Salford seek to confirm feelgood factor

Salford chief executive Ian Blease (pictured) has admitted that the club may struggle to break even from their historic trip to Wembley this weekend.

But any profit they do make will be shared among the club’s staff as the Red Devils aim to solidify their legacy in Saturday’s Challenge Cup Final.

The Red Devils will appear at Wembley for the first time since 1969 when they face Leeds this weekend, with Blease admitting they are doubly motivated to win and deliver a feelgood moment for the city after a tough year, with spectators forced to watch the game from home.

“Will we make money? Probably not, because we’ve had to do things like hire two floors of hotels and book out more train carriages than normal,” Blease told League Express.

“We probably won’t lose money, we’ll be around the break-even mark, but whatever we make, we’re giving to the people who have helped make this happen. That’s the players, the staff and the back office guys. We did it at the Grand Final and we’ll do it again.”

Blease insists that, despite the game being played in front of an empty Wembley, he would not have wanted the game anywhere else.

“The RFL has been absolutely amazing getting it on at Wembley, and, to be honest, it wouldn’t have worked anywhere else, would it,” Blease said.

“It could be the only chance some of these lads get to play at Wembley. I never made it, and I always dreamed of walking out at Wembley to play in a Cup Final. This is something we will all look back on in years to come and appreciate how good it’s been. We won’t dwell on that this weekend though, because we’re going to win the Cup.”

Blease also admits that he hopes the pain of losing last year’s Grand Final will stand Salford in good stead, saying: “It’s been proven before that you’ve got to lose one to win one.

“You’ve got to take a step backwards sometimes and go through some pain. Our team got ripped apart after the Grand Final, but we’ve been proven right again with the signings we’ve made, which suggests that we know what we’re doing.

“Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could get a grip on that Cup and do it for the city?

When I rejoined this club I wanted to leave a legacy, and Watto (Ian Watson) wants to do the same. We’re not at that stage yet; to do that, we need to go and win it. But let me promise the people of Salford that this team are not going to Wembley to make up the numbers.

“It’s iconic, it’s historic and we will do this for everyone who can’t get there. We’ll do it for them, and hopefully bring the Cup back to Salford.”

Blease also concedes that the Red Devils have tried in vain to put on events for fans who are unable to get to Wembley.

“We wanted to do a drive-in cinema, then we contemplated a function at the stadium, but we were getting knocked back at every angle,” he said.

“I understand it’s very difficult for the Councils, and we know people have the option of watching it from the pubs. But I see that as an inspiration – if we win it, I’ll dedicate it to the fans who couldn’t be there.”

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