WITHOUT an owner, Super League clubs would basically be unable to exist.
There to bankroll and oversee how their finances are spent, there are some Super League owners who have been in place for decades whilst others are more recent.
Here are all 12 Super League owners, ranked in the order of longevity at their respective clubs.
12. Salford Red Devils – Fan consortium – 4 years
The shortest ownership of any Super League side is at Salford Red Devils where a fan consortium took over from Dr Marwan Koukash back in 2018. The new not-for-profit holding company, Salford RD Holdings, took control of the club with members including Andrew Rosler, owner of Ideal Corporate Solutions Limited, Asif Latief, marketing director at A-Plant.
11. Castleford Tigers – Ian Fulton – 7 years
Ian Fulton took over from his father Jack, who had bankrolled Castleford since the early 1990s, following the latter’s sad passing in 2015. The Fultons had sold their food business – Fulton’s Foods which they founded in the 1960s – in 1997.
10. Leigh Leopards – Derek Beaumont – 8 years
One of rugby league’s greatest characters, Derek Beaumont took over as Leigh owner in June 2014 after being involved in the club as head of rugby. Since 1999, however, Beaumont has been the owner and managing director of AB Sundecks.
9. Wakefield Trinity – Michael Carter – 9 years
Joining Wakefield Trinity back in 2013, Michael Carter is actually a qualified accountant having enjoyed roles as Deputy Managing Director for bus operators Yorkshire Traction Group before they were sold to Stage Coach Group in 2005. Can be credited with putting Trinity on a sound financial footing.
8. Hull FC – Adam Pearson – 11 years
Despite his lengthy experience in football, Adam Pearson began his career in retail management and as a merchandiser for Marks & Spencers in the 1980s, before becoming a Commercial Director at Bairdwear PLC in 1990. From there, Pearson became involved in Leeds United then Hull City as well as Derby County before taking over Hull FC in 2011.
7. Wigan Warriors – Ian Lenagan – 15 years
Ian Lenagan became the new owner of the Wigan Warriors back in 2007, but he is a name well-known in other industries. In 1985, he set up his own business, Workplace Systems in Milton Keynes, to develop and supply software products for workforce management before selling it in 2011. Alongside that, Lenagan has also been involved in Harlequins RL and football side Oxford United and even has 30 theatre productions to his name.
6. Hull KR – Neil Hudgell – 18 years
If Neil Hudgell’s sale of Hull KR had gone through in 2021, then this order may have been different. However, Hudgell did a u-turn to continue as Rovers’ owner – a role he took on back in 2004 after making his money as a solicitor and owner of Neil Hudgell Solicitors.
5. Warrington Wolves – Simon Moran – 19 years
Simon Moran perhaps has the most exotic role outside of rugby league, being the managing director of SJM Concerts and director of the Academy Music Group of venues. As a concert promoter, Moran took over Warrington Wolves in 2003.
4. Catalans Dragons – Bernard Guasch – 21 years
Nicknamed ‘Bernard the Butcher’, Bernard Guasch owns a meat processing company and has been chief executive and owner of Catalans Dragons since their creation in 2001.
2. Huddersfield Giants – Ken Davy – 22 years
Coming in as Huddersfield’s backer in 1996, Ken Davy is one of the household names of Super League. From photography to insurance, Davy carved out a number of careers in his early life but has since become a stable figure in the Giants’ top flight status.
2. St Helens – Eamonn McManus – 22 years
Another long-term benefactor, Eamonn McManus boasts a career like few others. From reading law at Cambridge University to becoming a solicitor, from being an investment banker in Hong Kong to being involved in China’s privatisation programme in the 1990s, McManus returned to England in 2000 when he became a major investor in St Helens.
1. Leeds Rhinos – Paul Caddick and Gary Hetherington – 26 years
What a ride it’s been in those 26 years for Paul Caddick and Gary Hetherington. Whilst Caddick made his name in the civil engineering and building business, Hetherington played rugby league before founding Sheffield Eagles. The two have enjoyed incredible success ever since 1996.