A group of Hemel Stags diehards have formed a group which is pressing for change to the club’s decision to relocate its main base of operations in Dewsbury.
The board of the club have taken the decision to integrate more closely with the Rams as a way of making the team more competitive on the pitch.
A number of fans have protested angrily about the situation, and have launched a petition urging the board at the club to change its mind.
The group, which includes 23 year veteran of the club and semi-pro player Ashley Fryson, has issued a statement outlining its views.
The statement reads:
“Following the end of the 2016 season, the decision was made, with zero consultation with the players, volunteers, sponsors and supporters of both the professional and amateur club, to form a partnership with Championship side Dewsbury Rams.
“This partnership will result in Hemel Stags holding ALL their training sessions in Dewsbury – 170 miles from Hemel, whilst continuing to play their home games at Pennine Way, home of the Stags.
“As a result, any players aspiring to play in league 1 will have to make a 340 mile round trip, three times per week, should they wish to be considered for selection.
“Furthermore, the team will be made up of Northern based players, with no loyalty, involvement or understanding of the history of the Stags, who will travel down to play their home games at Pennine way.
“As a result there is no longer a professional ‘Hemel’ team for local players to represent, for members of the community to support and for the minis and juniors to one day aspire to play for.
“Furthermore there is a strong belief among people residing in Hemel (whether they are involved with the club or not), and the wider rugby league community, that the powers in charge of the club have made a terrible decision that goes against the ethos of a great rugby league club, which has been at the forefront of rugby league development in the South of England.”
The statement also outlines the group’s, somewhat inchoate at this stage, views on what shape the future should take for the club.
“We believe the way forward for the club is for change, we need to regain the respect that Hemel Stags had and was renowned for in the rugby league community,” the statement continues.
“This change should begin with the current board who we believe are out of touch with everyone connected to the club and the wider rugby league family.
“We believe better decisions can and should be made regarding the long term future of the club.
“We feel that there needs to be more transparency across the whole of Hemel Stags whether amateur or professional and that we should be working together to create one club and not two separate entities.
“We believe the coaching team needs to be changed, to enable us to attract players and volunteers who have been put off joining us due to the current set up and staff.
“Our vision is for the club & board to become open and inclusive for all and the shareholders of the Supporters Trust to have a voice in the direction of the club.
“We therefore urge you to sign the petition and stand with us in expressing our contempt for the current plans to link with Dewsbury Rams.”
If anyone wishes to show support to the cause, the petition can be found HERE.