Behind every successful team is a whole team of people getting the show on the road. At Castleford, they operate with a very small back room staff, and at the centre is Michelle Cooper. She’s the ‘can-do’ woman who is the Tigers media and marketing manager, but her attitude, enthusiasm and professionalism make her a vital part of the Tigers machine.
BY MICHELLE COOPER
I have been with the Tigers for the past three years but my involvement in Rugby League began long before.
I’ve lived most of my life in Featherstone, and it’s impossible to live in a town like this and not be wrapped up in Rugby League. Through high school Sunday afternoons were always spent down Post Office Road, watching rugby is what everyone did, it’s a way of life here.
In my early 20s I met a guy in a nightclub who turned out to be ‘the one’. Fifteen years later, we are now married with two kids. Ben, my husband, played for Huddersfield Giants at the time, and has gone on to become a strength and conditioning coach at Huddersfield Giants, Hull FC and now Castleford Tigers. It’s fair to say Rugby League takes over a huge chunk of our lives and we’ve certainly had our ups and downs with it along the way – more ups than downs!
After 8 years working in corporate marketing I got involved with the Tigers as a player sponsor via the business I was working for at the time. I got to know the commercial team at Castleford really well and I took a huge step out of my comfort zone when the marketing and media role at Castleford was pitched to me. I knew it would be a big change but I also knew I could help guide the club in the right direction to grow off the field.
It’s been a crazy three years and no two days are ever the same here but I wouldn’t change it for the world. We are a really small team behind the scenes here at Castleford and it’s like a second family here. We all work together really well to get the job done and the past few years have seen the club go from strength to strength both on and off the pitch. Everyone here, not just the players, buy into the journey we are on and where we are heading.
In towns like Featherstone and Castleford Rugby League is such a pillar of the community, and it’s something here at Castleford Tigers that we extremely proud of. The development of the game at grassroots level is so important and our community trust team work really hard to educate children at a really young age. We still pride ourselves on being a traditional family club.
I don’t really see myself as being a ‘woman’ in rugby league, the years of it being a man’s game are long gone. We have a few female staff here at the club and I work alongside many other strong, independent women doing great work at other Super League clubs, Sky Sports and at the RFL. It’s certainly a sport that welcomes women. We have a huge fan base of women here at Castleford and long may it last. Rugby League us a family sport, one we can all enjoy.