Wakefield Trinity CEO Michael Carter will soon vacate his position after a decade in the job, but following confirmation of their relegation last night, he’s urged supporters to stick by the club as they try and bounce back at the first time of asking.
It was confirmed earlier in the year that Carter would step down from his role by the end of the 2023 season. He’s also the majority shareholder at the club, and rumours have intensified over the last few months that Trinity will be under new ownership sooner rather than later.
That remains to be seen, but what is now known for sure is that the club won’t be a Super League outfit in 2024. Their relegation was confirmed with a golden point extra time defeat to Leigh Leopards last night, going down 20-19 to make it mathematically impossible to catch Castleford Tigers on the ladder.
The Belle Vue outfit will bow out of the top flight, and end a 25-year stay amongst the elite, with a home game against Hull KR next Friday night. Speaking after the defeat to Leigh, Carter made clear the club’s ambitions of an immediate return.
Outgoing Wakefield CEO delivers message to club’s fans: ‘You’ve got to stick with us’
Speaking to Sky Sports pundit Jon Wells post-match at the Leigh Sports Village, Carter said: “We’ve got a chance now to reset. We’ve got to build on, I think, players that want to play for the club.
“They’ve shown tonight that they want to pull that shirt on and make the club proud, so this does give us a chance to reset. We’ve got to build a team around those lads that have played tonight and ultimately get the fans to stick with us because looking at the IMG route back to Super League, fandom is a massive part of that.
“Our hardcore, you’ve got to stick with us. We’ll be sticking together, we’ll be re-building and there’ll be plenty of announcements over the next couple of weeks.
“I think we’ve got about 18/19 already committed for next year. Obviously some will fall by the wayside as well, that’s just the nature of the sport that we’re in at this moment in time.
“We’re determined to build a side, a team, and a squad that will make Wakefield Trinity proud next year and bounce back at the first attempt.”
Trinity chief looking forward to what the future holds
Wakefield have flirted with relegation numerous times over the years, always managing to find a way out of the holes they’d dug themselves into.
Four wins in six between June and July this year looked to have built them the platform to do the same, but a crushing defeat to Castleford on home soil last month stopped the momentum, and Trinity haven’t registered a win since.
Their demotion to the second tier comes in a year which has seen investment into the infrastructure at Belle Vue, which Carter still sees as a positive, reflecting fondly on the time he’s spent in charge of the club.
He added: “We’re not too far off opening the whole development now. Nobody could have envisaged how hard it’s been to work round a building site for over a year, that’s been a real battle that we’ve had to go on with, but it’s nearly finished.
“It looks great and it’ll be a great facility for next year and the years beyond. Tonight’s ultimately disappointing, but over the 10 years I’m just really proud.
“I’m proud of the staff, the volunteers, the players that we’ve had. I’ve had a great reception from the vast, vast majority of fans, and I’m looking forward to going back to being a volunteer and a fan, just enjoying rugby league again.”