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Salford City in The National League…Completed It Mate

Salford City were on the verge of club history, and well ahead of their projected league status as they entertained AFC Fylde in the National League Play-Off final at Wembley.

Having overseen three promotions in an amazing four seasons, many would have backed Salford to make it a fourth and second on the bounce into League Two. The opposition had been going great guns in the league, however, do have the distraction of the FA Trophy final back at Wembley next weekend.

The Ammies crowd outnumbered, outsang and nearly outfought the security, as they looked to drink up every second of the biggest game in their 79-year history. There was plenty of noise made by the Salford lot and you could feel the anticipation amongst the crowd.

Salford dominated from start to finish, with Fylde not really causing much concern for Graham Alexander’s backline. The early pressure paid off when a free kick bounced off a couple of Fylde players and, landed at the feet of the Mani Dieseruvwe, the striker duly put it away from around 8 yards out.

The men in yellow and black staged a little fightback, going close on a couple of occasions but nothing to nail-biting in all fairness.

Half time whistle went and Salford went in the happier, the crowd moved a little towards the centre of the goal as they looked to suck the ball in for that second goal, the goal that could really settle the nerves.

Up stepped Carl Piergianni with a bullet header from a corner, the Salford crowd erupted and chants of ‘Salford’s going up’ rang around the stand. Every time, I’ve watched Piergianni this season he has impressed me, he looks like a player that may be in demand once he gets in the spotlight of league football. Salford have got a proper defender there, and one that is always down for the cause.

With still over thirty minutes left of the match to play, Salford put themselves in easy mode and cruised to the final whistle. Things got a little bit more celebratory on the hour mark when Ibou Touray, was left to wander down his left flank from inside his own half to the 18-yard box. He put in one of his trademark crosses but surprised everyone, including himself by finding the far corner of the goal and it bouncing in off the post to settle the tie at 3-0.

A lot can be said for Salford meteoric rise through the non-league divisions since the class of 92 took over. However, what you can’t fault is the player’s effort and commitment to keep Salford striving forward.

This really is a fairytale, Roy of the rovers type stuff, and one that certainly grabs the imagination. I can predict a few disgruntled League Two fans next year when Salford hog the limelight, and it will certainly be a scalp most teams will want to add to their bow.

However, Salford has to be applauded for the way it’s run, and the setup behind the scenes. As we have seen so much this season with badly run clubs near falling out of the league, Salford has the chance, and fair play they’re taking it with both hands.  

A Look Back at Salfords Recent Play Off History

In the five years since the class of 92 took over Salford City, it’s seen the Ammies gain three promotions in four seasons, and possibly a fourth on the cards.

Living life in the Northern Premier League Division One North for six seasons, it was seventh time lucky after managerial duo Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson took over the reins midseason in 2015.

Much as been made of the Co92 takeover, and how Salford are ‘buying’ their way up to the football league. However, it takes a well-structured club with determined players to claw their way through the leagues.

Furthermore, that determined set of players and managers have got Salford City up to the National League and within touching distance of stepping into the unknown world of league football, giving them 10 years to reach their 15-year plan of playing in the Championship.

Let’s take a look back at what Salford have achieved since 2015…

2015: Northern Premier League Division One North : Champions

The then Ramsbottom United managerial duo Morley and Johnson took over in January 2015, with the Ammies teetering near the top of the table. the Duo won 15 of the last 17 matches in charge and gaining promotion to the Northern Premier League Premier Division with a game to spare.

Gareth Seddon was the top scorer that season with 24 goals.

2016: Northern Premier League Premier Division: Play Off Champions

Danny Webber inspired Salford to a double bounce promotion with 16 goals in Salfords season at the seventh tier of English football.

An FA Cup run to the 2nd round proper was a major achievement for the Ammies, seeing off League Two side Notts County and taking Hartlepool to extra time in a replay.

They finished third in the league, seeing off Ashton United 3-1 in the semi-final, and Workington 3-2 in thrilling style to reach the highest level in their 76-year history.

2017: National League North: Playoff Semi-Final

Salford’s first season in the sixth tier of English football seen them not taste a promotion for the first time in the Co92’s very short history in charge.

They became a full-time club in 2017 and unveiled the newly named Peninsula Stadium. Mike Phenix became Salford’s top scorer with 15 goals, helping them achieved a fourth-placed finish. They, however, lost in the semi-final on penalties to eventual winners Halifax Town, after the teams couldn’t be split after the two legs.

