Chairman: David Hughes
General Manager: Paul Blanchard
Head Coach: Brian McDermott
Rob Purdham, Luke Dorn & Chad Randall
David Hughes explained that he owns 35% of the club and Ian Lenegan owns the other 65% but does not put any money into the club. David Hughes funds the clubs losses and the club is not reliant on bank overdrafts or loans. The RFL said that after two years of taking ownership of Wigan, Mr Lenegan must make every effort to sell his stake and move on. He doesn't benefit in any way from the club losing money.
The club continues to search for new investors and would welcome investment from supporters if they wished to do so.
The RFL do not subsidise the club in any way outside of the normal central contributions which all clubs receive.
Relationship with Harlequins FC
Paul Blanchard explained that under the agreement with Harlequins the first three years at the Stoop were be rent-free. A commercial rent is now paid which covers the use of the stadium, training ground and operational resources. Mark Evans attends our board meetings and is very supportive.
We were encouraged by the double header which worked well. There will be some union fans that will start to attend following the end of their season.
Brian McDermott explained that he has tried to replace Jon Wells and Chad Robinson. Brian said he does not believe it is right to pay someone over the odds just to fill a place. However, if the right player is available at the right price, they will be signed. Minimal salary savings were made following the retirement of Chad and Jon.
Brian revealed he would be interested in keeping Kevin Penny beyond his one-month loan if Warrington were also keen. Kevin is enjoying his time in London and Matt James was the first in Brian's tenure no to.
When asked about the low number of penalties Harlequins have been awarded in this and previous seasons, Brian said he believes it is to do with crowds. There is a huge difference between the crowds and volume at our games and other matches where a referee might be intimidated. It isn't something the coaches and players get wrapped up over as they need to focus on what they can control.
David Hughes added that Brian is contracted with Harlequins until the end of the 2011 season.
Several players in the U16s and U15s are showing real promise. The U18s have had a great start to the season whilst the U20s are struggling as several of them have been playing in the first team, the change in the age rules has seen several of the older players going to Skolars and a lot of U18s have been drafted in. Latham Tawhai is doing a good job with them to keep them on an even keel.
London teams have always been able to produce back rowers and wingers, but now we're producing footballers who can play at 6 and 7.
Paul Blanchard reiterated that ticket sales are everyone's priority. Five years of work has been done in the past few months and there has been a degree of success but not as much as we would like.
A lot of money was spent on the Wakefield and Melbourne games, focusing especially on the local market and the Antipodean market, using the RFL database and the likes of TNT, Australian Times, Gumtree, Half-Minute Media, and a number of local media outlets including the Richmond and Twickenham Times and Local Guardian Group. The response from the Antipodean market was disappointing with the feedback that a club game wouldn't attract the same numbers as an international and that extenuating factors - weather and trains - reduced the walk up significantly.
The difficulty with the Wakefield game was that the media was not interested in the early start to the season. Next season there will not be a staggered start to the season.
The marketing spend to date this season is three times what was spent in the whole of 2010.
In the coming weeks you'll see a lot of community activity as their seasons are now getting underway. We need everyone to get behind us for St Helens.
Progress is being made but this is yet to be reflected in the numbers. A good run of results and the involvement of the community game will bring about an improvement.
The RFL have tried to put money into the Evening Standard, Metro and City AM for a sponsored column by a player. However even with the promise of money, the papers have not been interested and seek the lowest common denominator ie. football coverage. The RFL are eager to help and provide resources and this remains the focus.
Paul Blanchard said the feedback about the match-day experience is very positive. We will review the East Stand at the end of the season, but we are committed to it for the rest of this year.
We were encouraged by a slight increase in season ticket sales. We haven't had the formal conversation about next year's strategy but don't anticipate a major change in pricing. Lapsed season ticket holders are always contacted but our archives only go back a few years.
We know that a winning team is easier to sell but we have to do the marketing ground work regardless. We could win every game for the rest of the season but not fill the Stoop without doing the groundwork.
Early discussions are taking place to discuss a Leeds double header next season.
Super League Licence
David Hughes said he was confident that a Super League licence would be awarded in the next round of applications and that it is a widely held feeling that a London club is important to Super League.
Brian McDermott added that for many years the responsibility of rugby league in London has fallen on London Broncos and Harlequins. It is a huge task and over the past few years the RFL have realised they need to offer more support. Brain said that he thinks Super League is better with a London club.
The panel thanked everyone for attending and Brian said a special thanks to all the supporters who do such a good job of cheering on the team home and away. He said: "It matters so much, whilst there aren't many of you, your voices are loud and we hear you. Thank you."
There was a commitment to hold another forum in Central London before the end of the season (at a more suitable location) and details will be made available shortly.