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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 August, 2003, 21:35 GMT 22:35 UK
Russell quits Dragons post
Gwent Dragons coach Mike Ruddock with captain Andy Marinos
Season ticket sales for Gwent Dragons have been disappointing
Ebbw Vale chairman Marcus Russell has resigned as a director of the new Gwent Dragons regional rugby side.

Russell says the future success of the team would be best guaranteed if it becomes part of Newport Rugby Club.

A combination of poor season ticket sales for the Gwent Dragons and continuing rows over the name appear to have finally prompted Russell to throw in the towel.

The region is now likely to not only play at Newport, but include Newport in the name, and is unlikely to differ in from the stand-alone operations at Cardiff and Llanelli.

Earlier this week, Newport said it would give its fans chance to vote early next season on the name for the 2004/5 season.

But following Russell's departure, that vote could now take place before the beginning of this season.

Said Russell in a statement: "My initial belief that the sporting public of Gwent would welcome, and support, the notion of a top class rugby side representing the whole region of Gwent playing out of Rodney Parade was ill conceived.

"My efforts to retain a Gwent identity in the face of a sustained campaign to the contrary by all concerned with Newport RFC have been undermined by the proportionate lack of season ticket sales to rugby followers living outside the Newport area, (Ebbw Vale area excepted)."

Russell says he will consult with Ebbw Vale Rugby Club to find his replacement as a Gwent Dragons director.





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