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Page last updated at 14:08 GMT, Sunday, 5 July 2009 15:08 UK

Crusaders given future assurance

Leighton Samuel
Leighton Samuel is already planning for the 2010 season

Celtic Crusaders chiefs have assured the club's future is safe amid fears the Super League new boys are suffering from financial difficulties.

Chairman Leighton Samuel has rejected claims his company and major investor Dekor plc are having trading troubles.

Samuel insists: "There's no way that I and Dekor plc are going to walk away."

Chief executive Mike Turner added: "This year probably wasn't the best year to go into Super League but we'll get through it and come out stronger."

Reports also claim that Crusaders players have not been paid on time and Samuel admitted to BBC Sport: "Most players were paid on time but two players were paid a day or two late due to a one-off glitch."

Samuel responded to reports regarding his commitment to Wales' first Super League club - who are bottom of the division - by issuing a statement on Saturday saying the Crusaders situation is stable and have strong long-term plans.

"I was approached in 2004 to start up a club that was capable of getting into Super League by 2009," said Samuel.

"I was 100% committed to that cause. That commitment has never waned.

"Granted it has been a tough first season but we didn't expect anything less. We're now planning in earnest for 2010 and are currently restructuring the club both on and off the field.

Celtic Crusaders
We've had to make some massive strides here and I couldn't think of a worse time in the economic climate for a club to go from National League to Super League

Crusaders coach John Dixon

"As far as Dekor plc is concerned, despite a difficult trading period to year end 31 May 2009, the company's UK turnover remained static.

"But it posted a pre-tax profit of £374,000 compared to a small loss the previous year. That's what I call a result!"

Newspaper reports also suggested that Samuel and Turner were set for crunch showdown talks with the Rugby Football League this weekend but Crusaders chiefs insist it was simply a routine meeting.

"As we are a new franchise, we speak with the RFL on a regular basis to help build our business and drive our business forward," said Turner.

"And we have assistance from their marketing department. We run a tight ship so if someone offers an extra person to help with marketing and implementing some of our plans, then we'll take help.

"There is a worldwide recession going on and, as with any other business, we are finding it difficult.

"But we're very excited about the future of Celtic Crusaders as Wales' sole representatives in Super League.

"We are just in the first year of our Super League adventure and we are very excited about what the future is going to bring for us.

"We have been planning for 2010 for a long time now and we still have many decisions to make.

"But Leighton Samuel is fully supportive of the Crusaders, he is 100% behind us and is here for the long-term."

Samuel founded the Crusaders in 2005 with a dream of winning a Super League franchise and within four years, the new club had won a three-year top-flight rugby licence.

But whatever the uncertainly off-the-field, the Crusaders are certainly struggling on-the-pitch as Super League's bottom club have won just two of their 19 games this season.


And coach John Dixon admits: "There is a huge step from the National League to Super League in the blink of an eye as all of our infrastructures have had to change.

"We've had to make some massive strides here and I couldn't think of a worse time in the economic climate for a club to go from National League to Super League - and with no history behind us and no depth in terms of resources.

"There are a whole stack of business, not just in sport, who have suffered and won't be around in 2010 - but the Crusaders will be.

"It has been a really tough period but what enthuses me is the commitment from the management to going forward and this club will get better.

"They could easily hold their hands up and say 'this is all too hard, it was a nice dream but it is too hard.' But they are committed to the Crusaders."

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see also
Crusaders here to stay - Samuel
18 Feb 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Dixon's plea to Crusaders support
08 Mar 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Crusaders to develop Welsh talent
09 Feb 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Harris excited by Welsh Crusaders
04 Feb 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Crusaders lodge new stadium plan
11 Dec 08 |  Celtic Crusaders
Welsh rugby league's Crusade
22 Jul 08 |  Rugby League
Crusaders celebrate Super League status
22 Jul 08 |  Rugby League
Super League Show
17 Feb 08 |  Rugby League

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