Dave Craven: Positivity is order of the day as Rovers look to reach top flight

YESTERDAY marked the big final countdown to the Rugby League World Cup with 100 days to go.

Depending on who you speak to it could be the greatest event the sport has yet witnessed here or another demoralising anti-climax.

I try to be a positive thinker so I’m going to hold back and keep my fingers crossed that organisers can push on from hereon in and deliver the successful tournament everyone desires.

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They have had the time and resources to produce it so let’s hold off the doom-mongering and give them a fighting chance.

And that goes for the England side themselves, too, although I had to have a little chuckle when a press release emerged yesterday from the RFL with national boss Steve McNamara saying “there are no guarantees” of inclusion for his NRL-based contingent or anyone else in his World Cup squad.

I still reckon he has at least 90 per cent of his squad – barring injuries – already sorted in his own mind.

However, for Featherstone Rovers, yesterday also signified the start of its own final countdown to the day they hope to see themselves in Super League and not only that but “competing with the top two or three clubs in the UK.”

The Flat-Cappers have long made it known they intend on fighting their way into the elite no matter what anybody else thinks.

For a town that holds a population of barely 15,000 it always seems absurd that they could achieve such an aim.

Leeds Rhinos, drawn from a city with a population of around three-quarters-of-a-million, attract an average home attendance of about 15,000; literally all of Featherstone would have to turn up to match that.

But that is all inconsequential. Given the admittance that the licensing process isn’t quite as all-singing as it promised to be, perhaps the obsession about crowds is not so crucial.

Especially when you consider Huddersfield Giants, despite being in line to finish top of Super League and playing some of the most attractive football in the competition, have strangely mustered only 5,000 fans on five occasions this term.

You have to wonder if the people of Huddersfield actually want a top-flight team. I don’t think you can argue the same about Featherstone.

Given the new-found greater potential of elevation to the elite, created by the on-going debate surrounding a return to promotion and relegation, Rovers’ hopes are certainly revived. Indeed, if statements from Feisal Nahaboo made yesterday are anything to read into, they are more than that too.

Apparently, the businessman has agreed to purchase a significant number of additional shares in the club with funds being used to strengthen the playing squad for 2014 as it seeks to win promotion.

Also, he has promised to invest in a Centre of Excellence for leading young talent and said: “We believe we now have the strategy, plan and financial resource to compete with the top two or three clubs in the UK.

“In addition, I’ve suggested the club makes an announcement of two new directors who are proven businessman and have worked closely with me and have experience and knowledge in building substantial multi- million pound profitable businesses.

“This means we will soon have a board packed with business acumen and strengthen our chances of success.

“I’ve contacted the RFL and informed them I plan to build Featherstone Rovers into a leading Super League club in the UK and they are aware the club is now being backed by a number of proven businessman.

“The club and sport needs investment and we will now assist the club to punch beyond its weight on all fronts.

“The clubs fortunes have turned for the better today and I’ll now dream of leading Featherstone to a Wembley Cup Final alongside (chairman) Mark Campbell.”

It is a nice thought. Positivity.