You’ve got to hand it to Marwan Koukash, he is a very fast learner!
Having bought pretty much a logo and team colours when he purchased the Salford Reds Marwan Koukash took a few weeks to look over the clubs before he made some major changes.
He go rid of the coach and brought in the man who, on paper, was the most successful British coach available in Brian Noble. He changed the clubs name and opened the purse strings to sign a lot of big name players to the club. I have no doubt that in his mind, he got the club off to a great start.
Brian Noble went about buying an old, broken down bunch of rejects from other clubs. The clubs big star signing in Rangi Chase, had never even come close to leading his previous team to any sort of real success.
This team come together as a busted, poorly coached, over paid side that was going no where. It would have been enough to sap the enthusiasm out of any new Rugby League club owner.
Marwan Koukash didn’t wait too long to make changes. Having put faith in Brian Noble, Koukash was pretty quick to realise he had made a mistake there.
Noble left and Iestyn Harris took over. Koukash also reached out to suspended Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan to get his assistance at the club.
While Flanagan is still struggling to get a visa, it was a great sign, it showed that Koukash was willing to get some real experts in to get his club back on track.
The signing of New Zealand Warriors fullback Kevin Locke was a huge move. Locke is a very talented fullback, a player who has yet to reach anywhere close to his prime. Locke is an out and out NRL talent. This wasn’t another reject, this was a highly rated player who just needed a change of scenery.
Today, the Salford Red Devils have signed Leeds wonder Ben Jones-Bishop. The Leeds Rhinos just lost a player they wanted to keep to another club. That never happens, especially to the Salford Red Devils!
This is a big change in the Super League landscape. The promise that Marwan Koukash has made to turn his club into the best club in Super League is now happening.
12 months ago no player wanted to play for Salford. Now players are moving from other clubs, moving across the world to play for them mid season!
Marwan Koukash has made this a reality within the space of 12 months. What will he have done with the club in another 12 months from now? Where will the Red Devils be in 3 years time? It is really exciting to think about.
I have no doubt that every other club in Super League now realises they are playing in a competition with a club that will now buy every single quality player it wants. Forget contracts, forget transfer fees, the Red Devils will get the players they want from their opposition Super League clubs from now on.
Good luck to Ben Jones-Bishop for making the move. I think he will be the first of many.
I tend to think that this time next year a number of the Red Devils older players will be playing at other clubs, and that Salford itself will have a very different looking lineup that is finally starting to look like it will challenge for the Super League title.