Salford City F.C.


Salford City Football Club is a professional football club in Salford, England, that compete in League Two, the fourth tier of the English football league system, after achieving promotion from the National League in the 2018–19 season.

Salford City
Full nameSalford City Football Club
Nickname(s)The Ammies
Founded1940; 81 years ago (1940) (as Salford Central Mission)
GroundMoor Lane
Capacity5,106 (2,246 seated)[1]
OwnerProject 92 Limited
ChairmanKaren Baird
ManagerGary Bowyer
LeagueLeague Two
2020–21League Two, 8th of 24
WebsiteClub website
Current season

The club was founded as Salford Central Mission in 1940, which changed to Salford Central in 1947, and played minor local league football until winning a place in the Manchester League in 1963. Salford were winners of the Lancashire Amateur Cup in 1971, 1973, and 1975 and the Manchester Premier Cup in 1978 and 1979. The club joined the Cheshire County League in 1980, which amalgamated into the North West Counties Football League (NWCFL) two years later. They again changed their name in 1989, this time to Salford City, and secured promotion into the Northern Premier League (NPL) in 2008 season. The club survived in the league on the final day of the following season, part of an achievement known in club folklore as "The Great Escape".

In 2014, Salford were taken over by former Manchester United players Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, and Paul Scholes, who each own 10% of the club, with Singaporean businessman Peter Lim owning the rest; David Beckham purchased a 10% share from Lim in 2019. Under the management duo of Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley, they were crowned NPL Division One North champions in 2015, won the NPL Premier Division play-offs in 2016, and won the National League North title in 2018. This success was followed further in 2019 with promotion to the English Football League (EFL) after winning the 2019 National League play-off final, this time under the stewardship of Graham Alexander. Salford won their first trophy as a member of the EFL by winning the EFL Trophy in their début campaign.

Salford have played their home games at Moor Lane since 1979, which underwent a major transformation between 2016 and 2017. The club have primarily worn tangerine shirts and black shorts throughout their recorded history, before switching to red shirts and white shorts following the takeover. The club's nickname, 'The Ammies', stems from the club name used from the early 1960s to the early 1970s, Salford Amateurs. The club's anthem is "Dirty Old Town" as recorded by The Pogues, a song written by Salford local Ewan MacColl in 1949.

History


1940 to 1982: The Ammies in Amateur Football

The club was founded in 1940 as Salford Central Mission, named after a Salford church of the same name where the club was founded.[2] with the name being shortened to simply Salford Central in 1947. The club competed in local leagues until 1963, when they were promoted to the Manchester Football League and changed the club name to Salford Amateurs. Now nicknamed "The Ammies", Salford won the Lancashire County Football Association (LFA) Amateur Cup for the first time in 1971, beating Aintree Villa 4–0 at Old Trafford, with all four goals arriving in extra time.[3] They won a second LFA Amateur Cup in 1973, defeating Langton 3–1 at Old Trafford.[4] and won a third in 1975 by beating Waterloo Dock 2–1 at Maine Road.[5] Salford came close to a fourth cup success in 1977, reaching the semi-finals before losing to Blackpool Rangers.[6] Further success arrived in the decade in the form of the Manchester Premier Cup, lifting the trophy in 1978 and 1979. The club changed their name once more, dropping the Amateurs moniker to become known simply as Salford, and moved into their current home Moor Lane in 1978.[7] In the 1980–81 season, Salford reached the fourth round of the FA Vase, losing 2–0 to eventual winners Whickham. Following restoration of the ground and a merger with Anson Villa, Salford entered the Cheshire County League in the same season,[8] finishing 15th and 16th in Division 2,[9] before the league amalgamated with the Lancashire Combination to form the North West Counties Football League (NWCFL).

1982 to 2008: North West Counties League

Salford started off in the second division of the NWCFL, and were promoted to the first division in 1986 despite finishing 18th, due to a reshuffling of the pyramid. The club would adopt its current name of Salford City in 1989 and, the following season, they returned to the final of the Manchester Premier Cup, losing to Curzon Ashton. Later in 1990, they entered the FA Cup for the first time to mark the club's 50th anniversary, losing 3–0 to Warrington Town. Brief highlights of the game were included in the BBC's coverage of the buildup to the 1991 FA Cup final. Salford would later be relegated out of Division One into Division Two at the end of the 1990–91 season, though a league restructuring saw them immediately promoted the following season. The 2001–02 saw Salford narrowly miss out on major success; despite amassing 97 points, they missed out on promotion to Prescot Cables on goal difference, and also made another appearance in the final of the Manchester Premier Cup in 2002, but lost 3–1 to Ashton United at Boundary Park. Manager Andy Brown resigned in March of the next season, with their title challenge collapsing following a post-Christmas run of one win in 10, culminating in a 4–0 defeat to Skelmersdale United.[10]

