AN UPDATE ON THE SALFORD STADIUM

The club would like to provide an update regarding the Salford Stadium.

Following the statement made by Mayor Dennett last week, on Thursday, a number of meetings were held by the Council in respect to the future of the Salford Stadium. Since the meetings, we have received several updates that we believe are important to share. These include:

  • A meeting this week between the Council and the RFL to discuss the planned process for stadium acquisition, thus enabling a long-term lease and protecting our pursuit of a Grade A rating in IMG’s grading criteria.
  • A meeting between Sale Sharks, Salford Red Devils and Salford City Council to take place imminently to discuss the rental agreement.
  • Hopeful of a new food & beverage, and car park contract to be completed by the time of acquisition which should enable Salford Red Devils to generate revenue.
  • Further comments have been shared addressing access to various commercial streams, however the timelines for the Club receiving access to these are likely to remain unfavourable given the processes that must first be undertaken.

We have received an indication of intent for the acquisition to be complete within the first quarter of 2024.

Whilst we welcome the statement made by Mayor Dennett, as well as the above, we are conscious our position remains a time-sensitive one that is currently without a resolution. Without this materialising imminently, we are only able to assume that we will continue to not have access to the various commercial streams we have operated towards and budgeted for over the coming months.

Our club is more than just a team people watch every other week. Our Club is Salford’s Club; owned by its community, and consistently here for its community as a source of jobs, education, and health. Mayor Dennett has previously spoken to the importance of Salford Red Devils as a 150-year-old institution of Salford, and despite previous experiences, there is a wholehearted belief that the Council will come through.

However, as the end of our current tenancy agreement is imminent, we remain aware that any further inaction could place this at risk.

We are optimistic following recent discussions and hope that the meetings this week offer a path to a swift resolution of critical priority, rather than serve as another example of a failed-to-materialise assurance.

Further updates will be issued as appropriate.

CLUB STATEMENT: SALFORD STADIUM UPDATE

The Club has issued the following statement on the stadium situation, and the lack of progress made during almost 3-years of discussions.

Until this point, we have been bound by good faith and an understanding that our cooperation would result in a timely and fair agreement on securing our future at the stadium built for our club over a decade ago. It is clear that our cooperation has been misinterpreted as our consent for inaction by some officers in the Council.

Admirably, Mayor Dennett has moved with the intention of keeping the Club in the City of Salford, embracing our transition to community ownership, and recognising publicly our role in the important delivery of physical and mental health support across our communities. However, for this to continue, we urgently need Council officers to act, and to see a conclusion from the Council in their negotiations over the lease before it is too late.

After endless pontification and procrastination by Council officers, we are less than a month away from having no such agreement, and the stark reality now is that without their action in the coming days and weeks, the future of the Club is at risk.

Nearly 3-years on from the initial approach made by Sale Sharks to purchase the stadium – a move which would have compromised our home and, as a result, our Super League status – the Club has continually struggled yet continued to operate under the terms of an unfavourable lease agreement that has hampered our ability to become self-sustainable and grow.

In addition, there has been a series of failures from which the Club must seemingly always bear the brunt alone.

  • A benefit of our transition to community ownership earlier this year was that we were able to stretch funds to reach the conclusion of the stadium deal, under the belief that we were months away. Not only has this failed to materialise, but the dithering has also restricted our ability to access the matched funding opportunities that are dependent on having heads of terms of the stadium deal.
  • Discussions around access to state aid are still ongoing after 12 months, throughout which the Club were asked to produce a business plan without knowing details relating to incomes or costs associated with the stadium deal.
  • The Club were also promised a percentage of food & beverage sales from February 2023. The failure to progress the stadium deal has resulted in a significant loss to budget.
  • Despite StadCo retaining 100% of F&B sales on Salford Red Devils matchdays, and StadCo taking an additional minimum 8% of our ticketing, there has been a developing narrative that the Club is not paying its way, when in reality the unfavourable terms of the current tenancy agreement is extracting from the Club’s key income sources, on top of rent.
  • A car parking price hike was introduced a week prior to our 2023 season starting, which costs the Club an unbudgeted £1k per matchday.
  • Following assured income failing to materialise, the Club took a loan of £175k from the Council and are now subsequently making repayments with interest on a loan that had the expected progress been made, would never have been needed.

