EBBW Vale have threatened to call off fixtures with Newport in the Welsh Premier League this season in protest at the re-appointment of Tony Brown as a director of Newport Gwent Dragons regional team.

And Marcus Russell, Vale's principal shareholder, has warned that, unless there is a satisfactory outcome to an impasse with the Dragons' board, he will withdraw his club's half share of the regional team.

That would leave Newport standing alone and could cost them £800,000 over two years in lost Welsh Rugby Union funding.

Brown returned to the Dragons' board yesterday and, along with Martyn Hazell, Newport's other director, has appealed to the missing fans to turn up for Friday's first home Celtic League game against Neath-Swansea Ospreys.

Russell, who resigned from the Dragons' board in July, said he would appoint a successor as Vale's representative at the region.

He claims he has written to Hazell saying that Vale want Paul Russell, his brother , to represent the club.

"But we've had a barrister's letter from Martyn Hazell telling us that our application has been refused," he said.

That is a matter of dispute, Hazell claiming he has not heard a whisper from Vale and cannot contact the club.

He said: "When Ebbw Vale notify me that they require to put a member on the board I will be happy to accommodate them but there is no-one at the club to contact because it is not manned. It's dead there."

Russell heard about Brown's appointment through the media this morning and retaliated by saying: "The fact that myself and other Ebbw Vale shareholders first heard of Tony Brown's 'appointment' as a director of Gwent Rugby through the local press and not through the company speaks volumes about the way Ebbw Vale are regarded by Martyn Hazell, particularly since his unilateral and unlawful name change to Newport Gwent Dragons.

"Newport having two directors and Ebbw Vale prevented from having one? What's it all about?

"Gwent Rugby is a 50-50 joint venture of two equal partners - Ebbw Vale RFC and Newport RFC - and cannot carry on being run in such an outrageous fashion by one man.

"Until there is a written and public assurance from Newport and the WRU that Ebbw Vale have equal representation on the Gwent board, there can be no fixtures between the two clubs.

"There is no way that we are going to go down to Rodney Parade on Saturday and pretend that everything is lovey-dovey when all this is going on."

He has also seriously threatened to leaving the Dragons high and dry as a region. "People think we have jumped out and we don't care (about the regional team) but it's not true," he said.

"Decisions are being made by one man and we are not getting answers to questions. One option we have is to wind our half of the company up."

But Hazell says Russell cannot shout the odds about the Dragons any longer because he has resigned.

He hit back, saying: "As far as I'm concerned, Marcus Russell resigned from Newport Gwent Dragons and that makes him no more than a member of the public and means he has no say.

"I had a meeting with Paul Russell last Wednesday in Cardiff with David Moffett (WRU chief executive) and Steve Lewis (WRU general manager). We sat down and had a cup of tea and a sandwich.

"As far as Marcus Russell is concerned, it's none of his business. As for me, I've been the sole director of business and I've made decisions on a day to day basis. The whole thing is a mess."

Hazell welcomes Brown's return to the board and they both appeal for major support from the fans.

"We are delighted Tony has decided to be part of the regional set-up," said Hazell.

"A person of his experience in the world of business is vital if we are to be successful in the professional era, and combined with his previous experience in rugby with Newport should stand us in good stead.

"We are playing all our home games at Rodney Parade, which is a first class rugby stadia, and with the name Newport in the side. We have given fans what they asked for and now is the time for them to repay the faith, starting on Friday."

Brown said, "When Marcus Russell resigned and said he was not responsible for funding the region there were two options.

"One was to stay and try to steady the ship, the other was stay away and the whole thing would have gone into receivership.

"All those fans who signed the petition and the 4,000 who haven't joined, I would ask them to now come forward and help take the strain.

"I do intend it to be a success and I hope it gives reassurance to some who may have doubts about the future of the Dragons.

"The support the fans gave me was always massive. Now I'm asking everyone who thought we had something special to do their bit and get behind what we are trying to create.

"We want to build on what we've got and try to take it forward."