Star date: 28th December 2012


Salford City Reds fans met in Pendlebury last night to try and help save the ailing club but came away with more questions than answers about the way that Chairman John Wilkinson has handled the financial crisis.

Meanwhile, the Salford Star can reveal that the Mayor and his Deputy, plus the Chief Executive and Strategic Director resigned from the City of Salford Community Stadium Ltd days before the decision to give the Reds a further £750,000 loan was to be made.

Full story here…

Last night, fans left a Forever Reds meeting intended to help save the Salford City Reds with yet more questions about how the rugby club's board has handled the financial crisis currently engulfing the team.

At the first fans meeting last week, Chairman John Wilkinson told fans the club needed £600,000 before the season started (see here). Last night, they learnt that `only' £60,000 was needed to stave off the winding up petition due to be heard on January 7th, of which fans and supporters have already pledged £20,000.

"What we heard last night from former Urban Vision chief Bill Taylor, who was helping the club until September, was that the winding up petition is for £60,000 to pay two players" explains a supporter who attended the meeting for Salford Star.

"Apparently fans have already pledged £20,000 so we need to raise £40,000 with just five working days left" he added "But as a supporter I want to know why John Wilkinson didn't make this clear at last week's meeting to give us a chance of raising the full amount. Or why the directors don't just pay the £40,000 between them."

Fans were also told that the £600,000 `inherent debt' was to pay off creditors, including the Inland Revenue which is owed around £300,000, and that Peel Holdings is still interested in investing in the club.

In another twist, the Salford Star can reveal that four Salford Council directors of the joint Council and Peel Holdings company, City of Salford Community Stadium Ltd, resigned four days before the Council was due to make a decision on whether to advance the Salford Reds a further £750,000 loan.

The four directors who had their appointments `terminated' on 7th December were Salford City Mayor, Ian Stewart, his Deputy David Lancaster, Chief Executive Barbara Spicer and Strategic Director Martin Vickers. Bizarrely, David Lancaster had his `appointment terminated' and was re-appointed on the same day.

With a decision on the loan due to be made on the 11th December, we can only conclude these `terminations' were to avoid any last minute conflict of interest allegations, although, in the event, the Mayor didn't take part in the decision or vote as Assistant Mayors narrowly refused to provide the loan (see here).

As thing stand, Salford Council has only two representatives on the board of the City of Salford Community Stadium Ltd, the re-born David Lancaster and `Joseph Benedict Dolan', commonly known as Ben Dolan, the Council's Head of Environment.

Meanwhile, Salford Reds have just five days to raise £40,000 and a bit longer to raise £600,000 with the new season imminent…