The Club is personally loaned and guaranteed to its limits, having made incredible sacrifices to survive – including the subsequent sales of star players that were only necessary due to a lack of resolution over the stadium deal. Had this been in place when expected – prior to February 2023 – access to the proceeding income streams would have made unforeseen reductions to central distributions less significant a blow and our position now be much stronger.

In the last few months alone, we have generated more commercial interest in the stadium than any other party in the previous 3 years. This includes:

  • We have brought forward discussions and agreed in principle a commercial opportunity generating considerable income streams for the Club, which can only proceed once we have received heads of terms.
  • We have formulated and agreed in principle a city-wide rugby strategy, meaning every single child in the City of Salford would be able to connect with Salford Red Devils as well as our sport and the opportunities it can provide.
  • We have introduced an educational partner and sub-tenant of Salford Red Devils. This now appears to have been taken away from us, with the Club now apparently unable to gain income from any potential agreement.

The endless negotiations are unravelling an incredible amount of hard-work and opportunities generated by Salford Red Devils. We are routinely reaching for the stars, whilst simultaneously having our arms tied behind our backs.

Our current tenancy arrangement expires on 1st December. A failure to resolve places the Club at risk of a compliance issue with the RFL in respect of minimum standards due to not having a minimum 5-year tenancy agreement in place. As a result, this would severely impact our IMG grading and potentially put our Super League status at risk, reducing our central distributions from £1.31m to circa £50k per annum and effectively liquidating the Club.

We urge those involved to deliver on their word of recent years with urgency, and in doing so ensure that the future of Salford’s Club is safeguarded.

RED DEVILS IN DEPTH: SALFORD V WARRINGTON

It might have taken up to eighty-three minutes to get a result, but when it came the celebrations throughout the Salford stadium were comparable with having won a major trophy, as the Red Devils gained the two league points at the expense of the visiting Warrington Wolves, to go level with them on points, with only two games remaining.

Such was the importance of this particular fixture that the tension and intensity, prevalent throughout the match, led to rather more errors than might be expected at Super League level, yet on this occasion so closely matched were the two sides that these merely added to the excitement as to how the game would continue to unfold.  Twists and turns really do keep your concentration, and nerves, keyed up to the final whistle.

And when it eventually did come, what a tremendous way to secure the win – not with the anticipated drop-goal, but through a near length of the field, try of the match, which capped everything that had gone before, in terms of quality.  Slick hands moved the ball swiftly to the left wing, to put Joe Burgess in the clear.  That he was backed up the whole of the way by Sam Stone, a second row forward, was quite remarkable taking into account both the energy and pace needed to be in position to take the inside pass to score.

That it was the home side which had eventually taken the game was, in some respects, justice, for they had, on the whole, been the better of the two teams throughout, showing more ideas and organisation on attack, whilst defending their line, in particular, to greater effect.

This was evidenced in the three tries each team scored during the regular eighty minutes.  Warrington’s first two came from individual errors from our wingers, usually so reliable under the high ball, each dropping a keenly contested bomb giving the Wolves a dream start to each half.

Williams’s score between the posts, on 68 mins, was the one time they did successfully breech Salford’s goal-line defence, though, in fairness, there had been three occasions in the first half when their efforts were chalked off, the most noticeable being on the stroke of half time, when the video referee overturned the on-field decision to Thewlis’s grounding, in Salford’s favour.

In contrast, however, Ben Hellewell’s 22nd minute try came as a result of his beating his marker, in one of the quite few, man-on-man, line breeches in the whole game.  Then there was Brodie Croft, now coming back into the form he had shown to such dazzling effect last season.  His first, on 29 mins, followed two tremendous tackles, the first from Ryan Brierley on his opposite number Dufty, and then from the magnificent King Vuniyayawa and Chris Atkin which forced the ball out of the grasp of Ratchford.  Andy Ackers was on hand to collect it with next Atkin then sending out a wide pass to Croft in acres of space to score unopposed.

