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