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Crusaders here to stay - Samuel

Leighton Samuel
Samuel says recent departures are part of the Crusaders' growing pains

Celtic Crusaders backer Leighton Samuel has predicted a massive future for the fledgling Super League club.

They make a home Super League debut on Saturday against Hull at Bridgend after losing their opening two away games.

But Samuel said: "People are bound to take a pop at us. Here we are, rugby league franchise in south Wales and people will obviously want us to fail.

"We're not going to fail. We are going to be here and... we are growing from strength to strength, believe me."

The Crusaders have been hit by the departures of chief executive David Thompson and operations manager Gerald McCarthy this month, but Samuel says they are part of the club's evolution.

The former backer of union teams Bridgend and defunct Celtic Warriors told BBC Sport Wales' Sportstime: "I don't think we have any problem on the field.

We're going to be here a long, long time to come because the development structure... is so strong

Leighton Samuel

"The infrastructure's there from the development right up to the top tier.

"I think what we've got to look at now as a business is that it's completely different to National League Two and National League One.

"We have to put the infrastructure off the field into place and that's going to take the time.

"[The departures] have not really been a setback. It's part of growing pains, I suppose. We are now at the top table so to speak and we're putting a team together that reflects basically where we are.

"People have left. People have done very, very good jobs and they've moved on and we wish them all the best.

"I don't know who's worried about that - the club is sustainable. We've needed to take a backward step, if you like, and look at it and put in disciplines and a structure that we have to adhere to."


Samuel says he is ploughing personal money into the Crusaders, but they are unsure how many fans will come through the Brewery Field gates during their first Super League season.

"The initial response and initial reaction to us from most people is very, very positive and we've got to build on that and we've got to make it grow," he added.

"I think the future is secure. [There were] different issues with the Warriors. I believe this is long-term.

"We're going to be here a long, long time to come because the development structure and underneath the Crusaders is so strong.

"We've got some very promising youngsters coming through so basically I think there's a massive future for us."

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see also
Ballard signs new Crusaders deal
16 Feb 09 |  Crusaders
Salford 28-16 Celtic Crusaders
14 Feb 09 |  Rugby League
Crusaders to develop Welsh talent
09 Feb 09 |  Crusaders
Gatland issues Crusaders warning
07 Feb 09 |  Crusaders
Leeds 28-6 Celtic Crusaders
06 Feb 09 |  Rugby League
When two codes collide
05 Feb 09 |  Crusaders
Crusaders chief executive resigns
09 Jun 06 |  Rugby League
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales

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