Having an owner that can help stabilise a Super League club is imperative in the modern game.
Yet, having an owner that can not only do that, but also raise funds for a strong squad can help bankroll a side to a title.
Just which five Super League owners have had the biggest impact on the competition?
Dr Marwan Koukash
Marwan Koukash, a Palestine-born racehorse owner, rescued Salford from potential collapse in 2013 and became an outspoken figure within rugby league in the five years he was at the club. Unfortunately, he made a lot of enemies along the way too, coming into the sport in a blaze of glory and leaving with a whimper in 2018. Koukash did, however oversee a rebuilding stage at Salford, rebranding them to the Red Devils instead of City Reds as well as wiping out all the debt owed to him by the club after he departed. Selling his stake to a fans’ consortium, Salford are now on a much more stable footing.
Concert promoter Simon Moran – who is the managing director of SJM Concerts and director of the Academy Music Group – bought Warrington in 2003, a club that was very much in need of some financial investment. Since then, Moran has overseen the club rise to the top of Super League, win back-to-back Challenge Cups in 2009 and 2010 and then another two in 2012 and 2019 as well as the League Leaders’ Shield in 2011 and 2016. The music mogul’s investment in Warrington has been substantial and Moran was a key figure in the Wolves’ move to the Halliwell Jones Stadium in 2004.
It was 1999 the year that Eamonn McManus took over as chairman at St Helens and in that time, he has rejuvenated a cash-strapped club, developed a brand-spanking-new stadium as well as an incredible fighting force on the field. But, Saints, are lucky to have him – McManus even admitted that if he knew what he knew in the weeks following his appointment, then he may not have taken the role. In this time, St Helens have won seven Super League titles, five Challenge Cups and two World Club Challenges, highlighting just how important McManus has been in that time.
In 2007, Ian Lenagan took over at Wigan Warriors – his boyhood club – after months of speculation. Not only did Lenagan buy the club, he also bought the training facilities at Edge Hall Road, the former stadium of Orrell RUFC and a 50-year lease on what was then known as the JJB Stadium. After a bleak period without trophies, the Warriors have rekindled their 90s form, winning four Super League titles and two Challenge Cups under Lenagan’s ownership.
After founding Sheffield Eagles in 1982, Gary Hetherington joined Leeds in 1997, rebranding the club as ‘Rhinos’ and taking the West Yorkshire side into a new era. In his time at Leeds, the club has won eight Super League Grand Finals, three Challenge Cups and three World Club Challenges, making Hetherington the most successful owner in the modern era. Not only has he impacted his own club though, Hetherington has been a vocal entity within the sport as a whole, speaking out in support or criticism of many development plans.