Castleford Tigers chief to step down after 15 years EXCLUSIVE

Richard Wright.
Richard Wright.
Have your say

Long-serving Castleford Tigers chief executive Richard Wright is to leave his position at the club after 15 years’ service.

A lifelong Tigers fan, Wright became a sponsor of the club in 1990, joined the board in 1996 and was appointed chief executive the following year.

It is understood Wright will step down once a successor has been identified. He will remain a director of the club and said his departure will have no impact on the new stadium project.

In a statement released through the club, Wright said: “I have made this decision to move on with a great deal of thought.

“Fifteen years in the role has taken its toll on me; the job consumes you totally for seven days a week and it’s time to give priority to my family.”

Click here to register and have your say on the Castleford Tigers stories and issues that matter to you

During his time as chief executive the club has not won a major trophy but appeared in three Challenge Cup semi-finals and a Super League Grand Final eliminator. They won two lower division Grand Finals after being relegated twice.

“My first major task back in 1997 was the recruitment of a new head coach, which was Stuart Raper,” he recalled.

“We had a great partnership, are still friends to this day and he tells everyone his best days in coaching were at Cas.

“The early years from 1997 to 1999 were good for all; we invested significantly in the business and achieved considerable growth.

“However, success brings with it its own kind of problems, particularly with salary inflation and in year 2000 we lost £200,000 which meant we had to change to the strategy that remains to this day, as losses of this magnitude year on year were not sustainable.

“We had to at least aim to break even every year. It is a tough industry. Bradford has a bigger turnover and fan base than we have. They have also had significantly more money invested into the club including the recent sale of Odsal for over £1.2m, yet they are still on the brink of extinction.

“St Helens have just reported a loss of £2m for the last financial year. Our financial record is well respected at the RFL and throughout the game and whilst losses are always disappointing we continue year on year to be well under the average for Super League – and we have continued to increase turnover overall with 2011 again being a record year at around £3.5m.”

Though alleged lack of investment in the team has been criticised by some fans, Wright added: “My biggest regret is that in my time we never had the opportunity to spend up to or near the maximum salary cap and whilst this does not guarantee success, I do believe it is impossible to win a trophy without doing so.

“Whilst some clubs have had major benefactors to introduce finance, our route as the fans know has been to deliver a new stadium which would provide the increased revenues to allow us to spend the maximum cap on a sustainable basis.

“The new stadium and youth development are the keys to a sustainable future and winning trophies.

“Things are gloomy at the moment, but the platform for success has been set. The club has the opportunity to compete at the highest level.

“It has been a real privilege for me to work at this great club and whilst I leave my role with sadness I believe there are good times ahead.”

Wright insisted: “The move has got nothing to do with recent rumours regarding consortiums looking to take over the club. Whilst it is true there was an approach, when the time came to get the chequebook out nothing materialised.”

Jesse Sene-Lefao.

Castleford Tigers v Leeds Rhinos: Sene-Lefao hoping the Magic ‘buzz’ will inspire Tigers