In the 2003–04 season, with the team 16 points behind Mossley despite being again considered amongst the favourites for the league, the club sacked Chris Wilcock and replaced him with former player Mark Molyneaux.[11] He lasted less than a year before resigning, citing financial restrictions placed on him by the club.[12] He was replaced by Darren Lyons.[13] In the 2004–05 season, Salford reached the third round of the FA Vase before losing 2–1 to West Allotment Celtic[14] In March, they appointed John Foster as manager to replace Darren Lyons, with his first game being a 5–1 victory over Atherton Collieries.[15] At the end of the season, Foster left his role as manager,[16] and was replaced by Irlam manager Gary Fellows.[17] Fellows began his reign with a 4–2 win against Glossop North End, followed by a 4–2 loss to title favourites Cammell Laird.[18]

In January 2006, Salford pulled off a coup by signing former Manchester United starlet Ben Thornley, with the hopes of boosting matchday attendance.[19] Having defeated Ramsbottom United 2–1, Salford reached the NWCFL League Challenge Cup semi-finals for the first time,[20] where they overcome a first leg loss to beat Oldham Town 2–1 over two legs.[21] In May, Salford won the final, overcoming holders Cammell Laird 3–2 in the final; goals from Jamie Baguley, John Robinson and Callum Higginbottom gave Salford a 3–0 lead which eventually won Salford the trophy, the first time they had achieved silverware in their 24 years as a semi-professional team.[22] However, the club would miss out on promotion on the last day of the season, with a 1–0 loss to Cammell Laird dropping them to fifth, with restructuring of the league meaning only three teams would be promoted.[23]

2006 to 2008: Push for Promotion

In June, local businessman and former Salford player Darren Quick became the new Salford chairman, taking over from Ged Carter,[24] and was being quoted as saying that he was targeting Conference football within six years, while promising Fellows a bigger budget to help the club fulfil their potential.[25] The season began with a 3–1 home loss to Curzon Ashton, despite having gone a goal up after 15 minutes,[26] but followed with five wins on the bounce to move into third in the table.[27] On 3 October, Salford played a home league game against F.C. United of Manchester at The Willows, previous home of rugby league side Salford City Reds; Salford won the game 2–1 in front of a crowd of 4,058,[28] leaving Fellows to be confident of a title challenge.[29] After consecutively beating Stone Dominoes and Squires Gate 5–0 and 4–0 respectively, Salford moved level on points with FC United in December,[30] and then became sole league-leaders at Christmas having picked up four points from games against Newcastle Town and Maine Road, with Fellows restating his belief the club could go on to win the league.[31]

In the 2007–08 season, Salford were again amongst the favourites for promotion, and began their campaign with back-to-back 2–1 victories against Formby and Winsford United.[32] They went unbeaten in nine games before suffering a 1–0 defeat to Silsden in late October.[33] They ended their campaign by defeating league champions Trafford 3–0 followed two days later by a 2–1 win against Runcorn Linnets, meaning the club finished second in Division One of the North West Counties League,[34] and after weeks of uncertainty, the FA confirmed that the club had been promoted to Division One North of the NPL, the eighth tier of the English football league system and what would be the highest level the club had ever played at.[35] Salford would also enter the FA Vase for the final time in this season, achieving their joint-best run after beating Hallam 3–0,[36] before suffering a surprise 3–1 defeat to Coventry Sphinx.[37]

2008–09: The Great Escape

The club suffered a difficult start in the NPL, losing six of their first seven matches, including shipping four goals in three consecutive games to Clitheroe, Mossley, and Bamber Bridge,[38] a run of form which resulted in Fellows being relieved of his managerial duties in October 2008.[39] In the two fixtures following his departure, the team picked up their second point of the season against Colwyn Bay, followed by a victory in the FA Trophy preliminary stage against Gresley Rovers.[40] Salford moved to appoint former Bridlington Town and Stockport Sports boss Ashley Berry as the new manager and Greg Challender as his assistant, and quickly made experienced midfielder Neil Redfearn their first signing.[41] His first game in charge did not bring about a change in fortunes, losing 6–2 at home to Trafford.[42] His first win in charge, and the club's first win of the season, came on 15 November, when they defeated Mossley despite going behind in the 19th minute.[43]

After only two months and with results still not improving, Berry was sacked, with chairman Darren Quick citing the club's desperation to not be relegated after only one season in the division.[44] Berry was replaced the following month by former Flixton boss Paul Wright;[45] however, Salford were unaware of a pre-existing suspension he had received from the Football Association for a "serious touchline breach", meaning Wright was unable to start work until March and thus forcing the club to appoint their fourth manager of the season, Neil Hall.[46] deputised for the first two months of 2009.[47] By the time Wright took up his position, Salford were languishing at the bottom of the league, having achieved one win and a total of eight points from their first 26 games, leaving them 15 points adrift from safety.

