Sunday, 23 September 2012

What happened to Sale Sharks?

What happened to Sale Sharks? Most of rugby fans in the North-West England ask this question. The club, which generated lots of media attention before the start of the season, particularly by signing international superstars like Danny Cipriani, Richie Gray, or Andy Powell, is the biggest surprise after first four rounds of Aviva Premiership. Unfortunately, it’s not a positive surprise.

Sale Sharks have big ambitions. They are supposed to fight for the first four spots in the Aviva Premiership and become one of the top clubs in Europe. Supporters were really excited and hungry for success. There was an excellent job done to build a strong brand in the media. Therefore, the fans’ surprise is even more unpleasant that the team’s performance is far from perfect. After the 4th round of Aviva Premiership, Sale Sharks are at the bottom of the table, they are the only team which lost all 4 games. Although we can somehow understand the defeats in games against such strong teams like Exeter. Saracens or Harlequins, the loss at home to London Welsh was completely unacceptable!

I was one of the spectators at this game. Unfortunately, as most fans I was very disappointed. There were a few things which added to my disappointment. First of all, getting to the stadium was a real nightmare! Travelling from Manchester city centre by the public transport took almost 2 hours. Not much quicker was the journey of other fellow supporters who decided to go by car. They were stuck in the same traffic jam as my bus. Another issue is the price of the tickets. Although the cheapest stands (£15) were full, more expensive seats (£33 and £45) were not so popular, and there were many empty seats in these areas. Despite game attendance of 7500, the fans who managed to come didn’t have too many reasons to cheer. After 10 minutes visitors were leading 0:13.

Although beginning of the new season was really awful for Sale Sharks, I hope that team will show strong character and manage to fix problems sooner rather than later. As many Sale Sharks fans I truly believe that the team will perform better and will find their way to the top. I hope that travelling to and from the stadium will soon improve. And finally, I hope that Salford City Stadium will become a real North-West fortress one day.