Neath supporters are hugely disappointed that tomorrow’s match at home vs RGC 1404 has been postponed. This is the second time in the last 14 days that the club’s owner and sole remaining Director Mr Cuddy has failed to ensure that the club can fulfil a fixture.
This is completely unacceptable and we are very sorry for the huge inconvenience caused to RGC 1404 players, officials and supporters.
The situation has been made much worse by Mr Cuddy’s failure to comply with WRU timescales, leading to significant potential coach hire and accommodation costs arising for RGC and their supporters.
The current chaotic ownership situation at the club has led to two-thirds of the playing squad, the Head Coach and Assistant Coaches, Team Manager, fitness and conditioning coaches, kit man and the whole of the volunteer operational team telling Mr Cuddy that they can no longer continue to be associated with the club while he remains in control.
The two away games scheduled for Bridgend (22nd December) and Aberavon (Boxing Day) now look to be very much at risk leaving Neath supporters with a bleak outlook for Christmas.
The one bright spot for Neath supporters is the outstanding leadership shown by our captain Aaron Bramwell, our vice captain Sion Crocker and Lee “Duck” Evans who are doing everything they can to ensure that the remaining players at Neath take the field when called upon to do so, even though Mr Cuddy’s repeated promises over many weeks to pay them have been broken time and time again.
Mr Cuddy has supported Neath Rugby for many years but is currently experiencing significant ill-health and financial difficulties following the collapse of a number of his businesses earlier this year. It is understood that Mr Cuddy will soon face a further Winding Up Order hearing as a result of new legal action which has been started against him.
However, a new company with new investors is ready and waiting to take over the running of the club. It is understood that the new company want nothing to do with Mr Cuddy’s existing company – Neath Rugby Limited – but are ready for the challenge of rebuilding Neath Rugby both on and off the field, in the knowledge that this will be a major piece of work after many years of mismanagement.
We join all of Neath’s supporters in saying to Mr Cuddy – thank you for what you have done for the club, but please walk away now – TODAY – before the damage you are causing becomes terminal.
Neath Supporters Club
14th December 2018
The Neath-RGC fixture scheduled for Saturday has been postponed and will hopefully be re-arranged for the New Year. Matchday Hospitality arrangements are also postponed.
Neath RFC is an illustrious part of Neath’s history and a crucial part of its future. None of us want to see anything stand in the way of the club’s success in the year ahead.
I strongly support the club’s supporters in their desire to see a resolution to its current difficulties which enables future investment, a vision for its supporters and first class rugby on the pitch.
I have followed with dismay the financial struggles in the courts of the company which currently stands behind the club. It isn’t right that the company’s problems should jeopardise rugby in Neath. What matters is the rugby, the club and the town and I would urge the owners of the company to prioritise the interests of the club and its supporters over the financial disputes they are facing. I am sure they would have the gratitude of supporters if they did so.
I would like to start by thanking all supporters who have been brilliant in backing the players, coaches and team management during what has been a very difficult period.
I would also like to pay tribute to all the local clubs who have loaned players to Neath Rugby on permit to make it possible to field a team over the last month or so.
I would particularly like to thank Simon King, Paul James and Paul Williams for their efforts as a coaching team, along with Chalky as Team Manager. These guys have had an uphill battle on their hands since the issues started with the club and have displayed great leadership within the club in these very difficult circumstances.
It has been a real challenge for the coaches and Chalky to put a team on the field with only 12 Neath Rugby players being able to train and to be available for selection, alongside numerous guest players playing on permit each week.
Finally, many thanks to Tom our kit man who has looked after us so well.
I’m speaking on behalf of all the players when I say that these are great men and coaches and that they will be a huge loss to us as a club.
I would also like to personally thank them for installing me as club captain and believing in me.
Thank you boys👍🏻
Following on from the recent departure of Simon King, Head Coach of Neath RFC, assistant coaches Paul Williams and Paul James, along with team manager Neil “Chalky” White and myself Tom Ward have also decided to stand down from our current roles.
This is not only to show our support and solidarity with Simon, but also to indicate our heart felt frustration with the current off field situation at the Club.