A second win of the season finally came in March, when new signing Steve Foster scored all five goals in a 5–3 away win at Lancaster City. This was followed three days later by Salford's worst ever defeat, an 8–1 shellacking from Wakefield, a game where Salford went into the break level before conceding seven second-half goals.[48] Their first victory of the season at Moor Lane came at the end of March, a 1–0 win against Bamber Bridge also marking Salford's first clean sheet of the season,[49] and meant they had more than halved the points deficit.[50] The club's form continued to improve, and they achieved an important 3–1 victory over relegation rivals Rossendale United at the beginning of April, a game dubbed "The Game of Death".[51] Over the Easter weekend, Salford picked up a further four points with a 2–2 draw with Chorley followed by a 3–1 win over Warrington Town, meaning they now sat only four points behind Rossendale with a game in hand.[52] Salford won their game in hand against Harrogate Railway Athletic, but lost 4–1 to Skelmersdale United, meaning the relegation battle would be decided on the final day.[53]

Survival was secured on the final day of the season with a 5–2 win away at Garforth Town.[54] It was a turnaround in fortunes dubbed "The Great Escape"; the club had been bottom of the table since August, were relying on Rossendale losing to Mossley, and were losing their own game 1–0 at half-time.[55]

Matchday12345678910111213141516171819202122232425262728293031323334353637383940
GroundAHHAHAAAAHAHAHHHHAHHHHHHAHAAAAAHAHAAHHAA
ResultLDLLLLLDLLLLWDLLLLLDLLDLLLWLLWWLWWWDWWLW
Position17202121212121212121212121212121212121212121212121212121212121212121212121212120
Source: Statto.com
A = Away; H = Home; W = Win; D = Draw; L = Loss

2009 to 2014: Northern Premier League

The 2009–10 season saw strong performances in the FA Cup and the FA Trophy, with the club reaching the third qualification stage of both competitions, eventually losing in extra time to Blyth Spartans in the FA Cup in October,[56] before succumbing to a last minute defeat to King's Lynn.[57] In October, arsonists burned down Salford's clubhouse, destroying memorabilia and photographs collected for over 20 years.[58] In February 2010, having lost four of their last five home matches, Salford parted company with Wright.[59] Chairman Darren Quick took the unusual step of taking on the role of caretaker manager, to be assisted by the club's former manager Mark Molyneaux, with the pair taking four points of a possible six after beating Garforth Town 1–0 and drawing with Wakefield.[60] A few weeks later, it was revealed the pair would be in charge until the end of the season.[61] Under the pair, the team again enjoyed a strong finish to the season, taking 36 points from the remaining games and finishing 11th in the table, their highest ever league finish.[62]

Salford started the 2010–11 season in similar form to the end of the previous; a last minute equaliser earned a 2–2 draw with Trafford which was followed with a 2–1 away to Prescot Cables, meaning they sat in eighth place, their highest league position since promotion two years earlier.[63] But their form soon took a downturn; following two heavy home defeats in the league in four days, 4–0 to Chester and 5–0 to Skelmersdale United,[64][65] and a 4–1 defeat in the FA Trophy qualification to Ossett Albion,[66] Quick decided to end his tenure as caretaker manager having lost six games in a row.[67] He quickly replaced himself with Rhodri Giggs, who would act as player-manager, and he began his reign with a 4–0 win against Durham City.[68] Results continued to improve under Giggs, managing to win his first six games in charge which resulted in Salford being just outside the promotion places.[69] However, after losing star striker Steve Foster to Chorley in March, Salford lost 6–2 to Durham.[2] It was Foster's replacement Jack Redshaw who would help Salford rediscover their form, scoring the second in a 2–1 win against Wakefield for the club's first win in seven games,[70] before taking his tally to five goals in four games by scoring both goals in a 2–0 win over struggling Leigh Genesis.[71] After picking up four points from six against during the Easter weekend against Prescot Cables and Warrington Town, Salford moved into the top ten,[72] and eventually finished the season in 12th position.

The club began well in 2011–12, with hopes of a playoff push, but a poor run of form at the start of 2012, combined with the frequent departure of the club's top players, resulted in a mid-table finish. After the final home game of the season, Giggs announced he was resigning from the post with immediate effect,[73] with club captain Darren Hockenhull taking over the final two games against AFC Fylde and Ossett Albion.[74]

In May 2012, the club appointed ex-professional Darren Sheridan as the new manager.[75] The 2012–13 season started well in the league, and the club also enjoyed a local derby in the preliminary round of the FA Cup against FC United of Manchester.[76] Over 1,300 fans were in attendance at Moor Lane to watch the Ammies narrowly lose in a five-goal thriller.[77] Sheridan's tenure at the club lasted only eight months though, and he resigned from the club in January 2013 after a review of the club's budget, with his final game being a 5–2 victory against Wakefield despite being down to 8 players.[78][79]

The club appointed Andy Heald as caretaker manager,[80] before announcing his appointment on a full-time basis a month later.[81] Before his first game, club captain Jimmy Holden departed, defender Jameel Ibe left for York City, and striker Danny Heffernan returned to Australia; Heald managed the team to a 2–2 draw with Mossley.[82] Under Heald's leadership, Salford finished a disappointing 16th place, which included a 6–0 battering by Trafford.[83] but enjoyed a good cup run by reaching the final of the Manchester Premier Cup where they faced Mossley at Edgeley Park. Despite a rousing late comeback to level the score at 2–2, Mossley eventually triumphed 4–2 in the resulting penalty shoot-out.[84] At the end of the season, Heald and his assistant Chris Thompson left the club by mutual consent, citing business and family commitments.[85]