Seedley voter wrote
at 09:42:42 on 11 January 2013
Still no reply from Tom Murphy, come on Tom we know you read this site, you really are just proving what everybody in Salford knows. And if you don't know what we think of you it's because you don't attend your surgeries.
salford pimpernel wrote
at 07:46:27 on 09 January 2013
seems some middle eastern milk shake businessmen wants to buy the Salford reds, and I thought rich mugs were like rocking horse shit, if Mr Salford pulls this one off it would be up there with some cockney selling tower bridge to an American or this labour council pulling the wool over the Salford residents eyes, who knows if he's mug enough to buy the club he could hire hazel blears as the club accountant, she's good with figures and totally honest about her expenses.
salford pimpernel wrote
at 20:53:09 on 07 January 2013
I to have notice this use of mobile phone numbers being used by labour councillors, an absolute disgrace, especially for the less well off of our community, we should always be able to have easy access to our elected member's, this needs to be stopped, still no word from our Tom Murphy, seems accountability is dead in Salford.
Eccles senior wrote
at 16:45:30 on 07 January 2013
An interesting point you raise Mary about contacting councillors. I feel sorry for skint pensioners living in Eccles ward, of the 3 councillors there none of them hold any surgeries and they are all only contactable by calling a mobile, if your a pensioner who worries about the phone bill are you going to call? It really does make it a scandel now we know they get a free landline, i think you could be correct about them not wanting people to contact them and make work for them.
Mary ferrer wrote
at 07:07:39 on 07 January 2013
Well Mr Taylor thanks for that. Maybe if the Council and the club had been a little bit more open, I would not have to ask. Regarding Councillors holding their surgery's think that is now a thing of the past. Why in gods name would they want to be available for residents to give them work. Half no longer have a land-line,but they get one fitted for free when they become a Councillor, so its mobile or nothing. Some don't give their home address. And the ones I have been dealing with for months don't respond to emails.Some don't attend meetings or turn up late, speak then leave so it looks like they have been in attendance for the full meeting. So glad we have Steve Kingston and this site.
Bill Taylor wrote
at 22:17:57 on 06 January 2013
I can answer The question Mary Ferrer asked about who paid Bill Taylor's wages, as It is me she is asking the question about. The reality is I am a lifelong Salford RLFC fan, and also retired. I offered to help the club in any way that I could, whilst not wanting employment, nor to be paid for any work that I did. So Mrs Ferrer, whilst it is nobodies business but mine, I am pleaed to share with you that I did a limited amount of work for the club without being paid a single penny. That is how supporters contribute to help the club in any way they can.
salford pimpernel wrote
at 17:49:59 on 06 January 2013
@Seedley voter. your write up is spot on,I could go about all types of issues concerning this area and others but I'd be hear all day, like you, we the true people of Salford can see the bleeding obvious in what is wrong with this city, if these labour councillors lifted their head up once in a while from the trough of expenses claiming and part time jobs working for peel, tescos and Mr Salford they might see it for them selves. on the issue of councillors surgeries you'll also notice they hold them at a time when the vast majority are unable to attend due to work commitments our previous councillors were 7.00pm onwards and in the middle their ward so the elderly can attend, I'd also like to throw this idea in to the melting pot, let's get rid of two thirds of our councillors as their useless and replace them with people of the community who have a interest AND LIVE IN THAT COMMUNITY pay them expenses only when they attend meetings. I believe that the only people who can decide what's best for a community is the ones who live in it, this would stop the likes of your white elephants like the reds stadium, school closures, public land and property be sold off to LABOUR donors & friends i.e buile hill mansion, the erection of pig ugly building's like the old weaste bus depot, what idiot past that for approval , stevie wonder? I could go on. ps labour councillors wont go on forums like this where they can be held to account for the mess they make, they like to keep it one on one where they can keep their incompetence under wraps. wouldn't want to derail the great gravy train, would we now?.
Seedley voter wrote
at 08:36:26 on 04 January 2013
FAO Tom Murphy you may also wish to get the council website manager to correct the following which are probably also incorrect. These cllrs are shown on the website as not having ANY sugeries, M mullen, dirr, joe murphy, pugh, stone, m wheeler, p wheeler, kelly, conner, wilson, dennet, reynolds, warminsham, clauge, dobbs, mashiter, critchley, lindley, turner, clarkeson, compton. And these are shown as only doing 1 surgery every 3 months, ferguson, lea, warner, antrobus, dawson, hinds, balkind, merrit, potter. Also some cllrs in the same wards seem to have their sugerys at the same time, same day of the month and at the same place like E burgoyne and V burgoyne surly this is a typo too? Also another possable error is the location of some sugerys as some of them don't even take place in the ward that the cllr attending represents? However if these are not "errors" it is a pretty good indicator of the contempt Salfords electorate is held in by the cllrs of this city that 21 cllrs do not hold Any sugeries, a further 9 can only be bothered to do so once every 3 months, and a few are trying to have us for mugs by doubling up with the missus and calling it two surgeries plus we have some that hold them out of the area thus ensuring some of the electorate is unable to attend. I await eagerly your responce to this.
salford pimpernel wrote
at 08:36:17 on 04 January 2013
