Rhyl FC fans could take control of their own club under new plans for its future.
The Lillywhites have launched a review into the structure of the Welsh Premier club which could see it become community-owned. Fans group Supporters Direct have already partnered with the current owners at Belle Vue.
The club says it will start its review by assessing the club’s financial position to determine what investment is needed to press ahead with its plans. A consultation with fans and local residents could follow before a decision is made. If successful, a ‘benefit society’ will be set up to allow a fans’ takeover.
Supporters Direct say they have help than 50 clubs enter community ownership – including Wrexham, where the club’s Supporters Trust gained control in December 2011. Last season, the Dragons posted their first profit in fifteen years of £11,500.
Club Development Manager, James Mathie, said: ”We are seeing a growing interest from clubs who can see that by opening up to community ownership there are a whole host of opportunities to enable the club to grow. Some of the finest examples in football are in Wales, and we look forward to exploring what’s possible at Rhyl FC.”
Lillywhites chairman Phil Higginson added the club had always been community-minded, but was now seeking to make it a reality: ”The board and all the volunteers at the club have worked tirelessly, with limited resources, during these past turbulent years to ensure Rhyl FC had a future. Rhyl is a local club and the local people in the community and the supporters will have the opportunity to determine its future success as the owners…we believe this is critical for the Club’s future success.”
Such changes could make Rhyl the first Welsh Premier club to be community-led – though it depends on whether the Lillywhites can avoid relegation to the Huws Gray Alliance this season. On the pitch, fans and players reacted angrily on Saturday when their crucial game at Port Talbot Town was postponed with just over an hour till kick off.
The club are due to return to league action against fellow relegation rivals Haverfordwest County in Saturday, in Niall McGuinness’s first game in charge as manager.