Salford chairman says switch “will never happen again”

Salford chairman John Wilkinson has apologised to fans and says the Reds were backed in to a corner over Saturday’s final home game, and promises it will not happen again.

The Reds’ final game of the Super League season has been moved away from their Salford City Stadium home, and will be played at Leigh Sports Village.

SKY Sports are to televise the clash with Wakefield on Saturday, and Salford’s co-tenants Sale Sharks rugby union club were already scheduled to play at the venue, in their own televised match on the same night.

Ironically, the Sale game had only been moved to the Saturday in the first place to accommodate Salford’s usual home game day of Friday.

Writing in his programme notes ahead of tomorrow’s game, Wilkinson said: “Salford City Reds is the only professional club with the honour of carrying the name of our great city into the sporting arena and it is hugely disappointing not to be able to finish the season as we started – playing in our magnificent new home, Salford City Stadium, very much in Salford.

“Unfortunately when the call came that Sky wanted to televise the game this evening it quickly became clear that we were backed into a corner and without going into the finer details, there really was no option but to take the game on the road. 

“Despite our good experience at Leigh Sports Village, this is something which we must all work incredibly hard to ensure never happens again. 

“It is vitally important to the club and the city that its only standard bearer has a solid base in Salford – we cannot become nomads, as this has fatally wounded other once great rugby league clubs. It will not happen to Salford City Reds, not on my watch.

“The city of Salford deserves a great club of its own and once we have all of the pieces finally in place we are confident that we will provide a sporting organisation that fills the Salfordian people with pride, and just as importantly one that will bring recognition and renown for the city of Salford through the power of sport – I believe that every great city needs a great sporting institution of its own if it is to truly be taken seriously.”

Salford left their home of more than 100 years, The Willows, at the end of last season to move to the new Salford City Stadium, just across the M60 motorway from the Trafford Centre.

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