Workington coach Chris Thorman has a long-term ambition of taking the Cumbrian club back to Super League.
The 40-year-old was appointed Workington head coach in 2019 after spending six years in the coaching ranks at Huddersfield, and recently committed his long-term future to Town by signing a new deal that will keep him at the club until at least the end of 2024.
Thorman believes there is “unfulfilled potential” at Workington and sees a big future for the region of Cumbria in Super League.
Speaking on The Final Hooter podcast, Thorman said: “In terms of family and work balance, this club is absolutely the right fit for me right now. I think the people at the club realise that and that is probably why I got the four-year deal. It just feels right and there is just a synergy.
“It is a full-time contract and that’s because the ultimate goal of this club and team has to be that we are a full-time Super League club.
“I don’t say that lightly, there is a lot of hard work to be done before we get to that but I’m not here to come second. I’m not here to languish in League 1, I’m here to be a consistent Championship club and eventually reach for higher than that.
“When I came to Workington I saw unfulfilled potential. I hate using the word ‘potential’ but I know there is a rich history at Workington, there has been bygone eras at the club and there has been multiple Great Britain internationals who have played for Workington and the club has won multiple championships.
“Even though I’m a Geordie, I’m a bit of a rugby league nerd and I remember Workington in Super League in the mid-90s and that’s probably where they fell off the rails a little bit after that. I honestly see that this club and Cumbria in general should have a Super League club.”
Thorman admitted he initially envisaged return to Super League as an assistant coach following his spell with Workington, but he now wants to take Workington back to the top as part of his long-term strategy.
The Geordie has assembled a predominantly Cumbrian squad at Workington for this League 1 season, and believes a winning team can boost attendance figures at Derwent Park.
He added: “Look at the three professional clubs in Cumbria and the rich history that they all have. Look at the attendances they got in the most recent World Cup in England… they were sell-outs. The majority of those people who attended those games were local people.
THORMAN: The Geordie that went to the NRL
“It is a big ‘if’ but if it is the main factor, then you need a winning team. I won’t beat around the bush, you need to be successful on the field and that was the first thing I took on board when I arrived.
“We have to be successful and the history of the club is there but it just needs to be tapped into a little bit more and we need to make this club the most attractive proposition to young kids from a Cumbrian perspective.
“You’ve got Barrow, Whitehaven and Workington… you’ve got a catchment area, fanbase, there is a whole number things to consider but I honestly believe with what I’ve experienced in my time at Workington that we can be really successful.
“There is a new stadium on the horizon and the board allowed me to build the squad with a bit of thought put into it. Rather than just spending money that we didn’t have on travelling players that didn’t really want to come, I’m trying to do it the right way and have the squad predominantly Cumbrian and that is how the squad looks now.”