Koukash sets out intentions
Salford’s millionaire owner Marwan Koukash insists his move for Sam Tomkins was no publicity stunt as he turned his attention to luring the club’s former stars back to the City Reds.
Australian duo Vic Mauro and Liam Foran trained with the club for the first time this morning, ready to make their debuts in tomorrow’s Super League clash with London Broncos, and they will be only the first of a host of new arrivals at the Salford City Stadium over the next 18 months.
Koukash, a wealthy racehorse owner, intends to spend his way to bringing success and wants to make a start by bringing back the big names the club lost in the wake of their financial crisis.
Joel Moon (Leeds Rhinos), Daniel Holdsworth (Hull FC) and Matty Smith (Wigan Warriors) were all prised away at the height of the club’s strife last year while Stefan Ratchford and Richie Myler were previous high-profile buys by Warrington Wolves.
“I want our boys back,” Koukash said. “I’m not going to mention names but last year the so-called big clubs used our financial difficulties to entice our players away.
“Now, if it means me using our financial strength to entice them back, I will.”
Koukash made the headlines earlier this week with his audacious move for Tomkins, which followed previous attempts to sign Warrington’s Salford-born captain Adrian Morley and Castleford Tigers’ 2011 Man of Steel Rangi Chase.
Today Koukash insisted the bid for Tomkins was genuine and that he is serious about transforming the fortunes of Salford.
“I expected those headlines because he is the best player,” he said. “And it was a big cash offer.
“I don’t know why people call it a publicity stunt. We don’t lack ambition, we don’t lack the finances, we don’t lack anything. We have everything to make us a top side.”
Koukash, who had never been to a rugby league match before last year, says his enthusiasm for the game went up another level after watching the City Reds come from 34-14 down to beat Hull KR last Sunday and claim their first points of the season.
“It was better than winning any horse race,” he said. “And I’ve won quite a lot of races. I ended up standing on the touchline for the last six minutes and it was an absolutely amazing feeling.
“I got a bit emotional actually and I did things I maybe shouldn’t have done as a chairman.”
After putting Mauro and Foran, freshly arrived from Manly Sea Eagles, through their paces today, coach Phil Veivers says he hopes to make two more additions to his squad for this season.
One of the targets is Gold Coast Titans centre or second rower Luke O’Dwyer, 30, who is considering the offer of a three-year contract.
“We’ve been talking to Luke for the last week and hopefully we’re in the final stages of negotiations,” said Salford’s new chief executive Ed Farish.
“I’m more hopeful now than I was two or three days ago.”