Millionaire owners, a new fanbase and record-breaking FA Cup success? What could possibly go wrong for Salford City football club?
A documentary highlighting the incredible rise of Salford City Football Club since its takeover by Manchester United’s Class of 92’s will premiere on BBC One tonight.
The Ammies, as they are no longer really known, have brought in new management, new fans, new players and new success, all with the backing of a billionaire Singaporean tycoon and the five most famous men in Salford football.
Ryan Giggs, Gary and Phil Neville, and Nicky Butt all appear in the hungrily-awaited film, which gives special behind-the-scenes insight into one of the most intriguing clubs in football.
The United lot landed upon Salford like five Roman patrons, dishing out influence, status and power left right and centre (forward).
The documentary showcases their peaks and troughs – from the difficulties of sacking manager Phil Power in January this year, to veteran Ordsall-born centre-midfielder Paul Scholes returning to the pitch to show the players how it’s done, despite his repeated claims that he is “too fat” to play.
Salford is still one of the biggest cities in the country without a professional football team.
Despite taunting chants levelled the Reds over at the Theatre of Dreams – ‘You’re just a small club from Salford’, the city could be on a turnaround now.
Several Salford City FC players appear in the two-part documentary, including highlights of star striker Gareth Seddon’s cheeky persona both on and off the pitch.
The programme also shows the personal side of life for the part-owners, including Ryan Giggs driving through Salford to relive the areas where he grew up playing football, and when he was first spotted by Sir Alex Ferguson and Brian Kidd.
Salford City FC is the BBC’s honey-pot at the minute, as the BBC announced it would show Salford’s record breaking first round FA Cup tie against Notts County on Friday 6 November from 7.30pm live on BBC One.
We asked Salford City FC fans what they thought of the coverage Salford is getting, and how The Ammies are trending.
Martin Cooper said: “It’s definitely increased the stature of the club, with increased attendances, more press attention, and obviously more success on the pitch. In the past we have had a lot of low points, and this is most certain a high point and a wave we will continue to ride for as long as it lasts.
“The future of the club looks bright with getting promoted first time of asking under the new owners, and look to be in a strong position in the league this season. It’s all great exposure for the club, and also for the City of Salford.”
Mark Percy said: “It’s always been a dream of mine since I started watching The Ammies to see them play in the football league- and now I truly feel that with the backing we have this is a real possibility.
“I think the documentary will be a real insight to the non-league world, everyone know about the premiere league but this will give people a chance to see what goes on at a club like Salford and will hopefully encourage people to go and support their local side, as not all of them are as fortunate as Salford City.
“Has it all been good for the club? In my opinion, absolutely.”
What of the original 100 or so fans that dedicated years of support to a club destined never to break out of the Evo-Stik First Division North? Will they go down in history? Does anyone really care?
Flush with success, Salford meet with destiny against the Nottingham side in the FA Cup; the question now is not how they did it, but just how far they can go.
The first part of Class of 92: Out of Their League airs tonight, Thursday 29 October, on BBC One at 9pm
This article was written for Salford Online.