@ councillor Tom Murphy if it is councillor Tom Murphy. maybe you would like to comment on what labour has done for the area of tootal.it's obvious that you labour councillors don't get out and talk to to real Salford people any more, (you can't count Peel & Tesco's or your Mr Salford's as real Salford opinions), because you wouldn't of wasted million's of tax payers monies on white elephants like the reds stadium, green gate, Chapple street etc, also tell me do you think it's right that this city elected a mayoral and then gave a new contract to Barbara Spicer on £210.000pa whilst this city is going broke and people are going to lose their jobs at the council and are now going to go through reductions in their wages, perhaps you can give me your thoughts on having only one councillor in each ward instead of as now of having three, if it's the choice of seeing less bin men,care-workers etc.. I don't think the people of Salford would miss 2/3rds of our councillors when you see what a mess they have made of this city. p.s if labour does listen to the ordinary people of Salford maybe you can get mayoral Stewart, Mr Merry ,Mr Lancaster to answer and to reply to the Salford star and Mr Steven Kingston questions. if you want to know what real Salford people are thinking then look no further than the Salford star for those people.
Seedley voter wrote
at 08:35:23 on 04 January 2013
FAO Tom Murphy you need to get the council website updated then bacause it states you only have one surgery and that is the 1st Thursday every month, 5pm-6pm, De La Salle Sports and Social Club. The surgery Every Tuesday, 5pm-6pm, at St Luke's Parish Hall is according to the council website only attended by Cllr Ronnie Wilson. So i think Salford Pimpernel makes a valid point here, as if people don't know about them they can not attend them. Maybe now that is cleared up, you as Mr Pimpernel's representative for the ward would like to reply to some of the other points he mentioned is his statement. Please don't just say that Mr Pimpernel is welcome to attend your surgery now he knows where they are, please do reply to them on this comments board as i know their are other people in your ward dying to hear your comments on the points he has made. Please note failure to reply will be seen by all that Mr Pimpernel was indeed absolutely correct, that you are only "around when there's a camera about and not interested in the area".
Tom Murphy wrote
at 20:07:04 on 03 January 2013
FAO Salford Pimpernel - all our surgeries take place in the ward: Every Tuesday, 5pm-6pm, St Luke's Parish Hall and 1st Thursday every month, 5pm-6pm, De La Salle Sports and Social Club. Any Weaste & Seedley resident with an issue or problem is welcome to attend. Regards, Tom.
salford pimpernel wrote
at 12:14:40 on 03 January 2013
The sooner this club goes under the better,Mr Salford and this labour clowncil have shit on the people of Salford for years, the area where the willows stud was a great area at one time,proper Salford now with the loss of this club and other facilities like, Weaste cricket, tootal drive primary school, hope library,stott lane playing fields, Buile hill mining museum, hope high school,hope hospital maternity department closure, Buile hill park it's self, it's bowling greens and the large greenhouse, year's of LABOUR neglect etc., labour are intent in destroying this area, Councillor's Thomas Murphy, Jan Rochford, Ronnie Wilson the three amigo's, are none existent just labour yes men/women,they don't even hold surgeries in the area, because they think the people of this area are not worth the honour of being in the same room as them, unlike the last councilor's we had, Geoff Ainsworth, Janice Heywood, Mary Ferrer, ( if only we had them now )you could contact them at any time and get a response to your problems, they always had walkabouts and surgeries in their constituency and always available, unlike this lot only around when there's a camera about and not interested in the area, it would be interesting to see what proposals they have for area because all I see is destruction and anti community policies. p.s to the three amigo's if you spent as much time in your ward talking to your constituents as you do filling in your expenses forms this area might not be the shit hole it's in now in, every other area in Salford seem to get bucket loads of money thrown at them whilst this area is bi-past for investment, come on councillor's do what your paid and elected to do, fight for your constituency instead of hiding, Mr. Ainsworth, Mrs Heywood, Mrs Ferrer, this area needs you back. tootal resident
mary ferrer wrote
at 09:39:34 on 01 January 2013
Mr Watson won't need any money to build a School or Health centre,he will get government funding. But if this happens then BIG questions need to be asked, because what happened to putting it out to tender to the best bidder,which is proper protocol. Also this was not the agreement when the last lot of our money was being lent to the club,houses were to be built. Watson has had funding to do building in Broughton as well,more public handouts. The club has been in financial trouble for 5/6 years and it didn't get better,it got worse yet this bloody daft Council went ahead and borrowed £22M plus and gave land to build the stadium, The club could not gates over 4000 at the Willows, where the hell were the extra 4ooo coming from. I feel sorry for the supporters and the players, but I don't feel sorry for the directors because they are the ones who have made this mess, along with the Council.I asked questions back in 2009 regarding the Reds and got no where, I said then it would be a very big mistake,but no one would listen. Where the club goes from here,I don't know, I just hope the residents of Salford don't have to hand out any more money. Regarding the Mansion since June I have been asking the Mayor,Spicer.Lancaster and anyone who would listen what is happening to the Mansion and to this moment in time, I have had NO response what so ever.Keeping the grade two Mansion in mothballs for Wilkinson and Watson to get the funds. So do we leave it till it falls down.
life long red wrote
at 09:36:24 on 31 December 2012
If Salford reds director Watson is to build a school and health centre on the Willows site why cant he come up with the cash the Reds need as he is going to make a killing out of the Reds plight.
salford pimpernel wrote
at 09:36:14 on 31 December 2012
