Australian Grant Mayer was the first chief executive of Catalans Dragons and spoke to me at the Super League media launch at Old Trafford in 2006 for Thirteen.
How hectic were the preparations for the new season and the countdown to Super League?
They went pretty well leading up to the season kick-off. We’re fortunate to have a three years time front to work to, so to speak and things really picked up since Christmas. Starting off from a low base has helped and there’s been some real growth but this year is about laying the foundations.
You’re the Chief Executive at Catalans Dragons but what’s your background in rugby league Grant?
I had six years with the Bulldogs in Sydney, so I’ve been through a whole range of bad stuff and some good like Grand Final success.
When the new coach is announced, will David Waite go back to his original role?
Absolutely, he’ll slip straight back into the Director of Football role. He oversees the coaching at not just the Catalans but also UTC and the whole region.
How is the surrounding area responding to the arrival of Super League?
They’re very excited and very intrigued about the whole thing. Rugby league is important to the area.
What sort of crowds are you hoping to average?
If we’re successful, then we hope to get somewhere between five and eight thousand on a regular basis. Financially, we’ve budgeted for a lot less though.
What are your aims for the year?
We’ve got the personnel, if they stay healthy, to get some wins and to surprise some people.
How have you marketed the club?
It’s been about re-education and re-introducing rugby league to the area. We’ve been hanging our hat on the Catalans and the idea of supporting the region is very important to us.
How have the French media responded to you? Are you getting much coverage in papers like L’équipe?
L’équipe has been a bit tough but a lot of the others have been great and are certainly getting behind us. We’ve had plenty of back page articles and we need to ensure we’re getting plenty of stories out there for them every day.
What’s the capacity of the stadium?
And what about television? Will all of your games be televised in France?
We’re talking to a Pay television company and there’s the possibility that the home games will all be shown, either live or delayed.
How are merchandise sales going?
Very well. We hope people in England will adopt us as their second team. People in Hull won’t cheer on Leeds, but they might cheer on us when their own team isn’t playing. Sales are continuing to grow and the English supporters have played a part in that.
Has Stacey Jones had an effect on the locals? Will they have known much about him?
Yes and no. They don’t really know much about his background but his name is becoming so well known and the schoolkids are talking about him now.