Harlequins RL CEO Paul Blanchard insists it is business as usual at the Stoop despite rumours of an uncertain future surfacing this week.

Figures revealed the club lost £1.8 million in the year ending 2008, the biggest loss of any Super League club.

And with RFL chairman Richard Lewis also announcing on Monday that Quins’ 2011 licence bid may hinge on increasing attendances which averaged just 3,500 last year, Blanchard has looked to calm the waters.

He said: “Richard’s comments did not come as a surprise to me - in fact I have had this conversation with the RFL before.

“It makes a good headline for the papers but it is nothing we were not aware of.

“The comments were actually part of an overview of the season as a whole, and both ourselves and Crusaders were talked about in terms of attendance.

“We know it is something we have to improve.

“We should have a competitive team on the field, and off it we have fantastic facilities, and it is all about translating that into bigger crowds.”

Blanchard is encouraged by the fact that the Londoners have already sold 1,000 season tickets for 2010, just under what was sold for the whole 2009 season.

And he insists there is plenty of cause for optimism.

He added: “From speaking to a lot of other club’s CEOs we are actually bucking the trend.

“But there is still an awful long way to go.

“The RFL really want us to succeed, and because of that, and the fact that we are away from the heartlands, we are put under far more scrutiny than most.

“The key for us undoubtedly is the younger generation - those who have not yet made their mind what their leisure activity will be.

“That is where we are putting most of our efforts - for example a child’s season ticket is just £25.

“The other area of major focus is the corporate side.

“We will be unleashing a barrage of commercial activity in January and if we can push crowds towards the 4,500 mark this season I will be delighted.”

Blanchard also admitted that the club will always be hamstrung by a lack of a ‘superstar’ player in terms of marketing potential, but is confident that will be overcome.

He added: “There is no doubt that if we were to go out and get someone like Darren Lockyer that would translate into bums on seats.

“But the simple fact is there are very few players out there like that - what I would call ‘box-office players’.

“But Brian feels we have put together a squad that can challenge, and if in 2010 we play like we started the season, rather than how we ended it, there is every cause for optimism.”