Salford is a small town in Greater Manchester that used to be the training headquarters of Manchester United. Yap, before building a modern training complex at Carrington, United’s squad did train in Salford until 2000. In this city, there is also the Salford Red Devils rugby club, which became the nickname of Manchester United given by Sir Matt Busby.
In this city, the legendary Class of 1992 personnel spent their youth. Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, and Paul Scholes studied there during their teens.
These five players, in 2014, the year they all retired, decided to acquire the Salford City club. When the five of them arrived, the club was wallowing in the Northern Premier League Division competition, the eighth caste in the English football pyramid.
Each of the former England national players holds a ten percent stake, while the remaining 50 percent belongs to Peter Lim, a Singaporean billionaire who also owns Valencia. Thanks to solid management from club owners, Salford is in a far better position.
In this season, they are struggling in the big two of Conference National which became the fifth caste of English football. This means that they have won three promotions in just four years. Only need another one promotion, they will enter League Two, the fourth caste which means the lowest professional division. That means, they only need a little more to reach the Premier League.
While still in the eighth division, Salford was still “staying” at Moor Lane Stadium, a mini cage that usually brought 300 spectators to the team. Now, renovation of the stadium has been done by building stands on four sides, as well as improving the quality of the field. Although it has now been able to accommodate 5100 spectators, increased capacity has begun to be prepared considering the ambition of the club to penetrate the Premier League.
Now, 2500 regular spectators support Salford in each of their matches. They have also been professionally managed by permanent employees. Phil Neville admitted they lost several players because they did not want to give up their permanent jobs.
The problem of recruiting players is now gone. They are even now able to hijack Adam Rooney, Aberdeen’s top scorer in the Scottish Premier League for 300,000 pounds last summer. Danny Lloyd, the former Peterborough are also willing to go down caste by accepting Salford’s proposal.
This number is arguably implausible for amateur clubs. They were also hated by the other clubs, and getting nicknamed as the amateur version of Manchester City. However, the owners ignored it. They continue to build, including changing the color of the club uniform from black orange to red and white.
When they were criticized by fans, they replied that it was the reason why they took over Salford. The combination of those five will not be able to buy a Premier League level club. It might be enough to buy a club in League One or League Two, but the clubs there are well established enough with their history. By buying Salford in the eighth division, they can build a new history.
However, they are still within five divisions of the Premier League. The public doubts whether Salford will really be able to penetrate the top of the division. Even so, Paul Scholes assured, “You might laugh, but we can see Bournemouth. We will try as far as possible, and following Bournemouth looks achievable. “
They take the right inspiration. When Eddie Howe started to lead Bournemouth 10 years ago, they were in the bottom of the League Two, England’s fourth division. Howe now leads them to rank sixth in the Premier League with a short ball style despite occupying the smallest stadium in the highest caste.
Well, if all goes well, Salford will start competing in League Two next season. They are currently handled by Graham Alexander, who competes in the Premier League with Burnley and has just coached Scunthorpe in League One before accepting Salford’s call.
Although Phil Neville has a permanent job as England women’s national team coach, Giggs as Wales coach, Butt as head of United’s academy, the five people routinely hold monthly meetings in Salford.
With the support of the five legends, it seems that Salford City will be a noisy new neighboring club for two Manchester giants…