Paul Cullen likened Salford to a circus on Boots ‘n’ All, following Brian Noble's removal as coach.
Just seven games into the Super League season and fresh from a dramatic Challenge Cup win over Hull FC, Noble was surprisingly relieved of his duties at the AJ Bell Stadium by controversial owner Marwan Koukash.
Former Wigan assistant coach Iestyn Harris has been handed the reins, becoming Salford’s third head coach in a year, and one-time Widnes boss Cullen says the move sums up the Red Devils' time under Koukash.
“The brutality and the cynicism that is in our game is not lost on me. I’ve been there. I’m only surprised anybody’s surprised,” he said.
“It’s like a three-ring circus at the minute at the Salford Red Devils. I don’t mean to be disrespectful but there’s that much going on that the very last thing we focus on is rugby league.
“They’ve stuttered and started but that’s because their best and most talented player in Rangi Chase has been missing for most of the season.
“We’re not quite sure on why and how Brian’s been judged. It doesn’t feel or seem to be very fair but life isn’t and rugby league certainly isn’t.”
Batley boss John Kear was equally bemused by the decision and warned Koukash’s desire to build a winning mentality at the club will not be realised without stability.
“You develop a culture, you grow a culture, you evolve a culture and it takes a number of years to come,” he explained.
“Whether you want a hard-working culture, whether you want a snazzy, flashy-type-of-play culture, that develops and the groups develops as well.
“There were some green shoots of promise in the first seven games Noble had – but they were obviously not enough. I feel personally disappointed for Brian. It’s harsh.
“The difficulty I feel has been with the half backs – you’ve got Tim Smith and Chase both very strong, both the main organisers, basically, and to dovetail those two together will certainly take more than seven weeks, especially considering Chase has missed a couple of weeks.
“It’s a tough call for Noble – but it is his money.”
Whilst Harris’ work at Wigan suggests he can have a positive impact at Salford, Cullen insisted the new coach will need time to implement his ideas – and he won’t be able to turn the club into consistent winners immediately.
“You have to spend a lot of time now bringing some stability – and that’s a strange word to use when we’re speaking about Salford,” he said.
“Harris has to find his own feet, his own style and his own way before he starts implementing that on players who have been pulled and pushed from pillar to post. This is not going to be an overnight revival. It can’t be.”