Planet Rugby

Sale considering stadium move

31st January 2014 11:44

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SKY_MOBILE Gordon McKie Sale Sharks chairman

Unhappy: Gordon McKie

Premiership club Sale Sharks are considering a move away from the AJ Bell Stadium after just 18 months at the Salford venue.

Sale chairman Gordon McKie has admitted the stadium "has fallen short of expectation".

According to a report in the Manchester Evening News a number of options for the club are thought to include returning to Edgeley Park in Stockport, playing at Bolton's Reebok Stadium or Leigh Sports Village.

Despite enjoying a successful season on the domestic stage and in Europe, Sale have seen average attendances drop from almost 8,000 when they played at Edgeley Park to just under 6,000.

Sale signed a 25-year lease at the AJ Bell Stadium in 2012, but McKie has held several meetings with joint stadium owners Salford City Council and Peel Holdings to voice serious concerns.

"The stadium, without attaching blame, has fallen short of expectation," he told the newspaper.

"Sale moved there in anticipation of preserving crowds, revenues and even growing them, and that has just not happened.

"It's a complex area, M60 traffic queues, access, leaving the stadium, car parks, catering, hospitality, match-day management, event management. How long have you got?

"So to be frank, it's going to have to improve. I've personally engaged both Salford Council and Peel, and I've made it very clear what our views are.

"I have asked them to consider the matter as a matter of urgency with a view to talking to them again in the very near future to hear what potential plans they may have.

"We are in a spanking new stadium which has issues with transport and infrastructure, and there are other issues, and it needs to be made more supporter-friendly. If we can't bring that about we are going have to consider what is best for Sale Sharks.

"Hopefully, we will engage and address these problems because at the moment it is evident that with our attendances falling it's just not sustainable."

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