Wakefield Wildcats: Chairman moves to ease fears over rumours of financial trouble

EASING FEARS: Wildcats chairman Andrew Glover, left, and chief executive James Elston.
EASING FEARS: Wildcats chairman Andrew Glover, left, and chief executive James Elston.

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats chairman Andrew Glover has moved to ease fears over rumours of financial problems at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.

Glover has revealed the club has been on the end of nine County Court Judgments (CCJs) and was subject to an advertised winding-up petition issued by HMRC on Friday in what he describes as a “particularly tough six months” for the Super League club.

Eight of those CCJs have been sorted out, with Wildcats awaiting the paperwork to clear the final one, and the Wakefield chairman insists the debt attached to the winding-up petition, which came about due to a legal battle with a supplier, will be paid before any action is taken.

Glover attributes the tough period to main sponsor Eric France going bust earlier this year, as well as the postponed fixture against Leeds Rhinos, the club’s most lucrative of the season.

It left Wildcats with a £300,000 shortfall, but with a new sponsor on board in C&D Cleaning Services, the appointment of new staff on the financial side, and season tickets for 2014 going on sale, Glover says the club is “getting there”.

“We’ve always said we’ll be transparent in what we do and in business cash is king and obviously when it’s good the company will do well, and when it’s bad, the company will struggle,” Glover told the official Wildcats website.

“Our cash flow has taken a couple of massive hits this season, firstly with our main club sponsor going bust owing us £240,000 and our biggest revenue generating fixture of the season against Leeds Rhinos being postponed due to the snow.

“We have been lucky enough to get a new main club sponsor with C&D Cleaning Services who I must say have been brilliant. However, at the time Eric France went out of business we were already massively out of pocket. Due to both this and the postponement of the Leeds game, our cash flow has been dented by more than £300,000 and that has naturally hit us hard.”

The ’Cats chairman hopes season ticket sales will bring in £400,000 for the club and is looking forward to a bright future.

That includes doubling the Club 1873 membership from 1,000 to 2,000 to help cover the £200,000 spent on the club’s academy and bring through top quality players for the future.

It also includes moving to a new stadium at Newmarket, something Wildcats continue to make strides forward with.

“Our plans are well underway and we have commissioned a company called Stadimax to aid us through the process as we obviously have no experience in building stadia,” said Glover.

“Stadimax have been instrumental in building most of the recent stadiums around the country, with Wembley, the Amex Arena in Brighton and the KC Stadium to name just a few.

“Our intentions are to build the stadium to be self sufficient with most of the space being rented out to other companies such as gyms, leisure activities and maybe a couple of retailers.

“Dependant on further planning permissions, we also have some much larger plans, with the potential of running a large amount of education through it and even the opportunity of an exhibition centre and hotel being run from the site.

“There are still a lot of hills to climb for the full plans but they are well underway. We are in nearly daily contact with Yorkcourt Properties and Wakefield Council and are forming a good team of support around us. There is a real will to get this stadium built and more to the point, built correctly.”