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SALFORD REDS JOHN WILKINSON WINS MARY BURNS AWARD
 

Star date: 13th January 2013

WILKINSON WINS SALFORD STAR `BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR' MARY BURNS AWARD

Ladies and gentlemen, the annual Salford Star Mary Burns Awards are given out to honour the most deserving individuals and organisations in the city for their stupid statements, dodgy dealings and iffy activities over the past 12 months.

Now then, who could have wished for a shiny new stadium to solve a certain rugby club's woes? Ladies and gentlemen, please rattle your rattles and wave your Willows goodbye for the winner of the Salford Star Mary Burns `Be Careful What You Wish For' Award…Mr Salford himself John `Wilko' Wilkinson…

Full details here…


Salford Star Mary Burns Award
click image to enlarge

THE SALFORD STAR MARY BURNS AWARDS

Category: The `Be Careful What You Wish For' Award
Winner: John Wilkinson

Yes, way, way back in 2004, when Salford City Reds rugby club was just a twinkle in Salford Council's bank balance, the idea was muted for a new stadium for the Red Devils.

First the public had to be `persuaded' to back the idea and the club's Red City Developments employed the aptly named Spin Media to do the persuading with its 'Ave It campaign. The PR campaign even `refuted anti-plan letters in local papers with replies communicating positive benefits', and Spin Media even won a Gold PR Award for its `persuasion' efforts (see Salford Star issue 8).

So now, with everyone supposedly backing the stadium idea, it was a question of how to finance it, and Salford Council, in 2006, came up with the great plan of sticking a large casino next to it – and to use Salford's community as guinea pigs to test the effect of gambling. Peter Collins, head of Salford University's gambling study centre, was to sort out the economic and social impact study which was to include `rates of crime, bankruptcy, family breakdown and problem gambling'. Nice. And all for the sake of Salford Reds' stadium…

Unfortunately, the Government blew out the idea of increased numbers of casinos and Wilkinson's dream collapsed, as did City Reds Developments – er, just a few days after Salford Reds had been granted a Super League Licence.

Meanwhile, just before the collapse, The Willows, owned by the Wilkinson Corporation, was sold to Reds director Iain Watson's Godliman Watson Homes for £2.35million – with a loan provided by the bank, the Lindley Trustees and, er, John and Elaine Wilkinson. But that's another story (see here).

Next up, the new stadium dream lived on with the plan to stick an outpost of Salford City College on the site – which would be "the main catalyst in pushing forward the new City of Salford Stadium" with bags of public money. That also fell through when the College expansion programme was cut (see here).

So along came Peel Holdings (which had bought the bust City Reds Developments for £3.5million) and Salford Council, and together in bed they formed the City of Salford Community Stadium Ltd, with £22million worth of loans from the Council, plus public land and grants worth another £10.7million, taking the total to £32.7million (see here).

As plans went public in 2010 John Wilkinson declared… "It is the beginning of the end of one of the toughest journeys the club has ever been on, and we are fortunate to have such fantastic partners as the city of Salford and Peel to provide a superb new stadium that will benefit all the people of the city, their Rugby Club and Super League…" 

The stadium, which was due to open in 2008, finally opened last January, 2012, with John Wilkinson declaring that it was "a dream come true". The new ground – now named Salford City Stadium, with all mention of community dropped – was to solve all the club's financial woes. Er…

…We all know the rest, with the club's bank account currently frozen, a winding up petition finally due to be solved next month and Wilkinson having to face fans at a public meeting to explain what went wrong… It was the stadium he said…revenue streams available at The Willows disappeared - they lost the club shop, corporate prices had increased, the break even crowd figure was never reached, they had to agree the high rental or the stadium wouldn't have been built etc etc…

And now? Well, with the club bankrupt unless Peel Holdings and Marwan Koukash cough up, Wilko's dream has turned to a bit of a nightmare, with Wilko himself being seen, unfortunately, as the architect of the club's downfall. Either way, `Mr Salford' is seemingly getting kicked out on his arse, while many fans wish that The Willows had been re-developed, and that the atmosphere-free, Sale Sharks loving Stadium had never been built.

So, ladies and gentlemen, please stick your heads up and under, and 'ave it for the winner of the Salford Star Mary Burns `Be Careful What You Wish For' Award…

The self-styled Mr Salford himself… John Wilkins-o-o-o-n

Applause…

If John Wilkinson would like to make a thank you speech please fill in the Comments box below...

See Other Salford Star Mary Burns Award Winners...

Unfortunate Website of the Year: Visit Salford – click here

Salford Folly of the Year: Greengate Square – click here

Fiddling While Rome Burns: Salford Council – click here

The George Bush `Read My Lips' Award – click here

Chicken of the Year Award: Ian Stewart – click here

Readers Award for Disdain for Salford Working People: Creative Tourist – click here

 

 


 

Silent wrote
at 07:51:26 on 17 January 2013
I assume the stadium was "muted" because no f-cker goes there. Therefore the empty stadium is silent.
 
mary ferrer wrote
at 07:51:21 on 17 January 2013
Mr Austin,thank god for this Rag as you put it. With a Council like the one we have, if it wasn't for Steve and his RAG,the residents of Salford would be in the bloody dark about a great deal of issues.One being the proposed loan of £750.000 to the Reds.Plus lots of other miss use of our money. Stephen you keep up the good work.should I win the lottery (Million at least) you will be back in print.
 
Mr Power wrote
at 09:57:46 on 15 January 2013
@Graham Austin, take a look at any national newspaper they are all riddled with spelling mistakes, best example is the BBC digital text service. The fact is what matters is the content of the article, so long as the reader understands the information which you clearly did. That is of the most importance. P.S Don't ever buy the Sun newspaper, you would not be able to control yourself, they even invent words.
 
Salford Star wrote
at 06:18:29 on 15 January 2013
See Graham Austin's comment below... don't you recognise a pun when you see one?
 
Graham Austin wrote
at 06:15:47 on 15 January 2013
For a journalist your command of the English language is awful. A stadium was "muted" you really mean mooted don't you? No wonder you write for such a rag!
 
odear wrote
at 09:40:43 on 14 January 2013
@ Adar molyneux, i could sit here for several hours telling you all about the misguided allocation of public money which the Salford star exposes, however to save me the time i'll just tell you to look in the archive (click the tab at the top of the page) in the archive you will see many stories about misuse of public money by Salford council you will also notice that these stories attack many organisations who are bleeding us as the tax payers of Salford dry. So as you will find out by reading before putting your fingers to work on the keyboard it's not Salford reds people have the problem with, it's the misuse of public money by the city council.
 
Adar Molyneux wrote
at 06:00:48 on 14 January 2013
Still a lot of bitterness eh Stephen?? How about you attack other organisations which has also benefitted from the city council or you just happen to hate rugby LEAGUE?? How how you have a dip at SALE SHARKS who also happen to be indulging from you constant whining about sporting clubs enjoying public funded facilities hmmm????
 
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