English Super League club Salford Red Devils has thrown its support behind local businessman Sebastian Gerrard’s bid to acquire AJ Bell Stadium.
It was reported last week that Gerrard had made an offer to Salford City Council, owners of the stadium, to purchase the venue, whose future has been the subject of long-running speculation.
The Red Devils have now said that the rugby league club’s board of directors met with Gerrard earlier this week to discuss plans. While the Red Devils said the proposal to the Council is in its early stages, it confirmed that Gerrard would like to buy the AJ Bell Stadium and secure it as the home of the Red Devils.
Furthermore, the Red Devils said Gerrard has expressed his interest in potentially investing in the club to secure its status at the elite level of Super League.
Salford Red Devils managing director, Paul King, added: “It’s no secret that Salford Red Devils operate without a benefactor in Super League and with that a much leaner financial situation.
“Further investment would unlock potential as an elite sports organisation in the Salford and Greater Manchester region. I welcome these talks, especially as Salford Red Devils is a community club, when business owners like Sebastian are local. Personally, I wish Sebastian every success with the proposal as it is further evidence that rugby league is a valued asset to this region.”
AJ Bell Stadium has been the home of the Red Devils since it opened in 2012. A potential stadium move has been on the agenda for the Red Devils, but the club has said there will be no changes for the remainder of this season or the 2023 campaign.
It added: “Season ticket holders and fans can expect to remain at the AJ Bell Stadium for the near future. Further updates on this ongoing situation will be provided by the club, but there is no further comment at this stage.”
In March, League Two football club Salford City confirmed that it will continue playing at the Peninsula Stadium during the 2022-23 season amid ongoing talks regarding a proposed move to AJ Bell Stadium.
Along with the Red Devils and Salford City, the stadium is also home to Premiership rugby union outfit Sale Sharks. In October, Sharks chief executive Sid Sutton confirmed a joint bid with Salford City to buy the ground but it was said at the time that the offer would not be tabled until the Red Devils could find a new stadium.
In a statement, Salford City said that discussions over a move to AJ Bell Stadium had been ongoing for a while. With “some work” still needing to be done, the club said it would continue playing at the Peninsula Stadium next season.
The Red Devils have previously said that they cannot afford to be part of a joint bid for AJ Bell Stadium. The Sharks did have plans to build a new stadium but these fell through in September 2020 after Trafford Council withdrew its support.
It has previously been reported that the Red Devils were considering a move to the Peninsula Stadium, which would have seen the rugby league club swap grounds with Salford City. The Red Devils and the Sharks have both played at the 12,000-capacity AJ Bell Stadium since it opened. The Red Devils’ rental agreement with the stadium ends in 2023.
Image: Salford Red Devils