Noble set to splash the cash
Brian Noble has been promised cash to turn Salford City Reds into a major force in Super League but insists he will not be recruiting "mercenaries" to complete the job.
The 52-year-old former Bradford Bulls, Wigan Warriors and Great Britain coach was finally confirmed as the City Reds' successor to Phil Veivers at a press conference at the Salford City Stadium today.
For the second time in his career, Noble takes over a side sitting bottom of Super League and, with backing from millionaire owner Marwan Koukash, he is expected to transform the fortunes of the Reds.
Seven years ago he saved Wigan from the threat of relegation and has not ruled out lifting Salford into this year's play-offs, although his priority will be recruitment for next season.
Veteran Australian coach Brian Smith had been linked with the job but Koukash told today's conference that he decided on his man after meeting with Noble for the first time last month.
"Brian truly believes in my vision and knows the potential of the club," he said.
"More importantly, he's a very emotionally intelligent leader who will take the club to the next level."
Koukash has pledged to spend the full £1.8million salary cap in 2014 and has already begun canvassing support from rival chairmen in his bid to be allowed to exceed the maximum spend.
"I will provide Brian with all of my support," he added. "Obviously he will have the ability to spend the full cap for next year and on top of that I'm hoping somebody at the RFL can see sense and allow us to spend a little bit more than the cap.
"When you look at our current squad, we've lost the majority of our big players over the last two years because of the financial difficulties of the club so we're going to be playing catch-up with the rest of the teams.
"To be able to compete with the likes of Wigan and Leeds, Brian will probably need to spend more than the cap itself.
"A successful Salford is only going to promote rugby league in general and I'm hoping everybody in the league will see that and they will vote for it.
"We are in one of the biggest sporting capitals of the world and there is no reason why we can't create a huge rugby league club here."
Noble, who has been without a club since leaving Crusaders RL at the end of the 2010 season, is excited by the prospects of his new club.
"I've been saying for about five years that the Manchester and Salford areas have been hugely neglected and there's an opportunity now to put that right," he said.
"The scale of this place is immeasurable; it's a fabulous opportunity.
"Myself and Marwan hope to leave a legacy and the first steps have been taken."
Noble has already drawn up a shopping list and, although he expects an immediate improvement from the current team, he has called for patience long-term.
"It takes time to build a club and it's important that we build it in the right way," he said.
"It's a really good challenge. I am confident things will change at a quicker pace than most other people.
"First and foremost, the criteria is players have to want to be at Salford. It isn't any good pulling in a load of mercenaries. It just doesn't work. The bottom line is you have got to want to be here.
"Signing players of the right quality takes time. The criteria for bringing players in is they have to improve the team so, if there aren't any available this year, they won't be brought in."
Noble said he plans to bring in an assistant but confirmed that current assistant coach Sean Long will remain part of the club's backroom staff.
He will also allow caretaker coach Alan Hunte to remain in charge for Sunday's Challenge Cup tie against the University of Gloucestershire in Cheltenham before reverting to his role of head of youth development, while Noble will prepare the team for their next Super League match against Castleford Tigers on Saturday week.
That will present an opportunity for the Reds to climb off the foot of the table and Noble insists the play-offs are not out of reach.
"Everything is possible if the players buy in and commit," he said. "This year we've got a blank sheet of paper with a few vacancies and the current squad have an opportunity to fill some of those vacancies."