Derek Beaumont has revealed that in 2021 he proposed that Super League expand to a 14-team league as he felt that due to the pandemic it was unfair to relegate anyway.
However, when the idea was brought up at a meeting with all Super League clubs, it was turned down by the clubs who initially backed it with the then Leigh Centurions now Leigh Leopards cut adrift at the bottom.
He explained all on the Red Vee YouTube channel ahead of Leigh’s clash with St Helens this weekend:
“The motivator was the fact that it wasn’t a proper year with Covid, we sat down and we had turkeys voting for Christmas because we had Wakefield, Salford, Huddersfield, Leigh and Hull KR all down there the five of us languishing at the bottom.
“We all pretty much could get relegated, we were all struggling and there was games not getting played and one thing or another so we put together a working group to find a way of what we could do.
“So we put together a strategy and a proposal in line with the RFL of moving to 14 teams because we didn’t think it was fair relegating anyone at that point in time, from not a true season.
“So the idea was that whoever stayed in the 12 got £1 million, there’s no parachute payment as no one goes down so you’ve got that money and then the money that would be the full funding for what ended up being Toulouse. Then you’ve got two vacant places in the Championship so you take their money, that you’re not giving them and put it into the pot.
“Ultimately it was something alone the lines of the teams in 12th, 13th and 14th only got £1 million each and the other clubs would take a £30k cut to make it work, so we’d go to a 14 team Super League.
“That’s what we were proposing. So I sit down at a zoom meeting and we table this, or Ken David proposes this on behalf of the working group as the interim Chair of Super League and it got voted down.
“It got voted down by the people who put the proposals together because during that period of time they’d got a win here and there and it was obvious that it was going to be little old Leigh that was getting fired off.
“I don’t mind saying that I stormed out of a zoom meeting, no door to slam but that was me. I literally said to Jukesy that ‘when we get back in there, my motivation is that I will spend whatever is necessary in the Championship so we take the place of someone in that room who was happy to see that happen to us. I hope we have to vote to save them’, and that’s how it is. That was my motivation.
“I’m not now sitting here arrogant saying we won’t finish bottom, we don’t even talk about the word bottom in the club but there’s nothing certain. Do I think we look stronger than some other teams? I do.”
When asked about his ambitions this year, he said: “We’re a concert venue now, getting Elton John singing ‘I’m Still Standing’ on the pitch on the last day of the season, that’s it. It’s done.
“Being serious though success this year is about building the club to a better place, that’s what I’ll measure it on. But on the field for me a big success would be finishing in the top six or managed to make a semi-final or final of the Challenge Cup.”