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Chris Taylor

Michael Carter / Wakefield

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Source > https://www.totalrl.com/the-financial-predicament-of-running-a-super-league-club-in-2020-told-in-depth-by-michael-carter/

Just been reading this honest article by Michael Carter, courtesy of Martyn Sadler. Thanks for putting this together, Martyn it's a fascinating read. 

I've not seen a topic about this article on here and I hope you don't miss it, I think it's quite fascinating and I dread to think how many other key individuals are in the same position.

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2008 RFL Wakefield & District Young Volunteer of the Year

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12 minutes ago, WakefieldCityLoyal said:

Most will be in the same position a fair few will be in a worse position.

Up the Trin 

Very honest and open.

 

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https://www.totalrl.com/wakefield-winger-becomes-hermes-driver-and-may-leave-for-rugby-union-to-make-a-living/

Some players at Wakefield are struggling to make minimum wage, apparently.

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Sport, amongst other things, is a dream-world offering escape from harsh reality and the disturbing prospect of change.

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Without wanting to use Kershaw as an example, RL isn't a sport which has millions of pounds to throw at young players, so, what do we do as a sport? Spend money we haven't got on players on the fringe of the first team?

 

As he is the example though. we're talking about a player who had played, as the article says, six first team games, not a player with season after season of experience going to deliver parcels.

Edited by RigbyLuger
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5 minutes ago, scotchy1 said:

One or two really surprised me with their unwillingness to co-operate, given the dire straits we were in. That won’t be forgotten either!

https://www.totalrl.com/wakefield-winger-becomes-hermes-driver-and-may-leave-for-rugby-union-to-make-a-living/

Both from the same club. 

Both? who and what are both?

Up the Trin 

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There is just absolutely no vision in anything Carter says. No positivity, no creative solutions, no looking for growth opportunities. Just dour predictions and opportunities to cut anything and everything to the bone. 

And that's before COVID. 

You might call that realism, but that mindset comes with costs. 

There are people out there who haven't been impacted as adversely as I dare say the "typical" RL fan may have been. There are people out there who will have pent-up leisure money to spend. I'd be interested to hear what his plans are for appealing to those people and getting some of their dollar to replace the fans he is forecasting to lose, but I suspect he doesn't have one. 

Yes, guide the business through this period and yes, ensure that it survives. But the sun will rise again one day and it wouldn't kill him to talk about what he plans to do when it does. 

Edited by whatmichaelsays
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1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

There is just absolutely no vision in anything Carter says. No positivity, no creative solutions, no looking for growth opportunities. Just dour predictions and opportunities to cut anything and everything to the bone. 

And that's before COVID. 

You might call that realism, but that mindset comes with costs. 

There are people out there who haven't been impacted as adversely as I dare say the "typical" RL fan may have been. There are people out there who will have pent-up leisure money to spend. I'd be interested to hear what his plans are for appealing to those people and getting some of their dollar to replace the fans he is forecasting to lose, but I suspect he doesn't have one. 

 

Do you have any suggestions? Because I can't think of many ways mysteriously previously unimagined new ways RL clubs can make money right now. People need to understand, as Carter and several other club owners have made very clear, this is about stemming the bleeding and aiming to work a way through to better times.

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1 hour ago, whatmichaelsays said:

There is just absolutely no vision in anything Carter says. No positivity, no creative solutions, no looking for growth opportunities. Just dour predictions and opportunities to cut anything and everything to the bone. 

And that's before COVID. 

Last time I was in Wakefield I overheard a man in a cafe pull out his wallet and say to his wife ‘We’re just having a cup of tea, love, I don’t want to break into this twenty pound note’.

Yorkshire! Yorkshire! Yorkshire!

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2 hours ago, whatmichaelsays said:

There is just absolutely no vision in anything Carter says. No positivity, no creative solutions, no looking for growth opportunities. Just dour predictions and opportunities to cut anything and everything to the bone. 

And that's before COVID. 

You might call that realism, but that mindset comes with costs. 

There are people out there who haven't been impacted as adversely as I dare say the "typical" RL fan may have been. There are people out there who will have pent-up leisure money to spend. I'd be interested to hear what his plans are for appealing to those people and getting some of their dollar to replace the fans he is forecasting to lose, but I suspect he doesn't have one. 

Yes, guide the business through this period and yes, ensure that it survives. But the sun will rise again one day and it wouldn't kill him to talk about what he plans to do when it does. 

As an accountant, his strengths clearly lie in prudence and surviving against the odds, which make him a perfect fit for Trinity. 

However, as far as growth goes, he has made great strides in the last 5 years (by Wakefield standards). Clearly he is risk averse and building carefully and slowly is better than a risky boom and bust. We are not Bradford. 

