WHEN you listen to Danny Kirmond talking about his time at Wakefield Trinity you instantly realise why he has spent the last decade there.
He loves the West Yorkshire club, everything about it, and his enthusiasm for it seeps through every word.
The popular second-row celebrates his testimonial on Sunday and it is hard to imagine him in any other colours; they go together like Wakefield and Trinity.
There was, of course, a time when he could have jumped ship for more money elsewhere.
Trinity chairman Michael Carter – then new to the role – came in and discovered a substantial hole in the club’s finances that led to the fire-sale of Australian scrum-half Tim Smith to Salford Red Devils in July 2013.
Clubs were circling for Kirmond, too, but famously he ignored their advances and stayed true to the cause.
A six-figure transfer fee was turned down by Carter and Kirmond committed his future to the side, then coached by Richard Agar, helping lead them out of all that uncertainty to become one of Super League’s most competitive clubs under current chief Chris Chester.
It is one of the many reasons Wakefield fans love Kirmond so much and why, in all likelihood, thousands will turn out at Belle Vue to see him line-up against Hull FC at the weekend when his benefit game is shared with former Trinity team-mate Danny Washbrook.
Looking back at that difficult time, the Featherstone-born player conceded: “It did come close (transfer).
“The main reason it came close was that Rich Agar was going to leave.
It appeared at the time that maybe people knew the way it was going.Danny Kirmond
“I don’t know if it was really documented that well what really happened; we (players) signed deals thinking everything was all right (financially) and literally the week after signing those deals things weren’t all right.
“It appeared at the time that maybe people knew the way it was going.
“Then Tim (Smith) got sold, Paul Aiton got sold (that autumn to Leeds Rhinos) and the thing that hit everyone hardest was we were a real band of brothers.
“We’d been brought together – no one wanted any of us – and then it all got swept from under our feet when we were all actually friends so, to lose people like that was disappointing.
“Rich was really disappointed with it at the time – he didn’t get the full story – and it was hard. It was really uncertain and, as a coach, he was losing his best players which was making his job ten times harder.
“There was a few sit-downs in the office to see what was happening but once Michael took over – or when Michael was involved – it was obvious the club was going to go in the right direction.
“It was never going to be easy, don’t get me wrong. But I was proud of the job we’d already done (finishing in the play-offs the year before after administration in 2011) even though we ended up in financial problems. The job was unfinished, though, and I wanted to stay and do that. And I was captain as well; if I didn’t want to stay, who would?”
Kirmond, who joined from Huddersfield Giants in 2012 after an initial loan spell two years earlier, has gone on to make more than 150 appearances for Trinity and proved himself as one of Super League’s top back-rows.
He earned a Dream Team spot in 2013 but, with clubs like Wigan Warriors once again linked, maintains he has no regrets about not moving elsewhere.
“None at all,” said the 33-year-old, who has yet to decide if the forthcoming campaign will be his last before retirement.
“People talk about the money and it was a time when Salford were throwing money everywhere. But it’s a funny one; the money’s never has been that important to me. It’s all been a bonus.
“When I signed at Featherstone (Rovers) I was still working at a warehouse over the road from the ground.
“And then I got a chance to go to Huddersfield and – as much as it’s a cliche - it was a dream really. I remember sitting on a stack watching my dad playing rugby at Streethouse and thinking ‘This game is awesome.’
“I do love the game. That’s why I played and if I didn’t play here I’d probably be playing at Sharlston with my mates. I’m definitely glad I stayed especially looking at where the club is now.
“It’s in such good hands and it’s such a great group of guys.”
Kirmond captained Wakefield to success against Bradford Bulls in the 2015 Million Pound Game to save their Super League status and, on the back of that, they have finished fifth in each of the last two seasons.
“Obviously that season when we ended up the Million Pound Game was a real low point,” he recalled.
“But the Million Pound Game itself was probably one of the highs even though it was such a desperate game to be involved in.
“To come through that was a real turning point.”