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Rugby Move Has Huge Implications For Stockport County

Football News 24/7
Fears are growing amongst Stockport County fans if you trawl the message boards that Edgeley Park could be left to wither away. This concern comes on the back of the announcement that Sale Sharks will move to the new Salford City Stadium this summer in time for the 2012/13 Aviva Premiership Rugby season.

The rugby union club will leave Edgeley Park in Stockport, its home of the past nine seasons, to share the 12,000 capacity stadium with Salford City Reds Rugby League Club.

The Sharks signed a 25-year lease with stadium owners Salford City Council and Peel Group and will play their first game in August with a friendly against current European champions Leinster.

Ian Blackhurst, co-owner of Sharks, said: "This is a tremendous move for Sale Sharks, and the first class facilities at the Salford City Stadium will provide a great platform as we aim to become one of the top club rugby union sides in Europe. We believe that more supporters, sponsors and corporate guests will be attracted by the modern and comfortable surroundings that the new stadium offers. The more we grow our support base, the more we can invest in the team and our support programmes, and this investment will give us a greater chance of success."

Sharks reassured fans that "all 12,000 spectators will be under cover with unimpaired views of the game on a pitch which is purpose built for rugby. The stadium has a retro-fit to allow expansion to a capacity of 20,000 if required in the future."

Hospitality facilities at the new ground include a banqueting suite for up to 750 people and 12 hospitality boxes with seating up to 20 people each. Match-day buses will be available from the Trafford Centre, and the Sharks will be announcing a transport plan to meet the needs of the supporter base.

The matches against Bath on Friday 13 April and Harlequins on Saturday 5 May will be the last the Sharks will play at Edgeley Park.

But, with the football club currently leasing the Edgeley Park stadium from the Sharks' owners, it will be interesting to see how commercially the stadium performs with football now played at Conference level and no rugby.

KJ

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