Ahead of the 2013–14 campaign, the club experienced several major changes; club legend Barry Massay and Phil Power were appointed as joint managers, Salford based businesswoman Karen Baird took over as chairman from the long-serving Quick, and the first team squad now had a "Salford core", having retained only three players from the previous season.[86] The new management team got off to a strong start, beginning with a first ever opening day victory in the division, a 1–0 victory over Harrogate Railway Athletic,[87] and were unbeaten after the first six games of the season until a 2–0 defeat to Burscough.[88] Form began to dip, winning just one of their next twelve games before a 2–1 away win against Ossett Albion in November.[89] The decision was made to reshuffle the management team with Power assuming sole managerial responsibility and Massay dropping down to an assistant managerial role, before subsequently leaving the club completely a month later.[90] In their next game, Salford scored their most ever goals in a game in the division when they defeated Kendal Town 6–3 at home.[91]

2014 to 2017: Takeover by the Class of '92

On 27 March 2014, it was announced that, subject to Football Association and NPL approval, Salford would be taken over by the Project 92 Limited consortium, a group consisting of former Manchester United players Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, and Paul Scholes, known collectively as the Class of '92, expected to be completed by the summer.[92][93] Chairman Karen Baird described it as "massive", saying it would secure the future of the club.[94] At the following Salford games, a 3–2 win over Farsley Celtic and a 3–1 home loss to New Mills, fans chanted "We are Tangerine" in protest at rumours the club's colours would be changed.[95][96] Fan unrest continued to grow until the final game of the season, a 3–1 loss to Prescot Cables, which meant Salford finished the season in 12th position.[97]

Bernard Morley (left) and Anthony Johnson were appointed joint-managers in January 2015.

With the proposed takeover of the club completed, the new ownership team were present at pre-season training in July 2014, at which Giggs suggested the consortium had ambitious aims for the non-league club, with a target of Championship level football within 15 years.[98] It was confirmed that Baird would remain the club's chairman and Power would continue as manager. Prior to the start of the 2014–15 season, the club announced a showcase match against a "Class of '92 XI" featuring all five of the new owners[99] which Salford City went on to win 5–1.[100] The 2014–15 season began with a 4–1 at Moor Lane against Scarborough Athletic, with several hardcore fans refusing to attend in protest to change of colours and club badge, while the Salford Star dubbed the group The Class of Vincent Tan in reference to the Cardiff City owner who had also changed the club colours to red.[101] The good start continued, with Salford unbeaten in the first 13 games. In September 2014, the ownership team announced that they had agreed to sell a 50% stake in the club to Singapore–based billionaire Peter Lim, the owner of Valencia.[102][103]

Despite the promising start, a dip in form during December resulted in only four wins from the following 11 matches, which saw the team fall behind Darlington at the top of the league. As a result, Power was sacked in January 2015 after 18 months in the role.[104] Scholes and Phil Neville acted as caretaker managers for the subsequent match against Kendal Town,[105] before announcing the arrival of the new managerial team of Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley.[106] Johnson and Morley had led Ramsbottom United to promotion from the NPL Division One North during the previous season. The new managerial team went on to win 15 of the remaining 17 matches of the season, a feat which saw them regain their place at the top of the table. With Darlington failing to win their penultimate match of the season, Salford were crowned champions, guaranteeing promotion to the NPL Premier Division.[107] The championship was celebrated with Salford recording their ninth consecutive win in a 5–0 victory over Ossett Town in front of a crowd of over 1,100.[108]

Dawson
Howson
C. Lynch
Burton
Stopforth
Hulme
FA Cup starting line-up vs Notts County, the club's first ever first round cup match

Johnson and Morley's first full season at the club began with a 0–0 home draw with Marine.[109] The club reached the 1st Round of the FA Cup for the first time in their 25-year association with the competition, having defeated fellow league side Whitby Town, Curzon Ashton, Bradford (Park Avenue) from the National North League, and Southport from the National League in the Qualifying Rounds. In front of a sell-out crowd of 1,400 and airing on live the BBC, Salford scored a famous 2–0 win over League Two side Notts County Moor Lane, with the goals coming from Danny Webber and substitute Richie Allen.[110][111] In the 2nd round, they were drawn at home to another League Two side, Hartlepool United,[112] A 1–1 draw, again televised on the BBC,[113] earned Salford a replay,[114] this time aired on BT Sport,[115] where they took their League Two opponents to extra-time before succumbing 2–0.[116]

In January, Salford beat Barwell 7–0 to move second in the table.[117] Having been in the top five places for the majority of the season, Salford eventually finished third behind champions Darlington 1883 and runners-up Blyth Spartans to claim a playoff place. Ashton United were defeated 3–1 in the semi-final at Moor Lane, which was followed up four days later with a 3–2 win over Workington at the same venue in front of nearly 2,000 spectators. The Ammies' scored twice in the final eleven minutes to claim their place in the National League North for the 2016–17 season, the highest level the club had ever reached in their 76-year history.[118]

Johnson and Morley celebrated their 100th game in charge on 19 November, with Salford picking up a 3–0 win against Worcester City.[119]

