Wakefield Trinity was a club founded in 1873 by several members of the Holy Trinity Church in Wakefield. The group played a few different grounds before settling in at Belle Vue in 1879 and when the club became one of the founding members of the Northern Rugby Union in 1895, they purchased the venue outright – making it their permanent home. The first major trophy for Wakefield came in 1909 when the beat Hull 17-0 to be crowned Northern Challenge Cup winners. A repeat of that fixture happened in 1914 but to Trinity’s misfortune, it was Hull’s time to lift the Challenge Cup. It marked the last major game before the outbreak of the First World War. Post war, Wakefield adopted the nickname ‘The Dreadnoughts’ inspired by Britain’s fleet of unrivalled battleships. However it turned out that they were more like U-boats, underneath the surface and not winning any major trophies until the 1924/25 season, when they claimed a Yorkshire Cup for themselves against Batley. The team submerged themselves again for almost 10 years before showing up in a few Yorkshire cup finals in the 30’s, one of which came against Leeds in 1934. Actually, to be more precise – it was more like ‘three of which came against Leeds…’ as the game was replayed twice before Leeds ended the three match stalemate with a victory in the third and final game. It was the only time a Yorkshire cup has required three matches to be settled. Sadly, the runner’s up medal for Wakefield coming out of those three games was the only highlight of that decade for the Dreadnoughts, who it’s fair to say failed to match up to their nickname’s reputation. A couple more of those forgettable medals were acquired in the final years of peace time and by the outbreak of the Second World War, Trinity were looking to be a team which was there just to make up the numbers. Nonetheless, after the ceasefire when the league resumed, Wakefield had a new and more prosperous chapter to enjoy. It all started with a season double in 1945/46 when they won both the Challenge Cup and the league title. Following up their post war victories, the Church side claimed two Yorkshire Cups in the two subsequent seasons. Their momentum was suppressed slightly at the turn of the decade but in the 1951/52 season, they won yet another Yorkshire Cup and were starting to develop a taste for success. Winning one more Yorkshire Cup was a sign of things progressing at the club, not to mention their two league wins in the 1950’s. The club played Wigan in the first ever live TV broadcast of the game in 1952. The 50’s set the team up for a bright period in the following decade and they more than capitalised: Between 1960 and 1970, the club won two Championships, two Yorkshire Leagues, two Challenge Cups and three Yorkshire clubs. The Dreadnoughts also toured South Africa and with the help of some South African stars, they walked all six touring games in 1962. It was Wakefield’s most decorated period of the 20th century. The 1970’s were a stark contrast to the glorious years in the previous decade. They failed to bring home a single major honour. The club bungeed in and out of the top two divisions right through to the late 80’s – it was a period well worth forgetting for Trinity. David Topliss became player manager in 1987 and it was thanks to him that Wakefield secured top flight rugby status and stopped dipping into the second division. The highlight of Topliss’ reign came in 1992 when the club managed to win a Yorkshire Cup after an almost 30 year drought. Wakefield missed out on a place in the Super League when it was introduced in 1996. By now Topliss had stepped down, Andy Kelly was coach in 1998 and he led the team to a victory in the Division One Grand Final, which entitled the Church-side-gone-pro, to a place back in the top flight. From now on the club would be known as Wakefield Trinity Wildcats. The beginning of the 21st century was remarkably as quiet as the beginning of the 20th for Wakefield. Their first major achievement came in 2002 when the club finished in 6th, it was their first ever play-off qualifying position. Wakefield’s biggest rivals have to be Castleford Tigers and it just so happened that the fixture between the two enemies would result in relegation for the loser in 2006. The Wildcats had one last chance to salvage their Super League status in the final game of the season. The two teams were bottom of the league (excluding Catalan Dragons who were exempt from relegation that season) and whoever won the game would be Super League survivors. The game finished 29-17 to Wakefield and is remembered by all as “The Battle of Belle Vue.” With the new licensing system in place by 2008, Wakefield were granted a three year Super League license. 2009 welcomed the club’s highest finishing position of the noughties (5th – 32 points) in a decade that proved to be tough to crack. The club fought the local council for the opportunity to build a new stadium towards the end of the decade and finally got the green light to start construction in 2010.