We are all humbled by the commitment and dedication shown by the remaining players, and feel truly sorry for the loyal longstanding supporters of Neath RFC.
We would like to wish all the current Neath RFC players and supporters the very best for the future, and sincerely hope that this great Club can rise and be a force to be reckoned with again.
Our departure will hopefully bring about circumstances where the remaining players receive what they are owed.
Thank you all once again.
Paul Williams, Paul James, Neil Chalky White and Tom Ward
Further statement, following message from Simon King posted earlier:
Neath secretary Mike Price has thanked Simon King following his decision to step down as coach –
On behalf of the players and supporters of Neath RFC, I’d like to record our sincere thanks to Simon for all he has done in possibly the most trying circumstances under which any Neath RFC coach has ever had to operate.
The fact he has managed to stick to his task as long as he has really speaks volumes for the good rugby man that I always knew him to be – a lesser man would have crumpled before now.
I know he does not judge Neath RFC and its people on the last few months and the last weeks in particular – as a Club, we obviously have big hurdles ahead of us.
Values in the Game are evidently not what they were and we all wish Simon every success in the future – any Club which secures his services will acquire a good rugby man.
To all concerned
I want to say a big thank you to everyone for the support I have received whilst fulfilling my role as Head Coach of Neath RFC. It is one of the great rugby clubs in Wales and to be given such a privileged position has been a tremendous honour. Thanks to those who gave me the role.
The supporters have been outstanding throughout and their enthusiastic loyalty is a true indication of what the club means to so many people. You all deserve better and I’m sure good times will return.
My assistant coaches have been excellent, they are loyal, talented, diligent men who have great values. Paul / Paul and Neil (manager) it has been a real pleasure to work with you and I’m sure you have bright futures in Rugby. You are only as good as those people around you and I could have not worked with better people, I am so grateful for your hard work and support. I am a better man for working with you guys and appreciate the time we spent together. The back room, medical staff are dedicated and committed and have made constant valuable contributions, they have been part of a team that worked well in a challenging environment based on trust and mutual respect.The volunteers, club officials and members are all part of that team and help give the club its unique identity
The players have been a pleasure to work with – all of them. They have the best job in the world because they get the chance to play and wear the famous Neath jersey.They put their bodies on the line,every week, they have my utmost respect and very often those who are critical have never been out in the middle. I can’t fault their efforts and commitment and when placed in a very difficult situation made decisions that were right for them and their families. Something we would all do in similar circumstances. All good men and I wish them every success.
I am convinced that Neath RFC will bounce back and return to its rightful position in Welsh rugby. There are no givens and it will take a lot of hard work but in my time at the club I know that there are plenty of people whose passion, dedication and honesty will ensure this does happen.
I’m am grateful to have had honour to hold such a prestigious role at a great club, it’s been a fantastic experience and one I will cherish.
I wish all concerned good luck and best wishes for the future.
Thanks so much,
MESSAGE TO SIMON KING
I am genuinely saddened to receive this news but 100% understand and accept your decision. I have only got to know you recently and I have to say that it has been a pleasure. In addition to you being a talented coach, you are a very genuine and honest person.
Thank you very much on behalf of Neath supporters and the operational team at the Club for your valued contribution in what have proved to be exceptionally difficult times for the playing squad and support team.
I very much hope that your coaching career goes from strength to strength and that what you have experienced at The Gnoll in recent months will stand you in good stead in the future.
With very best wishes,
On Behalf of Neath Rugby Volunteer Operational Team
Match Report to follow…..
Neath v Llanelli
Aaron Bramwell; Alec Jenkins, Regan King, Keiran Williams, Callum Hall; Gavin Evans, Nathan Griffiths;
Ben Uphill, Sion Crocker, Tyla Murvai; Lee Evans, Scott Davies; Leon Ward, Scott Hicks, Elis Hopkins
Replacements – Jordan Farley, Craig Boxhall, Chris Thomas, Ceri White, Joseph Grabham, Hywel Williams, Ian Ellis, James Roberts
Thursday 6th December 2018
A large group of Neath Rugby Supporters who attended a Court hearing in Cardiff today (Thursday) were devastated when the Judge refused to uphold a Winding Up Order against Neath Rugby Limited, the sole remaining Director of which being Mr Mike Cuddy. The Winding Up Order had been lodged by Jardine Norton, a Cardiff-based Finance Company, in respect of an unpaid debt of £31,734. The Judge’s decision referred to procedural deficiencies which leave open the option of Jardine Norton, HMRC and others lodging a further Winding Up Order in the near future.
