Sale are one of the Premiership's sleeping giants who have recently woken from their slumber. The club enjoyed success in 2005/06 under the leadership of French coach Philippe Saint-André. The squad included Sébastien 'The Caveman' Chabal, Jason Robinson and Mark Cueto. However, it was downhill from there. Sale finished 10th the next year and wouldn't make the top four again for another fifteen seasons. One of the challenges for Sale is the competition they face from Manchester's two galactico football clubs that cast a shadow across the north-west.
Steve Diamond was in charge for much of that time but was constrained by limited funding. Diamond had a knack for transforming players who were perhaps missing out on their potential elsewhere. Most notably this included Danny Cipriani and James O'Connor. He also built a monstrous pack which personified 'Northern grit'.
Sale hit the jackpot with a fresh injection of funds in 2016 when Simon Orange and Ged Mason invested in the club. In the past, Steve Diamond had to make use with what his budget allowed. Sale could now begin to spend a higher percentage of the salary cap and the club's new ambition was signalled with the arrival of South African scrum half, Faf de Klerk. Other South Africans soon followed including Lood de Jager, Akker van der Merwe and more du Preezs than Manchester football clubs.
Diamond left the club towards the end of 2020 and former Saracens Assistant Coach but also ex-Sale lock, Alex Sanderson, took charge. Sanderson has developed a culture with a focus of 'Northern' roots. Recruitment by Sanderson has pivoted more towards English talent. The Curry twins and Manu Tuilagi were soon joined by George Ford, Jonny Hill, Tom O'Flaherty and Luke Cowan-Dickie. Sale have also developed a number of promising youngsters including Raffi Quirke, Bevan Rodd, Tom Roebuck and Joe Carpenter.
Last season, Sale made their first Final since 2005/06. A packed crowd gathered to watch Sale defeat Leicester at home in the semi-final before a loss to Saracens at Twickenham in the grand Final. The vision for the club is on track. There is momentum. Can they go one better this season?