Ian Blease

The sporting director Ian Blease has left Salford Red Devils to take up an opportunity at Leeds Rhinos.

Blease departs the Red Devils after serving the club both on and off the pitch for 20 years and will take up a newly-created role at Headingley.

The 59-year-old joined Salford as a player in 1985 and went on to make 272 appearances over 12 years.

Blease also won two Second Division titles (1990-91 & 1995-96) and was a part of the team who won promotion to the newly founded Super League in 1996.

Furthermore, the back-row forward reached two Lancashire Cup finals, where Blease scored a memorable try against Widnes in 1991.

He re-joined the club in 2016 to become director of rugby and operations, helping the Red Devils reach the Super League Grand Final in 2019 and the Challenge Cup final the year after.

In the wake of his departure, Ian Blease stated: “As my time at Salford Red Devils now comes to an end, I do hope everyone will understand my decision, for what for me and my family is a huge opportunity to join Leeds Rhinos as the Sporting Director.

“I have given my all for this club for over 20 years, and I feel now is the right time to seek something I have worked hard for.

“Firstly, I would like to pay my respects to all my club colleagues and the board for understanding my position, who have helped and assisted me throughout the last eight years.

“They know who they are, you are very special to me, and I will be forever grateful.

“Secondly, to all my coaches and back-room staff, you have been on point for the club every single day we have worked together.

“To every single player over the last eight years, you have my heart completely. You have worn the shirt with such pride, and you have all helped me build teams who competed with the best in competition – and I will be forever grateful.”

Leeds confirmed Blease will help provide strategic direction, leadership and oversight of the rugby department at the Rhinos and will cover all age ranges as well as the women’s team.

Part text credit: Sunny Badwal, PA, and Harry Siddall

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