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Page last updated at 06:31 GMT, Monday, 6 July 2009 07:31 UK

Crusaders consider Newport move

By Gareth Rhys Owen and Peter Shuttleworth

Celtic Crusaders

Super League new boys Celtic Crusaders are considering temporarily leaving Bridgend and relocating to Newport.

Crusaders bosses made reassurances of their long-term objectives of the club's future amid financial fears.

Now the Welsh Super League club is thinking of leaving its Brewery Field home until their new stadium is built.

"We're planning for 2010 whether in Bridgend or Newport, we will be in Super League," chief executive Mike Turner told BBC Sport Wales.

The Crusaders, Super League's bottom club with just two wins in their first season, are already due to play one of their 'home' Super League games in Newport when they take on Leeds Rhinos on Saturday, 22 August.

Wales' first professional rugby league side have a "good working relationship" with the Newport Gwent Dragons rugby union region, who play at the Rodney Parade stadium.

"We are looking at all of our options," said Turner.

"We are a business and we have to what is best for our business and make sure it is financially the best deal for ourselves.

The Crusaders are currently in their first season of their three year Super League franchise but must submit their application for their next licence at the end of next year.

Leighton Samuel
We would play out of Newport until the new stadium is built then we would come back to Bridgend

Celtic Crusaders chairman Leighton Samuel

Crusaders chairman Leighton Samuel told BBC Sport: "We must go forward with a viable facility and the stadium at the Brewery Field was not ideal at the time of the initial bid, it didn't meet certain criteria and we have to meet that criteria this time.

"Rodney Parade certainly meets that criteria, especially in terms of capacity.

"It is an option. They do want us there and we would love to play out of there as it is a nice facility and is to be redeveloped."

The Brewery Field, the old home of Bridgend rugby union club, has been the Crusaders' home since its inception in 2005.

But the Crusaders no longer own the famous old ground after it changed ownership in March 2009 and is now under control of the Bridgend Ravens rugby union and Bridgend Town football club.

The Crusaders' plan, which has been submitted to the local council, is to build a new 15,000-capacity stadium just outside Bridgend on the Island Farm development.

Crusaders fans may fear a move to Newport means an end to their ambitious new stadium plans.

But Samuel insists: "We would play out of Newport until the new stadium is built then we would come back to Bridgend."

The Crusaders have conceded they are suffering a "difficult" financial time as the worldwide economic crisis bites, but have vowed to become a "Super League force to be reckoned with".

Turner revealed the Crusaders need an average crowd of 4,500 to break even but have only managed to reach that mark on three out of their nine home fixtures so far.

"The difference from the heartlands is that we are promoting a new sport and we need to get people involved in the club," said Turner.

Samuel hopes to create a Crusaders road show next season by taking their 'home' fixtures around Wales, with Wrexham's Racecourse Ground and the Parc y Scarlets stadium in Llanelli possible venues.



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see also
Crusaders given future assurance
05 Jul 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Celtic Crusaders 6-22 Warrington
04 Jul 09 |  Rugby League
Crusaders face Rhinos in Newport
26 May 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Stadium revamp plans get go-ahead
11 Mar 09 |  Wales
Dixon's plea to Crusaders support
08 Mar 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Crusaders here to stay - Samuel
18 Feb 09 |  Celtic Crusaders
Crusaders to develop Welsh talent
09 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


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