Leigh owner Derek Beaumont has hit back at Simon Grix’s comments about the 1895 Cup.
Beaumont, whose company, AB Sundecks, is the title sponsor of the competition, says the concept has great merits.
Speaking to League Express, Halifax coach Grix described his side’s defeat to Sheffield as a ‘borderline Mickey Mouse game’.
His comments have frustrated Beaumont, who said: “I am very disappointed at Simon’s comments. Perhaps they are a little naive given his inexperience starting out as a coach. To refer to the competition as ‘Mickey Mouse’ is insulting to the sport, the title sponsor, the broadcast partner and the governing body, not to mention the clubs taking part and their passionate fans.
“I would imagine on reflection he will perhaps regret those comments or at least I hope he would.
“Like others at first I was disappointed the final would be played after the Coral Challenge Cup Final but having digested it I think it works better. If the game was before I believe most of the fans attending the Challenge Cup Final would still be enjoying the build-up to their final in the pubs in and around Wembley and would likely watch the game with one eye on the BBC.
“Whereas after the Challenge Cup Final fans are already in the stadium and I believe there is more chance of them staying.
“The AB Sundecks 1895 Cup Final has the potential to swell the Wembley crowd for the whole event, attracting two teams’ sets of fans on top of the Challenge Cup finalists’ fans.
“Clubs have to do what is best for their own position and Simon is fortunate enough to have deservedly led his team to the semi-final of the Challenge Cup which would also impact on his decision.
“But to ridicule it for other clubs taking it seriously is disappointing and poor from him.
“I would be proud leading a team out at Wembley to play tiddly winks so to have the potential chance to do so in a game of Rugby League I find highly motivating at any level.
“This concept makes the unthinkable dream a real prospect to so many that contribute so much to the Rugby League family and the RFL should be applauded for this, not ridiculed.
“One thing is for sure, irrespective of Leigh Centurions’ progression to Wembley I shall be there enjoying and applauding the two teams that contest the inaugural 1895 AB Sundecks Cup Final, one I hope will be the first of many to come.”