1997… an unforgettable year.
The Newcastle Knights won their first premiership. It was against rivals Manly.
It was also the year the super league war broke out.
It almost saw the Knights switch allegiance from the ARL to super league.
The club was close according to Old Boy Marc Glanville.
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“It was quite funny, and this is where super league stuffed up in regard to Newcastle,” Glanville commented.
“When they came up, they sent a bloke who wasn’t a real known person from News Limited.
“Our club wanted to go with super league because we were obviously struggling for cash.”
While some players were given unbelievable offers, others like Glanville, weren’t too impressed with theirs.
“When I went in and met with them, they offered me bugger all, virtually what I was on then,” Glanville said.
“I was working at the time, probably one of the last to work as well as play footy.
“I would have earnt less than what I was on then, so I said, ‘forget it’.
“The older blokes like myself and Tony Butterfield, they didn’t worry about offering us too much money.
“I said, ‘stuff that’ and we went and spoke to the ARL and signed with them.
“I reckon if they had come up and said we want to sign everyone; we might have gone there.”
The catalyst was Paul ‘Chief’ Harragon.
Glanville remembers he was a target for the super league but stayed with the ARL.
“They targeted Chief, they wanted him,” recalled Glanville.
“He spoke to the ARL and ended up signing with the ARL.
“When he came back and found out he was the only one that really signed with the ARL, that’s when Chief organised a bus, and down we all went and spoke to them.
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“They came back up here that night and Phil Gould came up and spoke, and everyone signed.”
The whole club signed with the ARL.
It was only after a bit of negotiating.
Glanville managed to sign an attractive deal.
“Phil was in the room and wanted to know if we had had an offer from super league,” Glanville added.
“I said, ‘yeah I had an offer from super league’ and I bumped it up by about 100 grand and ended up signing with the ARL.
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“At the time I was on 100 thousand with the Knights plus we were still getting a match bonus and I ended up signing for 250 a year with the ARL.
“It was 250 (thousand) and if you signed, they’d give you 100 grand upfront, which was amazing figures back then.
“I walked out of there with a cheque of 100 (thousand).”