Crossford Playing Fields
Crossford Playing Fields has been earmarked for a community sports village

Sale Sharks tipped for home return after 17 years 

Dan Whelan

The rugby union side could finally return to Sale after leaving its Heywood Road ground in 2003, if developer Crossford Futures’ plans for a community sports village featuring a new stadium are approved. 

Crossford Futures has identified the Crossford Bridge Playing Fields, between Cross Street and the Bridgewater Canal next to the M60, as the potential location for a stadium and multipurpose sports and activity hub for the local community. 

A public consultation for the project will begin on 22 June with a view to a planning application being submitted later this year, according to the developer.  

Subject to feedback during the consultation and feasibility studies the stadium could have a capacity of between 8,000 and 12,000.

Sharks moved to Edgeley Park in Stockport in 2003, where the club shared the stadium with Stockport County FC before relocating in 2012 to the AJ Bell Stadium in Salford, which it currently shares with Super League side Salford City Reds. 


Crossford Futures, headed up by director Graham Young, is consulting with a range of local stakeholders including the community clubs that currently use the playing fields, including Trafford Council, Cheshire FA and Manchester FA.    

Young said: “Crossford Bridge has always been a space for the community to enjoy and come together in, from dog walkers to runners, local grassroots clubs intrinsic to the fabric of the area, and nationally significant clubs.  

“[The sports village] is an early stage vision that focuses on building on this history to create a truly inclusive and inspirational [facility] for the next generation.”  

Steve Diamond, director of rugby at Sale Sharks, added: “Sale Sharks has always had a vision to return to its hometown, bringing the club closer to its original fan base and the communities in Sale.  

“As part of the plans for Crossford Bridge, we not only have a chance to establish a long-term home for the club, but there’s also a real opportunity for our men’s and women’s teams to inspire the next generation of sporting talent.”     

Your Comments

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This is fantastic news. Everyone is a winner here.

By Yimby

Totally disagree with comment below. It’s not convenient for residents in the area, removes important green space. Lots of kids camps and sports played here. The AJ is less than 10 years old. Just stay put.

By Dane road resident

I hope an athletics track will be incorporated into the proposals, to replace the existing cinder track.

By Emily

A ploy to get their own way re the AJ Bell

By Anonymous

I refer you to the views of a number of people living near the site and those already using it. Not everyone is a winner. Those who had the misfortune to see their dealings at Edgeley Park won’t be surprised to see that though.

Not beyond the realms of possibility that this is a negotiating tool in relation to their ongoing issues at the AJ Bell. Mainly because they have form for that too.

By Peanut Hug

Excellent news, no doubt tied into the fairly recent move from their Carrington ground to Man City’s former training ground. Sad to leave the Barton High Level, Trafford Centre, M60 traffic jam on a Friday evening, and the Barton Sewage Treatment Works aroma. Sayul, Sayul.

By Finlay

Except for Salford City Council who will be losing income at the AJ Bell stadium. Great move for the Sharks though

By Querulous

Shocker for Salford Council

By A J Bell

No way, save green areas, save local wildlife, nightmare for local residents, totally disagree with development.

By Angry Dane Road

Great move!

By Deja

The communications have made clear that every existing club using the site will have enhanced facilities as part of the project. Literally everyone is a winner.


Those Sharks will be swimming, when the Mersey floods its plain. Made no effort to get the AJ Bell stadium built (10 years of Salford graft) and just waltzed in when it was ready, grabbing the naming rights in the process. Now spitting the dummy out so they can bite the hand that fed them.

By Bob

CROSSFORD BRIDGE has got about 2500 signatures against this sports village and stadium so far. The local residents around that area don’t want it. It will cause additional traffic on matchdays. It’s currently got 2 football teams using the fields, a grassroots youth football team with about 300 kids called “sale United” and a veteran football team called “old Altrinchamians” , also a “sale harriers” running team that has used that site for over 60 years. Also these fields has a bloke called “John”, his job is to take care and maintain the fields and he says “this area is all lovely greenspace and has a small pond which is home to woodpeckers, kingfishers and herons etc and foxes and hedgehogs. These fields are also used by dog walkers, joggers and also local schools. We should not be building on this land, leave it alone. That’s it.

By Darren born and bred in Salford

Sale Sharks coming home, what a PR con. Sale Sharks is now a business with international players. Leaving A J Bell stadium because by their own admission cannot make enough money there just playing rugby. Sale residents see thru it don’t be conned.

By Den Alderley