Keighley Cougars have been saved

Credit: ITV

The Rugby Football League Board has approved the transfer of membership of Keighley Cougars to a new consortium.

The club had been placed in special measures under their previous ownership, but will now be free to sign players ahead of the start of the Betfred League One 2019 season.

As a result of the recent circumstances surrounding the club and this transfer of membership, the new owners have accepted that they should start the 2019 season with a 12-point deduction.

In addition to competing in the Betfred League One, the Cougars will also enter the Coral Challenge Cup and the new 1895 Cup.

The club will continue to play at Cougar Park.

Mick O’Neill has returned as Keighley Cougars chairman as the head of a consortium hoping to bring the golden days of Cougarmania back to the club.

O’Neill has been joined by Mike Smith and Tim Wood, who were also involved in the transformation of the club in the early 1990s, and also by his son Ryan and his husband Kaue Garcia, who run a children’s technology company in London.

Mike Loughtman, a Keighley expat who currently resides in Sydney, completes the consortium, with ownership split evenly, and a voluntarily allocation of 10% of the shares in the new company has been given to the supporters club in recognition of their loyalty.

The news was confirmed at a supporters meeting at Keighley Cricket Club tonight (Thursday), and O’Neill said:

Being back in control after 20 years means so much to me personally and my family. The town desperately needs a successful RL club and we intend to make that happen.

Mick O’Neill
  • The Cougars begin their Betfred League One campaign at Whitehaven on Sunday February 17 – with their first home game following against Coventry Bears on March 3.