Wakefield Trinity CEO Michael Carter explains what happens next following relegation from Super League

Wakefield Trinity chief executive Michael Carter has braced the club's staff and players for tough conversations as the reality of relegation sets in.

Trinity's fate was sealed on a dramatic night at Leigh Sports Village with Gareth O'Brien knocking over a drop goal deep into golden point to inflict a crushing 20-19 defeat on Mark Applegarth's side.

Wakefield, who started the season with 14 straight defeats, are four points behind relegation rivals Castleford Tigers with only one round remaining.

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Carter has confirmed that jobs will be cut to make up for the shortfall in revenue.

"The most difficult one is Monday," he said in the immediate aftermath of Friday's game.

"We are going to have to sit down with staff and players and tell them there's no deal for next year and primarily that will be through cost.

"When your distribution is going down from £1.5 million to whatever it is, we have to cut our cloth accordingly.

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"We still think we can pull a really good 22-man squad together. The new facilities will help in terms of the revenue that will generate and we've had some really good discussions with other clubs about players that potentially may be available on loan or dual-reg next year to supplement what we've got.

Michael Carter interacts with frustrated fans after the heartbreaking defeat at Leigh. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)Michael Carter interacts with frustrated fans after the heartbreaking defeat at Leigh. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
Michael Carter interacts with frustrated fans after the heartbreaking defeat at Leigh. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

"Over the next two weeks, we'll start to announce who is with us next year but I don't want to just focus on the players because there's a whole load of other staff and a facility we have to earn out of.

"I'm hoping those losses won't be significant but I have to balance the books, or someone has to come in and balance the books."

Local businessman Matthew Ellis is in the process of acquiring the club, with chairman John Minards stressing this week that the takeover was not dependent on Trinity being in Super League.

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Carter has reiterated that Wakefield still expect the deal to go through.

Wakefield slump to the floor after their relegation is confirmed. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)Wakefield slump to the floor after their relegation is confirmed. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
Wakefield slump to the floor after their relegation is confirmed. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)

"It's still ongoing," he said.

"I think we'd hope to have it done in the next seven to 10 days but I've said that a number of times over the last five months so I don't want to cross T's and dot I's. It will take as long as it takes.

"The new guy is very keen. He's already texted me off the back of tonight.

"I'm just so hopeful it happens in the next couple of weeks because I know he's keen to get started and ready for next year."

Lee Kershaw, left, was a standout performer for Wakefield on the night. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)Lee Kershaw, left, was a standout performer for Wakefield on the night. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
Lee Kershaw, left, was a standout performer for Wakefield on the night. (Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com)
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Trinity have yet to confirm any new signings for 2024 due to their perilous situation but several key players committed to the club come what may, including Max Jowitt, Jay Pitts and captain Matty Ashurst.

Carter believes Wakefield have a core of players ready to help bring the club back to Super League at the first attempt.

"Don't hold me to this but I suspect we're at about 15 to 16 who are committed to next year and there are ongoing discussions with others," he said.

"What I'd really like to do is finalise where we're at budget-wise and decide on players we want to recruit and retain.

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"Lee Kershaw, for example, I'm having ongoing discussions with him. He was tremendous tonight, probably our star man. The lad is in tears in there.

"We're trying to get to 22 and utilise the dual-reg and loan system. But we also need to try and maintain a full-time academy and when your funding is gone it's not easy, as I'm sure Bradford and Widnes would concede."

On recruitment, Carter has conceded that Trinity need to improve.

"Ultimately, the first 15 or 20 rounds, we weren't able to have our best players on the pitch all the time," he added.

"That reflects on me. I've done the recruitment for the last three years and some of it has not even been bang average, let's be honest, let's be brutal about that. That falls on me."

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