Kieron Purtill signs new Widnes deal

Widnes Vikings head coach Kieron Purtill has signed a new one-year deal with the club.

The former Leigh coach joined the club at the start of the season and has guided them through a turbulent year following off-field issues, which saw them enter administration and docked 12 league points.

As a result, Widnes will go part-time next year, which cast doubts over Purtill’s future with the club.

However, it’s believed Purtill will remain full-time at the club next year as he oversees a rebuild at the club.

“We’ve got a big rebuild on our hands,” he said.

“The last 12 months has been a testing one for everyone involved with the club, but I think the silver lining that has occurred through all of this is the support that the fans and sponsors have given us over that period. In testing times, it can sometimes bring the best out of people, and that is certainly the case here and I’m excited to be a part of it.

“For me, that is something that is very encouraging moving forward. If you put that together with the amount of young players we’ve brought through, the future of the club looks bright. From next year, we can reset and start a brand new future for the club.

“I’ve built an affinity with this place. Since I’ve arrived, the fans have been superb with me, both on match days and on social media. What I personally witnessed during administration, and I’m seeing people turning up with their pocket money, it certainly touches on your heartstrings.

“We’ve got some unfinished business here and we need to put the club back where it belongs, which is to get eventually to get back into Super League and challenging for trophies.”

This year he will see out the challenge of keeping Widnes in the Championship after getting drawn into a relegation battle.

The Vikings are currently three points clear of safety while they play in the 1895 Cup semi-final against Leigh on Sunday.

Beyond this season, he will have to piece together a new squad as they prepare for a big overhaul ahead of their move to part-time status.

“The club moving part-time is a different challenge, and whilst it closes doors for some, it opens up opportunities for different players that might not have been available to us previously.

“Everyone has seen this year that just because you’re part-time, it doesn’t make you inferior to your opponents or be ‘less fit’ or unable to compete. But as we’ve found out, the Championship is a competitive league, with excellent players, and I think people should be excited about the next step of Widnes Vikings.

“It’s massively important for us now that despite the rebuild getting underway for next year, we need to focus on this year and get those wins to stay away from the bottom two. We’ve battled adversity all year, and still doing so, and we’re fully confident of finishing in style. We need the fans and everyone connected with the club to continue their support from here on in, as we’re still a bit away from where we want to be as a club.”