Manchester Rangers made play for Hemel licence before reported Eric Perez interest

Hemel Stags received, and rejected, numerous offers from aspiring professional clubs to buy their licence, before reportedly agreeing to sell it to Eric Perez, including a serious approach from Manchester Rangers, League Express can reveal.

Last week, it emerged that Perez has been the subject of a bid to acquire the Stags’ official playing licence,  though neither the Rugby Football League nor Perez would officially comment, when approached by League Express for a response to the speculation.

What is clear, however, is that if Perez has tried to acquire Hemel’s licence he isn’t the first person to do so. League Express can confirm that Manchester Rangers – who have made no secret of their desire to launch a professional team in the city as soon as possible – approached Hemel’s Bob Brown last year with an offer which has been described as ‘a very good opportunity’ to develop the game in both Manchester and Hemel. But that offer was rejected.

Their club was in a strong position moving forward, Hemel Stags told the Rangers, and had no intention either of relocating, or of coming out of the professional ranks.

However, at the end of last season the Stags then announced that they would be withdrawing from League 1 for 2019, but were intending to re-emerge in 2020.

“A return to League 1 is planned for 2020,” said Bob Brown at the time. “In 2019, Hemel Stags will concentrate on developing its community programme with a special emphasis – after 16 years – on community rugby league.”

It now looks increasingly unclear therefore, if the Stags will be back at all following speculation about a Perez deal.