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SWINTON LIONS SECRET £60,000 LOAN FROM SALFORD CITY COUNCIL
 

Star date: 11th August 2017

SWINTON LIONS SAVED FROM EXTINCTION

Salford City Council has handed financially struggling Swinton Lions a £60,000 loan, via a secret meeting outside its normal decision making process.

The Lions were hit by an HMRC winding-up petition at the end of July and have ongoing liabilities... "The loan was necessary to prevent them from being expelled from rugby league and is guaranteed" Deputy Mayor, John Merry, who rubber stamped the loan, told the Salford Star.

Full details here...


Swinton Lions Supporters Trust
click image to enlarge

Swinton Lions RLFC has received a life-saving loan of 'up to' £60,000 from Salford City Council which should help secure the struggling club's future.

The loan was agreed behind closed doors by Deputy Mayor, John Merry, in a non-executive meeting where no other councillors were present. It is to be guaranteed by Lions' directors and repaid over three years with interest.

The decision notice states that the loan will "assist in meeting the short term challenges – providing a stable base from which the club should become more sustainable". It adds that "other options have been explored with the club, however, the chosen option will provide more certainty and stability."

While the secretive nature of the loan can be slated, it is literally in a different league from the dodgy deals that handed millions of pounds and the AJ Bell Stadium to Salford Reds. Indeed, it can be argued that it is about time the Council helped the Lions, having bent over backwards for John Wilkinson, Marwan Koukash and co.

Swinton Lions, arguably with more history than Salford Red Devils, have suffered on and off the field this season. On the field, the club is currently battling to stay in the league, engaged in the Championship Shield 8s with a 'home' match against Sheffield Eagles at Heywood Road, Sale, this Sunday (13th August) to try and secure survival.

Off the pitch, the Lions faced an HMRC winding up petition at the end of July, which was settled to ensure the club's short term future, while players' wages were paid and creditors given assurances... "leaving them high and dry by going into Administration was simply not an option" stated the club.

Funding was raised, the club added, via the sale of player Chris Atkin to Hull KR, 'budget improvements through natural wastage', 'third party input' and 'some fantastic fund-raising by the Swinton supporters (who have so far raised an amazing £30,000)'.

The Swinton Lions Supporters Trust - which gives 'supporters a direct say in the policy making mechanism at the club, by offering financial and practical support in exchange for a shareholding and seats on the board'- has ongoing fundraising, with a current JustGiving collection aimed at raising a further £10,000 to help secure its future (see here for details).

The Trust also has a stall at tomorrow's Garden In The Square event at Swinton Precinct (11am-4pm)... "possibly a few players will be there to spread the word that we are still here" a member states.

A few years ago, the club had huge hopes of moving its home back into the area after years of nomadic existence since the Station Road ground was pulled down for housing.

There were plans for the Lions to build a new stadium at Agecroft, and the controversial former Salford Council and Salford Red Devils figure, Martin Vickers, was brought on board to spearhead change. Now, with Vickers at Toronto Wolfpack, and a new stadium looking a pipedream, the very existence of the club is in the balance.

"The loan was necessary to prevent them from being expelled from rugby league and is guaranteed", Deputy Mayor, John Merry, told the Salford Star.

Meanwhile, the last official statement from the Swinton Lions, on July 31st, remained cautiously optimistic...

"The last few weeks have been incredibly tough and stressful for all concerned, but hopefully we are now beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel. The input of Swinton supporters over the past few weeks has been extraordinary, and underlines the passion which exists for our wonderful and historic club. If you have been involved in fundraising at any level then thank you, but please don't take your foot off the pedal..."

Retired Socalist wrote
at 9:28:08 AM on Monday, August 14, 2017
Dear Hedley As the 1959 Salford and Eccles Tiddlywinks champion I feel I must hold out my hand to your cause if you can't get the Mayor to empty his pocket I have a spare kettle you can have, sorry the plug is missing Regards
 
hedley hopper wrote
at 1:21:24 AM on Monday, August 14, 2017
This subject is a serious matter and questionable too: finding monies to loan to clubs etc whilst Salford Council pleads poverty and cutting services that people in need depend on, doing deals behind closed doors; where has the transparency and fair local government gone? Consigned to the back pockets of would-be self-important busybodies who sit in their gilded offices dispensing largesse to organisations that flatter and massage their over-inflated egos. We elect these would-be self-important busybodies, who would probably not amount to much in real life, to be the “guardians” of democracy and public finances. Cut the “fat” and not the “muscle” in Salford Council. If the present regime is not prepared to act in the interests of Salfordians, there are plenty of other Salford Labour Councillors who can! It's time for a revolution at the Civic Center! Incidentally, on the subject of worthwhile causes, would you believe that the Langworthy TiddlyWinks, Snakes and Ladders and Ludo Club (LTSLLC) is in need of a new kettle, a number of squidgers and new boards. £60000 should just about cover it. The loan is necessary to prevent LTSLLC from being expelled from the International Federation of TiddlyWinks, Snakes and Ladders and Ludo Clubs. Any chance of a loan, Salford Council?? Fat Chance!!!!
 
