Moving to Wakefield has been tough, but the combined effort has given Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston assurances that the club has a future.
The Eagles signed off their 2017 ‘home’ season at Trinity’s Belle Vue ground with a late victory over Rochdale at the weekend, their fourth season on the road while they wait for a permanent home back in Sheffield.
The experience has certainly been a testing one for the club, with Aston and his fellow directors having to cope with dwindling sponsorship and attendances.
But, despite the upheaval, the club have so far survived in testing times, with Aston stating the effort has re-aligned the club’s desire to survive against all odds.
“We have enjoyed our year at Wakefield. It has been tough, but we have learnt something about ourselves,” Aston told The Star.
“We know that we want this club to survive.
“I have to thank Michael Carter (Wakefield chairman) and the staff at Wakefield. We are indebted to them for helping us to keep this club going. It was fitting to end with a win. The fans have had the hassle of travelling there every home game. It isn’t perfect, but they have done it. It’s not just the fans, but the staff, the sponsors, the cheerleaders. Everyone has pulled together.”
Aston says talks remain ongoing regarding their planned move to the Olympic Legacy Park, with the Eagles desperate to be back for the 2018 season.
While the Eagles chief has previously said a stay at Wakefield would be difficult to get by the rugby league authorities, he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of playing some part at Belle Vue while the OLP is brought in line with RFL requirements.
“The dream is to return to Sheffield next year but, if we can’t, I would hope that Wakefield would open their arms and allow us to play here while the stadium is sorted in Sheffield,” he added.
“There is no reason why not at the moment. At the same time, it is imperative that we get back to Sheffield. We have been away too long, and it is a killer. If we aren’t making the revenue through sponsorship and the turnstiles then we are right up against it.”