Salford City Reds – A Fan’s View

Following on from yesterday’s fan’s view, I spoke to Salford City Red’s supporter Mike Marsland, a 60-year-old chartered cccountant from Lymm, Cheshire. He gives his reasons why Salford should be in Super League next year.nnHow do you think the RFL will view your bid?nThe key to all the bids is of course the requirement of the franchise given to the “judges”. If the RFL are looking to have an expansionist franchise then basically there are too many clubs currently in Yorkshire. I would guess that the panel will be instructed to produce 14 clubs showing a relatively sensible geographical spread and that would include at least two from west of the Pennines. n nWhy do you think Salford should be included?nSalford are an established traditional club. Over 100 years in fact. Celtic have been in existence 3 years. The new Widnes club has been going just 8 months. Salford is a City and proud to be independent from Manchester but it is near enough to attract people from the whole of Greater Manchester as the nearest existing SL club is nigh on 15 miles away at Warrington. There is a huge market out there for Salford to deliver.nnWhat will Salford add to Super League?nThe Directors of the club have been very far seeing. John Wilkinson in particular, the Chairman for over 25 years, has produced stability, financial security and vision in that period. The huge income streams emanating from the new ground and complex at Barton will enable Salford to compete with the very best in the game.nnWhat do you think of the other teams’ bids? nBoth the bids from Celtic and Widnes are from clubs in their infancy. In fact Celtic have still to file Accounts at Companies House and any Bank Manager viewing their application would quickly dispose of their application. However we are not dealing with Banks and the RFL will have a separate agenda. The Chairman of Celtic has apparently threatened to pull the plug if the bid is turned down. Personally I don’t have any time for blackmailers and if the threat is real then I would personally immediately discard it even though a presence in Wales would be on my list of priorities. nnWidnes now have a big backer in Steve O`Connor. Again though we are looking at `promises` rather than solid foundations. Sure Mr O`Connor is a wealthy man and willing to stump up enormous guarantees but I can tell you from personal experience the wives of Chairman who continually bankroll their clubs do not love the game as much as their husbands! nnHalifax and Featherstone presumably are having a dry run for next time and initially I felt Toulouse had a squeak but last weeks International and their performance at Bradford will not have helped and maybe 2012 will be their time. nnLeigh are moving to an excellent new stadium and I believe could well be the surprise inclusion should the RFL be brave enough to stick to expansionist principles and remove two of the existing 12 clubs from the new franchise. nnI feel Castleford & Hull KR are the two clubs most vulnerable. Castleford is too close to several clubs and surely cannot be viewed as an expansionists dream. nnI am vehemently against Hull KR though. They have so far completed just 1 full year in Super League – that in 15 years. Their ground needs millions being spent on it, their players propping up the club are predominantly Antipodeans and their `market` for new customers will depend on people from Hornsea and Withernsea! Not much expansion there! There is already one decent Franchise application from the city – Hull FC – and that is enough for one Eastern seaport which nobody ever travels through. A definite no from me for Hull KR.nnnWho do you think the RFL will choose?nI really wouldn’t like to say. If they are tough then they would go with my 14. If not then I feel they will have chickened out.nnnWhat do you think will happen if Salford don’t get in? nPersonally I feel the Chairman and his Directors will soldier on for 2012 but with a vastly different set up. There would be changes from top to bottom and a lot of redundancies in personnel both on and off the field. It makes me very angry that a Chairman from South Wales has seemingly put a gun to the RFL`s head in making scores of Salford based people jobless. Very sad state of affairs.nnnDo you agree with the whole process?nNonnWho would you like to see get a franchise?nMy 14 would be the existing SL teams less Castleford and Hull KR plus Salford, Leigh, Celtic & Widnes.nnnWould you like to add anything else?nI haven’t mentioned three very vital points for Salford. nna) BBC Sport are moving to the city. Wouldn’t it be crass not to have a club representing this great game of ours within the franchise? Talk about muddled thinking.nnb) Secondly the population of Greater Manchester is 2 million plus. Currently no SL team there. Isn’t that ludicrous in itself? Salford for me have the biggest advantage to open new markets than any of the other Franchise hopefuls. The RFL should not miss this Golden Opportunity.nnc) Finally – and I have left the best until last. The Chairman and fellow Directors in their foresight have engineered the most futuristic of all UK Stadiums at Barton. It will be an Icon and furthermore placed in such a position which will be seen by millions of drivers each week passing on the nearby M60. Many of the drivers will be interested to know what goes on within this wonderful stadium. These are new people to the game and surely only people with their own self interest and blinkered eyes would therefore deny Salford their rightful place at the top table. If you want to see the game expand and flourish then Salford must be one of the 14.nnFinney’s final thought: At the start of the season I saw, as did many people in the media, Salford as a “shoe-in” but as time goes by I fear they could be the side to make way. The fact that the stadium isn’t ready will go against them, but if it does it will also go against Wakefield and Castleford. Rugby League needs a team in the Manchester area, but are Salford ready? Salford do have the potential to become massive if they can increase attendances, but I worry that it could be too late to save the area as football has took over. I would love to see Salford in the top division but fear that the only way they will get in is if Celtic don’t, or the RFL removes an existing Super League team. Mike makes some valid points, but will they be looked on as favourably by the RFL?

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