SPOILER ALERT! Salford City FC – What Happened Next?
Last night’s primetime documentary provided a fascinating insight into the latest project undertaken by Manchester United’s famous Class of ’92, as they took the reins at non-league Salford City FC.
The cameras followed Messrs Neville, Giggs, Butt and Scholes as they oversaw their first season as football club owners in the Northern Premier League Division One North. We were witness to the trials and tribulations faced by club owners in lower echelons of league football. The rotting toilets, the bad results, the player versus manager confrontations and eventually the big decisions being taken at boardroom level; ridding the club of both their dodgy Sky box and their dodgy manager.
Boss Phil Power was given the boot after a series of Apprentice-style calls between the co-owners and viewers were left with the mid-season cliff-hanger of a stuttering side languishing around the play-off places and in danger of slipping down the table further.
But since then, Salford City’s fortunes have taken a turn for the better. Firstly, there was the good news story of a trialist on the books securing a surprise transfer to Manchester United. Defender Sadiq El Fitouri, a Man City youth reject was snapped up by the Salford club and impressed both during training and on his debut against Kendal Town. Shortly afterwards he was awarded an 18 month contract at Old Trafford and is now a regular squad member at the U-21 Premier League champions.
Meanwhile, new management team Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley were the men charged with stalling Salford’s freefall down the league table and that’s exactly what they did. Incredibly the new men at helm oversaw a run of 15 wins out of 17 and restored their place at the top of the table.
The league title was clinched when closest rivals Darlington 1883 failed to beat Warrington Town leaving the Kersal locals in an unassailable position and celebrating promotion to the Evo-Stick League Premier Division.
Their promotion leaves the club just one division below the likes of Stockport County as well as their local rivals FC United of Manchester, the club set up in protest at the Glazer ownership of Manchester United.
This season they have embarked on a bid for a second consecutive promotion, which would see them join the 6th tier of English football, 5 divisions below the Premier League and just 2 below League Two. It’s been a decent start for the Salford men, who currently sit just 9 points behind league leaders Blyth Spartans with 3 games in hand. They are part of a division won by Wigan Athletic as recently as 1975, 38 years prior to them lifting the FA Cup at Wembley.
While visits to Wembley remain a distant unlikelihood for the Class of ’92 at this early stage in their project, a money-spinning Cup tie against Notts County next Friday night in front of BBC cameras will do no harm to the budget of Neville and his cohorts as they continue their patient bid for league success.