Celtic Crusaders – A Fan’s View

The fan’s view series, which seems to have provoked a little bit of discussion on various fans’ forums, continues today. Representing Celtic Crusaders is Andy Burns. Andy is a 41-year-old Project Manager from Newport, South Wales.nnHow do you think the RFL will view your bid?nAn excellent bid has been submitted by the club, endorsed by the Welsh Assembly. The RFL will see the bid as an excellent one that covers the majority of the set criteria by a club that continues to bring a breath of fresh air to this game; if the RFL want to expand the game , Celtic Crusaders should be admitted , the time is right. n nWhy do you think Celtic should be included?nRugby League is taking off in Wales, everyone can see that, we have a great Colts team (full of Local Welsh lads), we have good conference teams, junior teams and at schools level. The Welsh people are passionate about sport, what ever it is. The crowd has trebled in 3 years and will continue to do so in Super League. Mark my words the Welsh people are falling in love with the game. I’m actually from Doncaster and have lived down here 8 years and I think it’s unbelievable what’s happening here. Rugby League is going to be massive, because it has a vast catchment area. We have a team in London and France. A team in Wales is needed for this game to expand.n nWhat will Celtic add to Super League?nThey will add passion, the crowds will come and they will add noise and atmosphere. We already sing more than any other club I know, you know the welsh, they love to sing! n nFrom a fans perspective the Crusaders are in my view the friendliest club in NL1, you always get a warm welcome at the Brewery field , The Welsh will always make you welcome – you ask the fans who go to Cardiff for Millennium magic.nFeedback from many other super league fans at Millennium magic is that they also want us in as they love to come to Wales and are bored with making the same old trips in Yorkshire and Lancashire n nWhat do you think of the other teams’ bids?nI think Salford and Widnes are our main rivals, Widnes have a good stadium and Salford have a good set up , however as I said earlier we are growing rapidly with a massive catchment area – I don’t think they will grow at the same rate we are. Both have had their chance in Super League – Its time now to move on and expand the game Europe wide if it is to compete with other sports e.g. Rugby Union n nWho do you think the RFL will choose?nI’m really nervous, but if the RFL stay true to their expansion plans, they will give one of the licenses to us. So I am going for the Celtic Crusaders. I have been to both Salford and Widnes this year, if I have to pick one of the two it will be Salford, they already have a Super League set up in my book. n nWhat do you think will happen if Celtic don’t get in? Would this be last chance for Wales?n I think the game will carry on but it will be a massive blow for Rugby League here, we have a great colts’ side and I think we will continue but not at the heights we are at now n nDo you think Celtic’s stadium is good enough?n To be honest – not at the moment, we can erect a stand behind the posts at one end, as they had for the Celtic Warriors this will improve the capacity, parking for me is poor and it will be a problem when the likes of Leeds and Saints come down.n nDo you envisage a move to somewhere else in Wales?n We have plans for a new stadium in Bridgend that I believe is part of our application, not sure what’s happening with this.nMy preference would be to play in Cardiff but I don’t envisage moving from Bridgend especially if the new stadium comes off.n nDo you agree with the whole process?nYes. I think we have done everything correct, working our way from NL2. We haven’t been fast tracked as Catalans were. We have worked our way up and are now sitting 3rd in NL1; so we deserve it n nWho would you like to see get a franchise?nCeltic Crusaders and SalfordnnWould you like to add anything else?n No I think I’ve covered everything. Crusaders for Super League!nnFinney’s Final Thought: I think the Celtic bid is very difficult to decide. Expansion is important for the game, but at what price? I would hate to see a traditional Rugby League area miss out. Personally, I feel 2009 is too soon. In in three years time I would add them, either to make a fifteen team divison, or in place on one of the existing sides that has failed to deliver their application promises. For Rugby League to suceed in Wales the people deserve a top quality product, complete with stadium and local first team talent. Not another team full of Australians. Otherwise we may end up with Gateshead mark II.

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