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From Keighley News, January 26th, 2019
Written by Alistair Shand

A TAKEOVER of Keighley Cougars which has seen the return of the 'old guard' from a golden period for the club has been praised in Parliament. Mick O'Neill, who chaired the rugby league club in the 1990s during the height of 'Cougarmania', is back at the helm of the Lawkholme outfit. The new consortium also includes a co-director from that time, Mike Smith. They have stepped-in after months of turmoil at Cougar Park, which saw the club placed in special measures by the Rugby Football League.

Cougars are now out of special measures.

And although they will start the new season with a 12-point deduction, there is a new wave of optimism at the club.

Mr O'Neill hosted a 'meet the fans' session at the neighbouring cricket club, which was packed.

Among those present was the town's MP, John Grogan, who described it as "one of the most remarkable meetings I have ever been to".

"You just wanted to bottle the energy and passion in the room," he said.

"My aim now is to work with Keighley Cougars, the cricket club and Steeton Football Club to put in a joint bid to develop the site as a multi-sports venue.

"The idea would be to approach the Rugby Football League, the Football Association and the England and Wales Cricket Board to try to get a grand plan for sport on the site in Keighley."

Mr Grogan welcomes the Cougars takeover.

He said: "It is the best news the town has had in a long while.

"The Cougars are the beating heart of Keighley and everybody is hoping this is the start of an exciting new era.

"Regarding the points deduction, it is probably a matter of taking it on the chin and using it as an extra incentive."

Yesterday, Mr Grogan tabled a motion in the Commons voicing delight at the move.

It stated: "That this House notes the proud history of Keighley Cougars Rugby League Football Club – founded in 1876 – featuring a Challenge Cup appearance in 1937 and the introduction of razzmatazz to the game in the 1990s; expresses delight that after a period of turmoil a new consortium led by Mick O'Neill and Mike Smith is now back at the helm of the club; congratulates all those involved in the campaign for change, particularly the supporters; thanks the Rugby Football League for its efforts to date and urges them to give full backing to the revival of Keighley Cougars as the 2019 season approaches."