First match held at The Willows, Salford defeating Swinton 2-0 with a drop-goal from recent signing Jimmy Lomas. The attendance was 16,981. Their previous ground was at New Barnes, adjoining the area now known as Salford Quays.
The Willows staged its first county fixture, Lancashire beating Yorkshire 13-0. The attendance was 14,000. In total, ten county matches have taken place there, the last in 1974. Salford’s former New Barnes hosted a Lancashire v Yorkshire match in 1898.
Welsh centre Willie Thomas made his debut for Salford at Batley. Taking into account 57 ‘unofficial’ friendly matches during the First World War period he is the only player to make over 500 appearances for the club. He was also captain for over ten seasons – a club record – and later became Chairman.
The Northern Union (now Rugby League) Challenge Cup Final was held at The Willows for the first time, Warrington beating Halifax 8-3. The Yorkshire side kept Warrington waiting 12 minutes before entering the field for the kick-off! A second final was hosted in 1911 when Broughton Rangers produced a shock 4-0 win over Wigan.
Pocket sized Welsh half-back Dai John made his Salford debut at Leeds after signing from Penygraig rugby union club. At just over five feet tall his durability defied his size and he played over 450 matches for Salford, the last being in 1922.
Cumbrian centre/half-back Jimmy Lomas scored 39 points (5 tries, 12 goals) in the 78-0 win over Liverpool City at The Willows. It was a record haul for a league championship fixture that stood until 1992 when Dean Marwood got 42 for Workington Town.
Hunslet met Oldham at The Willows in the first ever drawn Championship Final (7-7). The Yorkshire team won the replay to become the first club to complete the famed ‘All Four Cups’ feat of Championship, Challenge Cup, County Championship and County Cup.
Salford held their second, and last, Championship Final when Wigan overcame Oldham 7-3. Before the match a trick cyclist entertained the crowd despite being refused permission due to the poor state of the pitch. After a chase, a police officer threw a flagpole into his wheel spokes and he was led away in handcuffs!
The first ever tour to Australia and New Zealand was undertaken by the 13-a-side code with Salford’s Jimmy Lomas as tour captain, the first of three Salford players to be honoured in this way. Gus Risman (1946) and Chris Hesketh (1974) were the others.
Mr G.C. Swire, who had been appointed as Official Receiver in 1912 due to Salford’s severe financial problems, set up a six-man advisory committee to look after the welfare of the players. In August 1914 the club was reborn as the Salford Football Club (1914) Limited, and is still registered under that name today.
Salford won the Championship Final at Headingley, the clubs first major honour, by beating Huddersfield 5-3. It was a big upset, the legendary ‘Team of All the Talents’ undone with a defensive strategy formulated by Salford captain Willie Thomas after travelling over the Pennines to spy on Huddersfield’s free scoring side!
Following the cessation of hostilities, The Willows provided the setting for the first peacetime final, Rochdale Hornets despatching Oldham 22-0 to win the Lancashire Cup, watched by a crowd 18,617.
Welsh prop forward Billy Williams makes his first appearance after signing from Crumlin rugby union club. At the end of his inaugural 1927-28 season he was picked for the tour of Australia and New Zealand. He later became a director of the club.
Salford win the Lancashire Cup for the first time by beating Swinton 10-8 at The Cliff in front of a crowd of 26,471. Having been runners-up in the same competition in 1929 it was their first trophy for 17 years.
The legend of the Red Devils was born when Salford thrilled French crowds on a 6-match tour, earning the title ‘Les Diables Rouges’. The opening game was in Paris on Sunday 21 October, following an overnight ferry journey from Folkestone to Dunkirk, having beaten Wigan 21-12 in the Lancashire Cup Final the previous afternoon.