Swinton Lions chairman Andy Mazey has explained the circumstances behind news breaking that the club will change its title to Manchester next year – and provided the current status of the potential switch.
The Sun newspaper reported in midweek that the change to Manchester Lions will take place for 2020, prompting an angry response from some sections of the club’s support.
But Mazey and the board now plan to present to the wider support base and others having already pitched the club’s proposal to key stakeholder groups already.
Mazey explained: “We had met with the Supporters Trust, fans and other key stakeholders and presented them with the vision of what we’re proposing,
“The meeting itself was pretty good – we had some valuable feedback and were looking to amend and update a couple of things to please everybody in that room.
“We had an indicative show of hands and I’d say 75-80 percent of the room were behind what we’re proposing on the basis of what we’d presented and understanding the facts involved.
“There were some that weren’t happy that we are proposing to change the name but they understood why we’re doing it, and we went away quite positive and looking to the next stage of presenting to the wider fan base.
“The story then leaked out and I had a chat with The Sun about what was happening.
“I think the headline involved sparked some negative responses both on Twitter and some of the Facebook groups involved with the club, and there was some anger there because it said Swinton would ‘disappear’.
“The rest of the piece explained what we were thinking and what I would say is that we are absolutely not dumping Swinton.
“We want to keep the links with the club’s history, play in the traditional colours and the Swinton Supporters Trust will hopefully continue to deliver for us in the area.
“The plan for a new stadium at Agecroft also isn’t dead, although it would be some time away and we face a crucial couple of years so Agecroft won’t come soon enough sadly if ever at all.
“What we want to do is bring Manchester into the name and deliver to areas in the city that aren’t currently targeted by rugby league so while growing our club and numbers we are also growing the game.
“We will continue our links with Swinton while targeting these new areas to try and capture a wider audience.
“We will remain Swinton Lions Limited Rugby League Club – this is a rebrand to bring Manchester into our name.”
Mazey now plans to meet with more supporters this week.
He added: “I’ve noticed a bit of a tide turning online, with people that were in the room at the original meeting giving the others some facts,
“Now we want to present to the wider fan base and shut down conspiracies and mischief with facts with the truth and reasons why it’s a bigger risk not to do this than it is to stand still and wait for the inevitable.
“We’ve got a board meeting lined up this week to discuss the next steps and will then look to update supporters.”