Salford chief remains upbeat

  • Last Updated: December 12 2012, 19:13 GMT

Salford chairman John Wilkinson remains optimistic his club can secure the investment it needs to survive, despite having one avenue of funding closed off.

Salford: Looking to pay off tax bill

The Reds are trying to pay off a tax bill in the region of £50,000 and are due in court to hear a winding-up petition next month, while also trying to settle their debts with two former players, Vinnie Anderson and Luke Patten.

Wilkinson had been working on a deal which would see Salford Council loan the club £750,000 - a figure which would be matched by stadium owners Peel Holdings - but that was rejected on Tuesday, with the council deciding that money could not be spent in the current financial climate.

That left Salford back at square one, but, although disappointed, Wilkinson is confident of securing much-needed money from elsewhere.

In a statement issued on Wednesday night, he said: "The board and myself were obviously very disappointed to learn the outcome of the vote taken by the city council's cabinet yesterday, but we respect and understand the difficult position they were in given the backdrop of budget cutbacks.

"During negotiations the club has been unable to speak freely and has had to respect the process, and it has been frustrating having to sit back and leave incorrect and at times scurrilous speculation unanswered.

"If these negotiations could have been brought to a successful conclusion, as we all expected they would be, it would have secured the future of the club, however this now opens the door to other opportunities.

"The position as it stands is that the club has a short-term cash flow problem that it needs to overcome, however once that is done the club's business plan remains solid, viable and independently verified by leading accounting firms such as KPMG."

Wilkinson had earlier said he hopes to have new cash in place within a week, and he reiterated his belief that the Reds, the Manchester region's only Super League club, were an attractive proposition.

"Salford City Reds remains a great investment opportunity for new blood with an appetite for top-level sport and we would urge anyone with an interest to make contact immediately," he said.

"The club has always received exceptional levels of support from the local business community and this spirit remains, with the club still attracting new sponsors even while recently surrounded by an air of uncertainty.

"This gives us great confidence that there is someone out there who can help us take this great club forward and on to successes within Super League.

"As a board we were fully committed to the deal on the table as everything had led us to believe that it would be concluded positively.

"As a result of yesterday's decision we are forced to reopen investigations into other avenues, and remain confident that with everyone pulling together in the same direction - board members, supporters, players, coaches and staff - that a positive conclusion can still be reached within the required timeframe.

"Discussions continue with other interested parties, including Peel, and we are grateful to the RFL for their ongoing support in these matters. We will update stakeholders on any progress as soon as we are able."

The situation has unfortunate shades of the crisis which engulfed Bradford throughout the 2012 season.

The Bulls had to go into administration and were close to going to the wall, but eventually found new owners and are now planning for next season.

As a result of their struggles, though, Salford's assistant coach, Sean Long, has contacted Bradford boss Francis Cummins for advice.

"I rang him and left a message," he said on Sky Sports News.

"He's been in the same situation, I wanted to see how he dealt with it. It is worrying.

"Manchester needs a rugby league team. For them to go would be a massive blow."


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