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Tony Flynn
FROM THE VIDEO ARCHIVES: A BRIEF HISTORY OF SALFORD RED DEVILS - PART ONE
In this three part series on the history of Salford Rugby Club we speak to club historian Graham Morris and longtime fan Jimmy Rushby. 

 

In this first video Graham tells us of the club's early days at New Barnes racecourse, the site of the old Salford docks, and the move to the Willows in 1901. 

We hear about such fascinating characters as Jimmy Lomas, billed as the game's first superstar, signed for what was then a world record of £100, to take him from Bramley to Salford in August 1901. 

In the nine full seasons that he played for Salford, Jimmy was the club's leading try scorer, goalscorer and point scorer each season. 

The club has had its lows and at one stage they were known as the club with 3,000 mugs (the supporters). 

Things were to change in 1928 when Lance Todd became the club manager: in his first season "Toddy's Toddlers" went from 26th in the league up to 4th place. 

Lance spotted the legendary Gus Risman playing rugby union in Cardiff, snapping him up for Salford and giving him his debut in August 1929 at the tender age of seventeen. 

This became the start of a golden era for Salford, when such greats as Alan Edwards, John "Jack" Feetham, Barney Hudson, Paddy Dalton, Emlyn Jenkins, Billy Watkins and Billy Williams joined the club. 

Salford were considered the leading club in the game during the 1930s, winning three League Championships, five Lancashire League Championships, four Lancashire Cups and the Rugby League Challenge Cup. 

Salford were invited to tour France in 1934 to promote rugby league in the country. Before going to France, Salford were regarded as a top side by the French and - after their 6-0 whitewash of the tour sides - were given their unofficial nickname by French journalists: Les Diables Rouges, or The Red Devils. 

Salford beat Barrow 7-4 in the final of the 1938 Challenge Cup at Wembley, the last time the club won the competition, again testimony to the skills of Lance Todd who was to tragically die in a car accident in 1942. However, Todd's name still lives on with the Lance Todd Trophy - given to the man judged to be the best player in the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final each year. 

This article first appeared on SalfordOnline on the 26th of August 2011, it is lovingly republished here courtesy of a man with many odd shaped balls, Mr Tony Flynn. Video by young Tom Rodgers.


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