Widnes MP hits out at Crusaders


MP for Halton, Derek Twigg, has hit out at the uncertainty surrounding the future of Welsh Super League club Crusaders RL.

The then Celtic Crusaders were given a Super League licence in 2008 ahead of a number of clubs, including Twigg’s local side Widnes.

The Vikings spell in administration in 2007 was attributed as the main cause of their rejection in the licensing process, but following the well documented financial and logistical problems of the recently re-named Crusaders, Twigg raised the issue at a recent parliamentary discussion.

Posting on a Widnes supporters forum, Twigg said: “As reported in this weeks Weekly News I did question Richard Lewis about Crusaders at the All Party Rugby League Group meeting in Westminister and expressed my dismay at what was happening. I also had a telephone conversation with him.

“He did confirm that the RFL wanted to see a Super League club based at Wrexham and there would also be a Championship and Academy side based in South Wales. There is no doubt in my mind that the Wrexham deal will happen, although to be accurate, on Tuesday Richard did say there had been no agreement at that time.

“When I questioned him on Crusaders financial plight his defence was that Widnes had plenty of financial problems themselves in the past. I said, that was before Steve O Connor and reminded him that the only Super League licence bid that included a financial bond was that submitted by Widnes. Also, Widnes did not get any help from the RFL.

“Given, that I understand there are other Super League clubs also in financial difficulty, what judgement did the RFL show in turning down the bond backed Widnes bid? We should also not forget how the RFL dealt with the London Bronchos (sic) financial difficulties.”

Widnes chairman Steve O’Connor promised to underwrite the Widnes bid to the tune of £500,000, but the Vikings missed out on a place in the top flight to Celtic and fellow National League rivals Salford.

Featherstone, Halifax, Leigh and Toulouse were also overlooked for the 14 places in Super League for the 2009-11 period.