For Castleford and their fans, the 2000s brought a decade of pain; relegated twice in three years and on the brink of financial meltdown, the club barely scraped through to 2010 as a viable business. However, in 2000 with head coach Stuart Raper at the helm, the Tigers managed to finish a highly-respectable fifth. And, things did not appear to be going too bad for his successor Graham Steadman either, following a sixth-placed finish and a Challenge Cup semi-final in 2002.

But then the decline began. After losing a whole host of influential players including Mitch Healey and Wayne Bartrim at the end of 2003, Steadman was sacked in April 2004 after a run of seven defeats left the Tigers bottom of the table.

Ex-Leeds and Warrington forward Gary Mercer - who had been Steadman's assistant - took over the reins in a bid to steer Castleford out of relegation trouble. However, with just six wins from 15 games, Castleford were relegated, finishing bottom of Super League.

Then, it was up to former Penrith Panthers' development coach Dave Woods to help the club regain Super League status. Though Castleford lost the Northern Rail Cup Final to Hull KR, Woods masterminded an instant return to the top-flight with a 36-8 victory over Whitehaven - a team that had beaten the Tigers just two weeks prior - in the then National League One Final. If Woods felt he should be rewarded for his success he was wrong; former London Broncos' loose-forward Terry Matterson was appointed in his place - a move which went down like a lead balloon amongst the Castleford fans.

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In 2006 and in Matterson's maiden season, Castleford were once more relegated by local rivals Wakefield Trinity in what became known as the "Battle of Belle Vue" (whichever team lost would be relegated). However, this time around, the Tigers could count themselves extremely unfortunate to be dropping down a tier after Wigan's points deduction for salary cap breaches was only enforced in 2007 - the four points which the Warriors were deducted would have left them below Castleford in the 2006 Super League table. Plus, Castleford did not actually finish bottom in 2006 either; Catalans Dragons received the wooden spoon, but were exempt from relegation.

Yet again though, Castleford bounced back at the first time of asking - a 42-10 victory over Widnes in the final confirmed their Super League status. The new licensing system - which came into being in 2008 - meant there would be no promotion and relegation - which was lucky for the Tigers as they finished bottom of Super League in 2008. In 2009 however, Castleford reached the play-offs for the first time since 2002.

Throughout the painful decade, a number of players stood out for the club. Here are five that helped the club through the toughest decade in Castleford's history.

Danny Brough

Danny Brough - the former Hull FC half-back whom had helped steer the Airlie Birds to Challenge Cup success over Leeds in 2005 - single-handedly earned Castleford promotion back to Super League in 2007. Brough took a paycut to help the club get back to the top tier after joining midway through 2006 in a bid to help Castleford escape relegation. The mercurial half-back played 35 times for Castleford over the course of 18 months, scoring 12 tries and kicking 153 goals and four drop-goals. Castleford's 42-10 victory over Widnes in the National League One final at Headingley was the perfect send-off for a player that would be departing for Wakefield after the game. The final was, effectively, the Danny Brough show.

With six goals and two drop-goals to his name, Brough produced a majestic performance, controlling the game with ease and having a hand in five of the Tigers' seven tries. Though the Dewsbury-born half-back left his best display for the final, Brough had been Castleford's gem in the lower leagues in 2007. He had dominated the second-tier and without such a maverick, the Tigers may have struggled to be so effective.

Mitch Healey

Australian Mitch Healey joined Castleford after 11 years with Australian side Cronulla Sharks ahead of the 2001 season. Though half-back Healey was injured for most of his first season at Wheldon Road, he was pivotal in Castleford's sixth-placed finish in 2002 as well as their Challenge Cup run that year which ended at the semi-final stage. Throughout his three years at the Tigers, Healey played 76 times in a Castleford shirt, scoring 11 tries and kicking 16 goals and two drop-goals.

It was the manner in which he controlled games though that made Castleford fans adore him; Healey was one of a new breed of play-makers instrumental in the development of the pin-point high kick to the corner and cross-field kick resulting in a number of tries for his centres and wingers. Though Healey joined the club as a 31-year-old, he was far from a journeyman looking for a last pay-day. In fact, he was one of the Tigers' most integral players in the early 2000s and it was quite obvious the huge impact he had had on the team when he left at the end of 2003.

Andrew Henderson

Andrew Henderson is one of Rugby League's mysteries; born in Torquay, Devon with Scottish heritage and an Australian accent, Henderson - or "Hendo" as Castleford fans affectionately called him - joined Castleford after their relegation from Super League in 2004 from Wests Tigers. Captain Fantastic, Henderson led the Tigers to two promotions in 2005 and 2007, scoring 22 tries in 115 appearances over the course of four seasons. His quick and effective running game out of dummy half often caught teams on the back foot and he was never found wanting in the defensive line.

Henderson had a remarkable relationship with the Castleford faithful; the passion and spirit he displayed on the field was a pleasure to see and he gave his all in every single game he played in a Castleford shirt. Though Henderson was at the club through its darkest days, he will forever be remembered by the Tigers' fans as an incredibly talented and committed character. It was with great sadness therefore that Henderson was not given another contract in 2008 despite how much he wanted to stay at the club and despite how much the fans wanted him to continue wearing the Castleford shirt. He is still very much revered at Wheldon Road for the way he pulled the team through some awful times.

Craig Huby

Craig Huby, born in Pontefract, made his debut for Castleford at the tender age of 16 in 2003. Though he was in and out of the side for the remainder of 2003 as well as 2004, the 6 ft 2, 106kg prop established himself as a first-team regular in Castleford's first experience in the second tier in 2005. By the time that Huby left in 2014, he had been Castleford's longest-serving player after 11 years at the club.

In that time the barnstorming forward played 199 games for the Tigers, scoring 30 tries and kicking 45 goals and had firmly established himself as a fans' favourite with his superb offload game and direct running. Huby had to come of age at a time when so many of his fellow forwards such as Andy Lynch and Wayne Godwin had left at the end of 2004 - he did just that and became one of Castleford's most important and stand-out forwards for the rest of the decade.

Andy Lynch

Leeds-born Andy Lynch grew up in Castleford and made his debut for the club in 1999 aged just 19. In his five seasons at the club - before he departed for Bradford Bulls following the Tigers' relegation in 2004 - the mobile prop forward registered 15 tries in 137 games. His huge potential was already realised on a national scale when Lynch was named in the England 'A' squad for their match against New Zealand and for the South Seas tour at the end of the 2002 season, and the following year was part of the squad that won the European Nations Cup.

Lynch's impressive performances for Castleford were rewarded when he was given the Tigers' Player of the Year Award and included in the Super League Dream Team in 2003. During his time at Castleford, Lynch was also selected for England, and played as a substitute in Yorkshire's 56-6 victory over Lancashire at Bradford in July 2003. Lynch was, arguably, one of the most exciting up-and-coming forwards in the game with his metre-eating runs and offload game often causing problems in the opposition's defence. It was therefore a great shame that Lynch - now Castleford's player welfare officer - did not stick around and help the club regain promotion after 2004.