New dawn - club takeover is No 5 in Leeds Rhinos' top-10 moments
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In November, 1996, businessman Paul Caddick was unveiled as the new owner of Leeds CF&A Co Ltd, the company which controlled Leeds Rugby League team and Headingley Stadium.
Caddick’s partner in the takeover was Gary Hetherington, a former Leeds player who had later founded and run the Sheffield Eagles club.
Ironically, both hail from Castleford.
Each had separately been interested in a Leeds takeover, but they were brought together by then-chief executive Alf Davies and the combination of Caddick’s business expertise and Hetherington’s rugby knowledge was a winner.
It was a momentous moment for a club which had been struggling with £5m worth of debt - built up attempting to match Wigan’s dominance of the English game - and had narrowly avoided relegation from Super League during the 1996 season.
Not only that, but also Yorkshire County Cricket Club has given notice they intended to leave Headingley for a new stadium at Durkar, near Wakefield.
Caddick and Hetherington immediately made their presence felt. Yorkshire were persuaded to drop their planned move and Leeds were renamed Rhinos for the 1997 season.
An overhaul of the playing squad began, proposals were drawn up to redevelop both the rugby and cricket stadiums - a scheme which was finally completed last year - and an emphasis was placed on making local youngsters the heart of the team.
Within two years of changing hands Leeds had reached the inaugural Grand Final and the following season they won the Challenge Cup for the first time since 1978.
Caddick and Hetherington will celebrate a quarter of a century at the helm this autumn. Since the takeover Leeds have become Super League’s most successful and best-supported club, winning eight Grand Finals and the World Club Challenge, league leaders’ shield and Challenge Cup three times.
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