Salford Red Devils Chairman Paul King is confident that the club will be able to thrive if and when it moves its home base to the Moor Lane stadium in 2023.
The move would involve the club moving back into the city, with Moor Lane located in the Kersal district in the eastern part of Salford, as opposed to the AJ Bell Stadium, located in Barton-upon-Irwell to the west of the city.
The Red Devils held a fans’ forum last week, where King made it clear that he anticipates moving out of the AJ Bell Stadium at the end of next season and into Moor Lane, provided agreement can be reached with the relevant parties.
“The fans’ forums are very significant for our supporters,” King told League Express.
“If we are going to make decisions on whether to stay at the AJ Bell or move to Moor Lane, we need the fans’ support.”
But before the move can take place to the 5,108-capacity Moor Lane, which is currently known as the Peninsula Stadium, there are still several complications to be ironed out.
“The difficulty is that the local authority want the AJ Bell Stadium off their hands. Sale Sharks and Salford City FC will do what they have to do and what is right for them in terms of buying the stadium,” added King.
“We are working really closely with them now; we have done the due diligence, which we are rolling through now.
“I think Moor Lane has some real positivity attached to it, providing we can increase our attendances.
“There are a couple of challenges attached to it, including the parking, which we may be able to address, depending on how much money we can chuck at it, but I think there is a solution.
“Salford City have a long-term lease from the Council, so part of the gig would be that the local authority would take it back and we would take a long-term lease on that stadium. That would be the proposal.
“We could then recreate the atmosphere we had at the Willows, which was intimidatory for our opponents. A Friday night with 6,000 people in there would be absolutely rocking, whereas on a Friday night at the AJ Bell with 4,000 in a 12,000 stadium, the atmosphere can be somewhat lacking, and that isn’t for the want of trying.
“Given the amount of housing surrounding Moor Lane, that would give us the opportunity to use it as an event venue, as opposed to using it thirteen times a year.”
King admits, however, that Moor Lane has other drawbacks as well as parking, compared to the AJ Bell Stadium.
“In terms of corporate entertainment, it has hospitality boxes but not a big conference space, which is something we would hope to be able to address,” he said.
“And the floodlights aren’t as good as they should be, because Rugby League standards are higher than the Football League’s, believe it or not. We would have to do something specifically for the broadcaster. So there are a few things that we would need to do that would be quite costly.
“We have a lease at the AJ Bell until 2023, so we could stay here until then, but if things go the way we want them to go, then we probably wouldn’t want to stay until then, moving at the end of 2022, although there are a lot of uncertainties attached to that move.”
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