Castleford Tigers – A Fan’s View

Continuing our fan’s view series, I spoke to Pontefract resident Mark Fullilove. Mark, 19, is a customer service assistant and full-time student.nnHow do you think the RFL will view your bid?nI think they’ll judge us on our current situation. They need to start looking beyond the Castleford, historical, rugby league town front and look at what we have to offer right here right now. We have the scope to become a successful top six side, and hopefully this is reflected in our hard work going into retaining our top youngsters. They will the see The Jungle as an unfit arena to play in, but hopefully the progression of the new stadium will persuade them enough to give us the first three years, with our situation coming under intense scrutiny in 2011, for the 2012 franchises. They need to look at all the issues and not just the forefront. nnWhy do you think Castleford should be included?nA lot is said on history. History while somewhat irrelevant to the process, shows what Castleford can be capable of. Currently we have a young side, with several youngsters from our own academy. We have a superb fanbase, reflected in the fact we’re currently on course for our best average attendance in the Super League era and our field marketing, community links and promotion of the club is superb. Craig Poskitt, our commercial manager, has worked very hard on ensuring we have got good sponsorship for the club, and that is likely to open more income streams for top signings in the future. I’d like to think that with three years immunity we can rebuild the side that has been severely dismantled from our two relegations, and with it we could flourish as a side. Castleford are good for Super League, as shown by several fans from other clubs commenting on how much they enjoy playing Cas. It would be a crying shame if we’re kicked out on the basis of our stadium, but whatever happens, happens.nnWhat will Castleford will add to Super League?nGood youth development, significant home crowds, decent away followings, competitivity, hopefully a new stadium. A lot of people have a good right to question whether or not we can be better than we’ve shown this season, but hopefully it will all be different next season and we can start proving people wrong.nnWhat do you think of the other teams’ bids?nI’m not privy to the other teams’ bids, and would not care to guess. I’d say that all clubs have made a very good case for themselves, and it’ll be upto the RFL whether those clubs are worthy of a top flight place. Everybody has their own opinions on other clubs, especially in a close knit rivalry such as ourselves with Wakefield. Both clubs have their positives and both clubs deserve to be included; the negatives can be eradicated both in the short term and longer term.nnWho do you think the RFL will choose?nWho knows? The RFL have their heart set on developing rugby league in all areas so Celtic Crusaders will be considered, as will Toulouse. But I’d like to think that Celtics, while I’m sure they have some very valid reasons to be in Super League, are not included this time as it will enable them to become a stable National League club, promote the club more in South Wales, build up their youth structure and develop their stadium more, which will make them a much more appealing, attractive club, and one that would be hard to resist come 2011.nnSo on that basis I think it’ll be the current 12, as they offer stability, Salford and Widnes. nnWhat do you think will happen if you don’t get in? nThe club will lose a lot of fans, financially we’ll have to cut back and I think that we’ll be struggling to get out of the National Leagues come the next round of franchises. One season is OK for us, but three years would see a massive cut back in all aspects of the club, which would be disappointing. nnDo you agree with the whole process?nI do and I don’t. I think it gives clubs chance to show what they are truly capable of. Promoted sides never really got a chance to show that, so you only have to look at what it brings about – Hull KR developing as a side, Wakefield challenging for honours once more, clubs bringing through more youngsters; it’s really beneficial to all aspects of a rugby league side.nnBut it withdraws all competition from the bottom half, and once teams are out of the play-off picture, they are playing for nothing more than pride.nnWho would you like to see get a franchise?nBatley. No, seriously, the current twelve plus Salford and Widnes.nnFinney’s Final Thought: Castleford should be in, in my view, Super League next year. The only risk I see is if the RFL feel Widnes, Salford and Celtic warrant a place. Then it’ll be a two-way battle between Castleford and Wakefield. Can you imagine Wakefield not getting a place a week before their semi-final. But the RFL may see Cas as the easy target. They have struggled in the league this year and failed to invest in their squad as the threat of relegation has been removed. But nobody can argue with their commitment to bringing through local youth.nnkevin.finney@lasttackle.com

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