Leigh Centurions can confirm it has been successful in its application to be the 12th Betfred Super League club in 2021 after an announcement live on Sky Sports by the chair of the Panel Lord Jonathan Caine, nervously watched by the operational board who congregated with other members of the club and LSV staff in the banqueting suite at Leigh Sports Village.
Club Owner Derek Beaumont said: “I would like to thank Lord Jonathan Caine and the six members of the panel for their dedication to this process and the robust manner in which they have approached this. I always had complete faith that they would provide a fair and independent review with the best interests of the sport their sole objective.
“I would also like to express my condolences to the five other clubs who have been unsuccessful and spare a thought for how that must feel after the dedication and commitment they have all shown in making their own applications. It’s a shame only one club could be successful, but I have no doubt it will have been a positive experience undergoing the process as it has been for our club. One thing the process has clearly demonstrated is just what quality exists within the Betfred Championship and how competitive it will be next year.”
“I would like to dedicate this fantastic success to our loyal sponsors and season ticket holders who showed outstanding loyalty to the club by returning their refunds of their purchases as donations to the playing budget. This enabled us to have already put in place a fantastic squad prior to the announcement of the opportunity to apply for the 12th place in Super League and I believe played a significant part in the decision process.
“I would like to thank our fantastic supporters Lord Peter Smith, Andy Burnham, James Grundy MP, David Molyneux and Becca Heron for their letters of support which set the tone for our application document. I would also like to place on record how vitally important Leigh Sports Village and in particular Simon Toon were to the application and its success. The Leigh Sports Village is, in my opinion, unrivalled in the game and we are extremely privileged to receive the support that we do from them and their vast resources that produce an incredible playing surface. I know they will be delighted to see the stadium again used for what it was originally built.”
Mr Beaumont added: “The biggest single factor in the success of the application was the unique team effort of the operational board and all departments of the club and its partners, pulling together tirelessly with a united approach and ‘can do, will do’ mentality to deliver the various components that made up the 430-page document that will no doubt become a historical document looked back on over many years. I would like to pay particular respect to Neil Jukes for his managing of collating the information and implementing the planned structure towards achieving this.
“The fantastic commercial work of Jason Huyton and Aaron Adams, delivering the 2021 sponsors ahead of the application and all the information ready to hand and Steve Hill, sourcing the letters of support and his contribution to the sales and marketing plan. I personally and the club as a whole are extremely fortunate to have the wide and varying skills of Mike Latham whose financial skills and knowledge were a massive contribution along with his meticulous attention to detail, ensuring the live and moving document was accurate in detail. Words cannot describe how important he is to our club.
“The efforts of Hannah Forbes, Steve Openshaw and Adam Scotson, working hard on the video which was a valuable part of the application and a massive thanks to the voice of rugby league, Eddie Hemmings for his endorsement of the club’s application and provision of his talents free of charge, a great idea from Neil Jukes that he then delivered on.
“I would like to save my biggest accolade for my amazing wife Laura who not only completely supports everything I do and put up with me devoting all my time, effort and energy to this application but was the single person who effortlessly devoted herself to designing and producing the document day and night, whilst also being a fantastic mum to our children. It simply would not have been what it was without her skills and driven commitment to produce it on time for Collins and Darwell, whom I must also express gratitude towards for their willingness to produce perfect bound printed copies within twenty- four hours to have them ready for delivery to the panel and the marketing for the launch.
“The application didn’t stop with the document and the video. It was a planned campaign to deliver at least one positive message a day and I must thank Andrew Parkinson and Mark Taylor for their dedication to this, irrespective of the time of day or night. This is a memorable day in our history and an extremely proud moment for the whole ‘Famileigh.’ The overriding factor that is most evident from all of this is just how great this club is.
“Such a document cannot be produced without the information already existing and the skill sets and resources being available within. It clearly demonstrated in its very own existence that Leigh Centurions are Super League ready. The players, coaches and backroom staff now have the even bigger job of delivering on our hard work which has merely set the platform for them on which to perform and I have every confidence they will do us proud when the Super League season starts and I just can’t wait to watch it all unfold.”
Leigh Centurions will hold a press conference by Zoom at 2pm with Derek Beaumont, Mike Latham, John Duffy, Neil Jukes, Joe Mellor, Liam Hood and Ben Flower. The conference will be chaired by Mike Latham. Any members of the press wishing to join the meeting should contact press officer Mark Taylor through the usual channels for the details of the meeting.