Neath Rugby supporters have been protesting about the lack of leadership and mismanagement on the part of Mike Cuddy over a period of several years, leading to poor results on the field and widespread disharmony off the field.
Despite promises to the contrary by Mike Cuddy, it is known that players, coaches and other persons have not been paid since 1st October. This has led to the exit of over half of the playing squad. In addition to the Jardine Norton debt, it is understood that Neath Rugby has further unpaid debts of at least £100,000.
Supporters fully understand the financial difficulties which the Cuddy Group has experienced since Summer 2018. This is not an issue for Neath supporters. What supporters are very annoyed about is Mike Cuddy’s refusal to allow a new group of investors to re-launch Neath Rugby with a focus on engaging players, supporters, sponsors and the people of Neath in an inclusive manner which values the contribution made by everyone associated with Neath Rugby.
Neath Rugby is now in a very precarious situation. Mike Cuddy has said that he is bringing in new volunteer assistance in terms of managing the club, along with new investors, but nothing has yet been done. The current group of volunteers running the club on a day to day basis can see no evidence that Mike Cuddy has the funding or commitment to deliver on the promises he made as recently as 27th November 2018, including rebuilding the club on and off the field and settling the many financial claims against the club.
It is going to be very difficult for fixtures to be fulfilled during December, and beyond, starting with Llanelli (home) and RGC (home), then Aberavon (away) on Boxing Day.
Supporters are hugely supportive of the players, coaches and medical team who have remained loyal to Neath Rugby and fully understand that, at some stage, the current difficulties at the club may force them to move on to other clubs. This will not detract from the admiration which supporters have for all concerned.
Supporters and sponsors are asked to remain unified and committed to saving our iconic club. The amount of support received from all over the world in recent weeks has been remarkable, indeed humbling. Our club was founded in 1871 and we all have a responsibility to make sure that the club exists for generations to come.
The volunteers who run the club day to day can no longer fulfil their current roles but are committed to ensuring that the club will be re-launched as soon as Neath Rugby Limited and Mike Cuddy are no longer involved with Neath Rugby. A small number of new investors have expressed an interest in supporting Neath Rugby as soon as Mike Cuddy has left the club.
No single person will ever be bigger than Neath Rugby and this will, without doubt, be proven to be the case by Neath Rugby supporters and the people of Neath alike.
On Behalf of Neath Rugby Voluntary Operational Team
HYWEL WILLIAMS (see earlier, via link below)
Hywel Williams’ funeral is on Monday 1.00pm at Narberth
Unfortunately, the Club has received news of another sad loss :-
A popular figure in local rugby circles, Ken Price of Aberdulais, passed away at the weekend after a life-time’s service to rugby in the Neath area.
Ken was a Life Member of Neath Athletic RFC and a life-long member of the Neath & District Rugby Union.
He played for Neath Athletic from its earliest YMCA days and in the 1950’s he also played a couple of games for Neath at prop and he was always proud of his days training in direct opposition to the great Neath British Lion Courtenay Meredith.
Ken, a carpenter at the Port Talbot steelworks, also turned out once for Penarth when the Seasiders arrived at The Gnoll one man short and he volunteered to fill the breach.
After retiring from playing, he took up the whistle and refereed for well over 30 years – initially in the Neath & District and then as a WRU official where he took charge of first-class games.
A man of immense integrity, Ken could always be relied upon – the Game is all the worse for his loss and the Neath club’s sympathy goes to his wife Marion and family.
The funeral will be at Margam crematorium next Wednesday at 2.30pm
“I fully support Neath RFC officers, members and supporters in taking back the Club once again to the very heart of Neath where it has been so proudly and successfully for so very long.”