"We're representing everyone from Gosford to the Queensland border, everyone in the area should aspire to be a Knight"
Those are the words from nib Newcastle Knights and Wests Group CEO Phil Gardner.
Gardner was the latest guest on the KNIGHTS // HQ podcast, the official podcast of the Newcastle Knights, and candidly spoke about the current position of the Club on a number of fronts.
Looking at the current season, the Knights currently sit 12th on the ladder with four wins and seven losses from the first 11 games.
The CEO had his say on the start to 2021.
CEO Phil Gardner on where he sees the Knights in five years time
"To be honest, I think we're all disappointed. The fans are disappointed, I know the coach is disappointed and the players," Gardner said on the KNIGHTS // HQ podcast.
"We expect to win every game at home.
"When you get 22,000 or 23,000 people turn up to cheer their team on, we expect the best performances.
"We need to improve and I think we will.
"I think we have the right football brain's trust in place and the right people running football."
Away from the football field, the Club is in an incredibly strong position.
Wests Group acquired the Newcastle Knights back in 2017 and have since made the Club much more financially stable.
Gardner talked about the financial position of the Club and also how he hopes to improve the Knights initiative within the community.
"The club is in a better financial position than it has ever been in," Gardner said.
"It's sitting up there as the second or third most profitable club in the league.
"We're certainly not doing enough in the community, we need to build that in which we are," he added.
"You'll see a lot of things happening this year.
"We're starting up a new program Strong Like a Knight that we're really excited about, the Wests Knights foundation will be launched this year and we're running our first charity ball with the Mark Hughes (Foundation) the main recipient for that."
Furthermore, the Knights will have their very own state-of-the-art training facility to enjoy by the end of this year.
The Centre of Excellence will be the Knights hub for all teams in providing world class training facilities.
"It's a game changer for us," Gardner continued.
"We're investing $20 million in that facility.
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"We're going to have three fields all together, men's and women's training facilities and we will be able to play our (NSW) Cup, (Jersey) Flegg, (SG) Ball and Harold Mathews games there.
"It's going to be a great home for our Club."
The Knights CEO also reflected on where he sees the Knights in five years time.
With all the stated factors mentioned above, Gardner believes success for the Club is achievable in the immediate future.
"Where we want to be in five years time is a club that is challenging for a top four position every year," Gardner said.
"Obviously injuries play a part, but if we can build a Club with the depth and resilience and pathways bringing players through, there is no reason we can't.
"Somewhere in that, the ball will bounce our way and we'll win a competition.
"I think we can get there in that period of time."