CHIEF executive Steve Ferres has acknowledged that fans have become disillusioned with Castleford Tigers this season, but vowed to restore happier times at the club.
Following an in-depth appraisal of the Super League club’s current position and prospects for the 2013 season, Ferres has marked the end of his first month in the job by outlining plans to re-establish the Tigers as a Super League force.
The former RFL consultant and Wakefield Wildcats chief executive has conducted a review of every aspect of the business to understand what changes need to be implemented to reach the club’s ambitious aims.
Ferres said: “I’m afraid there is no way of sugar-coating the current situation.
“The club needs to change on a number of fronts and also requires significant investment in order to re-establish Castleford Tigers as a competitive force in Super League. At a minimum we need to be in a position where we are capable of spending the full salary cap.
“I would like to reassure everyone that we are working very hard with a number of high quality business people to map out and introduce these changes but the fans are absolutely central to its future success.
“This year we will be introducing a new membership scheme in line with the 2012-13 season ticket, which will offer a range of member benefits including discounts on official kit, offers from local businesses and more importantly, increased access to the board and players.
“It is a tall order, but we ultimately need 5,000 members signed up for next season if we want to stand any chance of improving the club’s performance both on and off the field, in the immediate term.
“We know we have the loyal fans out there, but we also know that they are becoming increasingly disillusioned as a result of the recent poor performances. This must change and with likes of new players such as Justin Carney, Michael Shenton, Lee Gilmour and Jake Webster, we expect them to bring a new vigour and enthusiasm to performances as well as professionalism to the club through their collective experience in the game.
“Fans must, however, be realistic - we are currently building a squad that will deliver competitive performances but without the necessary capital, we will continue to struggle to compete at the highest level.
“There are no quick fixes here but I want to implement a vision for the future which also puts investment in youth development and nurturing local talent at the centre of its ambitions – a community club that the Castleford community can be proud of.”
The development of a new stadium is central to the club’s continued success in Super League and Ferres’ appraisal has included getting to grips with the project’s progress.
He added: “It is very complex and one which relies on co-operation with and approval from a variety of individuals and organisations.
“We are operating in very difficult economic times and it is well documented that major food retailers such as those we are negotiating with are re-evaluating all their UK operations, which includes new projects like ours.
“Whilst I’m sure fans were hoping that more progress had been made, it is totally understandable given its complexity.
“Many people have put a lot of hard work in to the project so far and we intend to do our upmost to deliver what is an integral part of the club’s future. Rest assured as soon as we can communicate anything further we will do so.
“I would like to ask that Cas supporters keep the faith. We have some very capable people working behind the scenes to help me take this club forwards, but we all need to be positive and look beyond our current position to the promise of a better and brighter future.”