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 Post subject: Salford City - Class of 92
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:38 pm 
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A Singaporean billionaire has bought a 50 per cent stake in Salford City - the club which is co-owned by five former Manchester United players - the Neville brothers Gary and Phil, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt.

Peter Lim, a Manchester United fan and owner of Valencia, tried to buy Liverpool for £320million in 2010 but his offer was rejected.

Lim owns several United-themed bars across Asia and his investment in the Evo-Stik League First Division North club means that the former Old Trafford favourites now own 10 per cent each.

Lim's business, Meriton Holdings Limited, bought the majority share in La Liga side Valencia only four months ago.

Valencia are currently fifth in the table after two wins and one defeat.


Those class of 92 lads are definitely up to something they've cashed in on the story with the film 3 of them have high profile jobs in the media (The Nevilles & Scholes), Giggs is assistant manager at Utd & Butt is still in the club doing coaching. Becks is staying away from it as he has his own things going on in America.


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 Post subject: Re: Billionaire buys stake in Salford City
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 2:45 pm 
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Aren't they being seen as the 'city' of the non league?

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 Post subject: Re: Billionaire buys stake in Salford City
PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 3:22 pm 
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To be fair I've not tracked what they've been doing on the pitch but I imagine this year they have a much bigger wage budget than last year and in the non league where players are semi pro offering good wages makes a huge difference as players will move around for more money and it's easier to move as you're not always under a contract for the whole season.

Just looked up the table and they've played 7 won 6 drawn 1 for 16 against 3 in the evo-stick first division (one league below where FC United are) so they've obviously improved the playing squad from last season.

All clubs in the non league effectively buy their way up the league it's how it works really money talks at all levels of the game.

I don't really know what the end game really is with it do they want to get the club in to the football league and use it to give young local players a chance in the game almost like the setup they have at Crewe? Is it an investment where they hope to get it up the leagues then sell it off to make a bit of money?


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 Post subject: Re: Billionaire buys stake in Salford City
PostPosted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:03 pm 
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They'll just shoot up the leagues like AFC Fylde/Chester/Halifax did.

AFC Fylde were promoted via playoffs last season from FCUM's league, and I'm pretty sure they're currently top of the Conference North now.

Although I fear with AFC Fylde that as soon as their investor gives up on them, they'll be in the sh*t. Like Worksop Town (demoted a couple of leagues), and Northwich Vics who went out of existance.

Their crowds are really really poor, there's no way they'd be able to survive.

As for Salford it sounds more like they'll be stable for quite a while. Danny Webber plays for them and is supposedly on something ridiculous like £800 p/w... to put that into context FCUM players earn about £120-150.

Giggs & co have also changed the colours and badge of Salford City, ala Vincent Tan.. which is obviously quite sh*tty too. They're basically just doing with Salford what's wrong with modern football, and silly takeovers. Where initially they were talking about not changing anything, and keeping traditions etc..

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 Post subject: Re: Billionaire buys stake in Salford City
PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:49 pm 
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The Singapore billionaire Peter Lim has said his investment in Salford City with the five “class of 92” former Manchester United stars has nothing to do with third-party ownership of players, in which Lim is involved at Valencia.

Lim, who is in the final negotiations of a protracted takeover at the Spanish club, owns 100% of the economic rights in two players, the Spanish striker Rodrigo Moreno Machado and the Portuguese midfielder André Gomes, via his company Meriton Capital. Both were playing for Benfica, from whom Lim’s company bought them in January, for €30m and €15m respectively. In the summer, Benfica loaned the players, now owned by Lim, to Valencia, a club Lim will buy once he reaches agreement with their main creditor, the Spanish conglomerate Bankia.

Jorge Mendes, the agent, transfer intermediary and adviser to third-party ownership (TPO) funds, is a close friend of Lim and has been significantly involved with the acquisitions of Rodrigo and Gomes, as well as other moves to Valencia. The coach, Nuno Espírito Santo, was the first player whose transfer Mendes brokered, in 1997, and Mendes still represents Nuno.

