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Who are they?

Salford probably won’t be bringing masses of support to Nailsworth for this season opener on Saturday 5th August.  Salford’s average home gates are the 2nd lowest in the EFL.  Only Harrogate had a lower average home gate last season.

Since being taken over in 2014, Salford’s rise was meteoric.  In the first 5 seasons after the takeover they were promoted 4 times, taking them from the 8th to the 4th tier.  Since then, things have stalled a little.  This is the 5th season in League 2 for the Ammies and they have been through 4 managers during that time.

In spite of all this, Salford are expected to be among the pre-season favourites for promotion this season.  Last season they squeaked into the final play-off place, finishing 7th in the league and finishing just ahead of Mansfield on goal difference.  But, eventually it was Carlisle who won through to secure the 4th promotion spot.

The Squad

At this stage, it’s hard to judge the strengths and weaknesses of the likely Salford squad.

Luke Bolton was Salford’s standout performer last season, but the 23 year-old midfielder is attracting interest from Barnsley and may complete a £400,000 move.

The transfer window runs until 1st September, so many teams squads will take a while to settle.  Salford have recently signed a 22 year-old keeper on loan from Millwall (Joe Wright) and 23 year-old former Aberdeen academy graduate winger Connor McLennan following his release from Pittodrie.

Salford had a triple strike threat last season with Matt Smith, Conor McAleny & Callum Hendry.  Between them they scored 34 goals last season and all seem to be still at the club.  Callum Hendry is the son of  former pro, Colin Hendry, who was capped 55 times for Scotland and was part of Blackburn Rovers title winning side in 1995.

Former Man City player, Luke Bolton, was Salford’s standout performer last season but has attracted transfer speculation.

The Manager

Salford’s manager, Neil Wood, was appointed in May 2022, his first managerial position.  He began as a trainee with Man Utd, a club he had been with since age 8.  But his career was peppered with injuries and loans.

After a mixed pre-season, Wood said – “Its been a good pre-season. When you look back at the different challenges we’ve had, different games, it’s been really good. The Radcliffe game at the beginning we played some good stuff but it was more for minutes, then we played Derby out in Spain, West Brom was a difficult game, they came with a really high press, a really organised high press, same with Bolton. They came with a bit of a man-to-man then again today they came with a bit more of a gung-ho press. Once we got through we were ok, we probably just needed to show a bit more composure and a bit more quality in the final third but it was a really good exercise, I’m not too concerned about the result.”

Salford boss Neil Wood.

The Club

What do we know about Salford City?  The club were founded in 1940 as Salford Central.  It changed its name in 1963 to Salford Amateurs (where their nickname ‘The Ammies’ comes from) before becoming Salford City in 1989.

At each home game the team walks out to The Pogues’ cover of Dirty Old Town. The Pogues were originally called Pogue Mahone from the Gaelic phrase póg mo thóin, which means ‘kiss my a***’! Dirty Old Town is a 1949 Ewan McColl song which was inspired by the singer’s childhood in Salford, hence its connection to the club. The song opens with the lines;

“I met my love by the gas works wall Dreamed a dream by the old canal I kissed my girl by the factory wall. Dirty old town, Dirty old town”.

The Pogues 1984 album ‘Rum Sodomy and the Lash’ relaunched the song Dirty Old Town – the song that Salford City walk out to at home matches.

Paul Scholes, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, David Beckham
& Gary Neville – 6 of Salford’s 7 owners. Peter Lim is owner number 7.

The Owners

In March 2014 the club was taken over by former Manchester United players Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes & Nicky Butt (the ‘class of ’92’). Later in 2014 a 50% stake in the club was sold to Peter Lim, a Singapore-based businessman who also owns Valencia CF.  In 2019 David Beckham bought a 10% stake in the club from Peter Lim.

Since 2014 the club have been promoted 4 times. In 2014 the club had ambitions to reach the Championship within 15 years. They may still be on schedule but promotion from League 2 has proved tricky!

Ryan Giggs was spotted at a pre-season friendly at Witton Albion after his recent battles in the courts over charges of actual bodily harm and coercive and controlling behaviour.  Might Ryan be thinking of a trip down to Nailsworth?

Their Ground

Salford’s Moor Lane ground was completely demolished in 2017 to allow for the building of 4 new stands.  The ground is now called The Peninsula Stadium.

Rumours have persisted that Salford may be moving home to the AJ Bell Stadium (shared by Rugby Union’s Sale Sharks and Superleague’s Salford Red Devils).  But this move now looks to have stalled.

The Peninsula Stadium has a capacity of just over 5,000, but average home gates of about 2,800 mean that Salford have the 2nd lowest home crowds in the EFL.

Salford’s Peninsula Stadium on Moor Lane.