Mary Ferrer wrote
at 3:16:10 AM on Sunday, August 13, 2017
Salford council gave WELL over a million to Salford Reds. It was secured by the then directors. For some reason,the new owner took over that debt. Wilkinson and Watson were going to repay the loans.(God knows how many) all done behind closed doors.Loans to be paid back on the development of the former willows site. Never happened. I maybe wrong,but not sure if any rents have been paid since the move to the Community Stadium (sorry AJBell) we lost the community bit.then we lost the Salford bit, when Salford council sold the naming rights.never heard how much they got.wonder what will happen if Mr what ever he's called takes Salford Reds out of salford. First say bye bye to the Salford part of the name. What happens about the money he has agreed to pay back?? And what will happen to the £22million plus stadium. I hope Salford Reds stays in Salford, not because of the money owed or the bloody stadium.But for the loyal fans who have stuck with the club throughout the ups and downs
 
Salford Star wrote
at 11:28:54 AM on Saturday, August 12, 2017
See Bryan Kirkby's comment below... Sorry but the facts are spot on - Koukash took on the £1m+ debt from the old Salford Reds which was owed to Salford Council - the stadium company is something separate also with huge loans
 
Bryan Kirkby wrote
at 11:26:08 AM on Saturday, August 12, 2017
Will people get the fats right the money as not gone to Salford reds it as gone to the stadium ccompany with as nothing to do with the red devils with which is part by owed by Salford council and peel holdings
 
Salford lad wrote
at 2:11:57 AM on Saturday, August 12, 2017
Disgraceful. This is public money which should not be used on a foolhardy bale out of a soon to be defunct Rugby Club. The small fan base is hardly likely to be able to recuperate any funds to repay this gift (loan). Rugby League is a non starter in Salford and the council need to realise this. RIP Swindon this season!
 
Mary Ferrer wrote
at 1:08:23 AM on Saturday, August 12, 2017
I am not a sports lover of any kind.I also know Salford is in a financial mess. I don't like decisions been made behind closed doors.But I don't have a problem with the city making a loan to Swinton Rugby club. After all they have given Salford Reds millions.And we will never see a penny back. The council built a stadium, which is running at a loss month after month. I believe in fair play. I wish Swinton rugby club all the best. I hope the council would STOP making decisions behind closed doors.be open and upfront
 
salford resident wrote
at 1:08:19 AM on Saturday, August 12, 2017
I am glad as a Salford Fan the council has given the club the loan perhaps if Marwan paid back what he owes the council, they could of given them more
 
Robert Ward wrote
at 7:27:43 AM on Friday, August 11, 2017
I am a Swinton Lions fan and whilst it is probably not ideal that public money is loaned on this occasion it is quite correct to do so.I understand that the amount is up to £60000 so it might possibly be that £60K is not needed and unlike Salford rugby league club which had had far far more public money which has no doubt been lost for ever as not one penny or very little of it has been paid back,I have no doubt that with Alan and Steve at the steering wheel at Swinton this loan will be paid back within two years,indeed as the article rightly says there has been a lot of fund raising by the fans and indeed the rugby league family which has allowed the players to be paid along with the HMRC so the fact that this has been going on shows that Swinton Lions do intend to repay any debts that the previous chairman and another person(neither Alan or Steve)got Swinton into with a budget which was unrealistic.The fundraising of course must continue as clubs at this level get very poor central funding from the RFL and let's face it Swinton Lions in the past got very little from Salford Council and it is time they got some help from them.But like I say the hard work needs to continue so this can be repaid quickly and future budgets at Swinton have to be and will be very realistic,even if they have to be brutal.
 
life is loud wrote
at 4:16:03 AM on Friday, August 11, 2017
About time Swinton was given some money sick of it all going to Salford Reds
 
Joseph O'Neill wrote
at 4:04:58 AM on Friday, August 11, 2017
Well I will sit and wait for the backlash but I am sorry. Are we today the bank of salford? if I need a loan I go to my bank I agree a plan with my manager and sign taking the responsibility to pay back the loan and the agreed interest, I am sick to death of seeing the debacle at SALFORD and the loans with years to pay so they can stay afloat it's a shame we can't be as charitable to people falling behind with community charge payments!! they fail they get taken to court other fail the period of the loan gets unbelievable end dates. Cllr Merry I ask you what right do you have to loan funds agreed behind closed doors? where in gods name is the open local Government you preach? Labour have become a law up on there selves, i was looking to extend my garage today I think I will write to the council to see if I can get a favourable rate,
 
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