Celtic chairman plays down finance worries

James Gordon

Celtic chairman Leighton Samuel has played down rumours that the expansion club are suffering financial difficulties.

It has been reported that the club are struggling on the back of trading problems for Samuel’s company and major investor Dekor PLC, raising concerns over its long term viability.

Rumours have even been circulating on internet messageboards that Championship clubs Halifax and Widnes have been told to prepare for Super League in 2010 just in case a team is needed to make up the numbers.

But Samuel insists the situation is stable and the Crusaders have strong long-term plans, saying: “When I was approached in 2004 to start up a club that was capable of getting into Super League by 2009, I was 100% committed to that cause. That commitment has never waned and now we’re in Super League, there’s no way that I and Dekor PLC are going to walk away from it.”

He added: “Granted it has been a tough first season but we didn’t expect anything less.

“We’re now planning in earnest for 2010 and are currently restructuring the club both on and off the field.

“As far as Dekor PLC is concerned, despite a difficult trading period to year end May 31, 2009, the company’s UK turnover remained static but it posted a pre-tax profit of £374,000 compared to a small loss the previous year. That’s what I call a result!”

Celtic were one of 14 teams given a Super League licence for the period 2009-11 in July last season and, along with Salford, were one of only two teams outside the top flight at the time to get one.

They have won just two games in a difficult debut season in the top flight – away at Bradford in May and at home to Wigan last month.

The Crusaders were founded in 2006, and won the National League 2 title in 2007 to gain promotion to National League 1. They lost the NL1 Grand Final last season, but their elevation to Super League had already been decided.