Tigers face stadium wait
Castleford chief Richard Wright says that they will have to build their new stadium in stages because of the financial recession.
Last Updated: 19/01/10 4:13pm
Castleford chief Richard Wright says that they will have to build their new stadium in stages because of the financial recession, while warning fans they might have over achieved in Super League last year.
The Tigers have outline planning permission for a 14,000-capacity stadium just off the M62 but have yet to secure funding and chief executive Wright has warned they may have to build the new ground in stages.
Castleford are one of five clubs to have been sent warning letters by the Rugby Football League to act on their promises to improve their facilities or face losing their Super League licences when they come up for renewal in 2011.
However, with finances the way they are, Wright admits the club may now have to ask the League for flexibility after a collapse in the housing market stalled plans to sell their current ground.
Speaking at the club's pre-season media day at the Diggerland leisure park, Wright also warned the team face a period of consolidation after "probably over-achieving" in Super League in 2009.
"We hope to get detailed planning consent in six months' time but, given the time constraints of Super League, we may have to phase the building," Wright said.
"We prefer not to but we may have to start with a reduced capacity, maybe starting with two stands and developing the ends at a later stage.
"We would have to speak to the RFL but we could probably get to nearly 11,000 that way. We have absolute confidence in the stadium, it's just getting it delivered on time.
"It's achievable to play there in 2012 but, if the economy continues as it is, it may take a little longer and we would have to look at contingency plans."
Wakefield, Salford and St Helens are confident of moving into new stadia in 2012 while Crusaders, the other club told to deliver on their promises, have solved their ground issues by sharing the Racecourse Ground with Wrexham FC.
Castleford, who open Super League XV with a trip to champions Leeds on February 5, have made just two close-season signings in Steve Snitch (Wakefield) and Paul Jackson (Huddersfield) and Wright accepts they face a difficult task matching their seventh-placed finish in 2009.
"We have got to try and equal what we did last year," he said. "We probably over-achieved a bit last year and we are maybe aiming for a bit of consolidation.
"We will try and make sure we stay in the play-offs and we may have a bit more scope next year."
Castleford head coach Terry Matterson faced the media for the first time since revealing he lost a finger during a training-ground incident on the club's pre-season trip to France last week.
The 42-year-old Australian severed the digit in his left hand after his wedding ring got caught on a steel fence as he climbed it to retrieve a ball, and he admits the accident has hit him hard.
"It's probably hit me a little bit more today but when I heard about the young kid from Castleford who passed away fighting for his country it put things into perspective," he said.
"It was a bit traumatic but, at the end of the day, it's just a finger and life goes on. I'm right-handed so that's a big bonus."