Salford Red Devils 'dream' of Old Trafford or Etihad Stadium games - Koukash

Salford Red Devils celebrate
Salford have won eight of their 12 Super League games this season

Salford owner Marwan Koukash says it would be "a dream" to hold one-off games at Old Trafford or the Etihad Stadium as they begin a "research project" to try to grow the Red Devils.

Salford are third in Super League but only 3,128 were at their last match.

Koukash said there were "no plans" to leave the AJ Bell Stadium but they are "looking to explore all opportunities".

The club say they will speak to fans through "face-to-face interviews, focus groups and a mass digital survey".

Former Salford player Robbie Hunter-Paul has been brought in by the club to "consult and drive this project ahead".

"We have by far the lowest home support and we need to see why that is," Koukash said.

"We fully deserve to be in the top four, but against Widnes (on Sunday) the home support level was just above 2,200 which is not enough to sustain a Super League club.

"The level of support is less than when I came in four years ago so something is not right and we need to find out why and what we can do to reverse the trend."

Salford's ground - which they share with rugby union side Sale Sharks - is just three miles from Manchester United's Old Trafford home and seven from Manchester City's Etihad Stadium.

Chief executive Ian Blease said to fans on social media he was "disappointed" with ticket sales and that the team "deserves better".

Speaking to BBC Radio Manchester before the research project was announced, he added: "I am not a politician, I won't spin it. It was a rally cry to get behind this team.

"I was voicing disappointment. Whether people took it as a negative, that is up to them. This city of Salford needs to get behind this team."

Analysis

BBC Radio Manchester's Jack Dearden

Nobody is criticising the supporters Salford have got. They are having a great season, are entertaining and having the best season for a long time.

I can understand the project. Salford wouldn't be doing this right if they didn't explore opportunities to increase the support base. It might mean a really big decision being made in the future.

I would never dispute the support they get from genuine Salford fans.

But Salford are right in the middle of the M62 corridor. It is not necessarily the fans that support the club, it is those on the periphery that they need to entice.

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