Rainford-based Marwan Koukash set to be unveiled as new Salford rugby league club owner

St Helens Star: Dr Marwan Koukash Dr Marwan Koukash

RAINFORD-BASED racehorse owning millionaire Dr Marwan Koukash is set to outline his plans to transform the fortunes of Super League club Salford City Reds.

The businessman, who is a former Palestinian refugee, has been locked in takeover talks for the last three weeks but will become the City Reds' new owner and chairman in time for Friday's opening game of the season against Wigan.

Dr Koukash, who settled in St Helens as a teenager after coming to study at the town's technical college, has built a highly successful career as racehorse owner over the past five years.

He owns numerous horses, placed with trainers dotted around the country, and had more than 100 winners last year.

One of his horses, Mount Athos, competed in Australia's Melbourne Cup last year.

Watching St Helens at Langtree Park last season, with his Saints supporting wife and children, he had his appetite for rugby league - and has decided to take the step into Super League.

Reports say the finishing touches to the deal were applied on Wednesday and details will be unveiled at a press conference at the City of Salford Stadium on Thursday lunchtime.

Dr Koukash is also expected to buy a stake in the Barton stadium which the club share with co-tenants Aviva Premiership club Sale Sharks.

The £26million ground is jointly owned by Salford Council and developers Peel Holdings but Koukash believes the City Reds need a stake if they are to become financially viable.

The club are due back in court in Manchester on Monday to face a winding-up petition brought by HM Inland Revenue and former players Vinnie Anderson and Luke Patten over unpaid bills but that is now expected to be withdrawn.

Koukash is set to appoint Ed Farish, a former NRL financial controller, as the club's new chief executive and has pledged to make funds available immediately for team strengthening.

Head coach Phil Veivers has already bolstered his depleted squad with the addition of former Castleford utility back Ryan McGoldrick and the loan signings of Warrington's Welsh international winger Rhy Williams and Wigan reserve full-back Jack Murphy.

They are set to make their Salford debuts against Wigan, along with former St Helens second rower Andrew Dixon, who was Veivers' only close-season signing.

The Reds are expected to fill their full overseas quota, although it could take several weeks for the new recruits to arrive as the club begin to process visa and work-permit applications.

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