Rugby League - Koukash 'close to Salford takeover'

Racehorse magnate Marwan Koukash hopes to complete his takeover of Salford City Reds by Monday.

PA Sport
Rugby League - Koukash 'close to Salford takeover'
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Dr Marwan Koukash hopes to complete his takeover of Salford by Monday

Talks with long-serving club chairman John Wilkinson and Salford City Stadium owners Peel Holdings and Salford Council are at an advanced stage, with Dr Koukash set to get the chance to transform the fortunes of the struggling Reds.

Dr Koukash spoke of his ambitions after watching a makeshift Salford side go down 34-16 to a near full-strength Wigan team in a pre-season friendly at Barton. "I hope it can be done in a few hours, certainly no longer than a few days," he said. "Hopefully by Monday we can announce the deal."

Only last week Salford avoided a winding-up petition brought by HM Revenue and Customs and former players Vinnie Anderson and Luke Patten over around £400,000 in unpaid bills, but now the club's future looks bright.

Koukash, flanked by former Wigan and New Zealand coach Graham Lowe, who is set to oversee player recruitment, and ex-New Zealand RL chairman Andrew Chalmers, revealed his first task will be to invite Wilkinson to become the club's president, and he also passed a vote of confidence in head coach Phil Veivers.

"The first thing I said to John was how grateful everybody was for the services he has provided and that, once I sign on the dotted line, he's going to be my president for life because I think he deserves that role," he added.

"He's been extremely honest. He's supported the club for the last 30 or 35 years and he's a wonderful man.

"I've met Phil a couple of times and I would like to say that Graham (Lowe) is not replacing Phil. He will work with Phil to recruit the right players. They will work as a team. We have full confidence in Phil and I think he will do a wonderful job.

"Graham has had meetings with Phil and we've identified a number of players. Although we haven't signed on the dotted line, we have been speaking to a number of players, players that will bring the crowds in and players who could win matches."

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