His place in Challenge Cup folklore is already assured but Wakefield coach John Kear has revealed he has extra incentive to taste Wembley glory with the Wildcats this year.
Kear masterminded one of the biggest upsets in British sporting history when he plotted Sheffield Eagles’ shock victory over all-conquering Wigan in the 1998 Challenge Cup Final at Wembley and was at the helm at Hull FC when the Airlie Birds defeated Leeds Rhinos at Cardiff in 2005.
However Kear believes victory in this year’s Carnegie Challenge Cup Final at Wembley on Saturday August 28 could provide his most important legacy – by securing Wakefield’s future as an Engage Super League club.
This summer the RFL will begin in earnest the process of evaluating which clubs will be awarded three-year Super League licences from 2012 and Kear is acutely aware that a Wembley triumph will do the Wildcats’ prospects no harm at all.
“The more success a club has the better chance it has of being offered a new licence,” said Kear, who led Wakefield to the semi-final stages in 2008, when they lost to Hull.
“If we reached Wembley this year it would be very hard for the powers-that-be to ignore our claims.
“The Wakefield folk have been through some tough times and I’d love to win the Cup for the Wildcats.
“Every team has one eye on the Challenge Cup more so these days because there are so few trophies to target.
“A Challenge Cup victory puts a club down in the history books but the renewing of the licences certainly gives us an extra incentive this year.”
William Hill, the RFL’s official betting partner, have the Wildcats are 25-1 to lift the trophy this year and though Harlequins are quoted at 66-1, Kear is taking nothing for granted.
“I know all about Cup upsets,” said Kear. “Sheffield’s win over Wigan in 1998 was the highlight of my sporting career.
“We were going to Wembley to make up the numbers and were just the pre-cursor for another Wigan Cup celebration but we spoiled their party.
“That day will never be matched in my career or any of the players or staff involved.”