CASTLEFORD fan turned Cas boss Steve Ferres has declared his aim to make the Tigers the best community club in the game following his appointment as chief executive at the weekend.
Ferres (pictured) has taken over from Richard Wright, who remains as a director, and in his first day in the job admitted it was allowing him to fulfil an ambition to be involved with his hometown team.
Although he has not had any involvement with Castleford since he was a teenager, the vastly experienced rugby league man knows all about the club, having been a childhood fan who stood on the terraces long before he went on to have a successful career as a player, coach and latterly as an administrator, with spells as chief executive at Wakefield and York.
For the past three years he has been part of an RFL taskforce offering guidance and support to clubs in the top three divisions, but he has missed the regular club involvement and jumped at the chance to take on the new role with the Tigers.
He said: “Castleford wanted to appoint someone quickly and the job suits me. I wanted to get back in at club level and I’m happy to be here.
“Going out of the game working with the RFL you miss the weekend part of the game. I miss the game day sort of involvement and the lead up to game day. I’m really looking forward to the work ahead with Castleford.
“It’s a bit early yet for me to say I will do this or that, but I’ll be looking at all the issues, including the playing side and hopefully giving Ian a bit of help with the football side of things.
“There’s always a lot to do in this job. Richard’s left after 15 years and he put some hours in, it was not just a nine to five job. It’s been a fantastic effort from him and I’m committed to the cause now. Hopefully we can move Castleford into the position they deserve to be.”
“In my opinion Castleford is the best supported club, not in terms in crowd numbers, but in terms of people per capita.
“We want to develop the community side of things and make us a stronger community club. That is where the club needs to go and it’s where the club could improve.
“Castleford hasn’t got a pro club other than the Tigers. It is the heart of Castleford and speaking to people you can just see the passion that people have got for the game.
“Having been brought up in the area myself I know what it means. Years ago I used to come and watch people like Alan Hardisty, Keith Hepworth and Malcolm Reilly and they were inspirations for the youngsters. We’ve got to get back to that.
“It’s gone out of the game a little bit. We’ve got a lot of overseas signings and it’s so easy to dip into the pot and go somewhere else for players. But I believe we’ve got the talent in this area and it’s never gone.
“The Alan Hardistys, John Joyners and Malcolm Reillys of this world are still out there in Castleford. We’ve just need to unearth them, look after them, bring them through and keep them at the club.
“I hope it’s a strong youth structure already in place, but I will be doing a thorough investigation about how good it is, how good I need it to be. We need these Castleford kids brought up in the area to stay with us.
“I am delighted to take on this role and my passion for Cas has not waned down the years.”
As a player Ferres won two championship medals and a John Player Trophy with Bradford and won promotion with Carlisle, but his one regret was not playing at senior level for Castleford.
He added: “I played 16s here at Cas and the guy didn’t pick me in the team so I went to Leeds and got in their team. I didn’t sign with Leeds, but ended up signing on at 17 years of age with Bramley, who believe it or not at the time were a successful team.
“My passion was to play at Castleford, but I never got to play for them. I have always wanted to be involved with the club so this is a good opportunity to put something right that I’ve waited years for.
“I’d like my passion to come out on the field and with the supporters as well.
“The main thread is that I honestly believe that the answers to all our problems lie within the town and with the people of the town. We all need to sing off the same hymn sheet and let people know what we’re about it and how we’re going to do it.
“When my time in this role comes to an end I’d like Castleford to be unrivalled as the best community club in the game.
“Castleford has always been a club that is centred around its supporters and fans will be heavily involved throughout the process.”