Keighley reveal financial problems

James Gordon

Keighley have become the latest lower league club to reveal financial strife and were hours from going out of existence.

Following on from the recent struggles at Whitehaven and a similar statement from Barrow, the Cougars revealed that the club bank balance currently stands at £34.23.

They are looking for investment in the region of £45,000 to see out the 2018 season and have already lost players Matty Beharrell and Josh Tonks having asked their squad to take pay cuts.

A club statement said: “We are releasing this statement to inform all involved with the Keighley Cougars that we recently came within hours of going out of existence.

“This would have meant Keighley Rugby League, a staple of the Keighley community for 117 years and a place that has brought so much joy to those who have been involved with our great club, would have been consigned to nothing more than memory and the history book.

“The borough of Keighley has a population of over 90,000 people and our average attendances are in the 600 region meaning that only 7% of our community support the club on a regular basis.

“The reason behind this is our now former Chairman, Gary Fawcett, is currently reluctant to sell his shares in the club thus blocking any proposed takeover of Keighley Cougars and causing the club financial hardship.

“As the two remaining directors of Keighley Cougars we, unlike others, will not abandon the club in its hour of need and have continued to work hard behind the scenes amongst ourselves and also with our sponsors to raise funds and continue to pay the wages of our players, coaching staff and backroom team.

“We are confident should the team perform to the high standards we know that they are capable off, we will finish in the top five of Betfred League One and earn the opportunity to challenge for promotion to the Championship.

“However, to allow this to happen and ease the cash flow situation we need financial investment in Keighley Cougars now! The club is part of our town’s heritage, identity and legacy.

“Some people don’t realise that to diehard supporters, such as our own, clubs like the Keighley Cougars are more important than the result of a game or a league position.

“An example of this being the have a loyal band of volunteers who work hard three times a week, helping clean, repair and help us maintain the general upkeep of both our great club and our historic home at Cougar Park.

“As our friends at Barrow said in a similar statement they released earlier today, clubs like ours are about heritage, culture and the blood sweat and tears of a great community.

“The Cougars is part of an identity and heritage we need in our local community but we also know we have a community of Cougars supporters living elsewhere in the United Kingdom and all over the world and we hope these supporters will continue to support us and get behind the club.”

If you would like to be involved with the survival of the Keighley Cougars then email or call the club directly on 01535 606044 where Garry Schofield will take your call.