Tag Archives: Gary Neville

Today Salford City or Fylde Will be Taking a Step Into The Unknown, Miles Ahead Of Expectation

Just over a decade ago AFC Fylde and Salford City were so far apart, one of the clubs had a different name and the others had a different colour for a home kit.

Fylde were named Kirkham & Wesham until the 2008/09 season before winning the FA Vase at Wembley, the same venue of the play-off final. Salford’s main kit was orange until a controversial colour change following on from the takeover that changed Non-League forever. 2014 was the year the Ammies found fame, following the takeover of The Class of 92.

It’s fair to say Fylde and Salford have more than ambitious owners. As near neighbours, Blackpool have suffered aplenty under the Oysten Family, the new up and coming Lancashire club have been doing the complete opposite. Under chairman David Haythornthwaite, a top of the range stadium and academy named Mill Farm has been constructed.

Now with Haythornwaite’s backing, they too have aimed to make the Football League. 2022 is their desired aim for League Two football, meaning if David Chanillor’s men come up short against Salford, they’re still ahead of progress to one day be in England’s top 92 teams. Alongside businessman Peter Lim, Gary Neville and co have something similar planned at the Peninsula Stadium.

Both teams have clear objectives, but by sunset tomorrow one side will have exceeded all aims and objectives. By August one of Fylde or Salford will welcome Oldham, Scunthorpe or Bradford to their respective stadia, while the other dust themselves down and goes again in the league they’ve spent nine months trying to get out of.

For Graham Alexander at Salford, promotion to the football league would be nothing short of his set standards. Only over a year ago Alexander was managing Scunthorpe in League One, come next season he may be taking his present team back to Glanford Park in League Two where the Irons have now been relegated to.

The former Scunthorpe and Fleetwood Town boss has been working with a lucrative budget this season, the reason why few eyebrows were raised when he made the rare step down in league quality. Most likely one of the few clubs below the Championship, let alone the National League to be able to have £4,000 a week Adam Rooney within his ranks, managing the club neighbouring Man United and City certainly holds a fair few bonuses.

But with money comes expectation and Salford have revelled in that. Set for another promotion, possibly their fourth in five seasons, working out where the momentum will end for the Ammies has been impossible. Working out where that will stop with victory tomorrow is a troublesome task as well.

Signings from Bristol Rovers (Rory Gaffney) and Chesterfield (Scott Wiseman) have helped Salford in their attempt to complete the last leg of their Non-League journey. In their way stand the club of the Fylde Coast. After finishing 5th in the regular league season and taking down Solihull Moors in last Sunday’s semi-final, they now have dreams and expectations of their own.

Salford’s Full Backs are the Untold Stars of Their Promotion Push

The Class of 92’s spending on attacking talent such as Adam Rooney and Rory Gaffney has been well documented over recent months, but the greatest asset to Graham Alexander’s side may just well be his back four, in particular full backs Scott Wiseman and Ibou Touray. 

Consisting of Liam Hogan and Nathan Pond at centre back, Ammies full backs produced a performance owners and former defenders Gary and Phil Neville would have been proud of in their own playing days. 

Centre backs Pond and Captain Hogan were particularly impressive, Bromley striker JJ Hooper found himself short of any goalmouth action throughout the 90 minutes, while wingers Luke Coulson and George Porter both faced an uphill battle from the word go in their own personal duels with Wiseman and Touray. 

Having seen an upturn of form in March winning five of their six games heading into Bromley, the source of Salford’s unbeaten run isn’t hard to find. So much so, ‘keeper Chris Neal came into the game having not conceded a goal in 550 minutes of football, a run that goes back to the end of February. 

Despite playing a mid-table Bromley side with little to play for in terms of promotion and relegation before the season is out. Neil Smith’s side came into the game on the back of a midweek 4-2 win over Braintree Town, the visiting front three therefore had plenty of reasons to be confident upon their visit to The Peninsula Stadium. 

Bromley, who were at times dangerous on the counter attack during the first half, certainly found themselves to be the victims through endless Salford pressure. Alexander’s game plan looked a clever one to the watching eye: Deep, threatening  crosses out wide from Touray and Wiseman plus substitute Tom Walker provided a fresh attacking threat from the right flank which caused more trouble for the opposition.  

Trailing 1-0 to a soft Hooper penalty, down the right hand side Salford reaped the rewards, delivering drama that mirrored The Class of 92’s own careers with Man United. 

And it was only going to be down that flank if the home side fancied nicking anything as Maynard then Pond provided delivered the rewards. Bromley are no strangers to conceding late goals recently, but their collapse was not due to their inability to hold a lead.

Struggling for the most part to test Bromley keeper David Gregory, Alexander’s substitutes coupled with his sides never die attitude showed why Ammies promotion push shows no sign of slowing down. Ending March with six wins in seven games, the dream of competing in League Two looks rather more probable than five weeks ago after a 2-0 home loss to Eastleigh. 

At one point during the second half, Salford diehards began the goal started singing ‘we are going up’. If they are to do so, a look to their full backs may just an extra reason for what looks like an achievement so much more likely by the week.