Five Super League owners that have had the biggest impact on rugby league

TO be an owner of a Super League club is a massive honour as well as a massive pressure cooker.

As well as being responsible for keeping a club afloat, owners are often tasked with doing so in the knowledge that they will make little to no money out of their investment.

With that being said, who are the five Super League owners that have had the biggest impact on rugby league?

Dr Marwan Koukash – Salford Red Devils

Though Dr Marwan Koukash is no longer at the helm of the Salford Red Devils, his impact is still being felt around the game. A Palestine-born racehorse owner, Koukash rescued Salford from potential collapse in 2013 and became an outspoken figure within rugby league in the five years he was at the club. He rebranded the City Reds to become the Red Devils but failed to see a return on his investment. That being said, Kukash did wipe out all the debt owed to him by the club after leaving before selling his stake to a fans’ consortium.

Simon Moran – Warrington Wolves

The managing director of SJM Concerts and director of the Academy Music Group, Simon Moran became owner of the Warrington Wolves back in 2003. At that time, the Cheshire club was struggling on and off the field, but Moran has ploughed enough time and money in to oversee Warrington win trophies – including four Challenge Cups (2009, 2010, 2012 and 2019) as well as two League Leaders’ Shields (2011 and 2016). Not only has Moran been key in on-field investment, but the music mogul oversaw Warrington’s move to the Halliwell Jones Stadium in 2004 – a move that has seen the club host numerous finals and international games.

Eamonn McManus – St Helens

24 years later and Eamonn McManus is still owner of St Helens. Taking over in 1999, McManus has provided Saints with major investment as well as delivering a brand new stadium which, like Warrington, has seen the Merseyside club host various international and domestic fixtures over the years. There can be no disputing McManus’ role in Saints’ rise to the top of rugby league with the club winning seven Super League titles, five Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges in his time as chairman and owner.

Gary Hetherington – Leeds Rhinos

Arguably the most important owner over the Super League period, the achievements which Gary Hetherington has overseen as Leeds owner are incredible. After founding Sheffield Eagles in 1982, Hetherington joined Leeds in 1997, rebranding the club as ‘Rhinos’ for the summer game. In his time at Leeds, the club has won eight Super League Grand Finals, four Challenge Cups and three World Club Challenges, making Hetherington the most successful owner in the modern era. As well as overseeing such success on the field, the ex-Sheffield man also proved key in the incredible redevelopment of Headingley.

Derek Beaumont – Leigh Leopards

It was difficult to choose the fifth Super League owner with Catalans Dragons chief Bernard Guasch integral to the French side’s quest to the top of Super League whilst Ian Lenagan’s departure from Wigan Warriors has seen the Lancashire club going under a different direction with Mike Danson. But, Derek Beaumont makes it on to this list – and rightly so. Beaumont has been owner of Leigh since 2014 and has witnessed a rollercoaster ride during that time. His bankrolling of the club saw them promoted to Super League with ease in 2022 whilst his rebrand from Centurions to Leopards made quite the impression as Leigh won the Challenge Cup in 2023.

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