Richo says Wests Tigers move to south west ‘full steam ahead’

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In Campbelltown today for the opening of a new club office in Blaxland Road, current Wests Tigers chief executive officer Shane Richardson has confirmed that the move to the South West is real and is happening fast.

“We are going full steam ahead; that’s why we are here today,’’ says Richo, pictured above facing the media after the ribbon cutting ceremony by Mayor George Greiss and Benji Marshall (below).

In a one on one interview with the South West Voice, to also discuss the release of a strategic plan as part of a drive to make the Wests Tigers a top NRL club, Mr Richardson did not pull any punches.

Including when we asked him if he would support any proposal to change the club name as part of the move here, from Wests Tigers to Macarthur Tigers.

“We’re Wests Tigers, it won’t happen, the brand is Wests Tigers and will stay Wests Tigers,’’ he says.

“Part of the strategic plan audit reference is about branding and what it means in our moving out here.

“But it will never be changed from Wests Tigers – I would be dishonest if said it could happen.’’

According to the strategic plan, this is a critical juncture in the club’s history.

“We have gone through significant change as an organisation and while we know we need to do better; we need our members, fans, corporate partners, and our entire community more than ever to be part of our journey ahead.

“This plan outlines how we will achieve success both on and off the field to develop a modern sporting organisation.

“To all our members, fans and stakeholders, we are committed to establishing this club as the most innovative and progressive sporting organisation in Sydney,’’ says the plan.

Photos by South West Voice Photography.

Mr Richardson said the key to success at the club going forward was to make good decisions about important factors such as the best place to be located and so on.

“We’ve talked to Leichhardt Council, we’ve talked to Campbelltown Council, Stadiums NSW, so we have put all the information together to find out the best plan to become the club we want to be,’’ he says.

“We want to be a big club, a top four club in the NRL, and to do that we’ve got to make some tough decisions about where’s the best place to be.

“We’ve shown our hand by opening an office here today, and that we want to get to 10,000 juniors, all that stuff we’ve shown our hand on, but I am not going to talk about what the deals are until I get the deals on the table.

And it won’t just be about money, it will be about community programs, development programs, a whole range of things.

“At the end of the day – I’ll give you an example – we’ve got 500 corporates on the weekend for the Dragons game, sold them out.

“We played Parramatta the other week and they had 2200 corporates.

“So, we’re talking about the council improving the facility over a period, and I think they are.

And we’re taking all this in.’’

In other words, how many games more Wests Tigers play out here will depend on council finding the funding for more corporate boxes and other ground improvements.

Campbelltown Council has been lobbying hard, both state and federal governments, for a serious investment into a sporting facility that the South West is crying out for.

The state Government has $3 billion from the Westinvest fund, but will $200-$300 million be made available for a major Campbelltown Stadium upgrade? Time will tell.

As for Shane Richardson, having the great man at the helm of the Wests Tigers is wonderful, and hopefully his tenure will be extended well beyond July.

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