Staying power: Why we need to keep Koukash

Hubris hangs heavy in the air in Britain at the moment.

From Prime Ministers who tempted fate, to the people who gambled on things they didn’t believe in who wanted to take over from the Prime Minister, and a whole cast of other chancers who have sailed too close to the sun in a variety of ways.

Rugby league has not been immune from this.

Salford Red Devils have an owner who has seemingly challenged the gods of rugby league, and has been slapped down a bit, to be honest.

Dr Marwan Koukash has, in the parlance of my youth, threatened to “take his bat home” and withdraw from the sport.

That would be a collosal shame. Salford are slowly beginning to look like a team on the pitch, and if not for the six-point deduction which has angered Dr Koukash so much, would be enjoying a more successful season.

The continual controversy surrounding the club does not seem to have abated, though, and this is not good for players’ focus and concentration.

Dr Koukash is a gifted man. Anyone with his career and life story is an exceptional human being with drive, talent and intelligence.

He is also good for rugby league. Anyone who brings those qualities and that kind of money should be.

The problems seem to arise when it comes to fitting his huge, and laudable, ambitions for Salford into the structures of rugby league.

But the structures of the game are there for a reason. We have tried so many things in rugby league that have basically amounted to wasted effort.

What we have now basically works, and we should work within these structures to refine them, rather than sweep them away, only to replace them with the unknown.

The lack of a plan after a major change has been shown to sow chaos on a national scale, after all.

Also, threatening to tear down the sport’s governing body and mount a campaign to “show them for what they are” seems a somewhat overblown and pompous, almost narcissistic statement.

As Leeds have shown this season, building a successful team for one season gives no one the right to expect success in the future.

The recipe for a successful team can be spoiled by the tiniest of wrong decisions, or recruitment choices, or accidents of fate.

Calls to remove the salary cap are, in my view, misguided. The concept of a cap is now essential to how rugby league functions, both here and in Australia, and we tamper with it at our peril.

So Dr Koukash needs to stay at Salford, and continue to work as hard as possible to make them a successful Super League club.

Sport is hard. Success in sport is never easily won, either on the pitch or off it. And especially not in rugby league. This is why we love it.

Our game tests spirit, heart, courage and resilience, as much as it tests skill and strength.

These times are a bit of test for Dr Koukash. He should not falter. He is better than that.

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