Diamond welcomes ground share scheme

PA Sport
Steve Diamond

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Steve Diamond

A move to the Salford City Stadium will enable Sale Sharks to achieve their ambition of becoming "a northern super club", according to chief executive Steve Diamond.

The Aviva Premiership outfit has confirmed they will ground-share with Stobart Super League neighbours Salford City Reds from next season at the 12,000-capacity stadium at Barton, which was completed earlier this year at a cost of £26million.

"With its wonderful facilities, the stadium will no doubt assist in the recruitment and retention of world-class players and the full size pitch will allow us to play the fast, expansive game we have committed to as a team," Diamond said.

Sale, who will leave their current home at Edgeley Park next month, will pay a six-figure annual rent to stadium owners Peel Holdings and Salford City Council after agreeing a 25-year lease.

The Sharks had the option of re-developing Edgeley Park - which is owned by Sale backer Brian Kennedy's Cheshire Sports company - but given the high cost of such a project they concluded Barton offered better value for money.

Sale, whose first game at their new home will be a pre-season friendly against Leinster, believe the location - next to the M60 motorway and the Trafford Centre shopping complex - will enable the club to grow their supporter base.

"We're in our 150th year and I think it's one of the biggest steps the club has made in those 150 years," said Diamond.

"We are building a northern super club and the stadium is a vital component of that plan."

Sale recently demonstrated their ambition with the signing of England fly-half Danny Cipriani and Diamond confirmed the club are in final negotiations with a new director of rugby/head coach to replace Tony Hanks.

"It should be finalised by the end of the season," he said. "The guy is currently in the Premiership and we need to do things correctly."

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