Many things have improved during his tenure. Merchandising is unrecognisable from pre-Carter days and is probably one of the best in the league. The club1873 lottery, to raise ring-fenced money for youth development, (although not his idea?) is bearing fruit and we are now more able to keep promising youngsters developed rather than use them as a source of income in desperate times. The Squad-builder fund has also been revived for first-team players. We were one of the first to return to an A team format. TrinityTV works well and is growing, (looking to do live feeds for season ticket holders where possible). The combined lottery and season ticket pre-buy scheme is an excellent scheme although take-up is still low it rewards the loyal fans. The number and quality of sponsors has grown year on year. Even the twitter-feed commentary is high quality. 

Inclusivity is also a strength of the club, one of the first to have women's, PDRL & LDRL teams. The community department also do excellent work in schools, fitness clubs and mental health. Michael Carter's vision for the club is as a focus and catalyst for community engagement in physical activity, as an asset and resource for the City.

The elephant in the room is obviously the not-fit-for-purpose 'stadium' and lack of ancillary and corporate facilities. The job of promoting the club to new and more diverse fans is truly limited by the lack of facilities. Non-match-day income is the key to future stability. Say it quietly but maybe once all this is over you will see some progress on that front. I hope Michael is still around at the club to reap the rewards of his hard work and perseverance.

The future is bright - the future is Trinity ?

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5 hours ago, Wholly Trinity said:

As an accountant, his strengths clearly lie in prudence and surviving against the odds, which make him a perfect fit for Trinity. 

However, as far as growth goes, he has made great strides in the last 5 years (by Wakefield standards). Clearly he is risk averse and building carefully and slowly is better than a risky boom and bust. We are not Bradford. 

Many things have improved during his tenure. Merchandising is unrecognisable from pre-Carter days and is probably one of the best in the league. The club1873 lottery, to raise ring-fenced money for youth development, (although not his idea?) is bearing fruit and we are now more able to keep promising youngsters developed rather than use them as a source of income in desperate times. The Squad-builder fund has also been revived for first-team players. We were one of the first to return to an A team format. TrinityTV works well and is growing, (looking to do live feeds for season ticket holders where possible). The combined lottery and season ticket pre-buy scheme is an excellent scheme although take-up is still low it rewards the loyal fans. The number and quality of sponsors has grown year on year. Even the twitter-feed commentary is high quality. 

Inclusivity is also a strength of the club, one of the first to have women's, PDRL & LDRL teams. The community department also do excellent work in schools, fitness clubs and mental health. Michael Carter's vision for the club is as a focus and catalyst for community engagement in physical activity, as an asset and resource for the City.

The elephant in the room is obviously the not-fit-for-purpose 'stadium' and lack of ancillary and corporate facilities. The job of promoting the club to new and more diverse fans is truly limited by the lack of facilities. Non-match-day income is the key to future stability. Say it quietly but maybe once all this is over you will see some progress on that front. I hope Michael is still around at the club to reap the rewards of his hard work and perseverance.

The future is bright - the future is Trinity ?

Really fair-minded post, that.

There’s no doubt Carter has steered the dreadnought into calmer waters but to be honest you could be describing a well-run Championship club.

The future can only be bright for Wakefield if you redevelop the atrocity that is Belle Vue or build a new ground. But does Carter really want to? Will there be the money?

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7 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

Last time I was in Wakefield I overheard a man in a cafe pull out his wallet and say to his wife ‘We’re just having a cup of tea, love, I don’t want to break into this twenty pound note’.

Yorkshire! Yorkshire! Yorkshire!

And I bet he still hasn’t. 

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4 hours ago, sweaty craiq said:

Typical RL mentality. We will be 300k light in Sky dosh, so let’s cut costs?

£300k short on Sky income, much more on crowd and other revenue.

Wakefield are a club with no sugar daddy - they break even or they die.

If Carter wasn't taking this sort of action it would be utter malpractice.

Edited by M j M
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Yesterday Salford Director Paul King wrote an open letter to Salford fans setting out the position. he said testing costs are the equivalent of a players annual salary. Salford have trimmed the budget as far as possible and has urged fans to buy virtual season tickets, squad builder membership and join the lottery.

All clubs are going to find it tough, especially as as soon as players start training the furlough payments end.

  

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6 hours ago, sweaty craiq said:

Typical RL mentality. We will be 300k light in Sky dosh, so let’s cut costs?

Of course your club's owner would never, ever dream of slashing costs and MC's unlikely to take his ball home and sulk when things don't go his way...... 

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1 hour ago, Man of Kent said:

Really fair-minded post, that.

There’s no doubt Carter has steered the dreadnought into calmer waters but to be honest you could be describing a well-run Championship club.

The future can only be bright for Wakefield if you redevelop the atrocity that is Belle Vue or build a new ground. But does Carter really want to? Will there be the money?

