The Matthew Chantler Column: A measure of how far we’ve come

With Derek being extremely busy with work in Hull, he has asked me to once again deputise for him with his column.

Having just returned from annual leave in Greece, it was straight back to work with the end-of-season awards dinner which was an absolutely fantastic night. It was also testament to how far the club has developed commercially with the night proving to be a fantastic success with the banqueting room at the LSV being packed to capacity.

I would like to thank all of the sponsors and supporters of the event who made it such a special evening and in particular, to Daniel Halliwell from 24/7 Technology who not only was the main sponsor but who also invested significant time and resources in the build up to the night to ensure that it was a professional evening.

It would also be amiss of me to not thank our very own Mike Latham who hosted the evening having invested, at an estimate, 50 hours into preparing for the event.

I’ve said it before after just taking up my position with the club and I make no apologies for saying it again, not only do the directors of the club invest probably on average 20/30 hours plus into the club on a weekly basis, they also pay for the privilege as no director gets remunerated for his time!

Needless to say, without Derek’s investment, we wouldn’t even have had such an evening.

On that front, not only does the club look every part of being a Super League club on the pitch but also off the pitch too.

The awards dinner was the second sell out corporate event after our fantastic golf day that received great feedback.

Also, for example, I’m delighted to report that not only are we talking to some fantastic local companies regarding shirt sponsorship for next season, we are also in discussions with a global company to become main shirt sponsor.

If anyone is interested in shirt sponsorship for next season then I urge them to get in touch with us as a matter of urgency before the last few properties are taken.

This is also in light of the biggest conundrum for the club, the fact that we do not know which league we will be playing in next season.

Without going into detail, the complexities of this make it even more of a challenge with the new format with, for example, the Super 8s fixtures only being announced just before the actual games themselves. However, I’m pleased to report that the club has built upon solid foundations with every game sponsorship package selling out for the first three games and with healthy numbers in corporate hospitality too.

There are still sponsorship opportunities and corporate hospitality available for Batley which I am sure will be a great day with Leigh legend John Woods being inducted as a Life Member.

If anyone is interested then again, please get in touch with the club. It is great to see the local business community supporting the club.

Most will now be aware that our game against Huddersfield has been chosen for Sky.

Again, one could see this as complimentary as the world or rugby league focuses its attention on our quest to be a Super League side and with the increased exposure that this brings which certainly assists with attracting national and international sponsors to the club.

However, it may also be to our detriment as attendances are often reduced with fans deciding to either watch the game at home or in the local pub.

As the Sky selection was announced, I could picture our chairman and finance director with a face of anguish as I’m well aware that the club does not receive anything for the privilege of hosting a Sky game which will be detrimental to our finances.

Therefore, please ensure that you attend the game in person, get others to do so and spread the word – not only will this help covering the shortfall due to the game being on Sky (it will be no surprise if the Huddersfield fans don’t travel in numbers), it also gives the players a great boost with most players commenting on the fantastic atmosphere that helps them get over the line.

On the sporting side, we couldn’t be in a better position with six points in the bag after our first three games.

Also, it was fantastic to see Dayne Weston sign a new contract that will keep him at the club until the end of the 2019 season.

I’ve also seen a number of comments on social media regarding players who have signed for other teams.

Without going into detail, for me the comfort that we can give to any fan is simple - this club aspires to be in Super League and every player that either currently plays for us or we are in discussions with have the same goal.

Super League dream is down to hard work

I certainly hope that we obtain our goal of making Super League which not only will have a significant financial impact for the club but will also be good for the whole game with many having doubts about the new structure.

It certainly would be a fantastic achievement to achieve Super League status, potentially with avoiding the Million Pound Game, especially in light of the adversity that the club has faced this season.

It must be noted what a fantastic job Neil Jukes has done in his first season as a head coach.

However, there is still much work to be done and no one at the club is of the mentality that we’ve already achieved our goal as there is still significant work to be done – six points will mean nothing if we fail to build upon it.

Therefore, please ensure that you play your part and support that lads in our last four games and keep everything crossed that we can achieve Super League status!