Salford admit stadium uncertainty

Salford Red Devils have confirmed that they have held tentative talks about a potential move to Salford City Football Club’s Moor Lane ground amid ongoing fears the Red Devils could be turfed out of the AJ Bell Stadium.

Salford Red Devils Supporters’ Trust recently urged those living in the city to wake up to the “very real threat” of the Super League side losing their current home.

A petition opposing the potential sale of the AJ Bell to rugby union club Sale Sharks has gathered nearly 8,000 signatures.

Trust members believe such a move would lead to ambitious Salford City, rather than the Red Devils, playing alongside the Sharks at the 12,000-capacity venue, which has hosted both rugby teams since 2012.

They fear a move by the Red Devils to Moor Lane, which is known as the Peninsula Stadium and is less than half the size of the AJ Bell, would make maintaining a top-flight operation impossible.

The AJ Bell is currently owned by City of Salford Community Stadium (CosCos), a joint venture between Salford City Council and property company Peel Holdings.

Red Devils executive chairman Paul King has confirmed suggestions that the club has never been able to fulfil the rental agreement on the stadium.

They currently pay around a third of the £450,000 annual cost for the use of the stadium for matches, training and office space, with the shortfall underpinned by the local authority.

But the agreement expires in 2023, and going forward, would have to be renegotiated, with the Red Devils held to the agreed figure.

King has met Salford City owner Gary Neville, although he stressed that any discussions that would lead to the Red Devils moving to Moor Lane are at an “embryonic” stage.

“It’s important to stress there are no enemies here,” said King.

“Sale have not made a formal approach because our future is unclear and they are adamant it needs to be sorted. But they also want to get a move on.”

King added: “As a club, we need to find our own identity and look after ourselves and stop trying to be a leech on other people.

“I’m not comfortable with us having a local authority bail us out when there are things like children’s services suffering from central cuts.

“We have potentially a fantastic future; we just need to take a few steps to get there and if it means we have to play in a lesser stadium for two, three, four, five years, that’s what we’ll do. It will help us build.”

Intentions to launch a community share scheme to transfer the club to a fan-ownership model were also confirmed.

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