WIDNES Vikings CEO James Rule has issued a second statement clarifying matters following the club’s relegation from Super League.

In it there is an apology for the way performances on the field have gone this past two years.

And in it he spells out that the key aim for the club, during this rocky time, will be to retain the nucleus of young players that the Vikings have developed.

It also states changes will have to be made in the performance department after two poor years on the field, culminating in Saturday's relegation.

Rule states: “This season has been an incredibly challenging one for everyone associated with the club.

“Whilst Widnes Vikings face many limitations, our aims are set far higher than we have been able to demonstrate on the field in the past two seasons.

“We are sorry for how this year has unfolded and determined to re-build our squad for 2019, with the intention of returning to the Betfred Super League.

“At present, there is much uncertainty, as we try to shape these plans. However, some things are absolutely clear.

“We know that we want to retain the talented home-grown players that we have spent years nurturing and developing, who we believe can be the spine of this club for years to come.

"These players have grown up with our club, feel a genuine sense of pride in representing Widnes Vikings and believe that they can build a successful future together.

“Significant efforts have gone into retaining them for the future in recent months, and we hope to be able to confirm their commitments soon.”

It is not just the younger players, and in apparently resisting calls for a wholesale clear-out, which was problematic post 2005, there is an aim to retain a core of senior players but dispensing with others.

Rule added: “There is also a core group of senior players who show real pride, dedication and commitment in representing this club, and we also aim to retain this talent.

"Naturally relegation will also see several players leave this club - some by our choice and others who will naturally wish to ply their trade in the Super League, by terminating their contracts.

“The results of the past two seasons have been unacceptable and whilst there has been significant disruption on the field, we know that we need to fundamentally address this issue.

"The club is privileged to have some very dedicated, skilled and passionate individuals in its performance department, but there is no doubt that there will be changes in this area as we look to get the best from our players.

"Important decisions also need to be made soon with regards to the coaching arrangements at Widnes Vikings. Whatever is decided in this arena, I would like to put on record the club’s thanks and gratitude to Francis Cummins. Francis was brave enough to step up in the most difficult of circumstances and has shown great character and commitment in his time as Interim Head Coach.

“He was handed a challenging role in the late stages of the season, and whilst results have not turned for him, we are grateful for his efforts.”

Once again Rule urged members to keep backing the club in this time.

“We face a pivotal moment right now, and the continual backing of our Members, supporters and commercial partners is vital to sustaining this club.

“If we all unite behind the club, we can progress from this moment and ensure that it is here for generations to come - if support waivers, we face an uncertain future,” Rule said