The supporters of the Salford Red Devils are urging the club to push through the stadium swap with Salford City FC.

It was announced recently at a fans annual meeting that the Red Devils would be looking for a new home after the 2022 Super League season.

The Rugby League club have called the AJ Bell, formerly the Salford Community Stadium, home for nearly 10 years after moving from The Willows in April 2021.

They have shared the 12,000-seat stadium with Rugby Union club Sale Sharks for this whole period, however, it is understood that the Red Devils will move away from Barton in 2023 due to the stadium being taken over by new landlords who will increase the rent to £450,000, a figure that is not financially viable.

Executive Chairman Paul King, said at the AGM “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.”

Mr King also discussed many options for where the Red Devils could re-locate, including the Etihad Athletic Track and Gigg Lane, the former home of Bury FC. However, the most likely location is Moor Lane, the current home of Salford City FC who would take over as co-tenants of the AJ Bell in the hypothetical switch.

Peter Brady, the Chairman of the Salford Red Devils Supporter’s Trust, said, “The AJ Bell provided us with state of the art facilities, something that we didn’t have at the Willows but we lost a core element of community spirit when we moved there.

“It was a shame because Peel Holdings and Salford City Council promised to drive our revenue streams and offer us support in paying the large rental payments, it was quite clear that support drained away quite quickly.

“For that reason we always struggled to call it home.

“There is a big financial disparity between the two codes, Super League clubs get around £1.5 million from Sky while Sale Sharks get the equivalent of £11 million. They can afford it, we can’t.”

A big incentive of moving to Moor Lane, currently known as the Peninsula Stadium, is the naming rights of the stadium, rights that are held by Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell. When asked about the possibility of moving to Moor Lane, Mr Brady said, “Moor Lane, is the only realistic option in the city and I think it’s the right move for the club”.

“There are a number of opportunities at Moor Lane that we don’t have at the AJ Bell, including the revenue from food and beverage and advertising, at the moment we rely on ticket sales and a guy selling lottery tickets as you walk into the stadium. Whereas, at Moor Lane we would have all the rights to hospitality.

“I think the stadium move will save the club, if we stay at the AJ Bell, I don’t see the club surviving”.

The Red Devils are yet to confirm their move away from the AJ Bell however their contract is set to expire in 2023 so a new long-term home is imminent. Moor Lane, although attractive, is not ideal, work would need to be done to make the stadium acceptable for the Super League’s standards, including improving the floodlights and TV gantry.

While things remain unclear presently, the stadium swap is impending and there is no doubt that this will be a watershed moment for the Red Devils and for all sport in Salford.

One Comment

  1. Getting away from the one road in one road out sewage smelling can’t get a drink AJ bell Stadium 🧐 By Jove I’m in .

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