Lions ready to come roaring back.
Swinton Lions Rugby League Club is still very much alive and ready to roar back into action in 2015, kicking off the league season on Friday 3rd April at 3pm with a home game against North Wales Crusaders. The club suffered relegation at the end of the 2014 campaign following a league restructuring exercise. But after adding plenty of bite to the squad in the close season, including former Super League giant Jordan James, the Lions are confident of a quick return to the middle tier of English Rugby League.
The Lions’ Head Coach is the former Leigh and Widnes star, John Duffy, six times a Scottish international as well as Scotland’s current assistant coach. John’s professional and modern approach, plus his attention to detail, has revolutionised the club’s match day preparation. The Lions have a current squad of 25 players, all contracted to Swinton with none of the controversial dual-registration system that has proved so unpopular in some quarters. John Duffy has also assembled a formidable coaching team with dedicated back up staff, all geared towards future success on the field.
For 12 months now the club has been under a vibrant new management, a Board which is determined to take the Lions forward in a positive new light and re-energise this famous old name. With former successful Leigh RLFC chairman, John Roddy, at the helm, assisted by fellow directors David Jones, Alan Marshall and Stephen Wild (the latter two being elected by the successful Supporters’ Trust), green shoots of a vibrant future are already visible.
The club recently gained official accreditation from the Rugby Football League in recognition of its outstanding activity in the local community, including work with schools, Salford City College and local junior RL teams. Through these links a clear pathway is being created and nurtured to enable promising youngsters to progress from under 8s all the way through to a dedicated Swinton Lions Academy team at Under 19 level, and from there hopefully onto the Lions’ first team itself.
A Swinton Lions Business Academy has been set up and meets monthly at Albert’s Restaurant. This is a great networking opportunity, all held under the umbrella of the rugby club. The club has also recently launched its own internet TV Channel, “Lions TV”, which can be accessed via the official website.
A critical issue for the Lions since the loss of the famous Station Road ground in 1992 has been to try and maintain the support of the local population. But by being more visible in the community the club is hoping to reverse recent trends, even though at present home matches are played 3 miles away from Swinton Town Hall at Park Lane, Whitefield, a ground shared with Sedgley Tigers RUFC. Hopes, however, remain of an eventual return to M27, but in the meantime the motto is, “For the time being we might not play in Swinton, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a club which represents Swinton”.
In 2016 the club celebrates its 150th Anniversary. This is a remarkable milestone for what, in 1866, was a tiny colliery village. But this is the start of a new beginning and not the end! If you want to rekindle an old passion for the Lions, or try something new and exciting at affordable prices, you’d be most welcome at Park Lane.
How to contact Swinton Lions: