Salford Red Devils have been very forward thinking on the field under Paul Rowley but they have now been forward thinking off the field too.
Recently they announced their planes to become the first community owned Super League club and have since raised £100,000 through this and are aiming for £250,000 as Paul Raynor, a Director at the club, revealed on BBC Radio Manchester.
“We’re really excited with the opportunity that the ‘Reds Rise Together’ shared ownership provides,” he said before opening up on the role of IMG in this.
“Also moving forward into the IMG era and the grading of clubs, we think that with our catchment area and the foundations we’ve put in place over the last five years it really presents us with an opportunity to build a really successful club, both on and off the field hence the reason for launching the community share ownership at this time.
“Our initial target is to get to £250,000 but that’s just our first stage really and what we’re looking to do is increase the amount that’s invested in the club and give people the opportunity to have their say, get their vote, but also contribute to building a strong infrastructure that makes the club even more sustainable.”
He also confirmed that some of this money will be used on recruitment and retention:
“We’ll invest that, this isn’t going to just be money that puts players on the pitch but it’ll be investing in the commercial team, the marketing team and digital media so we can increase the footprint of the club.
“We’re the only club in Super League with no benefactor and that creates some challenges in terms of capacity to invest in the infrastructure. We’ve been really true to our values as a club and we want to make sure that whatever we do aligns with our perspective as a community club.
“So the community share ownership is the next natural stage and by doing that it allows us to invest in the infrastructure in one go, whereas currently we’re ensuring we’re surviving and now we’re looking to grow and become sustainable.”
There is also an aim to use the money to grow the marketing team:
“If we invest in the marketing and invest in the commercial then our tickets increase, if we increase our crowds then that brings extra revenue which we can then further invest.
“It’s nice that this is the 150th year as we’re celebrating the history of the club but we’re also looking to put things in place which build a foundation for the next 150 years. It will leave a legacy of a club that performs on the pitch but a club that grows off the pitch as well.
“In terms of the timings our initial share ownership offer is for six weeks then that will be reviewed and there’ll be further opportunities for people to invest, but what we’re looking to do is a build a strong ‘float’ to use your term so that we can start to capitalise on this immediately and get things in place ready for grading.”