RYAN Brierley has seen all of his Christmases appear at once as he waits to switch from screaming fan to being yelled at.
Just seeing his name on a daughter’s Salford shirt is enough to make his holiday season.
Brierley used to stand in The Shed at the old Willows home of the Reds, cheering for Steve Blakeley, Gavin Clinch, Richie Myler and Luke Robinson.
He may have gone to school in Lancashire, on his way from Wigan, but there was only one team for him.
Now, after signing from Leigh, he can experience what the people he watched went through at AJ Bell Stadium – both good and bad.
Brierley said: “My dad used to take me to The Shed every Friday night. The teachers at my school would laugh at me like when we went to school on Monday, they asked what we did at the weekend?
“Mine has always been, ‘I’m going to see Salford on Friday.’ I was aggressive with away players, no prisoners were taken there.
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“I miss the tunnel – the oldest, roughest tunnel you’ll ever see. It’s basically a wire fence but I love it. I always think, ‘I want to give my best one day.’
“As I walked by, I was like, ‘I wonder what would happen if I ran out of there. Does that make me a player now? ‘
“I have followed the club for decades, going through two relegations. There are people in the stands who don’t know me but I know who they are.
“I believe they are my people. The people I have stood with Salford through through difficult times. My dream is to sign and play for Salford – no one can take that away from me.
“But I can talk about all the emotional things in the world. In the end, I was moved because I played well. A club of Salford’s caliber saw something in me and rewarded my performances.
“And without Salford RLFC, I certainly wouldn’t be a rugby player. The inspiration they give me is great, it helps me focus on life. ”
Brierley will play at full-back for the Reds as he admits he’s not out in the second half of this week, the other week.
He also did a great trick on his father Paul – whose name is on the heritage shirt – as he signed his boyhood heroes.
His first game will be the season opener at his former club Castleford, a match he knows will draw comments from those closest and dearest to him.
He added: “I told him I was going to get a huge tax bill and he had to come take a look because I was split and he would have to help pay it.
“He came around fuming. I gave him the letter, but it’s really my contract with Salford.
“Someone said to me, ‘No matter how much money you make or what you achieve, you will never replace the emotion and pride you felt for your father when you told him that you have signed a contract with Salford.’
“But we have a couple of family group chats on WhatsApp and I’ve been hammered.”
https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/17122288/salford-red-devils-super-league-ryan-brierley/ Ryan Brierley will live his childhood dreams after signing with childhood idol Salford