After years of struggle and uncertainty the town of Wrexham has a bright sporting future. Erstwhile FA Cup giant-killing heroes, Wrexham FC, and the famous old Racecourse Ground have found unlikely saviours in the form of the Rugby Football League and more specifically, their ailing engage Super League franchise, the Crusaders.
As of next season the Crusaders, formerly of Bridgend and one weekend in Newport, will represent Wrexham in the country’s premier rugby competition.
Wrexham Village Ltd, owners of Wrexham FC and their ground, have purchased the Crusaders franchise from Leighton Samuel after the South Wales millionaire was unable to secure financial and venue guarantees to safeguard the future of the Crusaders in South Wales.
Wrexham FC CEO, Paul Retout, is confident the move will put the Racecourse, the football club and even the town firmly on the sporting map: “I believe this is great news for Wrexham FC, for the town and indeed for North Wales and Wales a whole.
“We have agreed to take over the franchise and the Crusaders club will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wrexham Village, alongside Wrexham FC.
“This is akin to bringing a Premier League football team to Wrexham in terms of its impact, and I’m hoping the community of North Wales will support this venture.”
With Wrexham guaranteed to receive the Crusaders’ SKY TV payouts for the next two years at least, this is a sound financial move. It remains to be seen though whether the club can be sustained beyond that time. It will have to work hard to turn around the negative impressions it made off-field in its first season if it is to win a second franchise period.
The success may very well depend upon how much of that SKY money finds its way into rugby league, and on the coaching acumen of Brian Noble and Jon Sharp.
Let’s all hope that this time it works out right.
And just to blow our own trumpet: may we mention we foreshadowed this move way back in August (see: Celtic Concerns)