THE chief executive of Whitehaven RLFC has spoken about the club’s future plans after an eventful season – including the potential for a move away from its Recreation Ground home.

The club is thriving on the pitch and has hopes of making the Championship play-offs despite being pegged as strugglers pre-season.

Chief executive Andrew Canavan, along with three of the other original board members who remain and a number of new faces, is now working to progress the club off the field as well as on it.

He invited media questions. Here’s how the questions and answers unfolded:

Q: What has it been like since being left as a new board in charge of club affairs – exciting, frustrating, enjoyable, stressful, hard work or...?

AC: Obviously there has been some amount of upheaval recently but the board have handled this brilliantly. There has been nothing but positives come out the club, new commercial partners, new development academy, new job creation and the players/coaching staff have been nothing short of amazing both on and off the pitch. There is also plenty more in the pipeline which will see the club go from strength to strength. It’s been hard work, there is no doubting that – very stressful in fact – but the work we all do down here is so rewarding that we all work with a smile on our faces.

Q: How are the club’s finances holding-up. Precarious, in need of urgent boost, stable or holding their own?

AC: The club is financially in a stable position. After what occurred in 2018 the current board will not gamble the future of the club in any way whatsoever. In relation to most of our peers in the Betfred Championship and even some in League 1, we run on quite a small budget, but we ensure we get a massive return on every pound we spend. The proof of that is our stable finances yet out-performing some clubs with much bigger budgets on the field.

Q: On players currently on the books, how many need new deals offered if they are wanted?

AC: The Football Committee have highlighted those from the current squad and negotiations are well underway with those. We currently have 14 players already signed up for next season.

Q: Have you lost any of the current players who perhaps have committed to another club for 2022? There are several rumours.

AC: There will always be rumours but I can confirm, as has been out this past week, we have lost Ellis Gillam for next season. It is likely that we will lose a couple more, but we cannot compete with higher budgets or full-time teams. We know where we are with that and are more than happy with how our signings have gone for next season. Our aim is to build on a great 2021 season to be even more competitive next year, without gambling the club’s future.

Q: Have you any new players lined up who have committed themselves to Haven for next season?

AC: We do and these will be released once the season has been completed.

Q: What is the club’s official stance on the latest RFL plans for re-organisation?

AC: I have attended numerous meetings on this over the past month, and I am on an RFL working group looking forward. No club will be 100 per cent happy with any proposed re-organisation but the game is unfortunately at a crossroads, and something does need to change. It would be wrong of me to have any stance at the minute as currently there are a few proposals on the table, and none have been agreed to.

Q: Are there are any new plans for the development of the stadium?

AC:We are currently in discussions with a number of parties regarding stadium development, including exploring the option of moving out of our current home. This has to be an option as currently we aren’t allowed to commercialise the ground in any way, which is hampering plans to drive the necessary additional income the club needs to step up to the next level. We have some very important meetings coming up in the near future on a number of the options we are considering.