OPEN LETTER TO SUPPORTERS – PAUL KING

Salford Red Devils director Paul King, has issued an open letter to supporters.

In the letter, he has provided information on the team’s return to action and the club’s preparations.

Please see below the letter in full:

Dear Salford Red Devils Supporter,

Firstly, I would like to start off by thanking you for the overwhelming display of loyalty we have seen during what has been an uncertain period for so many. Without doubt, this has been the most challenging period of my tenure but, because of your loyalty, the club has been able to survive when other businesses have not.

The last time I directly addressed you was near the start of this current crisis, when the season had just been suspended. While there have been far greater problems for many during that period, it has frustrated me that I have been unable to update you further since that point due to the uncertainty which has surrounded our competition and professional sport as a whole.

While details are yet to be confirmed, we are finally able to inform you of the likely timetable for the sport’s return. This is expected to take place in mid-August for a 30th November Grand Final, with players returning to group training a few weeks in advance of this.

I am sure this news comes as a relief for all of us. While there is still a significant wait remaining, we can see a light at the end of the tunnel and can look forward to enjoying the remainder of what was set to be an exciting campaign for our team. I am sure all of you who attended our last fixture were eagerly awaiting the next one, after that outstanding performance.

This return will come with its challenges, as I expect you will all appreciate. Supporters will not initially be allowed into stadiums and, from the moment the players come back for their “mini pre-season”, they will no longer be eligible for the Government’s furlough scheme. This means our main expenditure will be reintroduced, long before we are once again able to raise income through the turnstiles.

This disparity from our usual income already creates a significant financial problem, which is made even more severe by the increased running costs which will be introduced as a result of pandemic-related safety precautions.

Each club is currently bracing itself for a return to training and the reality that they may have to independently fund antigen testing, PPE and regular deep cleans, at a time when these are all in high demand. The estimated monthly cost for this equates to a player’s salary for an entire season, which is clearly a major issue for our club and certainly was not accounted for in the operating budget.

The length of time for which this will continue and the expected date for supporters to make a return to stadiums remains uncertain, although initial plans are targeting late September. At that alarming rate however, the impact on future playing budgets would quickly become catastrophic for a club that is already required to consistently punch above its weight via shrewd acquisitions and cost controls throughout.

Our capacity to make up this difference in budget will also be significantly hampered. The clearest example of this is through the immediate loss of matchday revenue opportunities, but the pandemic’s impact on the wider business community will also limit potential to engage sponsors for next season.

It is therefore essential that those of us who are already behind the club continue to be. I hope that is through physically supporting the team from the stands for as many of the remaining fixtures as possible, but we must face the reality that it is unlikely to be an option for some time. Failing this, we hope that all of you season ticket holders will still be able to enjoy the matches you expected to on television, or through streaming services and we are working hard to achieve this free of charge.

Once we have greater clarity on this, we will write to you once again with information on your options. I must ask though, that everyone continues to honour their commitment to the club, if at all possible, for this season and, in return, we will look to provide the best that we possibly can for our loyal supporters. With new financial burdens placed upon us, we cannot possibly take on further unanticipated economic losses. This would undo the hard work we have done to build in recent seasons and have a disastrous impact on our future both on and off the field.

Myself, DoR Ian Blease, and Coach Watson will make ourselves available for a LIVE RDTV Q&A at 6:30pm on Friday 3 July, in order to answer any burning questions you may have. In the interim, I hope my message is both honest and clear.

I appreciate it is a particularly difficult time for everyone, but if the club is to survive the pandemic, I would ask you please where possible:

• Complete your season ticket direct debits
• Complete your sponsorship commitments
Join Squad Builder
Sign up for RDTV
Buy club lottery tickets
Buy virtual tickets etc. on virtual match days
Continue buying club merchandise

Should you have any questions on this, or would like to make submissions for the RDTV Q&A, please contact us at: [email protected]

Although much remains uncertain at the present time, we will try our best to provide answers wherever possible.

Reds are rising!
Paul King