Club: Sale Sharks
Nickname: The Sharks
Ground Opened: 2012
Stadium Name: A.J.Bell Stadium
1 Stadium Way
Home Colours: Dark Blue, White
Away Colours: Yellow
League (2016/17): Aviva Premiership
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Sale Sharks: Stadiums Past,Present …..and Future
Edgeley Park is named after the Stockport suburb in which it stands. The stadium was originally built for the town’s rugby league club but was taken over by football outfit Stockport County when the RL side ceased to exist in 1902.
The original wooden main stand was destroyed by a fire in 1935. . Its replacement was built a year later and still occupies the Hardcastle
Road side of the ground. The Cheadle End was redeveloped in 1995 and dwarfs all the other structures in the ground. It is responsible for half the capacity of the stadium with room for more than 5,000 fans. By 2001 Edgeley was an all-seater arena, with the “Pop Side” opposite the main stand renovated to accommodate 2,000 spectators and the uncovered Railway
End having its terracing removed to create the 10,000 capacity arena seen
The Sharks began using the stadium for their forst-team home matches in 2003, after Premiership ground regulations and economic realities made them vacate Sale’s spiritual home, Heywood
Road. The opening game was an
epic 37-37 draw with Northampton.
In October 2005, Munster were beaten in the Heineken Cup and the following May a Premiership semi-final was staged at the ground, when a capacity crowd roared the Sharks to victory against Wasps. Two weeks later the club were crowned English champions for the first time. In 2007 Edgeley Park was used as a venue during the Churchill Cup, seeing England Saxons outclass the United States 51-3.
In the 2010/11 season the Sharks embarked on a three-year agreement with Bolton Wanderers to stage Premiership games at the football club’s 28,723 capacity Reebok Stadium, in a bid to increase their support base.
An impressive 17,000 of just under 17,000 turned up in April 2011 to see them play London Irish. But Sale admit that the “Rugby At The Reebok” venture might have to be temporarily shelved because of scheduling difficulties in 2011/12.
Sale Sharks are considering a move away from Edgeley Park to rugby league side Salford City Reds’ new stadium. The £26m City of Salford stadium, which will have a capacity of 12,000 , is due to open in February 2012. The Barton site, which is situated close to the M60, would be an enticing prospect for Sale, and with the Rugby League season running from February to September, there would be little cross-over with Union fixtures.
Sale Sharks are reported to be considering returning to Edgeley Park amid concerns about the financial viability of playing their home games at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Low attendances, allied to poor transport links and other travel issues , means the Sharks are considering other venues, including Bolton’s Reebock Stadium, Leigh Sports Village and Bury’s Gigg Lane, in addition to Edgeley Park.
Last Updated July 2016
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