THE SALFORD STAR MARY BURNS AWARDS 2013
Category: The `Something Stinks In Salford' Award
Winner: Martin Vickers
Well what can't you say about Salford City Council's former Strategic Director, Martin Vickers, and his dealings with Salford City Reds, now transformed to Salford Red Devils?
As revealed exclusively by the Salford Star in August (see here), Martin Vickers took redundancy from his post as Strategic Director at Salford City Council with a pay off that we understood to have been £78,000, and then turned up four weeks later with a job at Salford City Reds rugby club – having been central to negotiations with the club's new owner Marwan Koukash and the rather favourable terms of Council loan payments.
We begin way back in April when Salford Council accounts showed that Martin Vickers' total salary package had risen by £30,000 in just three years - to £134,194 - despite being almost the head of the Council team that made £80million worth of cuts.
Then, in August, Vickers took a redundancy package from Salford Council believed to be £78,000, and possibly more, saying that he wanted to `concentrate on a family business'. What people didn't know at the time was that Vickers was obviously the love child of new Salford Reds owner Marwan Koukash – because four weeks later it transpired that he had taken a job with Salford City Reds.
As Koukash unveiled the new re-brand of the club at a Salford Red Devils press conference (to which Salford Star wasn't invited for some reason), there was Vickers on stage smiling and clapping, alongside Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart, although keeping an undiscrete distance on the platform.
All this wouldn't be too horrendous – except that Martin Vickers was on the Salford Council team that negotiated the takeover of Salford City Reds by Marwan Koukash. And that takeover notoriously included a deal whereby the new owner agreed to pay back to Salford Council only 16% of the Council's £1.5million outstanding loan over five years, with the remaining £1.26million spread until 2038, interest free (see previous Salford Star article – click here). This while Koukash was offering rugby players £1million contracts to join the Reds.
Martin Vickers was also on the board of the Salford City Stadium, the Salford Council/Peel Holdings joint venture company, until he resigned after leaving the Council. Koukash has said that he wants to buy the stadium, and unveiled plans at that press conference to redevelop the land around the site into a casino, waterpark and retail units.
And then, this week, Martin Vickers was appointed Chief Executive of Salford Red Devils… "It is a great privilege to head up this club as it forges its new path into Super League" said Vickers.
…And it's a great privilege to give Martin Vickers the `Something Stinks In Salford' Award.
So Salford citizens, get your questioning heads on and ask `Who really stood to benefit in the negotiations between Salford Council and Koukash?', as you rattle yer odd shaped balls, and try, try, try to work it out…for the winner of the Salford Star Mary Burns `Something Stinks In Salford' Award…
If Martin would like to pay back the £78,000 to Salford council tax payers or make an acceptance speech please use the comments box below.
* See also this week's Salford Star article: Salford Council Reds Loan Fiasco - click here
Winners of the Salford Star Mary Burns Awards 2013
The Gimme That Crown Award – Salford City Mayor Ian Stewart – click here
The Exit Stage Left Award – Barbara Spicer – click here
The Excellence in Wrecking Salford Award – Peel Holdings – click here
Bum of the Year Award – Hazel Blears - click here
Rent-a-Crowd of the Year Award – Salford Mayor Ian Stewart - click here
The Ashley Jensen Award for Exposing Political Extremism- Councillor Gena Merrett - click here
Eccellense In Speling Award – Greater Manchester Police – click here
Interest Free Loans, But Not For Us, Award – Salford Council – click here
Trashing Salford Again You Scuzzy Fat Cat Loving, Poor People Hating, Northern Wrecking, Back Pocket Lining Arseholes Award - click here
Twit on Twitter Award - Salford Mayor Ian Stewart - click here