Cuddy says he’s ready to relinquish control
NEATH owner Mike Cuddy has revealed he is ready to relinquish control of the crisis-hit club.
There is continued uncertainty surrounding the future of one of Welsh rugby’s most famous clubs following the decision at Cardiff Justice Courts on Thursday to dismiss a winding-up order.
That ruling means Mr Cuddy currently remains in charge of Neath Rugby Limited, but in a new twist, he has today revealed he is ready to hand the club over to new investors.
In a statement issued to WalesOnline, Mr Cuddy says is considering three options – staying at the helm (which he prefers not to do because of ill-health), passing on the club to the supporters, or selling to potential new owners, who he has already spoken to.
He also takes a swipe at the personal abuse he has received on social media.
He said: “Following yesterday’s court case, in which as I expected, the claim against the club from Jardine Norton was dismissed, with costs awarded, it is now time to consider how to best take things forward at Neath Rugby.
“We now expect the club’s bank accounts to be unfrozen, which will at least allow the club to start functioning again. We have a number of potential options, each of which I am exploring.
“One option is to continue to run the club in its current form. Unfortunately, with my poor health this is definitely not my preferred route at this time.
“A second option is to pass responsibility for the club over to a supporters group which has expressed interest in taking it over.
“I understand the group is led by two former Borough Council Managers, who claim have generated significant local support for their plan to “take the club back to the community”.
“I am now keen to meet with this group to understand the detail of their plan, most particularly how they intend to generate the necessary ongoing financial support which is necessary for the club to survive.
“Whilst they are certainly enthusiastic and vocal, I do not have sufficient understanding of what they are proposing to be able to decide if this is a viable option for the cub.
“Thirdly, I am in discussion with a number of parties who have expressed interest in acquiring Neath Rugby Limited.
“It is clear to me that these parties are financially able to support the club and my hope is that they have not been deterred by some of the on-line abuse that has been aimed at myself over the past month.
“You certainly have to have a thick skin in order to “invest” in any rugby or football club and it’s unfortunate that in common with most clubs, Neath has a minority of extremely vocal supporters who have forgotten the good times we have had now things have become more difficult.
“As always, the best interests of Neath Rugby and its future health will be at the heart of my assessment of the options facing the club, together with my desire to a avoid further litigation against the club.
“I do, however, need the continued passionate support from volunteers and supporters to help see us through this difficult period in our history.”
Neath were set to take on Llanelli in a Principality Premiership match at The Gnoll last night
A number of players left last month because of non-payment of wages.
The dire situation at Neath has stemmed from the demise of Mr Cuddy’s construction business, The Cuddy Group, which folded earlier this year.
A winding-up order was issued against the club, which supporters had hoped would be upheld.
They said they were hoping that new investors would come on board and rebuild the club as a new entity.