It's a rebranding Jungle out there as Castleford change ground name again
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Wednesday 28 August 2013
The renaming of rugby league grounds has reached a new low in Castleford. As of the 2014 season, the venue currently known as the Wish Communications Stadium will become the Mend-A-Hose Jungle.
It is the latest twist in a saga that has made Cas the kings of rebranding. Strictly speaking, their home was originally on Wheldon Lane, just outside the town centre. That mysteriously morphed into Wheldon Road, as which it functioned happily for half a century, before becoming The Jungle.
That name change, referring to a sponsoring website, is one of the few that has worked, partly because the team became known as the Tigers – which has stuck with them.
It continued to do so when the ground was tagged as the PROBIZ Coliseum and later the Wish Communications Stadium.
Now, however, long-standing club sponsors Mend-A-Hose Hydraulics are not only attaching their own name to it, but bringing back the Jungle as well. The club's commercial director, Mark Grattan, said: "We were looking for somebody who shared our desire to re-instate the name The Jungle, a hugely popular name among our fans."
It surely cannot be thatYorkshiremen will do anything for money, but that county has been the hotbed of the name swap business.
It began with Huddersfield, whose historic Fartown ground became Arena 84 and the club the Barracudas in 1984. It lasted only five years, but Keighley's Lawkholme Lane became and remains Cougar Park.
It is in the Super League era, though, that the pace of change has sometimes proved confusing. Even in its relatively short life so far, Huddersfield's current ground has been the McAlpine, the Galpharm and the John Smith's Stadium. At moments of high stress, older fans still call it Fartown, although the remains of the old place are a couple of miles away.
Closer to Castleford, consider the fate of Featherstone Rovers, who for two years played at the Chris Moyles Stadium, even though the Radio One DJ admitted that he had no particular interest in rugby league and just fancied having his name attached for publicity purposes.
One of the most evocative addresses in rugby league – Rovers' Post Office Road – is now the Bigfellas Stadium. They will look across to Cas and reflect that things could be worse.
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