A public meeting has been called for all Whitehaven rugby league supporters on Friday night to further explore the possibility of setting up an independent supporters’ trust to make a viable offer to run the club.
Since the idea was first mooted by a fans’ steering group on Friday over 300 people have used a website to register their interest in being involved in the scheme, and the steering group met on Tuesday.
Spokesman Karl Connor said: “What we have seen by the response to the website is that there is a genuine will in the community for the club to continue, and a genuine interest from supporters in getting involved in shaping the club’s future.
“Can we raise the funds to buy the club? That is the big question – and one we hope to answer after the public meeting on Friday night.
“What we will be asking people on Friday is firstly whether or not they want to go ahead with a trust and if they do we will set one up.
“If that is the road we go down then we would follow a well established model which is already being used successfully at other sports clubs. Membership of the trust would cost a minimum of £100, with an annual sum of around £20 charged in future years. There would be no limit on the amount people can pay for membership, so someone more affluent could donate anything that they like on top of that £100, although however much people pay it would be one member, one vote, with everything decided democratically and positions within the trust’s board voted for and approved by the full membership.
“Over the bank holiday weekend lots of people have said they’d be happy to be involved on that basis – but we need to get the ball rolling to show the administrators that we are genuine and serious.
“There is some work to do on that front – we also need to get some information from the administrators and the Rugby Football League so that we can understand exactly what position the club is in at the moment, exactly how much we’d need to raise and exactly what time scale we are working to, because reports are conflicting, but it’s chicken and egg, we need to prove we are serious before we’ll get such information.
“In order to provide that evidence the trust, if it is formally set up on Friday, will start taking memberships. Everyone who joins will be issued with a receipt and membership number, and should the bid to buy the club be unsuccessful every penny will be returned in full.
“We have had no formal contact with anyone from the club or from the other consortium looking to buy the club – I understand that Mr Raaz is in the United States – but as we have said before we are happy to work with anybody, in fact we would prefer to work with everybody, and we would welcome them to either attend the meeting or contact us before hand.
“The future of Whitehaven Rugby League Club is too important for any squabbles to get in the way and I hope everyone will feel that way – certainly everyone we have spoken to so far shares that view.”
The meeting takes place this Friday night at the Marchon Club from 7pm – all are most welcome.