Castleford Tigers have today revealed that former player John Wells is set to join the club in a boardroom role as long term CEO Steve Gill is preparing to change his role at the Tigers.
During his five years at the club, Gill has seen the club go from a struggling Super League club both on and off the field to seeing them lift the League Leaders’ Shield last season, exciting fans with their spectacular style of rugby league along the way. Indeed, when he first took up the role it was initially meant as an interim position but he ended up masterminding a transformation of the club’s fortunes in every possible way. He was initially the club’s head of youth and had little experience in such a senior role. Slowly, and after being appointed permanently two months into the role, Gill built the boardroom staff around him, surrounding himself with both rugby league and business experience. However, it is fair to say that the club wasn’t out of the woods; in his previous role, Gill had helped bring now-England hooker Daryl Clark through the club’s system but, with administration looming, had to accept the sale of the homegrown star to Warrington for around £200,000 – probably saving the club in doing so.
2013 saw Gill make arguably one of the best decisions a rugby league CEO has ever made as he appointed Daryl Powell as the club’s new head coach following Ian Millward’s sacking. It also demonstrated his persuasion as club chairman Jack Fulton initially wanted to bring in James Lowes from Bradford. However, the former Featherstone coach arrived and the rest, as they say, is history. During his time at the club, Gill and Powell have developed a top quality Super League team – the word developed is used there as the Tigers’ have form for making their players better rather than signing ready made stars; Luke Gale, Mike McMeeken, Paul McShane, Denny Solomona, Greg Minikin… and more besides. A testament to both men’s commitment to youth, no doubt.
His departure from the club comes at a time when he has seen the club reach heights he and many loyal fans probably didn’t anticipate and will depart with the club and fan’s highest praise and best wishes. Stepping down in May, Gill explained that “the club itself is possibly in the best position both financially and structurally I have ever known it, and credit must go to everyone involved at the club, for their hard work and commitment in achieving what seemed like the impossible in the early days.” He will step into a director role at the club.
As part of the restructuring, Sky Sports’ Jon Wells is set to join the club in a Director of Rugby role. The familiar face to rugby league fans, the Kippax born pundit has over 250 Super League appearances to his name having started his career with the Tigers and is keen to get to work. The 39 year old explained that “this is an improving, progressive club with the potential now to establish itself as one of the top clubs in Super League for years to come,” further adding that the prospect of working at Cas is “both flattering and tremendously exciting.”