2017 to 2019: Turning Professional

In March 2017, Johnson and Morley both signed two-year full-time contracts, starting from 1 April.[120] The club also announced that from 1 July, players with the club would become full-time professional players. Salford appointed Chris Casper, who was part of the Class of '92, as the club's sporting director in charge of Academy 92.[121] Ahead of their first professional campaign, the owners outlined their target to eventually reach the Premier League.[122][123] In May, Salford lost in the National League North playoff semi-final, being defeated on penalties by Halifax Town.[124]

On 5 August, Salford-born Liam Hogan was announced as the new club captain.[125] On 12 August, Mani Ogunrinde and Anointed Chukwu became the first Academy 92 players to represent the first team, when they came on as late substitutes in a 2–0 away win against Telford United.[126] On 21 April 2018, with promotion rivals Harrogate Town losing away to Bradford (Park Avenue),[127] the club were promoted as champions of the National League North with one game to play, despite a 2–1 home defeat to Boston United,[128] and in the process secured promotion to National League, once again re-setting the bar for the highest level the club has ever attained.[129][130] On 8 May, it was announced Johnson and Morley had left the club by mutual consent, due to irreconcilable differences regarding performance and contract length.[131][132] Shortly afterwards on 14 May, Graham Alexander was appointed as the club's new manager after signing a four-year contract.[133]

Ahead of the season, Salford were regarded as favourites to take the one automatic promotion place,[134] but faced criticism for their spending and were accused of trying to "steal" a place in the Football League.[135][136] In their first game in the National League on 4 August, they drew 1–1 with promotion rivals Leyton Orient, with their goal being scored by Rory Gaffney.[137] Their first victory in the division was achieved on 14 August, with a 2–1 home win against Halifax Town.[138] Salford reached the first round of the FA Cup for a second time; having defeated Marine 2–1 in the final qualifying round,[139] they were drawn to play away at League One side Shrewsbury Town.[140] An equaliser from Adam Rooney earned Salford a replay,[141] in which Rooney would score again in a 3–1 defeat.[142] Salford suffered three consecutive defeats in the Christmas period which left them in third place, five points behind Orient – a 2–1 loss to Dagenham & Redbridge was followed by a heavy 5–1 defeat to promotion rivals Wrexham on Boxing Day. Three days later, 10-man Salford conceded a 94th-minute goal in a 3–2 away loss to Barrow.[143]

They quickly closed the gap on leaders Leyton Orient, winning 3–0 in the reverse fixture at Brisbane Road on 5 January.[144] Later that month it was announced that David Beckham was set to join his Class of '92 teammates as part owner of the club, taking 10% of the club previously held by Peter Lim,[145] with the deal being subject to Football Association approval. Salford would go on a 10 match unbeaten run, including a late comeback to beat Bromley 2–1,[146] and an 88th-minute winner against Boreham Wood to win 3–2.[147] They would finally miss out on the title, automatic promotion, by losing their final games of the season to Fylde and Hartlepool United, meaning the club finished third in the table behind champions Leyton Orient and Solihull Moors.[148]

During the season, Salford played their first ever games in the FA Trophy proper, starting with a 3–1 win over Gateshead in the first round in December,[149] followed by a 3–1 win against Dagenham & Redbridge.[150] In the third round Salford faced Maidstone United where they were held to a 1–1 draw at home,[151] meaning a replay was necessary, which Maidstone won 3–0 a week later.[152]

2019–2021: Promotion to the Football League

Manager Graham Alexander (left) and captain Liam Hogan (right) helped Salford City reach the Football League for the first time.

On 5 May 2019, Salford reached the National League play-off Final after overcoming Eastleigh in a penalty shootout after a 1–1 draw, meaning they would play at Wembley Stadium for the first time in their history.[153] On 11 May, they beat Fylde 3–0 in the final, with goals from Emmanuel Dieseruvwe, Carl Piergianni, and Ibou Touray;[154] this marked the first time Salford had ever reached the Football League.[155] During the summer, the club appointed Warren Joyce to manage their first ever development squad, designed to be a stepping stone between the academy and the first team.[156]

They began their first season in the league with a 2–0 win against Stevenage, with both goals coming from Dieseruvwe.[157] Salford would take part in two competitions for the first time; they lost their first ever game in the League Cup 3–0 at home to Leeds United in front of 4,518 fans, a record attendance at Moor Lane.[158] They achieved their first away victory in the Football League on 5 October, when goals from Luke Armstrong, Jake Jervis, and Touray gave the club a 3–0 win against Walsall.[159][160] Later in the season, the club would reach the EFL Trophy Final after defeating Newport County via a penalty shootout, where they were due to play League One side Portsmouth;[161] the game was postponed indefinitely following the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom.[162] In June, the league season was officially cut short after the 24 League Two clubs voted by an "overwhelmingly majority", with the league table to be decided on a points per game basis, meaning Salford finished their début season in the football league in 11th.[163] Later that month, Salford took the decision to scrap their Under 18 team, instead deciding to focus exclusively on the development squad.[164] Co-owner Phil Neville said that the reason was both financial and because lower-league clubs could not attract the best youth players, and that the club would have a better chance developing 18 to 20 year olds under coach Warren Joyce.[165]

