Crusaders owner Dip Donaldson could decide the future of the citys rugby club.
basketball supremo is hoping to learn in the next few weeks if he has been successful in
striking a deal with Rank to play senior Crusaders games at the new 4,000 seat arena off
If he reaches agreement with the leisure giants then the rugby club will be able to
develop a new ground along side the Crusaders planned training academy at the Butts
But, he warned today, if no agreement is reached with Rank he wants to develop his own
three-court basketball arena on the Butts, leaving the rugby club without a home to go to.
The rugby club was bought out of receivership this week but its Coundon Road ground has
been sold to developers Bryant Homes and they only have a licence to play there for two
The new club has already had talks with the City Council and is looking to develop the
am pursuing a deal with Rank at the moment. Everyone seems to think that is a
foregone conclusion, but that is not the case. The council and Rank have been very
positive, but until I see a signed contract in my hand then I am not taking anything for
"If we do agree a contract, and we have only really talked principles so far, then
the idea is to hold games there and press ahead with the academy. If that happens then
there would be room at the Butts for the rugby club, but if not I want to create an arena
with three courts.
"I know that the councils preferred option is to see the rugby club there
and that would be great. I have nothing against the rugby club or their plans, but I
want to be sure that everything is agreed with Rank.
"I have been at this a long time and have seen momentum before, but it is not
concrete and we have to wait and see what happens."
Donaldson is due to meet Rank for further talks tomorrow.
John McGuigan, City Development Director, said:
"There is a lot of momentum. It is a golden opportunity to try and get the
basketball and rugby clubs together at the Butts. It is very close to the city centre
lets make positive use of the assets we have."
Rugby club officials met the council on Monday and discussed a possible move to the