FROM watching on from the terraces of Wilderspool to running the boardroom at The Halliwell Jones on a journey via one of the biggest growing businesses in the country.

It has been quite a road to success for Stuart Middleton.

The former Orford man was named chairman of Warrington Wolves this week, taking over from Steven Broomhead.

It is an incredible rise for the avid fan who first fell in love with the Wire when cheering on his heroes as a schoolboy.

His first printing business Excelsior, which designed and published greetings cards, was a sponsor of the old scoreboard at Wilderspool.

Warrington Guardian:

And it was from that business, which started out on his dining room table, that he saw the gap in the market that led to the growth of Card Factory – the high street smash that made him his millions.

Stuart, who joined the board in May 2015, has spent much of that money on the Wolves.

In the past 18 months he has spent more than £1 million of his own money on the club.

And the car enthusiast is pledging to put in another £1 million over the course of the next four years.

He said: “I am honoured to become the chairman of Warrington Wolves, the club that I have supported most of my life and that I care passionately about.

“It’s not all about the status but more about making a difference, ensuring that we have financial security, a strong and robust business plan with success ingrained in our culture and ethos.

“A winning attitude starts at the top and filters down.”

The Stockton Heath resident is still creative director at Card Factory, a business he joined in 2006.

He works part of the week at their base in Yorkshire meaning he can devote more time to the Wolves.

And he is passionate about making the Wire as successful as Card Factory, which floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2015, employs more than 6,500 people and opens on average one store each week with more than 800 branches now operating on high streets across the UK.

Mr Middleton said: “I have supported Warrington Wolves all my life.

“As a board we feel the highs and lows as much as any of the supporters.

“We know 2017 wasn’t what we all wanted but 2018 will be different. We have plans in place to make sure of that.”

Mr Middleton is part of a powerhouse team of businessmen with the financial might to back the Wolves which includes club owner and owner of music promoters SJM Simon Moran and fellow board member Mike Lomax, who runs Total Steel.

Together they form surely the most influential board in British rugby league.

“We have a stated aim of being a consistent top four club and being one of the best in the world and we are determined to achieve that,” Stuart added.