Fans of the Crusaders have unanimously backed plans to put forward a bid to enter a team to play in next year’s Cooperative Championship 1 at an open meeting held at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground on Thursday night.
The Crusaders Supporters Club and Save The Cru, who are forming the new club to hopefully kick-off in 2012, are asking fans to vote online for the new name.
The fans decided almost unanimously that the Crusaders name will remain even though it is a brand new club but were undecided on the prefix so they decided to throw it open to the wider majority.
Fans can vote for the new name online at www.crusadersrfl.com. The deadline is 11am on Friday 7th October.
Around 120 existing Crusaders supporters attended the meeting, as well as Wales Rugby League President Mike Nicholas and Chris Thair from the Club Support department of the Rugby Football League.
Other matters discussed at what was an historic first meeting for the new club included playing venue, coach, players and funding. The venue still looks to be the Racecourse Ground. The club are confident that the current deal with Glyndwr University remains both valid and viable.
The University, who now own the Racecourse Ground, were not behind or part of the alternative bid to form a club in Wrexham and that those particular organisers were just using the Glyndwr name.
CVs have recently been received from a number of coaches expressing an interest in the role at Crusaders. It is hoped that any coach would be of such standing that they could either bring or attract players to come and play for the club.
It was also emphasised that Geoff Moss and Ian Roberts are no longer involved in the club and that the new outfit will be partially owned by a Supporters Trust as well as a number of individuals and organisations throughout the area.
“I’d like to thank everyone for attending,” said Jamie Thomas of Capital Digital who is heading up the Save the Cru campaign. “The enthusiasm showed by the fans of the club was outstanding.
“There is a long way to go but we are hopeful that the new club will launch in a similar vein to Rochdale and Hunslet who are doing well with having no single owner, which is where Crusaders and others have failed in the past.
“We will be looking to canvas investment in the Crusaders in the form of shares or bonds, but on the basis that no-one will able to exert overall control due to their level of investment.
“Supporters may be able to access this through Credit Unions etc, but minimum investment may be at least £100.
“The share issue means that no-one has overall control. Ownership needs to be diverse to avoid the issues of the past recurring. The aim is to prevent people buying up “shares” taking control and placing us back into the strife that we are hoping to emerge from.
“However, we need to form a board, have people with business acumen such as lawyers and accountant on the board on a voluntary basis, to ensure appropriate corporate governance and compliance, and ensure it is run as a business. We also need to commit to active fan involvement in the running of the Club.”
North Wales Crusaders under 18s, who have just completed their first season in the Conference Youth League, will officially become part of the club as their under 18 side. A few of the older and more experienced players are likely to become squad members of the new side.
“I was very encouraged to see a high number of people present who care so passionately about the Crusaders and Rugby League in North Wales. The members of the proposed new board spoke eloquently and with realism to the supporters, who together realise that an exciting challenge may lie ahead. There was a real sense of unity and purpose within the room and I came away very encouraged.”
The Rugby Football League will be considering the new club’s application and if they are admitted into the lower tier of the professional game, they would take on South Wales Scorpions in the first professional Wales Rugby League derby in almost 102 years.