Marwan Koukash Outlines Plans For A New Super League Club In Cumbria

Marwan Koukash Outlines Plans For A New Super League Club In Cumbria
13:52, 10 Mar 2018

Former Salford owner Marwan Koukash says he is looking to launch a new Super League club in Cumbria.

Koukash, an England-based businessman and racehorse owner, had five years in charge of the Red Devils. He relinquished his controversial ownership of Salford at the end of last year to a community trust. Now the 59-year-old has apparently set his sights on the county of Cumbria.

Speaking on the television program Rugby League BackChat, Koukash dubbed his proposed new club as the ‘Cumbrian Lakers’.

“It’s worth looking at, there is potential for it,” he said on BackChat.

“I was visiting there last weekend and it’s amazing, you walk in the centre of Whitehaven or Workington and you see the number of kids wearing Super League shirts, rather than Manchester United or Liverpool. Obviously there is a lot of potential there.

“If I ever get involved in Cumbria, or that part of the world, I would start from scratch. I wouldn’t be taking over from a club, or taking over a club. Hopefully the new venture that I’m bringing in, with the excitement that I will generate, will force the other three clubs to join in.”

Cumbria is one of the traditional heartland areas of the sport in England, and has three long-standing semi-professional clubs currently in operation – Barrow in the Championship, and Whitehaven and Workington Town in League 1. Despite a strong amateur presence in the region, these three clubs have struggled on and off the field, both to win games and attract fans in recent years.

Barrow, which were founded in 1875, has never played in Super League and neither has Whitehaven. Workington were part of the inaugural season of Super League in 1996 but were relegated that year and have not been part of the competition since. Koukash said a merger between these three clubs, which has been mooted in the past, would not work and that could be used as feeder sides to his new franchise.

“I think that will work,” he said.

“You can’t persuade them to join forces, that’s never going to happen. Whereas if you build a club that belongs to Cumbria, those guys that are travelling from Barrow to go to Wigan, from Workington to go to St Helens, surely they would travel to support their only club.

“So regardless if they want to keep their own identity, their own club, this becomes a team that represents the whole of Cumbria. My dream would be to have a Cumbrian side that’s made entirely, or 90% of that team, to be Cumbrian guys proud to be wearing the shirt.”

Despite not having a club in Super League, Cumbria continues to produce professional players at a regular rate. The likes of Hull KR trio Ryan Shaw, Shaun Lunt and James Donaldson, St Helens pair Morgan Knowles and Kyle Amor, Leeds forward Brad Singleton and Salford front-rower Lee Mossop all hail from the region.

The Sportsman understands a ground is being looked at for the new club and a sponsor, British Nuclear Fuels, is prepared to back it.

“If we’re looking for a new destination for Super League fans to go to, like we travel to Newcastle etc, just imagine asking them go to Cumbria,” Koukash said.

“It’s a natural process – you’ve got Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria.” 

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