Friday Interview - Andrew Glover: Wakefield launch new era with sights on licence bid

The new Chairman of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats Andrew Glover, second left, with General Manager Davide Longo, left, Chief Executive James Elston and Head Coach John Kear, far right.
The new Chairman of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats Andrew Glover, second left, with General Manager Davide Longo, left, Chief Executive James Elston and Head Coach John Kear, far right.
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The words uttered by Andrew Glover will have been music to all Wakefield fans’ ears.

Confirming he had taken over the club yesterday and brought it out of administration was good enough.

But admitting it was now debt-free, talking about his bold plans for the future and making a promise they would finally be more open than the previous owners would have been the sentences which most transfixed those long-suffering supporters hanging on his every word.

A new company, called Spirit of 1873 in recognition of the year the original club was formed, bought Wakefield yesterday afternoon for a nominal fee from administrators O’Hara and Company, ending days of speculation that the famous founder member of the sport may actually fold.

A two-man board, comprising local businessman Glover and chief executive James Elston, will run it alongside new general manager Davide Longo, with John Kear staying on as head coach.

Apart from the pressing issue of tomorrow’s game against Catalan Dragons, one of the most obvious questions was whether the new owner thought the significant developments would mean they could secure that crucial Super League licence when they are awarded in July.

Trinity have for so long been cast as favourites for demotion but Glover insisted: “I think we have a much better chance now than we did last week.

“James (Elston) has done his job and the next target is to make sure we get a Super League licence.

“There’s been no deals done under the table saying we’ve got one or we haven’t got one.

“We’ll be going out there trying our damnedest, giving everything we’ve got and doing our best to ensure we do get one.

“We’re not going to be resigned to the fact that because people think we’re going to go to Championship that we are. We want to be a Super League club.”

And the new owner reiterated how he envisages Trinity being led in the years ahead.

“I am a Wakefield businessman who has been brought up here,” he added.

“I’ve not made a secret of the fact I’m not a diehard who could sit here and tell you every single rule about the game but I do love the game and the team we’ve got.

“It’s going to be run like a business. I’m going to have a sensible head on rather than running it from the heart.

“I’m not knocking the old directors for that, I’m just saying that’s how we’ll run this club.”

Glover was also adamant that there will be no ‘boom and bust’ scenario at Belle Vue, regardless of whether they retain their top-flight spot.

“We can function financially in either league,” he said.

“We don’t have to worry about that anymore; that side is solid and sorted going forward. We’re sustainable both ways around.”

Wakefield, meanwhile, will today discover from the RFL’s board of directors what points deduction they will suffer for entering administration.

Crusaders were docked four points after breaching the RFL’s insolvency regulations and Kear said he would be “very disappointed” if Wakefield were handed any more severe punishment although they are expected to receive a six point loss.

There have been job cuts following the takeover but all but “five or six” members of the 32-strong administration laid off have been taken back.

Among the departures is general manager and former player Francis Stephenson.

“It’s a brand new company but there are elements of the old debt that I feel I want to honour,” added Glover.

“Officially yesterday all the non-playing staff were made redundant but a very large percentage have been re-employed.”

Kear admitted the players were visibly lifted following the day’s events. “The training session we’ve just had has been the best for a month,” he said.

“It’s a mixture of relief, anticipation and excitement; the season starts here for us.”

Daryl Millard, Sam Obst and Dale Ferguson had all been sold by the administrator during the course of the last week but Kear reserved special praise for youngster Aaron Murphy who turned down the chance to sign for Huddersfield Giants.

“I’ve got to pay him big rap ,” he said.

“Aaron could have left. The administrator and Huddersfield agreed a deal but he chose to stay here with his friends and demonstrated great mateship, loyalty, respect towards the people he worked with and the club itself.

“As a person he’s really at the top of the list of someone who has got enormous dignity.

“Good on the kid for such a young man to do that and be such an outstanding human being.

“I’m certain that sort of attitude, in the course of his rugby league career over the next 10 years, will pay him back ten fold.

“If we have 17 like that we’ll be top of the league.”