IN a column exclusive to the Warrington Guardian, Warrington Wolves chairman Stuart Middleton looks forward to the new year and a new era at The Halliwell Jones Stadium...

Dear Readers,

I hope you’re all enjoying the festivities with your loved ones and are looking forward to the new year.

Looking back on 2021, I think everyone across all sports can agree that getting fans back into stadiums was the highlight. Hearing the noise and the roar only re-emphasises how sorely you the fans were missed during games played behind closed doors.

I’m hopeful that despite the increased Covid measures recently, we won’t be going back to that and we will have a full house cheering on the lads at The Halliwell Jones Stadium for our first game against Cas in February.

The last two years during the pandemic has been extremely difficult for everyone and I’m incredibly humbled and grateful for the sacrifices that our fans have made, and continue to make, to help the club they love.

It’s been a very tough, disruptive and financially challenging couple of years and without the support of the fans I dread to think of the position we would be in.

Instead, we are rebuilding financially with a lot of positivity around the place.

We’ve hit 5,000 members already with a month and a half to go until the first game, which in these challenging times is fantastic and just shows the loyalty and passion of our fans.

We’re looking ahead to 2022 now which I’m hoping will be a very successful one both on and off the field.

It is pleasing to experience the positivity and see first-hand the progress we are making in pre-season.

I’ve emphasised this previously but I’ve been incredibly impressed by Daryl Powell since he’s started as head coach. I caught up with him last week and he is loving his first month in charge and said it couldn’t have gone any better.

I know he is mightily impressed with the facilities, the backroom staff and how professional the club is.

Daryl Powell. Picture by Warrington Wolves

Daryl Powell. Picture by Warrington Wolves

He is equally impressed with the quality of the playing squad and how they have responded to the changes that a new head coach brings.

My early observations from watching the team train and listening to players’ feedback is that Daryl and his team are very organised and structured, everyone is fully aware of what they need to do and what is expected of them.

He won’t hold back on having honest conversations and I predict there will be some interesting competition for places!

I wish all of our supporters a Happy New Year, may it be a successful and prosperous for yourselves, your family, friends and of course – The Wire!

I will see you at the stadium in the new year,