There was much more to his second, on 62 mins, than just a lucky ricochet.  Twice he put in short, low, end-of-set kicks to the Wolves’ line, the first of which forced a goal-line drop-out for a repeat set.  The second hit an opponent’s leg with Croft being easily the most alert person on the field to react by turning back on himself collecting the loose ball, and going over by the right-hand upright.

Salford too, had had a couple of disappointments, the first coming as early as the seventh minute, when a good attacking move to the right enabled Deon Cross to straighten up and go for the line, only for a first attempted tackle to be adjudged by the video referee as effective, owing to the fact that there was still contact between the defender’s hand and Cross’s foot as his ball carrying arm touched the ground.

All of which combined to make this a most riveting contest, of which both sides seemed to make heavy weather, in their endeavours to secure the points.  In the considerable heat of the day, however, it was the Salford players who always showed the greater desire and determination throughout and the fact that they had already had successful experience of Golden Point extra time, in their first home fixture with Wakefield, stood them in good stead for the final culmination.

Having to play extra time in the run up before another do-or-die encounter the following week, away at Hull KR, who had already had an extra two days’ recovery from their visit to Huddersfield, does not seem at all helpful, but such was the euphoria from, and the manner of, this win, that the boost it will have given the players, both jointly and individually, might just be enough to carry them through despite the adversities they face in the run-up to the game.  The fabulous support of our travelling fans will undoubtedly be a vital factor in keeping their spirits up throughout the encounter, so please all do get yourselves over there and make yourselves known, throughout.

MATCH PREVIEW – SALFORD RED DEVILS VS WARRINGTON WOLVES (BETFRED SUPER LEAGUE ROUND 25)

It simply does not get bigger than this.

The most crucial game of our season so far, as we welcome playoff rivals, Warrington Wolves to the Salford Stadium, in Round 25 of the Betfred Super League.

Sitting just two points behind today’s visitors, a win would bring us back level, with just two games remaining.

After a mid-season slump, the Wire have returned to form with two excellent victories against Hull FC and Castleford Tigers in recent weeks.

They were leading the way for a lot of the campaign, but will now want to confirm a spot in the top six, at the very least.

We were well-beaten by Wigan Warriors in our last encounter, but spirits are still high and the squad are focused on getting the job done later today.

Here’s everything you need to know before this one:


SQUAD NEWS

The major squad changes have come in the suspension department.

Despite managing to overturn King Vuniyayawa’s ban on appeal, Kallum Watkins and Oliver Partington remain suspended for today’s clash after Grade B offences.

Matt Costello, Adam Sidlow and James Greenwood all return to the 21 following minor injury concerns, whilst Rhys Williams, Alex Gerrard and Shane Wright remain long-term absentees.


INU’S PREVIEW

Reflecting on last Friday’s performance, Assistant Coach, Krisnan Inu was on media duties and said the boys are doing everything they can to get themselves ready to bounce back against Warrington.

“The boys are looking alright,” Inu began.

“Obviously a few battered bodies, same as any other team at this stage in the season, so the boys are looking after themselves and preparing for Sunday.”

Looking ahead to our final three games, Inu highlighted the next two as pivotal, with the Red Devils set to take on Hull KR after this Sunday’s game with the Wire.

“They’re the two big ones. Looking at the ladder, we’re the three that are competing for that fifth and sixth spot, so every game is big to us – especially at this time of the season.

“Every game is a final, so we’ll treat this one like a final and make sure we get our boys ready for this weekend.”

You can watch Inu’s press conference in full by clicking HERE.


HOW TO BUY TICKETS

There is still time to join us at the Salford Stadium this afternoon.

It’s a big occasion for both sides, so click HERE to secure your place. Alternatively, you can visit our ticket office in person prior to kick-off.


Sign up to the official newsletter