Sale Sharks Look for Stadium Move to Ignite Club Progression

January 4, 2012

Sale Sharks will know by the middle of February if a move to the new City of Salford Stadium at Barton will be viable, according to co-owner Ian Blackhurst.

The new £26m ($40.5m) state-of-the-art ground has been discussed by Sale officials and the owners of the Peel Holdings and Salford City Council for six months over a proposed ground-share agreement with Salford Reds.

They will resume next week with Sale keen to strike a deal and make the switch from their current Edgeley Park base, providing the price is right.

“We are quite far on with negotiations over the new stadium and hopefully we should have news on that within the next four to six weeks,” Blackhurst revealed.

“Whether it happens or not is down to the negotiations with the parties involved.

“There’s a lot of speculation but if we are to move there it has to be right for this organisation from a commercial point of view.

“But we don’t want Edgeley Park to be a boundary to halt our progression. Obviously, Edgeley Park is our home and we own it but we will not be restricted by physical boundaries in terms of what we want to achieve.

“Edgeley Park is a good stadium but there’s no doubt it needs investment in it.  So the decision that we as a club have to make is what the best option for the next leg of this journey we are on.”

Should a deal be reached, it would be the third home for the Sharks in nine years, with the club having outgrown their original base at Heywood Road and eventually settling on a move in 2003 to Edgeley Park, which they share with Stockport County.

Steve Diamond, Sale’s new CEO has championed the move as he looks for the club to be strongest club in the north.

Diamond who was promoted yesterday but will not assume his role until February 1 said: “The decision over the next six weeks or so will dictate where we go – we either redevelop Edgeley Park or go down the road.

“But if we do go to the new stadium it’s got a retro fit which could take the capacity from 12,000 up to 20,000 and that would help to consolidate our position as a major force in British rugby going into Europe.”

Mick Hogan, Sale’s Current CEO, told iSportconnect that he believes Sale will succeed in their plans.

“Foundations are in place: Academy, Community, Commercial Programmes, Communications and Training Facilities all now firmly embedded. Success will come for Sale. How quickly depends on how well the team play over the next 18 months,”

Hogan will leave his role in January to help co-ordinate the 2015 World Cup.

To discuss Sale’s future with Mick Hogan join our discussion here