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Coronavirus battle: Worst fears come true as cash-strapped Rhyl fold

coronavirus rhyl

Fears that Rhyl could fold during the coronavirus crisis have come true after the Welsh club formally applied to be wound-up.

After being warned that their 141-year-old JD Cymru North club could fold within weeks in March when football was suspended and the UK went into lockdown, fans are taking in news they’d dreaded today.

With no means of generating income and mounting bills to pay at Belle Vue, Rhyl chairman Paul Higginson confirmed the decision in long statement at 5pm on Tuesday explaining why they had to shut down a club founded back in 1879.

But the Lilywhites chairman believes supporters will ensure a new phoenix football club represents the town before too long thanks to the new Rhyl Fans Association.

Founded at the end of March, they’d already launched a campaign to raise £20,000 to keep the club alive and are expected to pick up the baton and follow in the now well-tread steps of pioneering phoenix clubs like AFC Wimbledon.

Higginson said: ‘‘This is a very emotional day for everyone connected with the club – the volunteers, supporters, players, coaching staff and all the officers of the club. We are all fans and feel it deeply.

“That said the Town has a very proud footballing history and a very determined character and, as in 1992, I have no doubt that a very strong new club will rise from this low.”

The club’s statement read: “Reluctantly, the directors have had to conclude that, with no substantial source of external investment, the unpalatable decision had to be made to wind-up the affairs of the company Rhyl Football Club Bellevue Limited.

“This decision effectively ends the clubs 2019/20 campaign and will also see the Club lose its Academy status. This will also see the football club lose its existing Lease of Belle Vue.

“The club would like to offer it’s appreciation to all that have supported the club in recent years whether as spectators, sponsors, volunteers, parents or players as we have all worked together.

“The difficult decision was taken by the board of directors after considering the financial impact of the suspension of all football activities due to the unprecedented impact of Covid 19, the unwillingness of the ground’s owner to consider either a long lease or sale on market terms and the ongoing fixed costs with no income prospects.

“With no viable approach received to invest in the club, the directors in the recent weeks have held open discussions with the Rhyl Fans Association to explain in detail the current situation.

“During those meetings it was agreed to explore the scope for a new football club in Rhyl, as happened in 1992, to seek to ensure football remains in the town of Rhyl preserving the rich history of football in the town.”

Rhyl FC’s JD Cymru North, along with the Cymru Premier, Cymru South and the Welsh Premier Women’s League, was suspended by The Football Association of Wales on 13 March.

The Non-League Paper

Make sure you get your copy of The Non-League Paper  from this weekend for the latest news on the impact of the coronavirus crisis on football as the National League’s clubs prepare for an historic first poll on how to conclude their ‘indefinitely’ suspended campaigns.

In shops on Sundays and Mondays, The NLP is always available as a pound-busting digital edition and full replica of the printed paper from midnight on Saturdays. Save cash on single issues, even more on longer deals and the pages still rustle!

Images courtesy of The Non-League Paper

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