Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

SHARKS NOW FEEL RIGHT AT HOME... Justin Guthrie ; ?Sale Are Looking to Continue Dominance at AJ Bell Stadium against Irish

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

SHARKS NOW FEEL RIGHT AT HOME... Justin Guthrie ; ?Sale Are Looking to Continue Dominance at AJ Bell Stadium against Irish

Article excerpt

WHEN Sale ended their 98-year stay at Heywood Road in 2003, rugby commentator Nick Mullins described their home as a 'proper rugby ground' and expressed his doubts that the Sharks could 'transplant the vibrant heart of the club to Stockport'.

Their stay at Stockport County's Edgley Park was comparatively short lived, and Sale upped sticks again in 2013s

The move has not been without its problems - poor transport links, heavy traffic problems and matchday management issues have blighted the stadium over the past two-and-a-half years - contributing to a sizeable drop off in attendances.

Sale have attracted just 22,267 fans to Premiership matches this season, an average of 5,567 per game and the lowest in the league. The club was attracting almost 8,000 per match in Stockport.

But even if some fans are struggling to fall in love with the AJ Bell, Steve Diamond's men have restored some of the Heywood Road spirit over the past 12 months.

Playing to director of rugby Diamond's abrasive tune, Sale are unbeaten at the AJ Bell all season, and have not lost a game at home since April 2015.

Even then, the 23-25 defeat to Harlequins earned them a losing bonus point. You would have to go back over a year to find the last time Sale came away from a home match empty handed.

Sale's dominance at home was illustrated by their authoritative 38-5 victory over Newport last week - incidentally, watched by just 4,015 lucky fans on a bitterly cold Thursday night - and Diamond was reflective when asked about his side's commanding record. …

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