"I do understand the frustrations of our loyal fans who are suffering through this with us but they must be patient a little while longer and continue to trust us to do the right thing - we will deliver.”
John Wilkinson, Chairman, Salford City Reds 26th November 2008
Salford City Reds were originally due to begin playing in their new state-of-the-art stadium in 2008. Then the development company, Redcity Developments Ltd went bust and the project was taken over by Peel Holdings. In early January this year it was announced that the newly formed Salford City College would be "the main catalyst in pushing forward the new City of Salford Stadium". But now there has been another setback, as funding for the college's expansion has been put on hold for the immediate future.
Minutes of the Salford City College Corporation from March 30th state that the College is "extremely disappointed that the progress in implementing the full scope of the college merger proposals…cannot currently be progressed because of a lack of the expected funding".
Discussions were held at a further meeting of the College's Strategy and Finance Committee on 23rd March which covered "the 2010 deadline for the potential Salford Reds development site", how the "joint nature of that development increased the risks", and "the impact of the economic climate on any local developers plans". The committee also discussed "the positive co-operation from Salford City Council in locating alternative sites in Eccles and other districts of the City".
Progress of all the options for Salford City College were "now virtually at a standstill because of the unavailability of LSC (Learning and Skills Council) funding".
We contacted Peel Holdings and Salford City Council for a comment which they declined. However, David Tarry CEO of Salford City Reds did speak to us, saying he was "staggered" by our story.
"Everything's moving forward and nothing's changed" he said "Peel are happy, the College is happy and we're confident that we are going to be in a position to move forward with the stadium. It will be completed in 2010, although that might be the back end of 2010"
Terry admitted that "all money (from the LSC) had ceased but in reality they are re-organising monies and re-allocating their prioritised list of colleges. And the feeling is there that we're doing very well. The funding is coming back on the agenda."
However, he added that Salford College becoming "the main catalyst in pushing forward the new City of Salford Stadium" was by no means certain.
"Originally there was to be a hotel and retail space" he said "Then the College seemed a good option. If not, we'll find a different way of routing it. The College was a catalyst, if not, we've got a big site there..."
See Mary Burns on Salford Reds