Salford secured their first ever win in the League Cup in the first game of the following season, defeating Rotherham United on penalties after a 1–1 draw.[166] A week later, it was announced that following a meeting held by the EFL with representatives from both Salford and Portsmouth, that the EFL Trophy Final would now take place in 2021.[167] Alexander departed the club on 12 October following a 2–2 draw at home to Tranmere Rovers; the club were 5th in the league and unbeaten in the opening five games, and co-owner Paul Scholes took the job on an interim basis.[168] Alexander declared himself "disappointed"[169] but said he hoped he gave everybody at the club "some great times to remember".[170] Scholes' first game in charge was a 1–0 defeat to Port Vale on 17 October,[171] and he quickly ruled out taking the position on a permanent basis, citing the need for a more experienced manager.[172] His first win came three days later with a 3–0 win against struggling Southend United.[173]

On 4 November, the club announced that former Salford player Richie Wellens, who was the manager of 2019–20 League Two champions Swindon Town, would be their new manager.[174][175] In his first interview, Wellens revealed he had been hired get the team to play a more attacking style of football and to get them promoted to League One.[176] The first game of his reign came on 7 November, with a 2–0 win against Hartlepool United in the FA Cup first round courtesy of goals from Bruno Andrade and Dieseruvwe in extra-time.[177] Wellens suffered his first loss as Salford manager in his first league game in charge, a 2–0 loss against Bolton Wanderers the following week,[178][179] but won his first league game on 21 November against Bradford City, a 3–0 victory with two goals from Luke Burgess and another from Ian Henderson.[180] On 13 March 2021, Wellens guided Salford to victory in the rescheduled EFL Trophy final; a 0–0 draw was followed by a penalty shootout, with Salford winning 4–2 after successful penalties by Burgess, Dieseruvwe, Brandon Thomas-Asante, and Jason Lowe.[181][182] However, Wellens' time at the club came to an end on 22 March, departing Salford by mutual consent following a run of one win in eight games, with his final game in charge a 2–0 defeat to Cheltenham Town.[183] Gary Bowyer was his replacement in charge, signing a deal until the end of the season.[184]

Stadium


Moor Lane, home of Salford City.

Salford play their home games at Moor Lane, known as the Peninsula Stadium for sponsorship reasons, located in the Kersal area of Salford. The stadium has a capacity of 5,108. The club has played their games at Moor Lane since 1978.

In December 2015, Salford City Council approved planning permission for the capacity of the ground to be increased from 2,163 to 5,172.[185] In October of the following year, Salford unveiled plans to renovate the ground to comply with standards of the Football League, which would increase the capacity to 5,100.[186] The plans included terraced stands behind the goals, a supporters' club with a capacity of 600, and executive seating.[187][188]

In December, it was revealed Salford faced objections from hundreds of local residents, and the newly formed Kersal Moor Residents' Association. about the club's proposals, with worries over traffic and parking.[189] However, later that month, Salford City Council granted permission for the ground's development.[190] This involved completely demolishing the Moor Lane ground, the club's home since 1978, and putting in four new stands.[191] By the end of February, two stands had already been completed as the club tried to beat a March deadline with regards to ground grading.[192] In May, the "iconic" main stand was demolished as building work progressed.[193]

On 19 October 2017, the newly built ground was renamed Peninsula Stadium for sponsorship reasons, and was unveiled by the Class of '92's former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson;[194] the renaming was part a five-year deal with a local entrepreneur Peter Done, who founded the law employment experts Peninsula in Salford.[195] The ground has floodlights in the shape of the club badge,[196] while the terraces are "tight, steep, and covered", and has a leafy backdrop with a nearby church spire visible from within the ground.[196]

Kit and badge


City of Salford Coat of Arms

The club's colours are red, white and black, which were originally used for the 1981–82 season. Prior to the change in ownership in 2014, the club played in tangerine and black, and had also previously worn tangerine and white. Many Salford supporters were unhappy with the change at the time, with the manager at the time, Phil Power, describing the issue as "delicate".[97] The team also previously wore green in the 1970s, and used had various blue kits throughout the years; orange became their colour when dealing with financial difficulties and borrowed old kits from Blackpool.[196]

The club's logo also changed in 2014, replacing a rampant lion with one described as "bolder, more forward-facing".[197] The current logo is said to replicate the shape of the hull of the ships in Salford's docks.[198]

In 2013, Salford announced that the club's new main sponsors would be Manchester-based insurance brokers Champion Insurance.[199] In 2015, the club announced their kits would be supplied by Umbro after signing a five-year contract.[200] The club signed a long-term deal with Soccer Saturday Super 6 to become the shirt sponsor.[201] In 2019, Italian sportswear brand Kappa were confirmed to be the new manufacturer of Salford's kits on a three-year deal.[202][203] The following year, telecommunications company TalkTalk became Salford's lead sponsor until the end of the 2023–24 season.[204]

The club adopted two mottos from the coat of arms of the City of Salford; the original motto "Integrity & Industry" features on the club kit, while the current city motto "The Welfare of the People is the Highest Law", translated from the Latin "Salus Populi Suprema Lex", is featured on the stadium walls. [205][206]

