Wakefield Trinity Wildcats: Ex-coach Brian Smith wanted full control of the club, claims Michael Carter

Brian Smith

Brian Smith

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FORMER COACH Brian Smith was keen on taking over control of Wakefield Trinity Wildcats before his shock resignation last week, it has been claimed.

Smith quit last Tuesday and has returned to his native Australia. Chairman Michael Carter revealed in a press conference the following day that relations between chairman and coach had been “frosty” since Christmas.

Several sources told the Yorkshire Evening Post the pair had fallen out after Smith made it clear he wanted control of matters on and off the field.

Now Carter has confirmed Smith had made it clear he wanted to run the club and that was at the heart of “disagreements” between chairman and coach.

“He wanted to take over the club, but could not come up with any feasible, written business plan,” Carter said. “It was all ‘let me take over the club’. When we asked for some business plans and a written formal offer, there was never one forthcoming. If you are making an offer to buy a business you’d expect to see that in writing. He did want to take over the whole place. That was featured in a number of arguments around January time. He did want to take over the entire club, but never came up with anything formal in writing. A lot of arguments centred around that.”

Carter said Jon Flatman, who left his position as Wakefield chief executive earlier this year, had been working alongside Smith on the ex-coach’s proposal. Smith has been critical of the way Wildcats are run in a series of posts on social media since his sudden departure.

Posting on Facebook yesterday he wrote: “Disappointed like all Wildcat people to see Friday night result. Be careful tho how U respond and what u read and hear. Many of those people charged with delivering the goods on game day have similar misgivings as I had. I had different options and chose not to work in those conditions which are not conducive to the necessary professional standards that have operated everywhere else I have ever worked since 1984. The long term always shows. In this case it may not be too long. Just hope the great old club is not destroyed in the meantime.”

Meanwhile, Carter has drawn up a six-strong shortlist for Wildcats’ coaching vacancy and is hoping to make a quick appointment. Stuart Dickens, who was Smith’s assistant, took charge of the team for last Friday’s 44-4 defeat at St Helens.