Salford Red Devils
Nicknames: The Original Red Devils,Les Diables Rouges, Reds, Red Devils, Devils
Ground: AJ Bell Stadium
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Salford Rugby League
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Salford have often found themselves without a major rival as although there are numerous teams surrounding them, the other teams all have other teams that are their main rivals.
Historically it has been Swinton who have been the biggest rivals but with the 2 not facing off against each other regularly for a number of years now, this rivalry has tapered away somewhat.
The club’s colours have always been predominately red although this has been offset with different colours during different spells. The most often secondary colours has been white although dark blue has also featured with black appearing more often since the re-branding to the Red Devils.
Salford have had 3 homes grounds to call their own throughout their long history. From 1878-1901 the club played at New Barnes.
The club had to leave this ground as the Manchester Ship Canal Company purchased the land. This led to a 14 year lease been purchased for 5 acres plot of land owned by the Willows Estate Company. This land allowed to club to develop their own ground which became known as ‘The Willows’.
The Willows remained the home ground of Salford from 1901 to 2011 when the club moved to their current stadium at Barton-upon-Irwell- a stadium that has been both a blessing and a curse for the club to date.
The Red Devils have had 4 names throughout their long history.
From their inception, up to 1995 the club were simply known as Salford RLFC. From 1995-98 the club were known as the Salford Reds before a minor change to the Salford Red Devils between 1999-2013.
The club’s current names come from a 1934 tour to France where the local press described the style of Salford as playing life Red Devils Diables Rouges) and from there the name stuck- even to the point where Salford main football team, Manchester United, have taken the nickname as their won.
The Salford Red Devils are one of the world’s oldest rugby clubs having been formed in 1873 and although they had many ups and downs over those years, they are still one of the country’s most successful sides and after a difficult period now look to be on the up at their brand-new home at Barton.
The club were founded by the boys of the Chapel School on Cavendish Street in Hulme, Manchester. Originally the boys organised matches between themselves before moving to nearby Moss Side. To expand the link with the school broke up with the club taking on the moniker of the Cavendish Football Club. A new base at Ordsall was found and this moved the club across the Irwell and into Salford.
The club then moved around the area, switching from Salford to Manchester and back again before settling in at New Barnes, the site of the former Manchester Racecourse and with this the club became known as Salford Football Club and the club we now know as the Red Devils were born.
In 1895 when the Northern Rugby teams broke away and formed the Northern Union now known as Rugby Football League), Salford actually remained loyal to the Rugby Football Union RFU) but it didn’t last as just a year later Salford asked to join the breakaway organisation and they were voted in.
The First World War hit the club hard with 33 players signing up to fight and 7 unfortunately not making it back. This did open up opportunities for new players and in some ways, it helped the club to become the dominate Rugby League team of the 1930’s. In this decade, the club won 3 League Championships, the Lancashire League, 4 Lancashire Cups and a Challenge Cup trophy.
Salford also set their record attendance during the 1930’s as 26,470 fans watched them play near neighbours Warrington in the Cup. The Second World War also hit the club hard and they were one of the few teams to cease playing during the war years. This led to their ground falling into disrepair and with the loss of players, the club struggled to match the pre-war years and struggled for some time after.
The 1970-s saw new signs of life for the club as they won a number of smaller trophies, including the Lancashire Cup and the BBC2 Floodlit Trophy but it wasn’t until the 1976 when under the management of Brian Snape, Salford won the Premiership Trophy.
The 1980’s was a period of financial difficulties as they club spent more than they were bringing in. Whilst this did bring some success it did lead to almost financial ruin before the club were taken over by long term Chairman John Wilkinson.
In 1996, Super League was formed after a merger with Oldham failed, Salford were not accepted into the new league but that disappointment was soon forgotten as the club defeated the all-conquering Wigan Warriors in the Challenge Cup to pull of one of the biggest cup shocks to date.
The summer era saw some success for Salford in the lower leagues and periods of stability in the top flight followed by financial difficulties and relegation.
After a troubled 2012 season and an off season where it looked like the game could lose the Red Devils, the club were taken over and things now look a lot brighter for the Salford club and this period of transition that the club find themselves in makes it so much more interesting for those wanting to place a bet on the Salford Red Devils.