Croad: Shay switch down to money

Halifax director Ian Croad has described the decision to move the Northern Rail Cup final from Bloomfield Road to the Shay as a “straightforward business decision”.

Courier Sport revealed last week that the Shay was expected to get the nod to replace Blackpool as the home of the summer showpiece.

And the Rugby Football League has now confirmed that the council-owned stadium will host both the NRC decider and a new Northern Rail Bowl final, which will be contested between the top two Championship One sides who did not make the competition’s knockout phase, on Saturday, July 20.

The Championship clubs voted last week to ditch the former Premiership soccer venue, which had hosted the competition since 2005, on commercial grounds.

“It’s a straightforward business decision; the costs were too high and the finalists were not getting enough out of it,” said Croad, who also confirmed Blackpool was unable to accomodate the new-style ’double header’ event.

“I don’t want to go into the numbers, but by moving it to the Shay the bottom line is that the clubs that contest the final will probably see a six-fold increase in the financial return they can expect from the same attendances figures.

“In an ideal world, I would have liked to keep it at Blackpool, but the reality of life is that all clubs need to maximise their revenue to survive.”

Croad said Calderdale Council had committed to completing ongoing repairs to the North Stand, and the installation of an electronic scoreboard, by the end of April.

“We had to fight to get it, but I think it’s great for the town and great for the venue,” he said.