Big-spending Salford announce 12 new signings including Gareth Hock and Rangi Chase
They will be a part of the re-named Red Devils ahead of the 2014 season
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Thursday 05 September 2013
A new identity, 12 new players and a whole new set of aspirations – Salford has seen nothing like it since the hey-day of David Watkins and Maurice Richards.
There have been plenty of unfulfilled promises since the late 60s, but Thursday saw Dr Marwan Koukash start to deliver.
The Salford owner, chairman and, he insists, fan, who saved the club in February, has been linked by rumour with just about every player in rugby league.
At the City of Salford Stadium, he wheeled them out, headed by Rangi Chase, who admitted himself that his signing was "the worst-kept secret in the game."
Likewise the England forward, Gareth Hock, although fans will have been more surprised by the recruitment of the Parramatta full-back, Jake Mullaney.
And, Dr Koukash assured a packed lounge with an atmosphere more like a political rally then a press conference, there is: "More to come!"
He tackled head-on some of the charges that have been laid at Salford's door since the millionaire racehorse-owner's take-over.
They had not, he insisted, made illegal approaches to other clubs' players, and they are not, despite all appearances, hell-bent on driving a coach and horses through the game's salary cap.
"We haven't been paying wives," he joked. "Apart from mine."
Dr Koukash said that the club would "respect" the salary cap, despite his own personal opposition to it, but would campaign for a change of policy.
They had a blueprint in place for the 2015 season, he said, for which he predicted that Salford would start as ante-post favourites.
That would not be the first time that the club has led the way. In the 1930s, they were the pioneers of playing in France; hence their nick-name there of Les Diables Rouges or the Red Devils.
That name was purloined in the 50s by their neighbours at Old Trafford; on Thursday, Salford claimed it back.
That got as big a cheer as the confirmation of the signing of Chase or Adrian Morley.
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