Swinton Lions’ Operations Director has stated that the club is “not in a bad place” despite not playing a competitive match in nearly seven months.
Steve Wild spoke to Salford Now about the implications of the 2020 season cancellation for the club, as well as how the Lions are preparing for the 2021 season in January.
He said: “What has helped us as a club is not owning our own stadium, so we have had no stadium costs which is a big advantage over those clubs that do have those levels of expenditure on an ongoing basis.
“Clearly the government furlough scheme has assisted, and what has also helped is that we have managed to get the Super League back on Sky Sports, so that means that TV money continues to filter down to Championship and League One.
The club has been busy since they last played a competitive match, with plans for a Swinton Lionesses team, as well as establishing a number of community club partnerships locally and overseas.
“All in all, we’re not in a bad place. What would be difficult for us, is if we arrive at the start of next year and the Covid situation is still continuing and we’re forced to play behind-closed-doors or if there’s a rigorous testing scheme, that could be quite a large expense. Those are unknowns as things stand.”
Asked about whether he thinks crowds should be allowed to attend matches, Steve Wild thought it should be permitted.
He said: “From a sporting perspective, I think there’s a strong case for allowing crowds or limited crowds into stadiums. I think we can control spectators within our stadiums.”
“It will be a massive thing having that calibre of player with us” – Preparation on the field.
In terms of on the field ambitions, Swinton Lions are feeling equally as confident following some smart signings and plans for more rigorous training routines. Swinton Lions’ Assistant Coach, Allan Coleman, spoke to Salford Now about their preparation.
He said: “What myself and Stuart Littler have tried to identify is where we can be stronger. We have taken three players from Leigh Centurions who we will feel massively strengthen our squad and make us better than we were last year.
“We have also realised where the game is going and how the rules are changing, we have got to be fitter and stronger.
“We’re putting together a gym and conditioning program that will be as tough as we’ve ever done before.
Swinton Lions have been busy in terms of player recruitment too – with the likes of Nick Gregson, Sam Brooks, Martyn Ridyard and Liam Forsyth being some of their most notable acquisitions.
‘This signing demonstrates our intent as a club and will add to our team’s go forward capability.’
Stuart Littler is certainly excited to see Sam Brooks in a Lions shirt next season!
— Swinton Lions RLFC (@Swinton_Lions) September 29, 2020
“They [the new signings] have all come from a good pedigree of clubs, they all at some point have been at Super League clubs. The majority of them have been in a full time environment, even though they’re coming to a part time environment, they’re going to bring that element of experience.
“Some of the training elements they’re used to we will take on board and they will pass on their experience to some of our guys who have always been in a part time environment. It will be a massive thing having that calibre of player with us.”
In terms of ambition for the 2021 Championship season, the only way is up for the Lions.
“We want to be better than last year and last year was our best finish in 27 years.”