Sale Sharks appoint Steve Diamond as chief executive

By Nathan MiddletonBBC Radio Manchester
Steve Diamond
Diamond will combine his CEO role with his director of sport responsibilities

Sale have appointed Steve Diamond as chief executive following Mick Hogan's decision to leave the club.

The 43-year-old will combine his new role with his current responsibilities as director of sport.

He will begin his new role on 1 February, when Hogan departs to take a position with England 2015.

"It wasn't really a choice. When I came back from Russia in February last year it was the job I wanted to do," he told BBC Radio Manchester.

Diamond joined the club as a player in 1990, going onto make 290 appearances before taking up a position within the coaching staff in 2001.

He led the Sharks to second place in the Premiership and a European Challenge Cup, but left for spells with Saracens, Northampton and Russia.

On his return, Diamond oversaw the turnover of 50 players in and out of the club and, after a couple of seasons near the relegation zone, they currently sit fifth in the Premiership.

"The plan was always in the next 18 months to turn the rugby around and get the management right," he added.

"Lads who have only been here six months think Sale is a great club, and that's what you do with a little bit of inspiration and leadership.

"That's what's needed off the field really and I've no doubt of my abilities there.

"I've no doubt about the sponsors in the background who want to get involved and the general public and spectators who we want with us.

"They want to see good, abrasive, aggressive, competitive rugby. If I can deliver that, they'll come, and that will be a big help to me."

At a press conference held at the Sharks' Carrington training ground, the club had hoped to announce the signing of two players for next season but legal issues have held up their unveiling.

They also revealed that they are in "advanced negotiations" about a groundshare at Salford City Reds' new stadium at Barton, a final decision over which is to be made within the next four to six weeks.

But Ian Blackhurst, who co-owns Sale with Brian Kennedy, insists that a deal must make sense financially and has not ruled out developing their current Edgeley Park home.

"Staying at Edgeley Park is definitely a big option for us as we own it," stated Blackhurst.

"We need to decide what is commercially right for us as an organisation and where we feel the next few years will be best served.

"We would definitely consider refurbishing to make sure the environment is reflected of our ambitions and our status.

"We've been with it for 11 years now and I think I can talk on behalf of Brian. We are more enthusiastic today about this as an organisation and the future than we've ever been."