FORMER Sheffield Eagles director John Whaling is looking forward to coming back to his roots in Rotherham – and believes his experiences can add value to the Titans’ board.
The former Wath Grammer School student joined the directors at Clifton Lane with a focus on the commercial side of the club and is confident that with a lot of hard work the dark days of this season can be confined to the history books.
After spending almost three decades with the former Don Valley club – now operating from Wakefield, Whaling called it a day at the end of last season, but once Titans owners Nick Cragg and Martin Jenkinson came calling, the 59-year-old couldn’t refuse.
Whaling told the Advertiser: “I’m a Rotherham lad and I suppose it’s a case of coming back to my roots.
“I spent a long time with the Eagles. I got involved there when it just coincided that the company I was working with, SIG, were doing some work with Gary Hetherington at the club and I finished up working with them. It wasn’t a conscious decision to go from union to rugby league, it just happened and I finished up staying there for 27 years, 16 of them as director.
“But there had been a lot going on in rugby league and I got to the end of last season and, to be honest, I was quite tired. I decided I needed a change, especially with the Eagles having been without a home for three years and then going into a fourth, with the crowds dropping to 300 for the last home game at Wakefield, you start thinking that something's not right.
“Then, out of the blue, Nick Cragg called me — we’ve known each other for years — and he asked if I fancied coming back to union.
“I had a meeting with Nick and Martin Jenkinson and liked what they are trying to do. I feel sorry for them with the amount of effort that’s been put in for the team to finish bottom of the league, that must be soul-destroying.
“I think I can add something and I’m looking forward to working here and getting the club back on the right track.
Whaling is eager to get started at Clifton Lane and is looking forward to working with the current board to move Titans back up the Championship table.
“We all think it’ll be a good fit. I like Martin and Nick and that’s important, so from that point of view it’ll be an easy settling-in process and let’s see if we can get the club back up that table," he said.
“Rotherham is a club with a proud history and a proud supporter base. I met some of them this week and and they have stuck with the club through this tough patch.
“For two years on the bounce now they haven’t had a lot to shout about and I think we need to give some hope.
All change... New coach Andy Key will begin work at the beginning of May.
“We’ve got a new coach coming in and a new person on the board so hopefully between us I hope we can invigorate things and give people reason to come back and watch.”
There are already some interesting initiatives ready to be put on the table, while he is also joining the Titans Foundation as a director, having set up the first ever such scheme while at Don Valley Stadium.
“We are introducing new things,” he adds.
“We have a new sponsorship package called A Grand for a Grand, which we’re announcing shortly. What we’re looking for is local companies who haven’t got lots of money to throw at sponsorship to find £1,000 and for that they will get over £1,000 worth of benefits, including being entered into a draw to become the new back-of-shirt sponsor.
“There are plenty of other things we will be looking at but for now I’m delighted to be involved with this historic club.”
For more on the Titans, make sure you pick up Friday's Advertiser.