Reds or­dered to re­pay Koukash

Salford Advertiser - - MOTORS - NEIL BARKER

SAL­FORD Red Devils play­ers have been or­dered to ex­tend the fes­tive sea­son of good­will well into the new Su­per League sea­son and re­pay owner Mar­wan Koukash for his con­tin­ued support.

For­mer Reds’ boss turned pun­dit Kevin Ashcroft claims it is now payback time for the man who threw Sal­ford a life­line by tak­ing charge in 2012.

Ashcroft fully un­der­stands why owner Koukash is la­belling the forth­com­ing cam­paign as a crit­i­cal sea­son for Sal­ford on and off the field.

He said: ‘‘ The play­ers are duty bound to per­form this time round. They have a debt to the owner. Mar­wan Koukash has al­ready splashed out a small for­tune and has ex­tended ca­reers in some cases.

‘‘He has prob­a­bly had to pay over the odds for some play­ers and handed out some very lu­cra­tive con­tracts. It does not need a coach say­ing he ex­pects this, that and the other – it’s purely down to the play­ers to give some­thing back in re­turn for the way they have been looked after.

‘‘All the fans want to see is the team go out there and give 100 per cent. They are not be­ing asked to climb Ever­est. Hear­ing team spirit is bet­ter than ever is a very good sign.

‘‘This was very much the case for the War­ring­ton team I played with un­der Alex Murphy. Alex never seemed to buy a bad player and ev­ery­one who went out there was pre­pared to give noth­ing less than 100 per cent.

‘‘Iestyn Har­ris bound to be un­der pres­sure to de­liver at Sal­ford – any­one will be un­der pres­sure with how am­bi­tious Mar­wan is. This man is a highly suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man who is not used to fail­ure. In his eyes, fin­ish­ing sec- ond is first loser. It calls for a united front.

‘‘I also hope we see the gates in­crease. The Sal­ford fans are great, so loyal but this is a foot­ball area and it is go­ing to take some­thing spe­cial from Sal­ford to have an im­pact.

‘‘I have to­tal ad­mi­ra­tion for men like Mar­wan Koukash who are pre­pared to invest and support clubs. John Wilkin­son and his fam­ily did the same things for years be­fore he re­alised enough was enough.

‘‘We had Ossie Davies and Brian Pitch­ford at War­ring­ton, we know what Dave Whe­lan has done for Wi­gan. Th­ese peo­ple are guardians and suc­cess is the best present they can be given in re­turn for what they do.

‘‘Mar­wan has ex­tended a few ca­reers and has made his in­ten­tions clear. To be suc­cess­ful in business, you have to be ruth­less and he will be ex­pect­ing his play­ers to be hun­gry. He has put to­gether a very good squad. You won­der at times if men into their 30s can cope with a lengthy sea­son with how fast the mod­ern game now is but in the main, it is time for Sal­ford to show they can re­ally be com­pet­i­tive.

‘‘Try­ing to in­crease support will al­ways be an up­hill bat­tle but let’s give enor­mous credit to those peo­ple who con­tinue to back the club.

‘‘Mar­wan is do­ing ev­ery­thing and more to make things hap­pen. I would hate to see him wash his hands of it.”

Bill McLaugh­lin

Ju­nior Sau’u (above) and Sal­ford need to make good on Mar­wan Koukash’s in­vest­ment, says for­mer Reds boss Kevin Ashcroft

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