Salford Red Devils: Marwan Koukash targets NRL club

Salford support frustrates Koukash

Salford Red Devils owner Marwan Koukash is looking to buy an Australian National Rugby League club to partner his Super League team.

The millionaire businessman and racehorse owner has been linked with a move for Newcastle Knights.external-link

Koukash took control of Salford in 2013, making several new signings and changing their club nickname.

Asked if he could buy a club in Australia, Koukash said: "Is it likely? It's very, very likely."

He told BBC North West Tonight: "But it needs to be the right deal for me personally, for the club in Australia and for my vision of what I'm trying to create - an international partnership for Salford and an NRL club.

"I have no intention of leaving Salford, provided that I can deliver what I had hoped to and that is grow the club."

Marwan Koukash on the AJ Bell Stadium:
"If being here keeps fans away then we need to ask why. If you can't solve them and get people to work with you, you have to consider other options."

Salford finished 10th in Super League this season, missing out on the play-off places despite Koukash's huge investment in the squad. Iestyn Harris replaced Brian Noble as head coach in April.

Crowd numbers dropped during a disappointing 2014 campaign, and the Kuwait-born businessman believes that is as much to do with problems at the AJ Bell Stadium as their results.

Koukash previously stated the club wanted to buy the ground in Barton, a facility they share with Premiership rugby union side Sale Sharks, but wants supporters to match his ambition.

"The fans are probably more frustrating for me than the on-the-field performances we've had this year," he added.

"This stadium is a fantastic stadium. It's one of the best rugby league stadiums in this country but there are issues that need to be addressed; accessibility, matchday experience, etc."

Koukash wants to "work with the people involved in the stadium" and hopes to "make it work".

Marwan Koukash
Koukash has been linked with other sports teams since taking control of Salford in 2013, including League One football club Oldham Athletic and rugby league sides Oldham Roughyeds and Swinton Lions

He added: "I cannot continue to work with a 3,000 gate. The club needs 6,000 or 7,000 as I've always said I want to build a club that can financially sustain itself.

"If being here keeps fans away then we need to ask why. If you can't solve them and get people to work with you, you have to consider other options."

As well as his interest in an NRL side, there could soon be another club in Koukash's portfolio if he gets to complete his takeover of Swinton Lions, who finished second from bottom of the Championship in 2014.

"We've talked about buying Swinton and that is still a very, very strong possibility," Koukash said. "For the last six months I've had a professional team make a proposal to develop an area behind the town hall, where it will end up with a decent stadium for Swinton to play in.

"Once we are given the green light, I'll go ahead and complete the purchase of Swinton."

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