“Super League is the end game here” – Anglian Vipers chairman Rob Humphries makes bold aim following League One application

ANGLIAN VIPERS chairman Rob Humphries has outlined Super League as the “end game” following the club’s application to join League One for 2025.

The Vipers, based in Wymondham, Norfolk, were a surprise inclusion in the list of three clubs that have applied to join rugby league’s third tier for next season, with Bedford Tigers and Goole Vikings the other two.

The men’s team was formed in 2022 and women’s team in 2023, with the men’s team finishing as runners-up up in the 2023 season, ironically losing in the final of the East of England League to Bedford Tigers.

Now, though, Humphries – who is a native Australian – has spoken of his desire to go all the way with the Vipers.

“It’s an ambitious jump, but these opportunities don’t come around too often. The restructuring of the game that is happening, it’s now or not for a long time so we have stuck our hands up right now,” Humphries said on the Rugby League Outsiders podcast.

“When we set out we thought the only professional sports teams round here are football and yet there is so much rugby talent in the area. Five rugby union players who made it to the Rugby World Cup last year came from Norfolk.

“Being a rugby league tragic, I am one of those people where if you are going to do something then you are going to give it a red hot crack.

“There have been teams in the region before but they have been content to be community clubs but we wanted to go big from the start so we set the club up as a limited company.

“That meant that we could attract outside investment and make the decisions dynamically and quickly rather than outgrowing our status as a community club and then trying to change the structure of the club.

“Super League is the end goal here. We’ve got 3.5 million people in East Anglia. We’ve got the population and rugby talent pool that can support a Super League team full of homegrown players.

“The facility we have is fantastic and has the capacity to grow with both the union and league team here. They too are an ambitious union club.

“We run two male teams and a female team. Both the men and the women made the Grand Final last year.”

Humphries has conceded that the Vipers do not meet some requirements for Super League, particularly with facilities.

“There are a lot of minimum requirements, we meet a lot and we don’t meet a lot too. We are no means the finished article.

“This is our position and we are looking at continually improving facilities, recruitment and the off-field side of things.

“We submitted our application we put in our cash flow budget in how we are going to fund this. We put that proposal to the RFL and they will go through that with a fine-tooth comb and come out to us.

“If we want to pursue Super League then we will have to make changes and improvements in terms of grandstands, screens and the requirements you need.

“What we have had over the last few seasons are conversations with Norwich City about potentially taking our bigger games, like those in the Challenge Cup, to Carrow Road.

“They are protective over what they have got but it’s a build it and they will come scenario I think. We are genuinely ambitious and hopefully people will get on board with that.”

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