ Wembley appearance. He added: “We have all seen what a bit of success does to the town and if we can guarantee that the club is in a good way by having a new stadium then it could be massive for Castleford.

“These plans offer us the chance to give the town something to be proud off because we’ve lost so much.

“All of the pits closed, then the glass industry collapsed and 2,000 jobs are about to go at Kellingley but this development would create 2,000 jobs.”

Mark Grattan, Tigers’ commercial director, said the club was first consulted about the plans around 18 months ago.

He added: “We’ve had a lot of meeting and discussions with everyone involved with the project but we’re delighted with the final plans.

“I can’t pinpoint the exact date but it was earlier this year when I was at a pre-application presentation with the developers and planning officers and I remember thinking ‘this is unbelieavable, this is going to happen’.”

Tigers have already had a number of bids for a new stadium fall through, including a £50m stadium on a different site at Glass Houghton.

But the new facility – on land just off junction 32 of the M62 – could be in use for the 2016 season and would be provided to the club by the project’s developers Lateral Property Group.

Mr Gill added: “I was here for the first stadium bid but nothing seemed to be certain.

“We always seemed to rely on other people and there were a lot of ifs and maybes.

“I was so deflated because I was led to believe that we were almost there, but this time it’s a different kettle of fish and I am very confident that this is going to happen.”

For more information on the plans and to leave your comments on the proposals visit www.fivetownspark.co.uk.