Long-term strategy for ‘corner shop’ at Halifax

HALIFAX director Ian Croad has said the club will use the extra income from this season’s Middle Eights to lay foundations for a potential return to Super League in the years to come.

Halifax v Whitehaven

Halifax guaranteed an extra £250,000 in central funding, plus the income generated from three lucrative home games, two of which will be against Super League clubs, when they clinched a top-four Championship finish.

Croad confirmed that cash would not be spent on running a full-time playing squad in 2016 – although he pledged coach Richard Marshall would be given a transfer kitty – but will fund a reserve side, IT infrastructure and increased commercial and community activity.

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“We need to upscale the business,” said Croad. “In theory, we could go into Super League next year through the Middle Eights, but even if we did, the business isn’t ready for it yet; we need to invest in the infrastructure.

“This is a stepping stone that can help us get where we want to be. In terms of growing the size of the business, you can’t go from being a corner shop to being a supermarket overnight.

“But because of what we’ve achieved on the field this year, next year we’ll be a 7/11, then maybe the year after or the year after that we’ll be a supermarket.”

Croad said he had discussed the possibility of running a full-time team with Marshall, but the England Academy head coach had opted for a longer-term strategy.

“Richard wanted a reserve grade next year and we’ll have one now,” said Croad.

“He wants to develop young players, local players, through the links with Calderdale College and this will allow him to do that.

“There will be some extra money to develop the first team, but it wouldn’t be wise to go out and just spend it all on players.

“That’s not what the club needs.”