How the once mighty Neath have fallen
THERE was a time at the end of the amateur era when, under Ron Waldron, Neath raised their game to a level high enough to slug it out with New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. Last week they couldn’t raise a team.
The crisis enveloping the proud old town’s rugby club prompted more than the cancellation of yesterday’s Welsh Premiership match at Bedwas. Mike Cuddy, the beleaguered owner of the original All Blacks, responded to calls for his resignation with some startling claims.
“I have been involved in Neath Rugby for over 25 years during which I have spent over £1m of my own money supporting this club,’’ he said. “We recruited significant, experienced and subsequently underperforming players the majority of whom did not understand our values and did not have our club at heart.
“In spite of the bonuses being paid, poor on-field performances continued. This made us both the most expensive and, by some distance, the worst performing team in the League.’’
A major driving force behind the Ospreys before his resignation from the regional team, Cuddy said he was unable to attend a supporters’ meeting in midweek due to ‘poor health’. His demolition company collapsed a few months ago.
Whether Neath are still around this time next week hinges on the outcome of a winding-up petition to be heard in Cardiff on Thursday after an adjournment last week.