Danny Craven is confident Widnes can recover from its administration nightmare – despite the “soul-destroying” measure of being told they cannot train.
The club’s administrators took Kieron Purtill’s team off the field on Monday to avoid injuries to potential assets, despite hopes that Sunday’s Championship game with Featherstone will go ahead.
Talks with a consortium continue while fans have rallied round to raise over £100,000 to help the Vikings moving forward.
Craven, 27, has been at Widnes since 2010 and says what he has seen over the last week has convinced him the club has a future.
Craven said: “When we first got told about the situation basically we had no hope – but what’s happened since then has been inspirational.
“You’ve got staff members who aren’t being paid rocking up at 9am and going home at 10pm.
“We’ve had members of the ‘cup kings’ side of the 1980s donating their shirts from cup finals, and people all over the town pulling together and giving what they can, because they all want the same thing – for Widnes rugby league to survive.
“When people have had every reason to give up, they’ve kept going to help the club.
“Hopefully this is just a bump in the road and the club can come out the other side of it and be stronger for it.
“It’s certainly united the town.”
The Vikings squad has also rallied behind the fund-raising efforts by donating personal items, manning the phones at the Halton Stadium and in some cases buying auction pieces themselves.
Craven says the players are determined to focus on how they can help rather than dwell on why the club has found itself in financial ruin.
He added: “We’ve heard the stories, but you can’t take everything literally and there are different things that have gone on which have led us to be in this situation.
“But with what is being put in place now, if the club does survive then it will be better for what’s happened and be more sustainable for the future.
“You’ve got to stay positive until the administrators say otherwise, and if the worst does come to the worst then it won’t be for the lack of trying.
“I’m confident that we’ll get through it because there are too many good people around the town to let Widnes rugby league die.
“Widnes is a working class town, the stadium is right in the middle of it and it’s the heartbeat of the town.
“Some people work all week so they can watch Widnes play at the weekend, and without it here what have we really got?
“People grew up watching the cup kings go to Wembley, and as a playing group we want to get through this so we can create our own history going forward.”