Veivers welcomes Koukash intervention
18th January 2013
Salford City Reds coach Phil Veivers says a huge weight has been lifted off his players’ shoulders by the intervention of millionaire businessman Marwan Koukash.
The St Helens-based racehorse owner watched the City Reds for the first time in last night’s pre-season friendly against Wigan Warriors at the Salford City Stadium as takeover talks near a completion.
A Salford side packed with youngsters went down 34-16 to a near full-strength Wigan side in a dress rehearsal for the Super League opener in a fortnight’s time.
By the time the teams meet again, Veivers expects to have strengthened his squad with the addition of seven experienced players from a 10-strong wanted list, with Koukash revealing he expects to complete his buy-out by Monday.
Only last week Salford avoided a winding-up petition brought by HM Revenue and Customs and former players Vinnie Anderson and Luke Patten over around £400,000 in unpaid bills but today the club’s future looks bright all of a sudden.
“There’s been plenty of stress over the past two or three months and Dr Koukash coming in and giving the boys some assurances prior to the game has lifted the weight off a lot of shoulders,” Veivers said.
“There’s a few extra smiles going around than there has been over the last few weeks.”
Flanked by former Wigan and New Zealand coach Graham Lowe, who is set to oversee player recruitment, and ex-New Zealand RL chairman Andrew Chalmers, Dr Koukash addressed a post-match press conference to outline his plans.
The Kuwait-born businessman expressed his faith in Veivers and pledged to provide funds for team strengthening following the departure of a glut of players at the end of 2012, but the coach was quick to play down any expectations of a quick fix.
“It’s not something that’s going to happen overnight; it’s going to be over a period of time,” Veivers added.
“Through this year and into next year is when you are going to see some differences and different names coming in.
“When I took the job last year I said it was a five-year plan. Obviously being taken over and being able to spend up to the salary cap speeds that up a bit.
“But I’m not stupid enough to say ’Grand Final here we come’. I’d be deluded if I said that.”