Andy Mazey has strongly hinted that Swinton Lions will be renamed Manchester Lions next season.
In a statement released this afternoon, the Lions’ chairman revealed a name change may be necessary in order for the club to survive.
Although they will keep many of the current structures, he said the club must also seek to exploit the advantages that a trading name, instantly recognisable across the world, will give.
Feedback from supporters is still being considered and a final presentation will be put in front of the wider fan base in the coming days.
Swinton released their statement off the back of an article in today’s Sun Newspaper where Mazey highlighted the advantages of the Manchester switch.
“It’s pretty much pushing an open door,” he said. “Manchester is an opportunity for the sport that it’s never really tapped into.
“It’s a massive opportunity in the area and towns which are untapped by rugby league.
“There’s also the new TV deal coming up in 2021. We have to be in a good position and we’ll be able to start looking at bigger and better things.
“Existing sponsors say we can do a lot more as a Manchester club and even previous sponsors say we would be much more attractive.”
Off the back of the article, the club released a statement emphasising that the name ‘Swinton’ would remain on the badge and they would continue to play at Heywood Road.
However, it went on to explain the uncertainties around the club while the sport is at a crossroads and why the name change may be needed for the Lions to evolve and thrive in the future.
The statement reads: “Over recent weeks the Board has made it clear, particularly given the financial constraints that are severely impacting on many clubs, uncertainties surrounding the next broadcast deal, as well as the general direction of the sport, that significant changes would need to be made to safeguard the existence and future of the Club.
“Last week, before a group of key stakeholders which included the Supporters’ Trust Board, Pride Builder management, Shareholders, Vice Presidents, existing club sponsors, match day volunteers and a selection of life-long supporters, the Board outlined its vision for the future, within a detailed and reasoned explanation of the forces that have driven us to this conclusion.
“The response to that consultation was largely positive and understanding. Important feedback was received and that feedback is currently being adapted into a final presentation that will be put in front of the wider fan base within the next few days.
“However, it is important to stress that Swinton Lions RLFC Ltd will continue, and to that end we have fought off several attempts at merger which would have signalled the end of the club as an historic entity. ‘Swinton’ will remain prominently on the badge, and we will continue to play at Heywood Road. However, we must also seek to exploit the advantages that a trading name, instantly recognisable across the world, will give us. We see our history and heritage as non-negotiable, but we are at a crossroads in the sport and the Club has to evolve to survive and thrive into the future.”