FORMER Keighley chairman Mick O’Neill is ready to come out of retirement and return from Australia to rescue the club.

The 77-year-old is part of a consortium involving key figures of the Cougarmania era who say they want to "bring smiles back to fans' faces".

The League One outfit's future currently remains unclear after an off-season of turmoil due to a dispute over unpaid wages with owners Austria Holdings.

And O'Neill - along with Mike Smith and Tim Wood, who were all involved in the club's successful period during the 1990s - has launched a bid to take control at Lawkholme Lane.

O’Neill said: "I will make this place go again.

"I am just waiting for the go-ahead and I would come over there in a breath. Everything they (RFL) want we can agree to.

"I know what I want and what needs to be done. We want to make Keighley a success.

"Keighley had a decent rugby league side. It's a rugby league town. We need to bring the children back watching. There is so much potential. It's about putting right what's going on.

"I live in Australia at the moment, but I am a Keighley boy at heart. I don't want the club to disintegrate. I want it to be a success. I am willing to come out of retirement for this. I am willing to come over there."

Under their proposals, the consortium plan to:

- Lower match admission prices for fans at Cougar Park

- Keep Craig Lingard as the club's head coach

- Try to restore the glory days the club enjoyed in the early 1990s

- Work closely with the Keighley community, including the town's schools

- Supporters would have their say over the way the club is run

The proposed board would include a nominated director from the supporters' club and the community.

The consortium hope their bid, which includes a detailed three-year business plan for the club, will help persuade the sport's governing body, the Rugby Football League (RFL) they are the group to lead the club's future.

O'Neill has called on the club's current owners to step aside, while an an RFL spokesman said the authority will be speaking to Shane Spencer, who has represented Austria Holdings, for "information on his plans for the future of the club".

Smith, who was a co-director with O'Neill during the Cougarmania heyday, says time is of the essence with the new season less than six weeks away.

He said: "It's an absolute disgrace what has been going on at Cougars.

"We had large crowds and we were at the heart of a lot of rugby people in the 1990s.

"We have submitted our business plan to the RFL. All we can do now is wait. But I don't understand why there is a delay.

"There is a massive pressure to get it started. We want to put smiles on people's faces again. The club has been going downhill for the last 10 years.

"We accept if our bid goes ahead, the RFL would impose a points deduction on us and we would be looking at rebuilding this year.

"We know what to do now. When we first started, we had a blank piece of paper."

With the club in special measures, Craig Lingard's squad are currently only signed on trialist forms, which were due to expire on Tuesday but the RFL provisionally extended the period for an extra week.