This weekend saw the opening of another Superleague season - this time sponsored by haulage giants Stobart.
One of the opening fixtures was an encounter between Salford City Reds and Castleford Tigers. Nothing there to get particularly excited about you may think, but it marked the end of a 14 year wait for the Reds to move away from their old home at the Willows. Sadly after 110 years the old stadium had become tired and somewhat weathered and it was obvious that the club was badly in need of a move away to pastures new.
After a tumultuous season with 4 different coaches in charge at varying times, the Reds have moved to their new stadium overlooking Barton Bridge with high hopes that this will spark an upturn in their fortunes.
At a cost of £26m, the hugely impressive City of Salford Stadium holds a capacity of 12,000 and will be run jointly by Salford City Council and Peel Holdings. The stadium boasts top class facilities which are also available for use by the public, including a full size floodlit artificial pitch with three 7–a-side pitches, a recreational grass pitch and community changing rooms
|The Salford City Stadium|
Meanwhile the Reds will commence their season with Phil Veivers taking over the mantle of coach from Matt Parish who left for personal reasons. Ably assisted by former Great Britain international Sean Long, who has implemented a new playing style, hopes are high that this is the start of an era of success for Salford.
|Salford City Stadium Main Concourse (Artists impression)|
However the Rugby League Gods were not particularly kind to the "Reds" on the evening of their opening Superleague fixture for 2012, as atrocious snowy conditions and the visiting Castleford Tigers spoiled the gala opening night winning by 24-10.
Click here for a full report on the match (courtesy of the Yorkshire Evening Post).
One last thought, Salford's next Superleague match will take place this Friday evening, away at St Helen's. This will be "Saints" first league fixture at their new Langtree Park Stadium.
When last (if ever) did a club play their opening two season league fixtures in brand new built stadia?
|Artists impression of St Helens' Langtree Park|