Sponsorship

Period Sportswear Sponsor
2006–2007 ProStar ArcelorMittal
2007–2008 Avis Steel
2008–2009 ArcelorMittal
2009–2010 1010 Taxis
2010–2011 Lotto Sport Italia
2011–2013 Stanno
2013–2014 SK Kits Champion Insurance
2014–2015 Carbrini
2015–2017 Umbro LED Hut
2017–2019 Soccer Saturday Super6
2019–2020 Kappa
2020–2021 TalkTalk

Supporters and rivalries


At each home game the team walks out to The Pogues' cover of Dirty Old Town, the 1949 Ewan McColl song inspired by the singer's childhood in Salford.[207][196] Following the takeover by the Class of '92, Salford's fanbase and resulting attendance figures has steadily grown;[208][196] ahead of their début season as a Football League club, Salford had sold over 1,900 season tickets, an increase of approximately 800 from the previous season.[209] The rise in fanbase has in part been attributed to many Manchester United supporters opting to attend games at Salford due to the cost of attending games at Old Trafford and the relative affordability of a season ticket at Moor Lane.[196]

Since their promotion to the Football League, the club do not maintain any strong rivalries. However, a survey conducted in August 2019 suggested that supporters of the club consider near neighbours Oldham Athletic and Bolton Wanderers to be the club's main rivals. The survey also revealed that smaller rivalries with Accrington Stanley, Macclesfield Town and Crewe Alexandra also exist.[210]

Fans of the club also maintain a dislike for East London-based Leyton Orient due to the race for the 2018–19 National League title, which Orient eventually won.[210] During the club's non-league days, they maintained rivalries with Curzon Ashton, Darlington, FC United of Manchester,[211] Ashton United and Radcliffe Borough.

The club has three mascots, a pride of anthropomorphic lions named Bobby, Billy, and Babs;[212] the latter two were named as part of a competition in local schools.[213]

Ownership


For many years, local businessman and former player Harold Brearley was in charge of Salford, helping take the club from local leagues into the semi-professional North West Counties League in 1982, and was instrumental in moving the club to their current home of Moor Lane in 1979.[214] In June 2006, local businessman and former Salford player Darren Quick became the new Salford chairman, taking over from Ged Carter.[24] In December 2013, Salford club president Dave Russell held secret talks with former Manchester United players Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs.[215]

In February 2014, it was revealed by a local newspaper, the Salford Star, that as well as Gary Neville and Giggs, fellow former Manchester United players Nicky Butt, Phil Neville, and Paul Scholes, known collectively as the Class of '92, were in talks with the club regarding "major investment".[216] Gary Neville and Giggs were said to be concerned with the lack of talent produced at grassroots level, and chose Salford due to the club's proximity to The Cliff, the former training ground used by Manchester United when the pair were youngsters.[217] With talks ongoing, four of the prospective buyers (Butt, Giggs, Gary Neville, and Scholes) attended the 2–0 home defeat to Curzon Ashton on 1 March.[218] On 27 March, it was announced that, subject to Football Association and NPL approval, the group had agreed a deal to takeover the club, expected to be completed by the summer.[92][93] In September, Singaporean businessman Peter Lim bought a 50% stake in the club, subject to FA approval.[102] Lim said his involvement would be philanthropic,[219] part of a long-term business partnership with Gary Neville.[220]

Ahead of the club's first season in the National League in 2018, the club received interest free loans totalling approximately £2.4m, allowing the club to invest in players such as Adam Rooney from Scottish team Aberdeen for a fee reported as £300k.[221] In 2020, it was revealed that the owners had invested a further £2.5m to aid the club's push for promotion, as well as to develop the club off the pitch.[222] Later that year, the club chose not to place staff on furlough amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in the United Kingdom despite potential savings of £350k.[223]

In media


Ahead of the club's first ever FA Cup tie against Notts County in 2015, Salford were featured in a BBC One two-part documentary series titled Class of 92: Out of Their League, which showcased the first season under the ownership of the group following their takeover the previous year.[224] The Independent described it as "enthralling",[225] while The Daily Telegraph described it as an "honest, appealing portrait" of non-league football.[226] The BBC would later commission a second series in February 2016, describing the first as a "resounding success".[227] A third series would air in 2017 on Sky Sports.[228][229]

Players


First-team squad

As of 15 May 2021[230]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
1 GK  CZE Václav Hladký
3 DF  GAM Ibou Touray
4 MF  ENG Jason Lowe
5 DF  ENG Ashley Eastham (captain)
7 FW  ENG Luke Armstrong
9 FW  ENG Tom Elliott
10 FW  ENG Ashley Hunter
No. Pos. Nation Player
15 MF  ENG Luke Burgess
16 DF  ENG Jordan Turnbull
28 MF  ENG Alex Denny
32 DF  ENG Tylor Golden
37 FW  ENG Brandon Thomas-Asante
40 FW  ENG Ian Henderson


