Crusaders fans have today been given new hope of the club’s survival after the club’s chief executive announced that they are set to make an application to play in the Co-operative Championship next season.
In a joint statement made by the Crusaders, representatives of the Save the Cru campaign and the Crusaders Supporters Club, the club said that they would be writing to the RFL to bid for a place in the Co-operative Championship from the 2012 season.
Last month fans and players at the Wrexham based side were left shell shocked by the club’s decision to withdraw their application to play in the Super League for the next three years citing financial issues, leading many to fear for the club’s survival.
There were emotional scenes at the final whistle of the Crusaders last Super League home game against Hull on Sunday as fans took to the pitch to form a guard of honour for the players, may of whom are leaving for new clubs.
Now it appears that the Crusaders may gain a new lease of life in Rugby League’s second tier which is also home to the South Wales Scorpions.
The Save the Cru campaign was set up by fan Jamie Thomas and has received the backing of over 4,000 fans.
Rod Findlay, Crusaders Chief Executive Officer, explained: “Without ever having played Championship Rugby League in Wrexham it was always difficult to gauge whether or not there was enough support for the Crusaders at that level. I met with Jamie Thomas and explained what I thought was necessary and off his own bat he began the Save the Cru campaign. The level of support has been overwhelming.”
“I have explained that the RFL Operational Rules provide for a club coming out of Super League to go into the Co-operative Championship. However, the RFL will need to approve a business plan and work starts on the detailed plan now. We have already spoken to the current owners about securing the assets of the club.
“Wrexham Council could not have been more supportive and we have had really productive discussions with Glyndwr University about playing at the Racecourse Ground and developing the existing partnership further.”
The club indicated that they have also received the backing of the local business community with a number committing to sponsorship should the Crusaders be successful in their bid to play in the Championship.
Head of Save the Cru Campaign, Jamie Thomas said: “Further to the overwhelming support we have received from the local community, it was evident very quickly that a Championship club could thrive in Wrexham. Therefore we have contacted the current management team of the Crusaders with a view to get their help to establish a club for next year.”
Chairman of the Crusaders Supporters Club Chris Jones said: “This is just the news we were hoping for. The fans were devastated when the club announced the withdrawal from the Super League and you could see how much the game meant to them by the scenes at the final whistle last weekend at the last home game.