Wakefield Wildcats to hear Super League fate today

Andrew Glover new chairman of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats with James Elston chief executive
Andrew Glover new chairman of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats with James Elston chief executive

“WE couldn’t have done any more.” That’s the message from Wakefield Trinity Wildcats’ chief executive James Elston ahead of one of the biggest days in the club’s history.

On Tuesday morning (26th July), the Wildcats will learn if they have been awarded a renewed Super League licence by the Rugby Football League (RFL).

Success will secure the club’s place in the top flight for another three years, failure will result in them relegated to the Co-operative Championship at the end of the season.

Demotion is almost unthinkable for a club that has been in Super League for 12 years and never relegated from the division.

However, Tuesday’s decision by the sport’s governing body will not only be based on performances on the pitch but also a long list of criteria that appraises the state of each club’s financial, commercial and community departments, as well as stadia and playing facilities.

The RFL has already confirmed that 14 clubs will receive a licence and with Widnes Vikings already assured of promotion from the Championship, at least one team from the top flight will suffer the drop.

Wakefield have been touted as one of the favourites to lose their Super League status but Mr Elston disagrees, saying: “We believe that we should be a top-flight club. It is a massive day for the club and the sport. We know what we are up against and we couldn’t have done any more.

“We are not the weakest [candidate], we are one of the strongest in Super League.”

It has not been plain sailing for Trinity in the months prior to submitting their application for a Super League licence.

Their plans to move to a new stadium at the Newmarket Colliery site were called in for a public inquiry in December and the delay has forced the club to develop their current home at the Rapid Solicitors Stadium in a bid to satisfy the RFL’s requirements for crowd capacity and stadium facilities.

A descent into administration in February almost brought the club crashing down but the intervention of current chairman Andrew Glover has steadied the ship and while Mr Elston recognises that some aspects of the club’s history have been “a concern” he also believes that Wildcats “have still surpassed other clubs”.

He added: “We will be partly judged on what has happened in the past but the [licensing] decision should be a logical one.

“We have done a lot in a short period of time and people who may have thought we should not get a licence will now think that it will be an injustice if we don’t.”

Mr Elston has vowed that whatever the outcome from Tuesday’s meeting, the Wildcats will “continue to act like a Super League club.”

In the event that the decision goes against Wakefield, Mr Elston said: “We can’t comment on whether we would contest the RFL’s decision until we know the reasons why they have rejected our application.”