Owner Derek Beaumont dreaming of the day Leigh face rivals Wigan at Wembley
Leigh owner Derek Beaumont is dreaming of the day his club face rivals Wigan at Wembley.
The larger-than-life Beaumont has driven the resurgence of the recently-rebranded Leopards, who have made a strong start in the Betfred Super League following last season’s promotion.
The club have caught the eye both on and off field with some spectacular and well-marketed pre-match entertainment, dovetailing impressively with the competitive showings of Adrian Lam’s team.
This week the colourful Beaumont is cranking up his hype machinery further as the club look to sell out Thursday’s visit of neighbours Wigan for a derby being billed as the ‘Battle of the Borough’.
Yet Beaumont is dreaming even bigger, hoping the clash proves a mere dress rehearsal for one of the game’s blue-riband encounters.
“We are now in a position where we can compete and keep building and building,” said Beaumont at a press conference.
“How good would it be if one day we got a Challenge Cup final that was Wigan v Leigh, or a Grand Final, or a play-off semi-final? It would be absolutely massive.
“Last year we won the 1895 Cup and then watched Wigan win the Challenge Cup. I really enjoyed that day.
“How good would it be to hand the 1895 Cup back this year and then take part in the Challenge Cup final after that? It’s what dreams are made of. Hopefully one of us, if not both, will get there.”
Beaumont has dipped his hand into his pocket to build up Leigh’s pre-match offerings since they stormed back to the top flight during an impressive Championship campaign last year.
Their opener against Salford was preceded by a live performance from the band Scouting for Girls and an extravagant fireworks display.
That set the tone and so far the players have kept their side of the bargain, winning three of their first six games.
This week a band with local roots, The Lottery Winners, will be providing the support. Due to the stage, capacity at Leigh Sports Village has been set at a reduced 9,800 but Beaumont is hopeful of selling out, breaking the club’s previous Super League record crowd of 9,012.
He said: “We want to make it special for players coming here. When away teams come here I want them to feel like they’re playing in a big event, like a final. That is why we put the shows on we’re doing.
“Hopefully we’ll get a big crowd and a good performance. I’m pretty certain we’ll beat 9,012 and I would love to see it with every seat taken.”