THE hard work starts now - that’s the message from Wakefield Wildcats following the RFL’s decision to award the club a new three-year licence.
The RFL announced the 14 clubs to compete in the top flight between 2012-14 at Old Trafford on Tuesday and Wildcats got the nod to continue.
The Rapid Solicitors Stadium club were tipped by many as the side to miss out, but Crusaders withdrew their application and Halifax RLFC were unsuccessful.
Wildcats chairman Andrew Glover and chief executive James Elston enjoyed celebrations with club staff and players on Tuesday.
But the pair were both back to work on Wednesday to ensure Wakefield’s future is a bright one.
“We had four months to turn the club around and this feels a bit like vindication that we’ve done that,” said a delighted Elston.
“We’ve been given the opportunity to get it right, that’s how I see it, but the hard work starts now.”
“The job now is to never put the club in this position again. It’s not just about the next two weeks it’s about the next three years and making sure that we’re battling to be a B grade licence in the next round.”
He continued: “We’ve got to keep building and keep moving forward, we’ve got to get to a new stadium and make sure that gets started.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do, it’s not a case of sitting down and enjoying three years.
“We’ve been through this twice, we shouldn’t have gone through it this time, we should have been in a position where we were safe and not had to worry.”
A drop into the Co-operative Championship could have seen staff have to leave the Rapid Solicitors Stadium as the club cut the cloth accordingly had the decision gone against them.
But Elston paid tribute to the team effort that helped the club achieve their goal.
“We took the club on in start of March, had a month to hand in the licence application and we’ve really pulled it out the bag,” he said.
“The players, staff and chairman deserve a hell of a lot of credit for sticking with us and backing us. We’ve got good staff here, the vultures have been around and they’ve been approached by other people and they stuck it out and stuck with us and I just feel so elated for those people.
“We’re a tight knit bunch here. When you go through the things that this staff and players have gone through it does tend to pull you together and there was nobody more proud when the announcement came than myself. It’s been a tough 12 months never mind 6 months with what’s gone on.”
RFL chairman Richard Lewis made it clear that they wouldn’t be afraid to revoke licences if clubs failed to adhere to what had been put in their franchise applications.
Wildcats, as well as those clubs with C grade licences, will be monitored throughout the three years, and Elston believes that’s a good thing.
“We knew that, we knew it’s revokable and I think that’s a good thing,” he revealed.
“Let’s not wait three years, if someone’s not performing then tell them.
“There’s good communication with the RFL, they obviously believe in what we’ve done. Had they not, we wouldn’t be here now and it makes you feel proud of what we’ve achieved.
“We’ve got a lot of work to do but we’re happy to do that and it starts now.”
Elston has also urged Wildcats fans to go down to the Rapid Solicitors Stadium and celebrate on Sunday afternoon when the side take on, ironically, Crusaders in Super League.
“Sunday is the time to get out of the armchairs, get out the pub and get to the Rapid Solicitors Stadium,” he said.
“It’s party time at the ground on Sunday and everybody who enjoys watching Wakefield should come and celebrate.
“They won’t have anything hanging over their neck now with regards to the licence and I’m pleased for the fans because they’ve gone through hell.
“We were sat like the fans waiting for the decision so I know how they feel and what they’re going through.”
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