The class of 92 – Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes, who graduated through Manchester United’s ranks to glittering football heights – announced last week that Lim has agreed to take a 50% share in their purchase of the Northern Premier League First Division North club Salford. It raised the question about whether Lim’s intention is to use Salford, where the former United stars have pledged to build a productive academy, as a partner club in his growing football activities. Third-party ownership of players is banned in English football because of its perceived damage to the game’s integrity and players’ individual rights, and on Friday, following Uefa pressure, Fifa pledged to ban the practice worldwide.

A spokesperson for Lim emphasised his involvement with Salford is “philanthropic”, motivated by his interest in developing young players and has nothing to do with Valencia, Mendes or TPO.

“The only reason for Peter’s investment in Salford City is aligned with his personal philanthropic interest in youth development,” the spokesperson said, “and of course his support for the members of the class of 92.”

The former United quintet said when announcing the deal they had known Lim for 10 years – initially this was through his ownership of United’s Red Cafe Asian franchise. He is already involved with the group in building a hotel, called Hotel Football, near Old Trafford at a reported cost of £23m.

Lim made his millions investing in shares and he supports training of young footballers in the Singapore Sports Foundation, where he is said to have invested substantially. Lim’s spokesperson stressed he was not intending to develop a business in TPO.

“Our involvement in the third-party ownership of players is not a long-term one,” the spokesperson, based in Singapore, said. “The case [sic] was mainly due to our acquisition of Valencia. We had submitted our offer to acquire Valencia in December 2013 and did not expect that it is a long and protracted one. We invested in the economic rights of Rodrigo and André during the January 2014 transfer window and it was solely for Valencia in mind.

“After the official support from the Valencia CF Foundation to sell the club to us (but before reaching an agreement with Bankia), the two players were on loan to Valencia for one year while we are trying to complete the transaction.”

The Neville brothers, Giggs, Scholes and Butt have not commented on the third-party ownership element of Lim’s activities but are thought to consider it irrelevant because of the TPO ban here and because Salford City, in northern English semi-professional football, inhabit a different world from Mendes and Valencia.

The former United stars took over Salford this year as part of developing a broad portfolio of interests and activities now their playing days are over. Such projects include the eponymous film that has branded them collectively the “class of 92”. A unifying theme is to positively acknowledge their roots, including a strong connection with Salford – Giggs still lives in the city; Scholes was born there; United’s Cliff and Littleton Road training grounds, where they were all schooled in football, are in Salford.

The five have addressed concerns about whether British players have the same opportunities to progress as they did – Gary Neville has said publicly he does not believe he would be given a chance in United’s first team if he were coming through now. At Salford, they have pledged to build an academy that will develop young British players.

The ambition is to take the club from the raw lower reaches to the Football League, a journey almost certain to involve a move from the historic, but basic, ground at Moor Lane.

Fleetwood Town, who have been promoted from two divisions below Salford, the North West Counties League first division, to League One in a decade, are explicitly a role model. That project has cost Fleetwood’s owner, Andy Pilley, more than £10m, and the Class of 92 said they always wanted a partner who would share the cost of Salford. Hence the billionaire Lim’s investment, which is, they say, a comfortable fit.


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 Post subject: Re: Billionaire buys stake in Salford City
PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 4:12 pm 
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They tell a story at Manchester United, going back to the days before the conveyor belt at Old Trafford rolled off the players who now go by the collective Class of ’92 moniker, about the time the youth-team coach Eric Harrison was so disgusted by one performance an entire team were left hanging by their arms from the crossbar.

Harrison was the disciplinarian who drummed into Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, the Neville brothers and everybody else coming through United’s system the importance of regimenting, hard graft and accepting orders. His word was law – and he could be just as terrifying as Alex Ferguson. “Aside from the boss, Eric could make the most brutal comments of any coach I’ve come across,” Gary Neville once said.

As such, it isn’t difficult to imagine the explosion of rage after one game when the players lining up in a defensive wall jumped and turned their backs as an opposition player struck a free-kick. The shot was low, went under the wall and into the back of the net, and it was in the next training session that the culprits were left dangling from the woodwork. Balls were lined up and fired in to try to knock them down. That team never turned their backs at a free-kick again.

