BEING a Super League owner is not just about ploughing in your money and hoping that everything will be ok.
It takes consistent investment alongside a workable plan and structure for that money to have a positive impact.
For some previous owners, patience is a word that has perhaps been missing from their vocabulary.
Here are five rich Super League owners that have come and gone over time.
Richard Branson – London Broncos
Looking back now, it seems almost incredible that Richard Branson was once the majority shareholder of the London Broncos in the late 1990s. Owner of Virgin Airways, Branson’s takeover certainly put the capital club on the map, but a Wembley appearance in 1999 was as far as the business magnate came to overseeing silverware success. Speculation that Branson was going to merge clubs to form York Wasps in August 2001 was the first indication that the rich Brit wasn’t about to stay in rugby league for long. Then, in 2002, Branson ended up selling his majority stake to David Hughes – who has been at the helm ever since.
Feisal Nahaboo – Castleford Tigers and Featherstone Rovers
At the turn of the 2010s, there was a time when the Castleford Tigers were in dire need of financial help given their two relegations in three seasons during the mid-2000s. Along came PROBIZ creator Feisal Nahaboo who became the major sponsor of the West Yorkshire club in 2010. The Jungle became the PROBIZ Coliseum as Nahaboo supported Castleford’s quest for a new stadium. Unfortunately, his promises fell flat – as did those he made to local rivals Featherstone Rovers and by 2014, Nahaboo had exited the sport.
Omar Khan – Bradford Bulls
There has perhaps never been a downfall as big as the one suffered by the Bradford Bulls during the 2010s. The multiple Challenge Cup and Grand Final titles mattered little as the West Yorkshire club entered administration in 2012. Bradford’s financial outlook looked bleak with Bradford Bulls Holding Limited being sold to OK Bulls Limited, headed by restauranteur Omar Khan. The businessman failed to turn the club’s fortunes around and had to admit that the Bulls were in the midst of another financial crisis in July 2013 with players not being paid on time. Khan resigned in September of that year after suffering from ill health.
Dr Marwan Koukash – Salford Red Devils
He came in like a bat out of hell but Dr Marwan Koukash’s reign as Salford owner lasted just five years before the Palestine-born billionaire sold his stake to a fans’ consortium. The racehorse owner saved the club from financial collapse in 2013 before rebranding them from City Reds to Red Devils. In his five years as owner, Koukash failed to inspire trophy success, but he did wipe out all debt owed to him by the club after departing. It certainly was an interesting time to be a Salford fan, though good times have returned to the AJ Bell Stadium since then.
David Argyle – Toronto Wolfpack
The most recent wealthy rugby league owner to exit the sport is David Argyle. Part of the original consortium that led the Toronto Wolfpack charge that began in 2017, he oversaw an instant impact in the British game. However, in June 2019, Argyle resigned as the club’s chairman and chief executive after an accusation of racism when Swinton Lions came to the Lamport Stadium. Argyle had also accumulated numerous debts in his time at the Canadian side and has been accused of not paying players since June 2019.