DESPERATE Wakefield Trinity Wildcats seem destined to be the latest Super League club heading into administration after they admitted yesterday they need to generate £500,000 by the end of the month to secure their immediate future.
Chairman Ted Richardson has urged fans to come to their aid and deliver the unlikely figure by virtue of a last-ditch share scheme after Wildcats conceded a cash-flow problem has left them in dire straits.
The struggling club have already staved off two winding-up
orders over unpaid tax in the last 12 months and believed they were heading out of trouble.
However, their on-going difficulties were accentuated after they missed out on a 350,000 windfall due to delays on the proposed development of a new stadium at Newmarket.
The cash was pledged by developers who must now await the outcome of a public inquiry, the ground issue jeopardising Trinity's chances of earning another Super League licence in July for the 2012-14 campaigns given they are definitely leaving their spiritual home of Belle Vue at the end of the forthcoming season.
Furthermore, it is understood an arrangement made with
HM Customs and Excise to pay further unpaid tax bills over a set period has been torn up after it saw the Crusaders enter administration last month and it seems likely Wakefield could be set for a similar result unless an amazing effort is completed in the next three weeks.
The Wildcats' board of directors last year made a promise to make way for new investors in the embattled club and now say the situation is so serious that the future is under threat.
"The club are asking the people of Wakefield to purchase 1,000 worth of shares to raise 500,000 with a deadline of 31/1/11 for purchase," the club said in a statement published on their website.
"By contributing to this scheme you will have the opportunity to shape the future of the club by voting in a new board of directors.
"The question is are there 500 people out there who have the club at heart – what does this club mean to you?"
Disappointing Glenn Hall has been allowed to make an early return to Australia after just one season with Bradford Bulls.
Although the Yorkshire club had high hopes for the forward when he signed from Manly on a three-year deal, his impact in
Super League was limited and he is now looking for a new club back in the NRL. Bradford agreed to terminate his contract with two years remaining and Hall, 29, will head home with his pregnant wife Kylie.
The decision means Bradford now have an overseas quota spot available to finally register ex-Canberra scrum-half Marc Herbert who signed in November.
It also leaves them in a stronger position with regards another wantaway Australian, star half-back Matt Orford, who is demanding a release from his own three-year contract.
Bradford no longer need to grant him an exit in order to accommodate Herbert's arrival but delicate talks are on-going as Orford, hoping to join Canberra, bids to claim salary he says he is owed.
Scoring the match-winning try against Wigan was one of the few highlights for Hall who won the 2008 Grand Final with Manly but found himself in the Bulls' reserves towards the end of last season.
Bradford chairman Peter Hood said: "We have agreed for various reasons that it's best to go our separate ways.
"Glenn has at all times proved himself a model professional and we wish him every success in the future."
Herbert is one of eight new signings who will make their Bulls debut against Halifax on Sunday as part of Jamie Langley's testimonial at Odsal.
Bradford assistant coach Francis Cummins, meanwhile, is the first recipient of the RFL's annual elite coaching bursary scheme.
He will attend a two-day seminar organised by the Australian RL high-performance programme this weekend and meet leading coaches Wayne Bennett, Brian Smith and Kangaroos boss Tim Sheens during his 14-day trip.
Castleford hand debuts to new signings Richie Mathers, Nick Youngquest and Jacob Emmitt in a friendly against York on Sunday. Danny Orr is also selected as he starts his second spell at The Jungle.
Ex-York Acorn centre Sam Orange, 17, makes his senior bow against his hometown club.