Salford has appointed a new director to drive forward the development of its new £26m pound community stadium at Barton.
James Foley has been brought in by the council-Peel joint venture company to take the lead on its City Of Salford Community Stadium.
He will be responsible for its success, managing day-to-day operations, finances and overseeing a marketing strategy to promote the stadium as a world-class leisure and sporting venue.
Foley has 15 years experience in the leisure and events business and with a proven-track record of delivering commercially viable sporting enterprises.
He joins the company from his role as operations director for Link4Life – an organisation which provides a range of cultural services across Rochdale on behalf of the Metropolitan Borough Council.
In his four years there Foley was responsible for a portfolio of 10 multi-million pound leisure and sports facilities across the town including leading a £35 million capital investment programme and the opening of the Middleton Arena and Heywood Sports Village projects.
Excited about his new position, he said: “I’m delighted to be taking on the role of City of Salford Community Stadium Director at this exciting time in its development. The stadium will be a magnificent landmark and focal point for the whole of the community of Salford and beyond. You can’t help but notice it as it starts to dominate the skyline over Barton Bridge.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge of leading the development of the stadium and I hope to bring business expertise, ideas, contacts and a passion for developing relationships within the community and working closely with the management team at Salford City Reds.”
The community stadium will be the new home for Rugby League with Salford Reds taking centre stage as its sporting anchor.
It will open in time for the start of the 2012 Rugby League season and will provide quality sports, conference, banqueting, entertainment as well as community facilities for local people.
Foley is also a fan of rugby having represented English students at Rugby League.
He added: “Having a successful and thriving rugby football club is key to improving the city’s civic pride and creating a feel-good factor and I’m keen to see the impact of the new stadium on helping Salford City Reds build upon their recent push for the play-offs both on and off the pitch, and I aim to play my part in supporting the club to achieve this.
“The stadium is fantastic news for local people, many who have been looking forward to it for some time. These new facilities put Salford head and shoulders above many of its closest neighbours and we genuinely will have something that everyone in the city can be proud of, use and enjoy for years to come.”
He says the coming months will see moves put in place to secure a series of community events in the New Year adding: “It will be an opportunity for the people of the city to visit the stadium and show their support in helping the stadium act as a catalyst in increasing participation, as we head towards the Olympics next year and the Rugby League World Cup in 2013.”
Leader of Salford City Council, Cllr John Merry said: “The stadium is as much about the community as it is rugby and I’m confident that we’ve got the right person to work with the Reds to make it a success at all levels and, more importantly, to make sure local people benefit from the development.”
Peter Hosker of Peel and City Of Salford Community Stadium board member said, “We are pleased James has decided to join the stadium project at this exciting time. Anyone who has seen the stadium site over the last few months can see we are making good progress and we expect to complete towards the end of 2011. We look forward to working with James on delivering a fantastic new community facility in partnership with Salford Reds, the council and the wider community.”
David Tarry, chief executive of Salford City Reds said: “It’s great to have James on board and his experiences will stand him in good stead to lead the stadium company. The Reds looks forward to working with him in taking the team, club and City on to great things.