Featherstone Rovers chairman Mark Campbell has emerged as the main backer of Jon Flatman’s recent takeover of League One club York City Knights who are coached by ex-Rovers player James Ford.
Ahead of tomorrow’s visit to Big Fellas Stadium for Rovers full-back Ian Hardman’s testimonial match, the Knights have also confirmed a dual-registration agreement with Championship club Featherstone this year.
Explaining why he had got involved at York, Campbell said: “York have got a lot of potential.
“I know the history of the club, I know a lot of ex-players who talk about the good times at York.
“It’s a great city, a big city. There’s a great catchment area. I love the old football ground (Bootham Crescent) and you can get crowds creating a good atmosphere.
“James Ford is a very good up-and-coming coach - I’ve watched his career quite closely and, having seen what he was doing at York, I tried to get him to Featherstone.
“Then when things were happening at York last year, I thought it was a good opportunity for me and Jon Flatman to work together. I’ve known Jon a few years and we’ve done some work together at Featherstone, and I asked him if he fancied coming over.”
Campbell made his first public appearance as York’s main backer when he joined Ford and Flatman on the panel at a York fans’ forum.
“We want a good side. I like building good teams,” said Campbell.
“It’s a bit like when I first started at Featherstone. We were in League One at that time and got promoted in the first year.
“It had been the club’s lowest-ever attendance the year before but we turned that around. We took turnover from £300,000 to nearly £2million. If we can do that at Featherstone, you can do it here with a big city.”
Knights benefactor Campbell has denied a conflict of interest by being involved at two clubs.
He said: “I love rugby league. If we were playing each other, then whoever plays best would deserve to win the game.
“It does not make any difference. I want York to have a good side. I want Featherstone to have a good side. Our goal is to have York in the Championship as quickly as possible. York has so much potential.”