Owner Beaumont set to leave as Leigh player exodus begins

Leigh owner Derek Beaumont says his position as owner of the club has become untenable in the likelihood that they fail to reach the Championship top four.

A disastrous start to the season, which resulted in the departure of coach Neil Jukes, left the Centurions with a mountain to climb to reach The Qualifiers, and despite a fine effort under the stewardship of Kieron Purtill, they are set to fall short.

They require a slip up by Toulouse (at home to Dewsbury), London (away at Barrow) or Halifax (home to Rochdale) and then to win over Sheffield to make the top four.

With the transfer deadline this Friday, news of a player exodus has seen several Super League clubs come in for players.

Bodene Thompson has already signed for Warrington, Craig Hall and Harrison Hansen are heavily linked with Widnes and Peter Matau’tia is interesting both Castleford and St Helens.

They are unlikely to be the only departures.

In a statement, Beaumont said: “It was with a heavy heart and tear in my eye that the realisation sunk in that we would not make the Qualifiers.

“I have said publicly on numerous occasions and privately to the group that my position as owner of the club would become untenable should that happen.

“The club will receive circa £200k in 2019 from £1.25m this year and circa £1.7m in 2017 and that is a drop too far to sustain the club in its current form.

“To that end I must act in the best interests of the club’s ability to survive going forward and in the short term to fulfil this season’s fixtures and also to reduce its commitments to make it more attractive to any party that may express an interest in taking it forward.

“This week is deadline week and therefore an ideal opportunity for players to be able to secure their futures elsewhere and at the same time reduce the club’s obligations. I can confirm there will be a large number of exits and that may bring some opportunities for others but that will be ongoing this week right up until deadline.

“I am committed to ensuring the club reaches the end of the season and hope during that time a new investor or group of investors can be attracted to take the club forward.

“I will be making a more detailed statement at the beginning of next week and until then will not be in a position to comment further. I apologise to our loyal fans and sponsors for this failing which ultimately has to rest with me.”

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