Widnes chief warns about attendances

Widnes chief executive James Rule has called for the people of Halton to get behind the club, after warning that current attendance levels are not good enough.

The Vikings beat Hull in front of 5541 people at the Stobart Stadium on Saturday, their second win in four games.

After finishing bottom of Super League last season, Widnes have recruited two big name signings in the shape of Kevin Brown, who made his debut at the weekend, and England international Gareth Hock, to help boost their fortunes both on and off the pitch.

Rule told the club’s official website: “Saturday night was a glowing endorsement for us as a Club. A fantastic on-field performance and an inspirational atmosphere generated by our passionate fans.

“The only disappointment of the evening was the level of attendance.

“A gate of just over 5,500 makes it very challenging for us to grow the club and indeed sustain it in the longer term.

“I’m very grateful for the passionate, committed and loyal fans that we have which equates to circa 5,000 regular attendees. However, the simple fact of life as a Super League Club is that we need greater crowds in order to grow. Without greater crowds we will not be able to retain our top stars and recruit more in the future.

“The RFL believes that in order for a club to be sustainable (a break even operation) they need to be generating an average attendance of 10,000 per game. Whilst that may be a difficult challenge for many Clubs and particularly for us in year two of this Super League journey, it has to be our aspiration and the reality is that average crowds of around 5,000 means our focus has to be on survival rather than growth and development.”

Widnes averaged crowds of just under 5800 in their first season back in the top flight, while in their previous four seasons in Super League between 2002 and 2005, they averaged more than 6000, peaking at just under 6800 in their relegation season.

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