WESTS Tigers boss Justin Pascoe moved quickly to allay any fears his club could be squeezed out of Sydney by emphatically declaring to the club’s members: “We are going nowhere.’’
In a letter obtained by The Daily Telegraph, Pascoe rammed home the message the Tigers were actually on track to turn over a profit in 2018, and “financially we’re in the best position we’ve ever been in’’.
The timing of Pascoe’s monthly letter came on the same day the Tigers remained the favourites to be given the chop from Sydney for the sake of launching a second Brisbane team.
Nearly 18,000 readers had taken part in an exclusive Daily Telegraph online poll by 7pm Tuesday night, with 37 per cent of votes calling for the Tigers to be the team to make way if the nine Sydney clubs became eight.
The next best club were premiers Cronulla who polled just 12 per cent.
Clearly unimpressed with the poll results, Pascoe presented his case as to why the club is not going anywhere.
“Let’s get things straight. The Wests Tigers are not going anywhere,’’ Pascoe said.
“Revenue is up across the business and we’re on track for a strong financial result this year. We have amazing fan support with 2017 another record year for membership.
“We have no current loan with the NRL, and under the new proposed NRL funding structure, we expect to be profitable in 2018.
“In doing so we will be one of just a handful of NRL clubs to turn a profit. We are building a successful club that is sustainable.
“Our future is secure. We have a license agreement with the NRL that states the game is not entitled to direct or compel any club to relocate.
“As well as that the NRL cannot direct or compel any club to merge or enter into a joint venture, and cannot force the change of identity, logo, name or branding.’’
Pascoe added membership was up and they were closing in on 18,000 members for the first time.
Talk of reducing the number of Sydney clubs from nine to eight has become a hot topic since colleague Buzz Rothfield raised the issue on Monday.
The sight of an empty Campbelltown Sports Stadium for the Tigers’ clash against the Gold Coast last Friday night — the official attendance was just 6891 — prompted Rothfield to spark the debate about the merits of a second Brisbane team at the expense of a Sydney club.
The Tigers position on the ladder, and the fact they failed to retain star fullback James Tedesco and skipper Aaron Woods for next year — as well as Mitchell Moses — has led to plenty of backlash around Tiger Town.