Catalans owner Bernard Guasch has been compared to a doting parent who cannot say ‘no’ to his children at Christmas.
On top of paying the usual bills without revenue from crowds, Guasch has been chartering a flight to enable the team to fulfil their fixtures in England, at a cost of around £50,000 a time.
Dragons coach Steve McNamara paid tribute to his boss at a press conference ahead of Friday’s Super League play-off semi-final against St Helens.
“Because we’re flying on his private jet every week, everyone thinks he’s got loads of money but he can’t afford it,” McNamara said. “As a club we can’t afford what we’re doing.
“It’s probably like at Christmas when your kids really want a toy and you can’t really afford it but you find a way.
“You find a way to make your kids happy and to have a great Christmas, and I feel he’s done that with us.”
Under Guasch and McNamara, the Catalans made history in 2018 by becoming the first overseas club to win the Challenge Cup – they went on to parade the trophy at the Nou Camp – and the former England coach says interest in the club rocketed after their play-off win over Leeds last Friday.
“We’ve had a really good response in Perpignan this week,” McNamara said. “They’re very proud, it’s only our third-ever major semi-final.
“I think the biggest feedback was on Bernard’s phone in the dressing room after the match, it wouldn’t stop beeping.
“He’s very popular in this area because of his support for the club and the amount of messages and phone calls from partners and sponsors and supporters was incredible.”
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