Finally, I can sense some optimism with regards to having our freedoms restored and there is light at the end of the COVID tunnel. As soon as Boris Johnson had made his announcement to the nation all thoughts turned to planning the future. As every business owner will know it is the uncertainty that is the biggest killer. Most businesses can adapt to bad news and change strategy but the not knowing hurts.
The key dates in the calendar are 12th April for outside hospitality, 17th May for the crowds to return and 21st June for normality restoration.
First point of reference was the fixture list and it now looks like we will only have to play Coventry away and Keighley at home behind closed doors. Keighley is tantalisingly one day before restrictions are eased so we plan to get in touch with the RFL and Keighley to see if they would consider swapping to the Monday evening. It is always difficult with part-time players, but a cash incentive may gain a favourable outcome.
If not, then the Spring Bank Holiday weekend and North Wales at home could be something of a party atmosphere. There will still be social distancing in place but by then the rule of 6 or two households mixing will have returned so it shouldn’t impact on our capacity.
As I have said previously, we are planning to massively increase our crowds and we have set ourselves some ambitious targets. We lost out to Newcastle because we perhaps weren’t vocal enough about our ambitions but let it be known that we see Super League as a realistic goal. We want our crowds to rival any in the Championship and targeting the South Lakeland tourist market and visitors to the town are part of our plans. We also see ticketing partnership deals with some of our sponsors as producing win-win scenarios for both.
Creating a bigger crowd encourages sponsors to sponsor, broadcasters to broadcast and fans to better enjoy the experience and return for more. We need to give a catalyst to create that upward spiral.
We have steadied the ship financially in the last couple of years and we are now ready to make giant strides forward. Off the pitch we plan to introduce an events programme that makes full use of our facilities and we are hoping that every weekend we are the local hub of entertainment.
We met Knight Promotions this week about repeating our successful pop concert of last year and with restrictions removed it promises to be bigger and better. The feedback that we gathered was generally positive, but we still see one or two tweaks and improvements to ensure customer satisfaction.
The board have scheduled a planning meeting for early next week and we want to put together an events calendar that serves the town and makes the club sustainable. Every penny of profit is recirculated into improving the facilities, improving the team, and aiding our fantastic work in the community.
There will be employment opportunities within the club as we are determined to grow and have the right personnel in place. We have changed from a glorified amateur club and started the journey to Super League. We are determined to take the club to another level, this year could be game changing.