It was a hard regime but, looking back, all the players we saw cavorting on the terraces at Salford City on Friday night hold Harrison in the same reverence as they do Ferguson and clearly value the importance of a strong hierarchy that, if necessary, can put the frighteners on. The rollickings might jar with some but it was a way of life for these men and it isn’t a surprise Salford’s co-owners turned to a couple of modern-day rottweilers when they decided that their previous manager, Phil Power, was not up to it. Power had begun Salford’s brave new world by popping off to Ibiza on holiday, missing a pre-season fixture, and if you tuned into the BBC documentary Class of ’92: Out of their League you will have seen the conference call at the start of the year when his new bosses decided to cut him free.

In his place, Salford now have a managerial duo who give the impression that John Sitton was being too soft in that infamous fly‑on‑the‑wall documentary when he was Leyton Orient manager, most memorable for its “bring your fucking dinner” line while offering to fight two of his own players. Anthony Johnson, an ex-squaddie, has the permanent look of someone whose pint has just been spilt. The other co-manager, Bernard Morley, also might have caused a puncture or two if he had seen Morrissey and his pals cycling around Salford Lads’ Club that time. They hunt in twos and it was amusing to note what the players made of them. “Jonno’s got that devil in his eyes; you can tell that, at any moment, he could flip,” the striker Gareth Seddon said. “And Bernard’s like the scary, quiet man. He looks like he could kill someone.”

Yet, together, the potion is working. Salford won promotion to the Evo‑Stik League Northern Premier last season. They are going for another promotion this season and it was some story against Notts County, from three divisions above, on Friday. Salford will discover that a classic FA Cup upset can do wonders for a club’s popularity and, though it is clearly a learning curve for their owners, they have enough common sense, drive and personal contacts it wouldn’t be a surprise if we hear a lot more about the Ammies (previously known as Salford Amateurs) in the next 10 years.

The difficult part will be finding the balance between the owners’ ambitions and the feelings of the supporters. Do those hardy souls who have wandered down to Moor Lane all those years, with the clanking turnstiles, the gaps in the fences and a team running out to Dirty Old Town by the Pogues, really want the gleaming 20,000-seat stadium that the Class of ’92 envisages at some time in the future? Or are those supporters reasonably happy on the non-league circuit, away from all the turn-offs of professional football, and not particularly enthused by the prospect that one day their little ground might be turned into the next flat-pack arena?

It is going to be a delicate process, plainly. “It brings people together,” Gary Neville said, describing what makes non-league football so charmingly addictive. “They are all standing on the grass bank having a pint and you can’t do that any more at a lot of football grounds. That’s how football was, and isn’t any more, at a higher level; it’s fantastic.” And that is the point: most of those fans presumably want it to stay that way.

The five old pals have already changed the badge and colours – tangerine and black to red and white – as well as bringing the billionaire Peter Lim into the mix, with 50% of the shares, and hopefully they can find a happy medium during the next phase of change because part of the joy for supporters of non‑league clubs is the pie-and-chips feel, the community sense of togetherness and, in Salford’s case, the fact it is not a mini Old Trafford.

A few miles south, I went to Stockport County’s match against Solihull Moors earlier this year and was struck by how open and friendly the place was compared to the football grounds I was used to visiting. There were no security guards wearing blazers and earpieces and standing on every corner, snapping into walkie-talkies. The dugouts were right next to the home seats and even while the match was going on the substitutes could be seen chatting to some of the kids who were hanging over the barrier, smiling for photographs and scrounging sweets.

Stockport, like Salford, have their own Betty Turpin figure in charge of the burgers, unlike at Manchester City, for example, where the menus are put together by Marco Pierre White and John Benson-Smith and the “kiosks by Jamie Oliver” sell baskets of apples, pears and bananas (fruit!). The place reeked of liniment and stale beer and in the course of 30 seconds Stockport’s then manager, Alan Lord, went from yelling at the linesman to passing 50p to one of the youngsters in the crowd, perhaps as an apology for his language.

And, yes, overall it was a lot more enjoyable. It felt real. It took me back to what made me like going to matches in the first place. Then back to normality: an email arrives announcing that Manchester United, the club that lopped the word “football club” off their badge, have made Sbenu their first casual footwear partner in South Korea.

