Up the Ammies!
Updated: Oct 1, 2020
Until 2016, the seventh tier of English football was the highest level ever reached by Salford City. 2020/21 is set to be their second successive season in the Football League. The Ammies were promoted in 2019 following their National League play-off win.
The club was founded in 1940 as Salford Central. In 1968 the name was changed to Salford Amateurs, from where their nickname stems from. The current name of Salford City FC was adopted in 1989.
Ahead of the 2014/15 season it was announced that the Manchester-based club was bought out by a group of former Manchester United academy graduates. The esteemed Class of '92 collectively sold a 50% stake to Singaporean billionaire Peter Lim.
Although Paul Scholes is the only one of the United old boys to be Salford-born and raised, the six of them grew up together in the famed academy and were seen as the local lads; Nicky Butt came from Gorton – 6,5 miles out from Salford, the Neville brothers hailed from Bury, while Ryan Giggs was born in Cardiff, Wales.
London-born David Beckham initially did not invest in Salford due to his ongoing commitments in founding his own football club, Inter Miami. In 2019 Beckham acquired a 10% stake in Salford from business magnate Lim, who also owns Valencia CF.
For six years prior to their 2014 takeover, the Ammies had been playing 8th-tier football per the English football pyramid. Right from the get-go the new owners emphasized their desires, particularly that they intended to transform the club into a Championship-level team within 15 years.
Months after the takeover, Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley were announced as co-managers of the club.
Salford won the National Premier League Divsion One North in their first season under the CO'92 regime. The club achieved four promotions between 2015 and 2019, including two league triumphs (2015 & 2018) and two play-off wins (2016 & 2019).
Having guided the team to three promotions, Johnson and Morley departed in May 2018 and former Scottish international Graham Alexander replaced the duo.
In his first season in charge Alexander led the club to their inaugural Football League promotion.
The 2019/20 Football League season was brought to an abrupt end due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Salford finished in 11th place, eight points shy of Northampton who secured promotion to League One.
In the current 20/21 season, Salford won their EFL Cup first round tie against Rotherham, on penalties.
They have been drawn away at Everton in the 2nd round. Should Salford overcome Carlo Ancelotti's Toffees, their 3rd round opponents will be either Fleetwood Town or Port Vale.
Since 1978 the club has played its matches at Moor Lane, five miles north of Old Trafford. In 2017 the ground was reopened by Sir Alex Ferguson, following renovations which saw the maximum capacity increase by more than a treble – from 1,600 to 5,100.
The stadium was renamed the Peninsula Stadium, for sponsorship reasons.
The highest match attendance to date came in 2019, when 4,500 fans watched on vs Leeds United in the EFL Cup.
Current squad members at the Peninsula include Darron Gibson and James Wilson, both of whom came through the Man Utd academy and represented the first-team.
Gibson was named United's youth player of the year in 2006. He appeared 60 times for the Red Devils and earned a Premier League winner's medal in 2011.
Wilson, too, won the Jimmy Murphy award whilst in the United academy, in 2014. He had a dream start to life at Old Trafford, scoring twice on his senior debut vs Hull City; Ryan Giggs was interim-manager at the time.
Unfortunately Wilson did not kick on from there and endured four loan spells away from the club before being released in 2019.
The ownership team are also concurrently involved in other business ventures, both individually and jointly.
Gary Neville initially took upon business interests during his playing days and is now a director/stakeholder in over 30 businesses. He and Giggs own a stake in four restaurants under the Cafe Football chain.
The Class of '92 also developed a football-themed hotel, adjacent to Old Trafford. Hotel Football opened in 2015 and has twelve floors, with an indoor football pitch on the rooftop.
The hotel also features a basement bar with a £1 entrance fee for supporters.
In football, the United ex-stars have obtained their UEFA Pro Coaching licenses. Giggs has been Wales head coach since January 2018; he previously worked as Man Utd assistant coach under Louis van Gaal.
Butt is currently United's head of first-team development; he was in charge of United's academy from 2016-2019.
Phil Neville took up the post of head coach of the England Women's team in 2018. He has also worked at United as a first-team coach and at Valencia under Nuno Santo.
Gary works for Sky Sports as a pundit.
Giggs, Scholes and Phil also do punditry, on occasion.
The Ammies look well on their way to achieving their objective of Championship football before their 2029 benchmark.
Following their meteoric rise up the pyramid, Salford have partnered up with considerably lucrative franchises for sponsorship deals. Sky Sports and telecommunications company TalkTalk are currently the club's primary sponsors; Kappa manufacture their kits.
Salford City seasons under current ownership:
2014-15 National Premier League Divsion One North (8th tier); champions
2015-16 Northern Premier League (7); won promotion play-offs
2016-17 National League North (6); qualified for promotion play-offs
2017-18 National League North (6); champions
2018-19 National League (5); won promotion play-offs
2019-20 Football League Two (4) cut short; finished in 11th place