It pains me to say it, but I quite like Gary Neville nowadays. The one-club man was an obnoxious little so-and-so on the pitch during his playing days at Manchester United but has proven to be a more than capable coach with the England team and one of the best football pundits on TV in an era of ever-increasing media monopolisation of the sport. He knows his stuff and I for one have been willing to listen.
But making orgasmic noises when Fernando Torres scores and cutting into the tactical arrogance of Arsène Wenger isn’t enough for the former Red Devils club captain, his latest endeavour combining a love of football and the Greater Manchester area. He, along with brother Phil, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Singaporean investor Peter Lim, is now co-owner of Salford City FC.
What better way to fill the void left by no longer stepping out at Old Trafford to play in front of 75,000 fans than to buy your own football club just around the corner? An upcoming 3-part documentary series on the BBC will tell all.
7 tiers below the Premier League, ahead of the team’s 74th year in existence, the red ‘C’ of Salford City above the crumbling main stand at Moor Lane is nowhere to be seen. Renovating the ground, working with part-time players, dealing with unprofessional coaching staff and fending off concerns from die-hard fans, the top-flight superstars have a rude awakening to non-league football club ownership.
What is made very clear in the Class of 92: Out Of Their League is that although the boys might be out of their depth, they maintain a genuine love for football and for a place just a stone’s throw from Old Trafford which holds a dear place in each of their hearts. As the astronomical spending of yet another transfer window draws to a close, it is good to see that the romance of the beautiful game is still there and that five players who were part of one of the greatest teams of the Premier League era still care about its grass roots.