FORMER Trinity player Richard Kelly has paid tribute to Andrew Glover, James Elston and the club’s admin staff for working ‘minor miracles’ to ensure Wakefield achieved a Super League licence.
Kelly, now part of the Wakefield Trinity Supporters Trust (WTST), admits he was shocked to see Wildcats awarded a new three-year licence to continue in the top flight.
He puts the success down to the arrival of Glover and the hard work put in by club staff to ensure the RFL received a good application from the Rapid Solicitors Stadium.
“As fans we have expressed our gratitude to Andrew for saving the club and I think we’ve got to do that again because he’s now saved our franchise,” he said.
He continued: “There have been two major negatives in the recent history of Wakefield; the administration and the stadium going to a public enquiry.
“There was nothing we could do about that but Andrew and James Elston and the team of staff behind them have worked minor miracles to improve everything else that was in their control.
“We’ve been lauded by the RFL for the quality of our community department and the player and youth development.
“The hospitality and sponsorship is at a record high and attendances have improved by about 16 per cent.
“So we’ve been doing a lot of things right and now we’ve got the opportunity to build a competitive squad and move into a new stadium hopefully in next couple of years and never find ourselves in a position of jeopardy like this again.”
He continued: “It wasn’t expected, I think I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t shocked to hear that we were in.
“There was a little part of me that had faith that the application we put in was a good one, and that we wouldn’t be the worst franchise but then there’s an ideology at the Rugby Football League (RFL) for expansion and we might have been sacrificed because of that.
“Crusaders ultimately have done the honourable thing and fallen on their own sword, that’s probably helped to save us. Ironically we’ve got a game against Crusaders and we can turn out and show our support for Wakefield this week.”
Some felt Wildcats got the nod to continue amongst rugby league’s elite by default thanks to Crusaders’ decision to withdrawn their application at the eleventh hour.
Whether or not that was the case, Kelly believes the outcome was the right one.
Asked whether Crusaders’ decision to with draw had an impact on Wakefield’s bid, Kelly said: “I’d like to think not, but as I said the ideology for the RFL is to expand and Crusaders, as a Welsh club, seen as expansion would have got the nod ahead of us.
“I don’t think that would have been the right or the just decision but it would have been the decision I think they would have taken. Had that happened, we were prepared as a club as best as we possibly could be for the drop to the Championship and we would have come back stronger.”
He added: “We’ll kick on from this and I think this is the first time the fans have got that monkey off their back and can really feel free to enjoy their rugby this season.
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