Wakefield Trinity owner hails ‘new era’ and lays out path back to Super League

MATT ELLIS finally has control of Wakefield Trinity – and has wasted no time in laying out a potential path back to Super League as he promises a “new era” for the relegated club.

As expected, the 39-year-old millionaire, who runs online firm DIY Kitchens, based at South Kirkby near Pontefract, has installed Daryl Powell as coach on a four-year contract.

The former Castleford and Warrington chief, who will be operating in the Championship for the first time since May 2013, when he ended a four-and-a-half spell in charge of Featherstone, replaces Mark Applegarth, who along with his assistant Sean Long has left the Be Well Support Stadium.

Michael Shenton, who played under Powell as Castleford, has been made his new assistant after leaving his post as head of emerging talent at Hull. 

“Daryl is hungry for success and my own and his ambitions are aligned,” explained Ellis.

“This is the perfect role for him, with a big rebuild, and he will thrive in the challenge.”

Ellis has also appointed Steve Mills, who has worked alongside Powell as a performance analyst at both Castleford and Warrington, as recruitment and salary cap manager, and David Tucker as general manager.

Part of hospitality specialist Tucker’s brief is to maximise the potential of the soon-to-be-completed new East Stand, part of the stadium redevelopment spearheaded by outgoing chairman John Minards.

Ellis says the squad, set to remain full-time, will be reinforced – a number of signings, including experienced wingers Jermaine McGillvary and Iain Thornley, have already been announced – while he will invest in “top-notch player facilities” to “help to retain top talent”.

And he is cutting season-ticket prices in a bid to increases attendances after a series of seasons of struggle in Super League.

Of course IMG’s club-grading system is key to regaining top-flight status.

And the new owner explained: “I believe that with the additional investments made in the club, coupled with the skills I’ve learned from running my online business for 20 years, I am best positioned to secure the highest possible score for Wakefield.

“A high score will enhance the club’s reputation, potentially attracting higher-calibre players, sponsorships, and partnerships.”

Ellis added: “Over the coming months and years, we will create a team supporters will be proud to come see succeed week in, week out.”

Minards, who along with outgoing chief executive Michael Carter, led the successful bid for the 150-year-old club to buy their stadium, then amid the challenges of the pandemic, start its redevelopment, believes there are solid foundations on which Trinity can prosper.

“I am proud of all we have achieved and very positive about our future as a club – more than at any time in the past 50 years,” he said.

“Our new owners have both the financial clout, and, equally importantly, the desire to take the club to the next level.

“Our ambition has always been for a sustainable Super League club for the city of Wakefield.

“Having re-established secure roots at our historic home at Belle Vue and achieved financial stability, obtaining a Grade A licence and permanent Super League membership is firmly within our grasp.”