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Last Updated: Tuesday, 18 May, 2004, 15:19 GMT 16:19 UK
Fan's anger at Warriors sale
Simon Green
Simon Green fears the worse for the Celtic Warriors
Simon Green has been a die-hard Bridgend fan for the last 10 years. He has followed the Ravens home and away and become chairman of the supporters club.

With the advent of regional rugby he bought into the Celtic Warriors concept and gave the new team equal support. Here he tells BBC News Online why it would be a grim day for Bridgend if the Warriors were disbanded:

"I really started to follow Bridgend about 10 years ago.

"Growing up I used to keep an eye on their scores but for health reasons I had to leave college so with my spare time I went to the Brewery Field.

"That day, Bridgend beat Llanelli and I don't think I've missed a home game since - and only a very few away.

"Win or lose I always have a brilliant time. I've made many friends following Bridgend and more recently the Celtic Warriors across Wales and Europe.

"My life at the moment and for a number of years has been 101% following rugby and I'm devastated with what is happening as are many other supporters I've spoken to.

I think it could be disastrous for Bridgend as a town
Simon Green

"It doesn't matter whether it is Bridgend playing Bedwas in the semi-professional league or the Celtic Warriors playing Wasps. It doesn't matter to me whether there is one man and his dog or 12,000 people there - I love the Brewery Field.

"It is a passion I do not want to see go. It doesn't matter how bad life is; knowing you've a game coming up takes the stresses away.

"The atmosphere is fantastic - we may not have the biggest support but we've got many of the best fans.

"If that goes a big part of my life will be taken away.

"Before regional rugby I have many great memories of when we were just Bridgend. The best was when we won the league in 2003 but I also loved the games in Heineken Cup.

'Off-field traumas'

"We beat Brieve in what is now the Parker Pen Cup and of course there are fond memories of any time we beat Cardiff - particularly at the Arms Park. I was very proud when Robert Howley won his first Welsh cap and was the same with Gareth Thomas.

"When the rumours first started about regional rugby I was devastated - especially as we had just won the league. For the first time in the 10 years I had been following Bridgend we had a really good team.

"But I understood something had to be done and there was not the money for the game to continue as it was. Like many others I bought into the Celtic Warriors and I am a really big fan despite all the off-field traumas.

"I'm more gutted now than I was then as I really think we would have been the pace-setters next season. Now I'm left with probably having no professional team to follow.

"I think it could be disastrous for Bridgend as a town. It will lose money as the Brewery Field is a big part of the town. Pubs, restaurants and hoteliers will miss out if the likes of Munster, Leinster and Toulouse are no longer coming.

'Cloud cuckoo land'

"It will also hit the kids in the town. Through my work with the supporters club, I have visited schools with the mascot Ronny the Raven and it is great to see the response he gets. It is great to see the kids then come and enjoy themselves at the Brewery Field.

"We've got local sides like Bridgend Athletic who do brilliant work with the kids but where are the Rob Howleys or Gareth Thomases of the future going to go from there? I suppose Bridgend might become a feeder club for the Ospreys.

"I feel a lot for the players - you have got to worry for their future because they've got families and mortgages to pay. Whatever happens, I hope they are able to secure jobs in the future.

"But if David Moffett really believes that Bridgend fans will now go and support the Ospreys and Pontypridd fans will go and support Cardiff he is living in cloud cuckoo land because it's not going to happen.

"To ask us all to travel down to St Helens or the Gnoll would be ridiculous. I can't speak for every Bridgend fan but the vast majority I have spoken to have said they have had enough and they will just give up on rugby."


SEE ALSO:
No surprise for Ponty fan
18 May 04  |  South East Wales
Warriors' buy-out 'mortal blow'
18 May 04  |  Wales
Warriors carve-up begins
18 May 04  |  Welsh
WRU to decide Warriors fate
18 May 04  |  Welsh
Warriors slam WRU plans
18 May 04  |  Welsh


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