Development squad

As of 15 May 2021[231]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Pos. Nation Player
23 DF  ENG Kevin Berkoe
27 DF  ENG Hayden Campbell
29 MF  WAL Matthew Sargent
31 GK  ENG Hayden Evans
No. Pos. Nation Player
33 MF  ENG Liam Loughlan
39 FW  WAL Momodou Touray
DF  ENG Cerny Ando
MF  ENG Lewis McKinney

Player of the Season Awards

Season Players' Player Supporters' Player
2008–09 Steve Foster Steve Foster
2009–10 Martyn Andrews Martyn Andrews
Rhodri Giggs
2010–11 Darren Hockenhull Matty Cross
2011–12 Darren Hockenhull Darren Hockenhull
2012–13 Jamie Rother Ritchie Branagan
2013–14 Aaron Walters Aaron Walters
2014–15 Chris Lynch Gareth Seddon
2015–16 Chris Lynch Chris Lynch
2016–17 Scott Burton Michael Nottingham
2017–18 Liam Hogan Carl Piergianni
2018–19 Carl Piergianni Carl Piergianni
2019–20 Ibou Touray Ibou Touray

Club staff


[232]

Position Staff
Owner David Beckham
Owner Nicky Butt
Owner Ryan Giggs
Owner Peter Lim
Owner Gary Neville
Owner Phil Neville
Owner Paul Scholes
Chairman Karen Baird
Sporting Director Chris Casper
Club Secretary Andrew Giblin
ManagerGary Bowyer
Assistant coachVacant
Position Staff
Goalkeeping coach Carlo Nash
First Team Analyst Ross Duncan
Head of Performance Dave Rhodes
Physiotherapist Stephen Jordan
Sports Scientist Rob Williams
Strength & Conditioning Youl Mawéné
Club Doctor Mubin Ibrahim
Kitman Paul Rushton
Head of Recruitment Greg Strong
Chief scout Chris Herbert
Under-18's coach Luke Morgan

Seasons


Year League Level P W D L F A GD Pts Position Leading league scorer Goals FA Cup EFL Cup FA Trophy EFL Trophy Average attendance
2007–08 NW Counties FL Div. One 9 38 26 6 6 75 35 40 84 2nd of 20
Promoted as runners-up
? ? PR not eligible not eligible not eligible ?
2008–09 NPL Division One North 8 40 10 6 24 59 107 −48 36 20th of 21 Steve Foster 17 QR2 not eligible QR1 not eligible ?
2009–10 NPL Division One North 8 42 16 8 18 63 74 −11 56 11th of 22 ? ? QR3 not eligible QR3 not eligible ?
2010–11 NPL Division One North 8 44 17 11 16 68 73 −5 62 12th of 23 ? ? QR1 not eligible PR not eligible ?
2011–12 NPL Division One North 8 42 14 10 18 69 71 −2 52 13th of 22 ? ? PR not eligible QR2 not eligible ?
2012–13 NPL Division One North 8 42 11 13 18 65 79 −14 46 16th of 22 ? ? QR2 not eligible PR not eligible 117[233]
2013–14 NPL Division One North 8 42 15 7 20 68 80 −12 52 12th of 22 Mark Battersby 11 PR not eligible PR not eligible 138[234]
2014–15 NPL Division One North 8 42 30 5 7 92 42 50 95 1st of 22
Promoted as champions
Gareth Seddon 24 QR2 not eligible PR not eligible 383[235]
2015–16 NPL Premier Division 7 46 27 9 10 94 48 46 90 3rd of 24
Promoted via play-offs
Danny Webber 16 R2 not eligible QR1 not eligible 703[236]
2016–17 National League North 6 42 22 11 9 79 44 35 77 4th of 22

Lost in play-off semi-final

Mike Phenix 16 QR3 not eligible QR3 not eligible 1,430[237]
2017–18 National League North 6 42 28 7 7 80 45 35 91 1st of 22
Promoted as champions
Jack Redshaw 17 QR2 not eligible QR3 not eligible 1,626[238]
2018–19 National League 5 46 25 10 11 77 45 32 85 3rd of 24
Promoted via play-offs
Adam Rooney 21 R1 not eligible R3 not eligible 2,509[239]
2019–20 EFL League Two 4 37 13 11 13 49 46 3 50 11th of 24 Adam Rooney 8 R1 R1 not eligible Champions 2,997[240]
2020–21 EFL League Two 4 46 19 14 13 54 34 20 71 8th of 24 Ian Henderson 17 R2 R2 not eligible R2 0[241]

Honours and achievements


Leagues

National League (5th tier)

National League North (6th tier)

Northern Premier League Premier Division (7th tier)

Northern Premier League Division One North (8th tier)

North West Counties League Premier Division (9th tier)

Cups

EFL Trophy

Manchester Premier Cup

North West Counties League League Challenge Cup

Lancashire Amateur Cup

  • Winners (3): 1971, 1973, 1975

Club records

Salford City Lionesses


In 2018, the club set up a women's team, named the Salford City Lionesses,[243] with the team to play in the Greater Manchester Women's Football League.[244] In the first game of the season, they recorded a 13–0 win against Urmston Meadowside, with Feiruz Abdullahi scoring six.[245] In the club's first season, they won the league championship with a goal difference of +116 and reached three cup finals.[246]

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