Stockport’s descent through the divisions has been such that their crowd presumably crave a place in the Football League. With Salford, it is different and at least their owners appear to recognise the sensitivities. “Ownership has been an incredible experience for us all but it is a privilege we are wary of abusing,” Gary Neville says, and hear, hear to that.

Further down the line, there might be a different kind of opposition, this time from United’s supporters, if it eventually becomes obvious Salford are flourishing to an extent that they can nibble away at Old Trafford’s local fan base (let’s break the myth: United have formidable backing in this area).

Before its pages closed earlier this year, Red Issue fanzine had already asked whether there was a conflict of interest for Giggs and Butt to work for United but be part-owners of a club that can benefit financially from taking young players from Old Trafford. Football is a cynical world and it is a question that is bound to resurface when Giggs is assistant manager at Old Trafford and Butt coaches at the youth academy.

It is a complicated story but then there are the nights like Friday, when everything falls into place and those supporters might find they liked the first taste of success, and want some more. “The goal of Salford City is for the first, second and third round of the FA Cup to be the norm rather than the exception,” Neville wrote in the programme. “Winning the FA Cup is just a dream this year. In future years who knows?” First things first, though. On Tuesday it’s Trafford in the first round of the Integro Doodson League Cup.


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 Post subject: Re: Salford City - Class of 92
PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 9:05 pm 
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I watched the game on Friday. Couldn't tell who was the non leage club; Salford dominated the game. Any player at any level would've been proud of that second goal.

What's the relationship like between Salford and FCUM?


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 Post subject: Re: Salford City - Class of 92
PostPosted: Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:37 pm 
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O-Dog wrote:
I watched the game on Friday. Couldn't tell who was the non leage club; Salford dominated the game. Any player at any level would've been proud of that second goal.

What's the relationship like between Salford and FCUM?


Not sure there really is one as they haven't actually been in the same league since the takeover. Reedo would probably be the most likely to know as he follows FC

I'm guessing FC will see them as a typical new money club owners plaything type of situation but as far as I'm aware currently there's no real hostility.

Anyone who watched the documentary will realise a lot of the die hard Salford fans are very wary of the new owners. I don't know why they insisted on changing the club colours and the badge and it's clear money makes a big difference. The star striker dropped 4 divisions to join them and the guy who scored the goal the other night cost them £5k which is crazy stuff in non league terms.


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 Post subject: Re: Salford City - Class of 92
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:12 pm 
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The documentary was brilliant, wish it was a regular thing rather than a one-off.

Just checked how they're doing this season and they're doing well, currently 4th, nine points off top. Home form looks poor so plenty of room for improvement.

FC United seem to be struggling a bit, sitting in 17th in the division above, and on a 6 game losing streak. Hopefully they can turn it around soon. I'm sure there would be a lot of interest in a FCUM vs Salford game next season.

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 Post subject: Re: Salford City - Class of 92
PostPosted: Mon Nov 09, 2015 4:30 pm 
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Serbinator wrote:
The documentary was brilliant, wish it was a regular thing rather than a one-off.

Just checked how they're doing this season and they're doing well, currently 4th, nine points off top. Home form looks poor so plenty of room for improvement.

FC United seem to be struggling a bit, sitting in 17th in the division above, and on a 6 game losing streak. Hopefully they can turn it around soon. I'm sure there would be a lot of interest in a FCUM vs Salford game next season.


It was a bit of a strange thing for the BBC to get involved in but these class of 92 seem to be pretty savvy when it comes to their media image and these documentary things. They obviously had the class of 92 film, there was a one off film about Giggs becoming manager on ITV2 a year or so ago and now this.

I just hope they do things properly and if they are going to build a ground and try and get the club up into the football league make it an affordable alternative for local fans to go and watch some football. Not many people in that part of the country can afford season tickets at Old Trafford so potentially they can hoover up a lot of the potentialy Utd local fan base that Utd seem to care very little about.

I think FC United went up a division last season which might explain the struggle and I would imagine the building of the new stadium might mean they've had to reign in the spending a bit.

I think it would obviously generate some interest but I don't think FCUM will be that interested to them Salford are just another club in terms of the structure and their origins in their current forms they are worlds apart.


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