Broncos name to return to Super League
1st November 2011
London’s Engage Super League club are to revert to their old Broncos name as part of major re-branding.
The club, launched in 1980 as Fulham and 11 years later renamed London Crusaders, became London Broncos when Australian outfit Brisbane Broncos took over them in 1994 and they enjoyed their finest hour with a trip to Wembley five years later.
The club never kicked on from their Challenge Cup final appearance and five years ago caused a stir when they moved for a second time to the Stoop and this time took on the name of their co-tenants, Harlequins.
Their closer links with the rugby union club did not endear them to the game’s traditionalists and attendances continued to hover disappointingly around the 3,500 mark.
Today the club opted to drop the Harlequins name and change their playing kit in an effort to revive their fortunes, but will continue to use the Stoop.
The club plan to play two games in 2012 “on the road” in an effort to take the game to a wider audience but are in talks about a new three-year agreement with their landlords.
Chairman David Hughes said: “I am delighted that we are returning to be the London Broncos. It is a name that resonates with success on the pitch and that is what we want to achieve next season.
“I have committed to the club definitely for the next three years during this Super League license period and we will work hard to retain that in three years’ time and become a club to be reckoned with both on and off the pitch.”
The team’s new home kit is predominantly black with a bright blue trim to incorporate elements of the original Broncos design.
Broncos chief executive Gus Mackay said: “We engaged with fans and stakeholders and included as many people as possible in the rebrand process so as to take on board everybody’s views.
“The fans and players mostly pointed towards a return to the London Broncos and their ideas are reflected within the brand concept.
“This relaunch provides us with a unique opportunity to target a new audience and raise awareness of our club as well as that of Super League in London.”
Today’s announcement was greeted with delight by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
“London is one of the world’s greatest sporting cities and rugby league has an increasingly important role to play in helping to maintain this status,” he said.
“I am delighted to be working with the RFL on their community development programme in London and I am equally pleased to see a team like the London Broncos reclaiming their original moniker and proudly displaying the London brand.”
London Broncos have also undertaken heavy recruitment in a bid to transform their playing fortunes after finishing third from bottom of Super League this year.