Swinton Lions News
The Swinton Lions are a professional rugby league club based in the town of Swinton, in the city of Salford, in Greater Manchester.
Swinton are one of the oldest rugby clubs in the worlds but interestingly for one of the historic heartland clubs, Swinton were not one of the breakaway sides to create the Northern Union in 1895.
The club are one of the most successful in the English game and have won both the national title and the Challenge Cup on multiple occasions and they have enjoyed lots of regional success in county competitions.
Despite all of that, it can be frustrating for fans of theirs to keep up to date with all the latest news coming out of the club or at least that used to be the case.
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The club’s traditional home is Station Road, which in its heyday could attract crowds of up to 45,000 fans but sadly, financial issues at the club led to the ground been sold in the early 1990’s to a housing development company.
Before moving there, the club played at the Chorley Road ground between 1886 and 1929.
After Station Road, the club have led somewhat of a nomadic life, with multiple grounds around Greater Manchester playing host to them including Gigg Lane (Swinton, 1992-2002), Moor Lane (Salford, 2002-04), Sedgley Park (Whitefield, 2004-11), The Willows (Salford, 2011), Leigh Sports Village (Leigh, 2012-14), Park Lane (Whitefield, 2015), and their current home of Heywood Road in Sale.
The club represent the town of Swinton, but they are currently located in the Greater Manchester borough of Trafford, in the north west of England
The Swinton Lions have graced some of the biggest matches in the sports history and have played in front of some of the biggest crowds, but the summer era has seen them struggle and that has left a whole generation of fans underestimating the importance of the club to the sport.
Swinton are famed for their blue and white playing strip, with their home kit been predominantly blue with a white chevron and their away kit been predominantly a white shirt with a blue chevron.
The club was formed all of the way back in 1866 when members of the towns crocket club decided to take up ‘football’.
In 1871, they joined the RFU under the name of Swinton and Pendlebury FC and played there first official match against Eccles Standard.
The team quickly became the leading club in the region thanks to a thriving junior scene and in 1873 they first became known as the ‘Lions’ after having to use the toilets of the White Lion pub as there changing rooms.
The club quickly become one of the strongest teams in the nation and started to take on all comers, including Oxford University, and in 1878, the played Broughton in Salford in the first ever game of rugby to take place under floodlights.
In 1886, the club were at their height of powers and included numerous England internationals in their ranks. They moved to a new stadium at Chorley Road to allow more fans to watch, so it is perhaps somewhat understandable that their owners didn’t want to rock the boat and join the breakaway Northern Union teams in the new code of the sport.
It didn’t take too long for them to join what is now rugby league however as they joined in June 1896.
That wouldn’t prove to be a start of something special for the club however as the run up to the first world war from their on proved to be one blighted by financial worries.
After the war, things improved dramatically and they picked up a win against a touring Kangaroos side, the Lancashire Cup in 1925 and the Challenge Cup in 1926 but that success had nothing on 1928, when they created history by becoming the first club to win all 4 cups in one season, the league championship, the Challenge Cup, the Lancashire Cup and the Lancashire League.
Unfortunately, that season would also see them fall out with their landlords and they would have to find a new ground but that would be at Stadion Road, and the stadium would become their home for much of the rest of the century.
They would continue to enjoy success including national titles in 1931 and 25 and also the Lancashire Cup in 1940 but the impact of the 2nd world war would be keenly felt by Swinton and they would struggle to get back to winning ways in the aftermath.
The 60’s would see a big improvement and lots of international stars ply their trade for the club and they would continue to enjoy regional success during this decade and pick up another league championship in both the 1962-63 and 1963-64 seasons.
The 1970’s saw the league split into 2 divisions and Swinton would find themselves dropping into the bottom tier and they would stay there until 3 promotions in the late 1980’s, but those were all followed by immediate relegation.
Financial worries at the start of the 1990’s saw the club having to sell their Station Road home and that would lead to their nomadic life of the summer era that has seen them struggle along in the bottom two tiers of the sport.
Those struggles including going into administration in 2007 and relegation to the third tier in 2021, but in 2022, the club won the paly-offs and were promoted to the 2nd tier once more.
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