It’s a big period in the history of Wakefield Trinity.
Currently out recruiting for 2023, they are also redeveloping Belle Vue and have appointed new coach Mark Applegarth for next season after parting company with Willie Poching.
It was confirmed yesterday that Applegarth’s assistant next year will be one of the top rated English coaches out there in the shape of James Ford who left his position as York City Knights boss to join Applegarth at Wakefield.
Ford has helped mastermind York’s rise from League 1 but is now ready to take on a Super League Challenge.
In the eyes of York Chairman Clint Goodchild, this is merely the next step on the path of a great coaching career which he believes will culminate in Ford coaching England one day.
He told the York website: “First of all, I would like to thank James for his efforts as Head Coach at the Club. He has been a figure of stability at the Knights and has worked through some incredibly tough periods, especially in the early part of his Head Coaching career.
“I personally see James Ford as a future Head Coach of the England national side and I believe that this is simply the next step on that journey for him. Everyone at the club is behind him in this regard.
“James leaves with our best wishes and he will always be welcome back at the Knights.”
Meanwhile, Ford himself made an emotional farewell: “This is probably the hardest interview I’m going to do as York Head Coach but possibly the most important one.
“I’d like to start initially by thanking the players for their efforts over the last eight years and I include every single one of them in that, whether they know or believe it or not. I think the world of every single one of them and I’m very proud to have coached them and, hopefully, helped them in some way.
“I’d also like to thank my support staff for their incredible work ethic and drive. They’ve been absolutely key and central to the progress the Club has made. Without them I don’t believe the Club would be where it is today.
“The rest of the staff at the Club, they’ve been awesome and I’ve absolutely loved every minute I’ve had at the Club. Being in the office and interacting with the staff there, the owners and the volunteers… I’ve loved every minute of it. The Club wouldn’t be where it is today without you guys.
“And then, we move onto the supporters. I think it’s fair to say that we’ve a pretty special relationship with each other. We’ve had some tough times and we came through those tough times to enjoy some really good times. Unfortunately, I couldn’t quite get the job done for you and I assure you it wasn’t through a lack of effort! I think we’ll all agree that the Knights are in a really strong position to kick on and take that next step.
“The last thing I’d ask of everybody, the staff I’m leaving behind, the players, the supporters is to keep doing what you do. The new Head Coach will love you all for it and, together, you’ve got a real chance of taking the next step of making a Grand Final and challenging for promotion.
“There’s no real standout reason as to why I’ve decided to leave the Club. The relationship I have with Clint is strong and I believe in the direction he’s taking it. I think his leadership is certainly going to help the Club take that next step.
“The relationship between everyone at the Club is really strong and, in some ways, I’m really sad to be leaving.
“But every coach’s journey at a club comes to an end. Players and coaches come and go but the Club is still there. It’s in safe hands and I am desperate to see York continue improving and become a Super League club in the very near future.
“Thank you very much for your support over the last eight seasons. It’s been an absolute pleasure.”