About The Sharks

Sale Sharks, like new sponsors UKFast, are ten years old in 2009.  The Heywood Road club's new, brave brand name emerged in September 1999 with an oversized matchday programme and an opening day victory against Wasps. 

The first season wasn't bright, though, with the club finishing next to bottom, just above relegated Bedford Blues. Two games from the end of the season, a new owner was announced: Brian Kennedy. 2000-1 was 'The Dawn of a New Era' and opening day success occurred again: 33-32 against Bath this time.  Rugby League giants Jason Robinson and Apollo Perelini switched codes and, even though the club reached the Cup semi final, it had an easy passage against second-tier clubs. 

The rise to prominence came in 2001-2, with former stars Jim Mallinder and Steve Diamond at the helm.  The club were second in the League and dramatically won the Parker Pen Shield, Europe's minor competition.  A missed penalty from Gloucester's Ludovic Mercier in the semi final saw the Sharks through to a final against Pontypridd at Oxford.  With Pete Anglesea in inspired form, the team came through 25-22.  Season 2002-3 was the Sharks' final season at Heywood Road, home of Sale FC since 1905.  Its capacity of little over 5000, and the dearth of expected facilities, had the Sharks looking elsewhere.  Bury was a strong favourite, but the club ended up at Stockport County's Edgeley Park ground. 

The first season saw the World Cup paraded by Jason Robinson and Clive Woodward, and the club reach Twickenham, only to lose 33-37 to Newcastle in the final.  Waiting in the wings was Philippe St.Andre as the new Director of Rugby.  Jim Mallinder left for England duties, and Steve Diamond led an exodus to Saracens. 'Les Frenchies' started their five-year stay with 'les Requins', and the cry of 'Seabass' echoed round Edgeley Park as the bearded icon Sebastien Chabal impressed. May 2005 saw the club capture the European Challenge Cup at Oxford against Pau.  Sharks continued their rise and ended season 2005-6 as League leaders and champions, after defeating Leicester Tigers 45-20 at HQ - the club's greatest day.  International players abounded within the club's playing ranks - but at a price when the autumn and home internationals were taking place, because they were away! 

The Sharks followed up their triumph with a struggle.  Injuries and absence often saw the club field sides a dozen or more players short of full strength.  The club were a hopeless tenth in the Premiership.  2008 and 2009 saw improvements - fifth in both seasons, with Heineken Cup qualification, but in 2009 the lure of the Euro proved so strong.  Philippe bade, "Adieu" and went to Toulon.  His trusty henchman Kingsley Jones took over.  Everybody in the world of rugby knew that life at the Sharks would be different.  Mainly UK players, with some South Sea islanders, but - hey - with that galaxy of glittering names, they'd not made the top four for two seasons.  Patience as a new squad was ready to bond.  A friendly club with a winning mentality, backed by many talented youngsters in the Jets and Academy ranks. 2009-2010 season ready to start.

 

Sharks 2009-10