The money to keep this club going is easily raised, all Mr Salford has to do is put his house and business up as security for the lone, or is it the banks also now what the rest of us already now it's a huge risk. maybe Mr Salford also knows, that's why he won't gamble his own money and future. why was there no survey don before moving from the willows, who said that they would be getting 8,000 crowds, how many fans did they lose by moving to Barton, how many did they gain. it would of been better staying at the willows at a lower division and still in business instead of all singing all dancing shiny new ground, but bankrupt, the people of Salford seen this coming. but your merry's, Stewart's, Lancaster's and your Mr Salford, didn't give a dam because it wasn't their money they was gambling with, how many council workers "who do valuable jobs", are going to lose their jobs for this fiasco, how many of our elderly are going to go without or reduced care for this, they should all hang their heads in shame. There should be a public inquiry, where these so called leaders and businessmen have to explain to us the Salford tax payer. p.s if Mr Salford can't find the money to keep his club from bankruptcy where he going to find the money to buy the mining museum and build his hotel. questions questions, questions, as of yet no answers, maybe Mr Stewart should be looking for a new buyer for the museum seeing your selling all our other historical building off, or has Mr Salford being given preferential treatment and he can buy it in his own time and for his own price.
Jumping Jonny wrote
at 10:15:01 on 30 December 2012
I susspect they asked for £1.5m instead of just the £60k thinking that peel and the clowncil would just hand it over, i also think they would of handed it over had it not been for what has been published on here. Now we know why Stewart and Lancaster abstained from the vote it's because they are wrapped up in this, but why didn't they just state this was the reason instead of citing "legal reasons".
salford pimpernel wrote
at 10:14:29 on 30 December 2012
doesn't mater which angle you look at it from,it's still the same, it's the salford tax payer that's going to get screwed.
mary ferrer wrote
at 14:58:27 on 29 December 2012
Merry will have gone from the board when he lost his leadership, what bit of clout he had went then. Its Lancaster that is the one to watch with this one. He will be covering his back big style by now.
SteveE wrote
at 12:23:47 on 29 December 2012
A Bill Taylor has posted on the Salford fans forum in response to some flak that is being dished out, staing he is a close friend of the chair person of Forever Reds, who organised this meeting on Thursday. Also interesting that John Merry, who has been very quiet of late, resigned his position as director earlier this year. A lot of interesting questions now cropping up around this fiasco, wonder if there will be any answers?
SteveE wrote
at 09:06:19 on 29 December 2012
So that raises the question of what the other £540000 is for, and why Salford have asked the Council/Peel for £1.5 million between them. It would be absolutely pointless trying to pay of the £60k winding up order if the club is going to go bust anyway, the money will be lost. The club somehow managed to exceed its own staff budget by £450000 in 2011. In effect supporters are now being asked to help bail the club out, the word 'investment' keep getting raised with likely 'investors' on the horizon. This is not an investment, it an attempt at what will be a failed bail-out. I understand the club are still hoping for gates of 8000 next season and 500 corporate diners (some chance) but with a reduced playing staff budget. The team, if they do play in SL, will no doubt be close to the bottom, if not actually propping the division up. Sice rellegation does not exist the season could be over within a few games, there will be nothing to play for. JW also told supporters at Pendleton Church that they did suffer when games clashed with City/United, that is not going to go away. They have approached Fred Done and Ged Mason whom are unable help - these people are successful businessmen who did not get where they are by backing losers so no surprise there. I'm afraid if the begging bowl comes round I won't be stumping up, why woould anyone want to support a mismanaged business which is probabaly going to go to the wall? Salford fans need to make a decision what they want , to try and bail out the current club, which may prove impossible,or start afresh which may mean a move away from Barton. However they would be able to renegotiate the contract at Barton on more favourable terms. JW also told the supporters that a third party were looking to move into the stadium, which seems rather strange as there are no obvious contenders, for get FC Unied and United reserves, neither would stump up anything like £350k per year. Salford fans need to ,make their minds up, new start or prop up the failing club.
Insider wrote
at 09:06:04 on 29 December 2012
THis whole business is so fishy it stinks more then Grimsby fish dock! so our overpaid scary Spicer (£200 k per year)runs for cover when the going gets tough. Lancaster (BIFFO) does pontius pilate and our (who is he again) Mayor rides pillion off into the sunset with the overpaid Martin Vickers. This fiasco smells and its time the District Auditor came in. And as for Bill Taylor he trousered a right load from Urban Vison when he left that other council fiasco! Watch Sale Sharks buy the stadium as a going concern!
mary ferrer wrote
at 09:02:30 on 29 December 2012
How long has Lancaster been a director? Why then was he back on the same day? VERY STRANGE. Wonder have they started to make the payments back to the council on the £350.000,first was due in December. wonder have they been making the payments on the rent of the ground? If we forget or can't make our rent/council tax payments we are in big trouble and up at the Magistrates court. Why did Wilkinson tell the meeting a couple of weeks ago that the club needed £600.000 now its £60.000,missing a few naughts there. Maybe someone is hoping they don't get the money on time then go to the wall and wipe out the massive debts. Because by the time everyone else gets whats owed to them the residents of salford will be left with SOD ALL and Salford Labour council will be left with EGG on their faces. Just wondering.
Royston wrote
at 09:02:19 on 29 December 2012
Who was at the meeting from the club?- Anyone who was actually likely to know what's happening?
mary ferrer wrote
at 09:00:43 on 29 December 2012
Questions need to be asked regarding who put forward the proposal to make a further loan of £750,000.The city Council had FOUR members who were directors and they must have known how bad the finances were,how they allowed the council to even think about any further loans,is beyond comprehension. And where and when did Ben Dolan pop up on the board.Who is paying Bill Taylors wages. It gets better by the day.
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