The money is the big thing. It's been fairly quiet on the method of financing the plans, which seem to be to develop the main east stand side first as an income generator. They now 'own' a fair bit of land on that side where the gym, superbowl and Wimpy used to be. It's been suggested that this will be developed for 'community facilities'.

Rumours are that the developer from the 'abandoned' Newmarket fiasco will cough up a significant chunk to get rid of any future actions, but the club's policy is always to say nothing until it's all cast in stone (or steel & concrete?) Also, 'other sources' are mooted, perhaps via a link up with a new non-league soccer club linked to a certain unpopular knight of the realm. We live in hope, but we know nothing.

There is no doubt Wakefield have been 'getting away with it' and have been riding their luck for pretty much all their tenure in SL, but it's not really their fault that there hasn't been a more viable club to replace them in 20 years. It says more about the state of the game in the northern hemisphere. They get grief for the state of the stadium, but it's not for want of trying and it's the club suffers more than anyone else from this lack of progress. 

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8 hours ago, M j M said:

Do you have any suggestions? Because I can't think of many ways mysteriously previously unimagined new ways RL clubs can make money right now. People need to understand, as Carter and several other club owners have made very clear, this is about stemming the bleeding and aiming to work a way through to better times.

As I said, his responsibility is rightly getting Wakefield through this particular period by focusing on the bottom line. In that respect, there are few people I'd rather have in charge of the club I support. But it wouldn't kill him to talk more positively about what he plans to do to at least maintain as much as he can on the top line. 

Yes, the next few years are going to be tough but a lot of the market research that I have seen (and I trust the methodology and sources) suggests that around 2/3rds of the population will either return to normal levels of spending or actually increase spending on leisure once lockdown measures are lifted - particuarly those younger audiences that spend a disproportionate amount of their income on leisure and are, coincidently, the audiences that we're told the sport needs to get better at attracting. There is a LOT of pent-up demand out there and when regulations allow, RL can cater to it. 

He talks as it dwindling crowds are an inevitability, but I don't think that it is inevitable. If I told my any of clients that they were going to sell less and there is nothing they could do about it, they wouldn't be my clients for much longer. 

There will be people out there with money to spend and there will be people out there looking for value for their money (note, that "value" doesn't mean "cheaper stuff") - Carter and RL in general should be talking up what he's doing to appeal to those people - not how deep the club is in the brown stuff if the fans ask for their legal entitlement. 

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2 minutes ago, Wholly Trinity said:

The money is the big thing. It's been fairly quiet on the method of financing the plans, which seem to be to develop the main east stand side first as an income generator. They now 'own' a fair bit of land on that side where the gym, superbowl and Wimpy used to be. It's been suggested that this will be developed for 'community facilities'.

Rumours are that the developer from the 'abandoned' Newmarket fiasco will cough up a significant chunk to get rid of any future actions, but the club's policy is always to say nothing until it's all cast in stone (or steel & concrete?) Also, 'other sources' are mooted, perhaps via a link up with a new non-league soccer club linked to a certain unpopular knight of the realm. We live in hope, but we know nothing.

There is no doubt Wakefield have been 'getting away with it' and have been riding their luck for pretty much all their tenure in SL, but it's not really their fault that there hasn't been a more viable club to replace them in 20 years. It says more about the state of the game in the northern hemisphere. They get grief for the state of the stadium, but it's not for want of trying and it's the club suffers more than anyone else from this lack of progress. 

I've certainly got some sympathy on the stadium front with Wakefield. They've been shafted by YorCourt and left pretty much between a rock and a hard place. 

I think some fans could also count their lucky stars that they got their stadiums in before the massive changes to the grocery sector that we saw around the 2008 recession. 

Would there be new stadiums in St Helens and Warrington had they been planned after Tesco made the decision to move away from the "hypermarket" business model? Quite possibly not. 

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2 hours ago, Man of Kent said:

 

There’s no doubt Carter has steered the dreadnought into calmer waters but to be honest you could be describing a well-run Championship club.

 

Its a fair point. Wakefield are basically Batley, Fev, Leigh, Fax and maybe a couple of others but with Sky money. Thats not a dig at Wakefield who are clearly surviving hand to mouth but more a dig at the game in general that despite having how ever many millions from Sky over the years they are really not streets ahead of many Championship teams and the same goes for a number of SL clubs.

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6 minutes ago, The Blues Ox said:

Its a fair point. Wakefield are basically Batley, Fev, Leigh, Fax and maybe a couple of others but with Sky money. Thats not a dig at Wakefield who are clearly surviving hand to mouth but more a dig at the game in general that despite having how ever many millions from Sky over the years they are really not streets ahead of many Championship teams and the same goes for a number of SL clubs.

Indeed. Wakefield have merely got themselves up to par for a full-time club.

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