by | Jun 10, 2024

Director of Rugby, Ian Blease has today left Salford Red Devils to take up an opportunity at Leeds Rhinos.

His departure ends a 20-year association with the club, where he has represented the Red Devils’ both on and off the pitch.

A Salford lad through and through, Ian joined the club as a player from local side, Folly Lane ARL.

He went on to make 272 appearances over a 12-year period, including three seasons as club captain.

Ian also won two Second Division titles (1990-91 & 1995-96) and was part of the team who won promotion to the newly founded Super League in 1996.

The back-row forward also reached two Lancashire Cup finals, where he scored a memorable try against Widnes in 1991.

Since his playing days, Ian rejoined the club in 2016 as Director of Rugby.

During his tenure, the Red Devils have reached the Betfred Super League Grand Final in 2019 and the Challenge Cup Final in 2020.

In the wake of his departure, Ian Blease has said: “As my time at Salford Red Devils now comes to an end, I do hope everyone will understand my decision, for what for me and my family is a huge opportunity to join Leeds Rhinos as the Sporting Director.

“I have given my all for this club for over 20 years, and I feel now is the right time to seek something I have worked hard for.

“Firstly, I would like to pay my respects to all my club colleagues and the board for understanding my position, who have helped and assisted me throughout the last eight years.

“They know who they are, you are very special to me, and I will be forever grateful.

“Secondly, to all my coaches and back-room staff, you have been on point for the club every single day we have worked together.

“To every single player over the last eight years, you have my heart completely. You have worn the shirt with such pride, and you have all helped me build teams who competed with the best in competition – and I will be forever grateful.

“I now have the best of memories to take with me from our years of working closely together.

“Finally, a special mention to the Red Devils fans, your support for and to me has been amazing.

“From the Supporters Trust and its members to every single fan who has taken time to speak to me over the years, I truly thank you.

“It has been my absolute pleasure to work for you all, and I sincerely wish all the fans and the Red Devils all the very best for the future.

“I do hope my contribution to the club has helped the club transition from what it was when I arrived, to where it is now.”

Managing Director, Paul King has added: “Ian has been a loyal servant to the club for over 20 years now, so it’s with some sadness that we confirm his departure.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed our last six years working together and it is a relationship that has created so many unforgettable memories.

“Old Trafford in 2019 and Wembley in 2020 are two fantastic occasions that will remain stamped in the club’s DNA throughout history, as will Ian.

“It is very difficult to deny one of the big three when they come knocking, so I fully understand his decision to leave and wish him well in the future.

“Ian, Sally and Ava have long been a part of the Salford family so match days will feel a little strange, but they will always be welcome back at the stadium and should be guaranteed a very warm, and pleasant reception when the Rhinos are in town in August – I have no doubt we will share a pint post-game.

“The club will now focus on securing a stadium deal, the commencement of our Elite Academy, the 2025 squad build, the race for the playoffs and the many other exciting opportunities heading our way.”

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