Deal saves Cats from extinction

Andrew Glover new chairman of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
Andrew Glover new chairman of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats
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WAKEFIELD Trinity Wildcats have been bought out.

Spirit of 1873 Ltd took over the troubled club yesterday with new chairman Andrew Glover claiming the long-term future, both on and off the pitch, is now secure for the Super League team.

The cash-strapped club was placed in administration on February 11 after failing to settle an outstanding tax bill.

Mr Glover, who is also owner of West Yorkshire Windows, a club shirt sponsor, said deals are already in place to bring new players to the club.

This week there has been an exodus of Wildcats players sold by the administrators O’Hara & Co to pay off club debts.

But Mr Glover said: “This is very much the beginning for us. We have a clean start and the chance to show that the Wildcats have not just a future but a great future.

“We have an awful lot to do – replacing the players the administrators sold so that we have a strong and exciting Super League squad is just the starting point. However, our new management team is now in place and we’ve already started putting our plans into action both on the field and off it.”

Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ chief executive, James Elston, has been appointed a director of Spirit of 1873 Ltd, alongside Andrew Glover.

Mr Elston said: “It is fantastic to have the difficulties of the last few months behind us and to know that the long-term future of the Wildcats is secure.”

Also in the new line up Davide Longo has replaced Francis Stephenson as the club’s general manager. The bulk of the 30 members of staff axed by the administrators on Wednesday have now been re-employed.

Earlier this month former chairman Ted Richardson said the government call-in of the planning application for the £19m Newmarket Stadium, which will now be the subject of a public inquiry, was to blame for the club’s financial problems, because it had been expecting to get £350,000 from developers Yorkcourt Properties Ltd once planning permission was granted.

The Wildcats’ next immediate problem is to try to secure Super League status in April when the next round of franchise applications are due for submission.

Currently the Rapid Solicitors ground does not meet Super League criteria.

With delays to the proposed Newmarket Stadium it is still unclear where the Cats’ will call home next season.

l Turn to Express Sport for more on the Wildcats’ week.