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Cartoon lions and millionaire footballers

Submitted by on August 25, 2014 – 10:56 pmNo Comment

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Interesting piece about the goings on at Salford City FC from the very good Salford Star:

So the Class of ’92 era began at Moor Lane with a big crowd of over three hundred people – unfortunately around two hundred of them were Scarborough Athletic supporters, who wrapped their flags around the camera towers freshly erected for Salford University students to practice their media skills.

Despite 11,000 turning out last week at the AJ Bell Stadium to see Salford play the Class of ’92, few turned up for the first proper game. Missing were a dozen or so hard core supporters who walked away when faced with the Class of Vincent Tan changing the shirts from tangerine to Manchester United red, and the logo from the official City of Salford Thriller-dancing lion, to something resembling Scar, the evil uncle from The Lion King.

Indeed, nowhere on the shirts is there a reference any more to Salford – just S.C.F.C. and that lion, suffused in a wonky hexagon logo which Gary Neville told supporters was the shape of Salford Quays.

The Salford City team ran out to the strains of Ewan MacColl’s Dirty Old Town, with the rather apt verse… `I’m going to make a good sharp axe/Shining steel tempered in the fire/We’ll chop you down like an old dead tree…’ etc.

Meanwhile, the Scarborough fans serenaded the Salford players at every opportunity with `Here for the money, you’re only here for the money…’.

So Salford, lining up with forwards who, if the papers are to be believed, are being paid more per week than the whole team was paid in a month last season, began the new era just like Man United, getting dominated by the underdogs.

Scarborough, in light blue, took the game to Salford City with some neat passing football but the Ammies (is that still the nickname?) took the lead on 15 minutes when Sam Madeley (top scorer at Droylsden last season) poked a loose ball home. 1-0.

Danny Webber – the ex-Manchester United and Accrington Stanley player who has dropped five leagues to play for Salford – hit the post shortly after but Scarborough equalised when Jordan Thewliss carried the ball past a static defence before scoring. Half time 1-1.

Early in the second half Scarborough missed a penalty, saved by Tom Stewart who had never played or been on the radar for Salford before the game. Club legend Andy `Rubes’ Robertson, who was scheduled to play, had walked away from the club. The rumour was that Gary Neville had picked Stewart, although there’s no way of verifying that.

Back on the pitch, the penalty miss took the steam out of Scarborough and from then on it was all Salford, with Gareth Seddon – who has dropped four leagues after playing for Chester – hitting a classy hat-trick…the first a far post header, the second a penalty, the third a lob from the edge of the area. Final score 4-1 and the Salford team again being serenaded by the Scarborough fans with `You’re buying the league…You’re buying the le-e-e-a-gue’…

Any team hoping to succeed at this level only needs the two Fs – fitness and forwards. Wads of legends’ cash helps too. Salford City can’t fail to get promotion this year.

But is that enough? Despite saying the right things in the press, questions still need to be asked about the ultimate motives of the six Vincents, messrs Butt, Giggs, Scholes, Beckham (a director of Class of ’92 Ltd) and the Nevilles …

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• If they love Salford City so much why had none of them (apart from David Beckham years ago) been to see the club play before? Gary Neville wrote in the programme notes that he wants people to be “proud” of the players, “the shirt and the city we all represent” – so why remove the name `Salford’ from the shirt? Why remove the City of Salford official lion from the shirt? Why change the shirt colours without any consultation with fans?

• What are the long term aims? Part 1: Total speculation but it’s well known that Premier League clubs want feeder teams in the lower leagues, like Barcelona and Real Madrid have in Spain. Football League clubs blew this idea out of the water when it was floated earlier this year. There’s a Rizla paper between the Class of ’92 and Manchester United, thus making it legal for Salford City to be a feeder team for Manchester United once they are in the Football League.

The Class of ’92 have not held the fact back that they want to rocket Salford into the Football League as fast as possible. Can anyone really be passionate about supporting a possible Man United fourth team under the guise of something else, if, of course, this is the case?

• The Class of ’92 say that they want to develop some kind of youth academy attached to Salford City but there is already the FA Sports Village down the bottom of the hill on Littleton Road, while the Manchester United Foundation is still at The Cliff a couple of miles away, with the associated training ground on Littleton Road also used for youth development teams. How does this fit in?

• What are the long term aims? Part 2: While the Moor Lane ground is being given a large lick of Manchester United red paint, plans for a new clubhouse and mini-stand, complete with Kersal Moor heritage centre, seemed to have got lost. This leads people to conclude that there’s no great plan to stay at Moor Lane, despite most fans being drawn from the immediate area. The team is already training at the AJ Bell Stadium in Barton.

While the takeover posse have stated that they intend to keep the club at Moor Lane, long term, a move to Barton would seem inevitable. If this happens it would suit Salford Council, which owns the valuable Moor Lane land and part owns the almost bankrupt Barton stadium with Peel Holdings (see here).

• Has the Class of ’92 got involved `to put something back into the community’ or to ultimately make money? Gary Neville might have been a footballer but is now a businessman, a partner in Zerum which has been involved with Salford property deals, including at MediaCityUK “working closely with Peel Media”, and the building of 19 luxury apartments on Wellington Road East in Higher Broughton. Long term, what are the Class of ’92 hoping to gain from taking over Salford City, a team they had never even bothered watching before?

These are questions that fans never got a chance to ask during Gary Neville’s power point presentation to supporters at the end of last season, with his five minute Q and A at the end.

• Salford Star exists to give the community and community projects exposure that is lacking in the mainstream media. Over the past seven years the Star has been the only media outlet that has reported first hand on Salford City matches, home and away. We now feel that the club has moved on and doesn’t need such exposure, so we will occasionally be featuring other Salford teams. We wish those who have worked so hard in the past to maintain Salford City FC total good wishes.

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