Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Grand Show Is Not Final Step for Red Devils

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Grand Show Is Not Final Step for Red Devils

Article excerpt

THE story of Salford's season in 2019 is about far more than the 80 minutes at Old Trafford.

For a club that was seconds away from relegation - and probable extinction - just three years ago, the Red Devils' rise to the Grand Final has rejuvenated a club that had lost much of its connection with the local community.

Attendances have been on the slide at the AJ Bell Stadium over the last few years and with no benefactor since the departure of Marwan Koukash, the club is reliant on supporters coming through the turnstiles to survive.

And coach Ian Watson, himself a proud Salfordian, believes his side's improbable appearance in the showpiece final could have a longlasting impact on the Red Devils' fortunes.

"It's amazing what we've achieved, it's bigger than just getting to a Grand Final," said Watson.

"It looks like the boys have got people to fall in love with their rugby team again in Salford, so on just that side, hopefully it can help to build the club up from the ground upwards.

"That's what we need to do at Salford, build the foundations like St Helens have got, where you can bring young kids through and take them to a Grand Final.

It's we've bigger than to a Ian "Hopefully we can keep some of the supporters that have got behind us at the back end of this year and if they can keep coming, we can build a proper team.

"We're a club that has to rely on our supporters and has to rely on local businesses to fund us going forward."

The Red Devils do not currently have an academy set-up or reserve side, but will be required to next season. In 2019, the club could afford to spend only three-quarters of the £2.1m salary cap - and there had been suggestions some of the unexpected windfall from success in the play-offs could be spent on replenishing the playing squad, with numerous stars leaving this off-season.

However, Watson revealed that is unlikely to be the case - though the funding will have a significant impact on getting the club back on a sound footing.

"We're really excited with the group we've got for next year," said the former Swinton Lions coach. …

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