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Rugby league: Crusaders CEO Rod Findlay steps down as campaign to save club continues

SUPER League may have ended as far as Crusaders are concerned, but the club faces a busy winter as they attempt to secure a place in the Co-operative Championship.

It was confirmed this week the club has submitted two applications, one to join the Championship and one to join Division One, the league below.

They will have to do it without chief executive officer Rod Findlay, who has stepped down after Crusaders’ final game in the top flight.

Findlay had helped the Save the Cru campaign put together a business plan to get into the Championship after the club owners withdrew their Super League application – effectively ending the Wrexham club’s three-year stay in the division.

But he believes he has taken the club as far as he can and it is now down to the people of North Wales to take the next step.

Findlay said: “It is a great regret that the owners decided to withdraw the Super League application because we were building something really good here – on and off the pitch – and North Wales is an area that has taken rugby league to its heart.

“That is shown with a really loyal and vocal supporter base and they have been magnificent all season. We’ve also got an under 18s up and running and the community team have got thousands of people playing the game for the first time.

“Ensuring that this work is protected is central to the business plan and I know that if the club is viable the sport can also grow at professional level in Wrexham.

“There is a lot of local support and some prominent local people pushing for a club under new ownership in 2012. This needs to be locally led with everyone getting behind a sustainable club.

“I want the club to succeed and I have pledged to buy a season ticket if the club survives. I have offered support and advice to those involved but now is the time for both me and the club to look to the future.

“Crusaders in 2011 was a massive challenge and it is a credit to the professionalism of the players, coaches, volunteers and off-field staff that we all got on and did our jobs despite the massive uncertainty. I would like to thank them all.

“I would also like to place on record my thanks to the RFL for the support they have shown all season and in particular over the last few weeks.

“The governing body could not have done more to make Crusaders work as a Super League club but without the support of the clubs' owners that could never happen.”

Jamie Thomas, managing director of Crusaders sponsor Capital Digital and a leading light in the Save the Cru campaign, said: “To our disappointment Rod Findlay stepped down from his post, having wrapped up the 2011 season and helped us submit a plan to the RFL.

“He believed he had taken the club as far as he could and it was for the community of North Wales to step forward and carry the baton.

“Should our bid be successful we intend to hold discussions with the RFL regarding the position of CEO and potential candidates to take the new Cru forward.”