Page last updated at 16:17 GMT, Tuesday, 18 May 2010 17:17 UK

Salford City Reds to move to new stadium in 2011

John Wilkinson
John Wilkinson said it was one of the "toughest" journeys for the club

Salford City Reds will move into their long-awaited new stadium by the end of 2011, the club has announced.

The £26m stadium, which has a capacity of 15,000, has been in the planning stage for more than a decade.

Work has officially begun to prepare the 70-acre site at Barton, just off the M60 near Manchester.

Salford's chairman John Wilkinson hailed it as "a landmark event" central to the club's bid to retain their place in the Super League.

The Reds will move out of their century-old home at The Willows at the end of next season and become primary tenants at the new stadium.

'Landmark event'

It will be built and run by a joint venture company formed by Salford City Council and developers Peel.

The Northwest Regional Development Agency (NWDA) is funding the £4m cost of preparing the site and construction is due to start in October.

Officials say funding for the construction work will come from a loan from the city council.

The club will repay the loan through the sale of the developed land to retail tenants and through income generated from the use of the facilities.

Mr Wilkinson said: "Today is a landmark event in the history of the Salford club and certainly one of the most momentous I can remember throughout my long involvement with the Reds.

"It is the beginning of the end of one of the toughest journeys the club has ever been on."

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