Carnegie’s investment aim on track

Sir Ian McGeechan.
Sir Ian McGeechan.
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Sir Ian McGeechan says Yorkshire Carnegie are on course to meet their deadline for bringing in new investment to the club.

The rebranded outfit announced at their relaunch in July that they wanted investment to the tune of £2m to £4m to help them realise their dream of an integrated county-wide system that produces players from school level through to the first team.

And on the eve of the new Championship season, McGeechan says interest in the enterprise has been encouraging and that talks are ongoing.

McGeechan said: “We’re progressing on that front. We’ve another couple of months and we’ve been very pleased with the interest that’s been shown.

“We won’t be doing anything until the end of October because we’ve given ourselves that timescale and it’s an ongoing process.

“We’ll see where we are then, and that will give us a good idea of what the business will look like going forward.

“But it’s encouraging.”

Carnegie announced a new sponsorship deal with online lending business Satsuma Loans yesterday that will bring £300,000 into the club over the next two years.

Satsuma Loans is the online consumer loans business of Bradford-based company Provident Financial.

A report in the business pages of The Yorkshire Post on July 24 stated that Satsuma’s terms and conditions fall well within new FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) guidelines designed to protect customers from lenders that charge extortionate fees and interest.

Carnegie stress they did their due diligence on Satsuma, as they appreciated the issue is one that – for some people – raises a moral dilemma.

Rob Oates, the club’s commercial director, said: “We did have that discussion with everyone at the club.

“Satsuma are so far removed from the unscrupulous loan sharks that are in operation. All their charges are up front and they are low level loans.

“Provident are a long-standing Yorkshire company who we have had a fantastic relationship with for a number of years.”

McGeechan says the money will go directly into the playing side of the club, with the squad still to be finalised despite the season starting for Carnegie with an away trip to Cornish Pirates on Sunday.

Gary Mercer, the 48-year-old former New Zealand rugby league international, takes charge of his first game, with McGeechan impressed by the new head coach’s approach from the first time he interviewed him.

“It comes down to chemistry,” said the former British and Irish Lions head coach.

“He’s been here before, he’s been in union 10 years, and just the way he talks, how he saw the club, our ambitions, how we play and what we want to do, he was completely onside from the first minute.

“The chemsitry between him and the players and support staff has been obvious.

“It’s still early days but we’re highly delighted and I think he’ll be a very good leader for the rugby side.”

The new Championship season begins on Saturday for Doncaster Knights, who host Plymouth Albion, and Rotherham Titans, who visit London Scottish.