WAKEFIELD TRINITY Wildcats’ chairman Michael Carter last night confirmed Kath Hetherington has left the club, but insisted every fan owes the departing chief executive a “debt of thanks” for her contribution.
The ex-Hull FC chairwoman arrived at Belle Vue as ‘consultant’ CEO in September 2013 when the West Yorkshire outfit was once more on the brink of financial calamity.
She pledged to bring stability to Trinity and has certainly achieved that aim after helping ensure they did not suffer relegation last term.
But Hetherington has now moved on and Carter said: “She actually first spoke to us a couple of weeks ago and said ‘You don’t need me any more’.
“She said she’d done what she’d needed to do and she has been brilliant for the club. Kath built a squad that allowed us to survive last year on a very, very limited budget but has also helped build a squad I believe is going to be competitive for this season, too.
“Without her, it would have been unbelievably hard to do that so there’s a massive thanks from myself and (director) Chris (Brereton).
“I think every Wakefield Trinity Wildcats fan owes Kath a debt of thanks for the job she has done over the last 18 months.
“She is always welcome back here and there has definitely been no falling out.”
Jon Flatman, who was Hull FC community director until resigning in October 2011, has been working at Trinity and will take on more responsibility.
Carter – who witnessed his side produce a “fabulous” season-opening win at Castleford on Sunday – explained: “We have taken Jon on as a management consultant but in no way is it a like-for-like replacement.
“Jon has been working with us since July and there are a variety of management roles that need to be undertaken off the field.
“He has a vast knowledge of rugby league and the technical side of its administration. But he’s also taken over our education and academy set-up as he’s a massive background in that field along with our foundation work, too.
“That said, the way we run the club, there’s no barriers in what we do – myself, Chris and Jon are all hands on to get the job done.”
Trinity – tipped by many to finish bottom of Super League – have certainly been buoyed by their 24-22 win at Wheldon Road having trailed 22-6 with just 15 minutes remaining.
“It was a great win,” admitted Carter, Danny Washbrook getting the vital try late on.
“I have no issue with people saying we’ll finish 12th – that’s where we came last year – but I’ve had a bit of banter with Garry Schofield as he said only Tim Smith and Danny Kirmond would get in any other club’s squad.
“I think that is a bit disrespectful as people like Craig Hall had a fantastic game at Cas’ and I reckon we’ve got a real gem in Paul McShane at hooker, too.
“If we finish 12th again and end up in that middle eight then we’ll fight on from there. It’s not the be all and end all for us getting in the top eight and that’s not the case for some other clubs.
“Because of that, I feel we can play with a bit of freedom as there isn’t that expectation. I’m really happy with how things have come together and we want to follow up with another win when Hull KR come to us on Sunday.”
Meanwhile, Carter has pledged to ban the “few idiots” who were reported to be fighting after the game at Castleford.
“We are making a full investigation and have had plenty of positive feedback from supporters (yesterday) with photos and other information,” he said. “If we find the culprits not only will they be banned from our club but, if I get my way, they will be banned from all of rugby league, too.
“It’s not what we need in our sport. It could have gone terribly wrong.
“I have to make the point, though, we took the best part of 2,000 fans to Cas and 99.9 per cent of them behaved impeccably. But we want to weed out the two or three idiots who didn’t.”