Super League stadium set for new owners after “controversial” bid

Leeds Rhinos’ Headingley Stadium, Wigan Warriors’ DW Stadium, Warrington Wolves at the Halliwell Jones, Hull FC at the MKM Stadium and of course St Helens at the Totally Wicked Stadium, there are some magnificent grounds across Super League.

Many of them are superb modern grounds built in the 21st Century providing Super League with a truly modern look.

However, one modern stadium faces an uncertain future in the shape of Salford Red Devils’ AJ Bell Stadium.

The City Council have made what is being described as a “controversial move” to buy the stadium and the potential purchase is set to be reviewed at a special scrutiny meeting on Wednesday August 23rd according to Manchester Evening News.

At present, the city council are 50-50 owners of the stadium with property giant Peel.

Speaking to I Love MCR, Mayor of Salford Paul Dennet recently said: “Do I think [the heritage] would be secured if we sold the stadium? No, I do not. Because who’s to say whether or not someone bought that stadium and didn’t share our values and beliefs about the importance of this 150-year-old institution in the city of Salford?”

Mr Dennet also explained how the council ownership of the stadium would be part of the cities ‘rugby-strategy’, which encompasses both League and Union. The stadium currently plays host to both Salford Red Devils and Sale Sharks.

“I think it’s really important to do justice to the original decision that was taken back in 2009/10.

“We want to solidify what happens from here on in as to what happens to the stadium and the stadium’s rugby.

“We said this was as a community stadium when we took the decision. We’ve got to deliver on that ambition. We do that by putting a rugby strategy in place, establishing a rugby forum, getting all partners in the city behind it, and aligning it to all the work we’re doing on health and wellbeing, tackling obesity and the importance of sports within schools.”

Salford Red Devils also provided a statement on this, saying: “The club has been at the heart of the Salford community for 150 years, and with the recent transition to fan ownership we have now placed the community at the heart of the club.”

“A council deal securing our future at the stadium enables us to continue the work that we carry out within our area as well as to develop it further; enthusing our young people and providing an opportunity and positive pathway through our wonderful sport.”

“Sports stadia have a history and trend of being sold and leveraged basely and the council’s efforts to buy the remaining 50pc of the stadium would ensure that the City of Salford Community Stadium remains a key component of the Salford community.”