Red Devils boss keeping calm

Salford Red Devils Chairman Paul King is the sole director of Salford City Reds 2013 Ltd, the company that runs the Red Devils.

And he admits that that places a big responsibility on his shoulders, despite there being a holding company with three directors, including King, Andrew Rosler and Paul Trainor, who have all been Salford supporters for over thirty years.

In addition, there are another four non-executive directors: Kieran Charleson of Salford Royal, Brian Rees of If Agency, Janice Allen of the University of Salford and EVPA owner Joanne Hawkins, who is also the company secretary.

King, who runs his own security company, joined the Salford board in late 2018 when he was invited to do so by the former Chairman Andrew Rosler.

In hindsight, it wasn’t a bad time to take charge of the club, given that the Red Devils reached the Super League Grand Final during his first season at the helm.

But just when he was trying to build on last season’s success, the coronavirus came along to blast a hole through his plans to make the Red Devils a financially viable organisation.

But because he runs a smaller organisation than other clubs that own their own stadia, King admits that to some degree they have not been hit as hard as some of their rivals.

“We don’t get food and beverage income from the stadium,” he points out.

“We pay rent to play at the stadium and it was set at £450,000 per year. The model was based on 8,000 crowds. Our current deal is much more helpful for us.

“But the fact remains that by not owning the stadium, we are not in control and the decision making is not ours when it comes to such things as reseeding the pitch, for example.

“A company contacted me recently about running a drive through cinema in the car park around the stadium, and I had to pass it on to the stadium company.”

And King admits that he would like to see other successful Salfordians taking a greater interest in the club and joining its board of directors.

“I am super keen to hand the club on to some sane benefactor one day,” he concedes.

“And we have had some approaches, but as soon as we say we don’t own the stadium they don’t want to know.

“If you don’t own the stadium, where you are going to throw your money around?

“Even as a tenant, we don’t actually have primacy of tenure at the stadium, which Sale Sharks have paid for, although that has little bearing on the way we use the stadium, other than having sometimes to shift our fixtures where they already have a fixture arranged.

“We have some massive plans and we would love to buy the stadium and build behind the North Stand, for example. If we are going to do that, then the people and businesses of the City of Salford need to stand up and be counted. There are so many challenges in developing this club.”

And King points out the challenges all clubs will face when the game eventually returns and is played behind closed doors.

“We can’t have a six-week period where we are playing without any income,” he adds.

“We would have no gate income and I have no idea how much we are going to get from other sources.

“Manchester United have returned to training and they are likely to spend £40,000 per month on antigen tests, with two tests per week for each player. How on earth could we afford to do that at Salford?

“As an alternative, CCTV cameras can measure your body temperature, meaning that a player could walk up to the camera and have their temperature monitored. The camera costs about £3,000 and that would put it within our price range and we could train five days a week on that basis.”

Meanwhile King admits he has no hard feelings towards Salford fullback Niall Evalds, who will join Castleford Tigers next season.

“Niall is a nice lad, but he had been with us for ten years and wanted a change. We made him a good offer with a testimonial, but he’s going elsewehre and I certainly wouldn’t hold that against him.”

In contrast, last week the Red Devils announced extended contracts for skipper Lee Mossop and Australian forward Luke Yates, who will both stay at the AJ Bell Stadium until the end of the 2022 season.

This article has been slightly amended from the version that appears in this week’s League Express to clarify the board structure of the holding company.