THE capture of Sean Long is another significant acquisition for Featherstone Rovers.
The profile of the club is definitely improving. Certainly when I came to the club as CEO, we didn’t actually tell people or sing from the rooftops about what we were actually doing.
There was a lot of good things in place and now we’ve just tried to maximise that.
PR-wise in the last 18 months the club has really got on the map and Sean just adds to the jigsaw.
He brings with him a lot of wealth and experience and I’m sure he could still do a job on the pitch.
That won’t be happening, though.
He’s here to work alongside our existing coach, Danny Evans, and that’s going to be a good blend moving forward.
As football manager, Sean can have a big impact on us in what is a crucial part of the season.
We’re sitting second now after Sheffield Eagles’ result on Wednesday night but we’ve got to make sure that we do our best to finish the season off and win the two comps that are available.
We have had some misses as well as successes in finals in recent years and I think where we’ve fallen at the last hurdle in the past has maybe been down to a little lack of strength in depth.
So, we’ve brought in some guys in the last two or three weeks. James Green, from Hull KR, and Sam Barlow, from Halifax, do give us a little more oomph in the pack. We had a few injuries so that’s been done and Sam was probably our best player on Sunday in a bad performance at Swinton.
So the board of directors and myself have certainly backed that up by offering the services of these players to the coaching staff and I think that’s going to play a big part alongside Sean joining for the last six games.
Our majority shareholder, Feisal Nahaboo, has made some big statements recently but it’d be wrong to call him a “money man”.
We’re not a club just trying to rinse cash out of Feisal. Certainly himself and (chairman) Mark Campbell are two great people to have alongside the other directors we have at the club.
We’ve a board of directors now that brings a skills set to the table that only bodes well for the future. From my point of view, the investment that Feisal has made, well, most of that has been ring-fenced for stadium development.
It will certainly have an impact on the squad next year but we’ve created a sustainable business in the last 18 months and we want to stick to that.
I think we’ve seen clubs fall by the wayside in the past when they’ve had the so-called “sugar daddies” but what Feisal brings other than finance is a massive business mind and the business acumen he has is terrific.
The fans aren’t used to losing like we did at Swinton – that’s testament to what’s happened here over the last two or three years – but there’s lots going on off the pitch now.
There’s the new stand build which is fantastic and a centre of excellence which is a quarter-of-a-million pound investment.
That enables us to attract young kids that Featherstone Rovers previously just haven’t been able to do.
We need to put an infrastructure in place now for the youth which, obviously, John Bastian (2014 head coach) has got a great experience of both at Leeds Rhinos and Warrington Wolves.
If we can get that infrastructure correct for the youth then, in two or three years’ time, we’ll certainly be challenging for the top five or six of Super League and that is our aim.
Interview by Dave Craven.