GWENT'S Premier valley clubs today backed the deal between Newport and the Welsh Rugby Union to preserve the Dragons regional side.

But they doubted valley supporters would fully get behind the region and one top official even said Newport ought to go it alone and that it was only a matter of time before there were four super clubs in Wales.

Newbridge chairman Idris McCarthy said: "I've got no argument with the deal. Newport have got the facilities and the fans and can do a good job of running things.

"I've got no animosity towards Newport. As far as I'm concerned, they can call the regional side Newport and wear Black and Amber if they want.

"I think it's the right way to do it. I don't think Ebbw Vale should have been involved in the first place - and I'm an ex-Ebbw Vale player!

"But I would say they shouldn't go out and bring in people from South Africa and elsewhere but should try to bring in players from Gwent."

He added: "Newport supporters will always be the ones who support the regional side most and will continue to call it Newport, just as Pontypool supporters would call it Pooler if the region was based there.

"But I think, at the end of the day, it will end up as four super clubs anyway - Newport, Cardiff, Llanelli and Swansea.

"If they call the provinces that, maybe they are in with a shout.

"I just think that it's Newport's club and nobody else has got any interest in it. People in the valley will still believe it's Newport. Good luck to them. I hope they are successful.

"But I would ask, what will happen if Tony Brown leaves or Leighton Samuel at Bridgend, for that matter?"

Pontypool team manager Tony Clark said: "We fully support the partnership between Newport and the Welsh Rugby Union.

"To be honest, the facilities at Newport are second to none, the best in Gwent and possibly in Wales, and the pitch is perfect.

"I've put my thoughts to David Jenkins (the Dragons' chief executive) that other Gwent teams should have been brought in a lot more but I think, once it settles down, they will get more on board.

"My only concern is that being at a Dragons match is like being at a Newport home match and people attending feel it's a Newport team.

"And when you visit the clubhouse, people are in Newport regalia and not Dragons' kit. I think that, if the fans didn't shout 'Newport, Newport', valley fans would feel more comfortable."

Cross Keys chairman Colin Vernall commented: "I can't see any problem with the new agreement myself. It's good for the players and everyone concerned that it has been sorted out.

"I still think there are people out there who won't buy into a regional side but Cross Keys wish the Dragons all the best."