2018: National League North: Champions

Salford set history once again by gaining promotion to the National League, and once again achieving the highest level the club has played at.

The Ammies finished top with a game to spare, Jack Redshaw topped the scoring charts with 17 goals. Unfortunately in the summer that followed the managerial duo parted ways by mutual consent, which seen now manager Graham Alexander take the reigns.

2019: National League: ???

Three is the Magic Number as Rooney Helps Salford Ease Past Maidenhead

The last time I visited Moor Lane was for the 2016 Northern Premier play off final against Workington, Salford won 3-2. I remember going in the Moor lane entrance and standing on the hill. Behind the goal all the kids played football while the dads had a cheeky pint or two.

How three years can make a difference to a club. The stadium was impressive, giving the whole place a unrecognisable revamp to what I remember. The crowd had certainly grown and the level of football is far more professional.

Salford had the midday kick off, knowing a win would put Leyton Orient under pressure hours later. The Maidenhead fans were giving themselves a decent day out in front of the cameras, with them all turning up in fancy dress – a real sea of colour behind the goal.

Within the first 10 minutes Salford scored to spoil the away fans day trip with some decent work down the right from Adam Rooney, playing in Dieseruvwe to slot home.

15 minutes later Salford doubled their lead with Rooney again from the right with his second assist of the game, crossing the ball across the goal to Touray who power home. This caused Salford fans to start to singing ‘Are you watching Orient’ as the Ammies were marching towards the top of the National League.

Salford looked Dominant down their right hand side through Hogan and Wiseman, and it was causing the opposition some trouble.

One minute before half time, following a goalmouth scramble. Salford were awarded a penalty.

Upped stepped Rooney to cap his own glorious first half performance with a cooley taken spot kick, sending the goalkeeper the wrong way.

The home side led comfortably 3-0 and never seemed in danger of letting the lead slip. They seemed to cruise through the second half at a canter, although manager Graham Alexander never stopped demanding more of his players and barking orders all game.

Alexander even had the luxury of bringing off Rooney , who’d had a hand in all three goals.

Personally I feel Salford have it in their locker to go up as Champions with them hitting form at just the right time following a rocky patch at the start of the year. However, with only three games to play and two points behind they need Orient to have a very timely rocky patch of their own.

Final Score 3-0

Bury Stave Off Administration for Now, Curzon Ashton Boss Mark Bradshaw Talks Cup Chances, Rochdale Making Improvements

This is the EFL and Below Show, your look at all the footballing action in Greater Manchester that doesn’t come from Old Trafford or the Etihad.

Manchester Football Social’s Niall McCaughan is joined by Ian Foran and Aaron Benson of the Football Manc Cave for this week’s podcast.

Bury have struggled off the pitch in recent weeks as financial worries surround the club – is there a light at the end of the tunnel at Gigg Lane?

Curzon Ashton manager Mark Bradshaw chats to us as the Nash chase Manchester Premier Cup success for the first time since 1990.

We reflect on Salford’s promotion ambitions and Rochdale’s chances of safety in League One.

Subscribe to the podcast now and never miss a show.

Acast – https://play.acast.com/s/eflandbelowshow/manchesterfootballsocial-eflandbelowshow-burystaveoffadministrationfornowcurzonashtongaffermarkbradshawtalkscupchances-rochdalemakingimprovements

Itunes – https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/manchester-football-social-efl-below-show-bury-stave/id1449475076?i=1000434701033

AWAY FANS SERIES: The Class of 92 Inspired Danish Jens to Create an Online Community

As part of our away fans series, I spoke to Jens, a Salford City fan from Denmark who has recently created a website to connect with fellow Ammies fans around the world…

Ian: How long have you been a Salford City fan?

Jens: I have been a fan since 2015 when a friend who is a dedicated Manchester United fan told me about the club. The story of the club fascinated me

Ian: It certainly is a great story, have you managed to get to the ground?

Jens: Not yet no, but I will be travelling later this spring. I will go there with my friend to see a Man United game, and then spend a few days in Salford meeting up with other Ammie fans to see them play, of course!

Ian: How did the Danish Supporters club come about?

Jens: Well, as I told you, the whole story of the team fascinated me. I have been a fan of UK football since the late 70s when Danish national television broadcasted one match per weekend. I always loved the atmosphere of the matches there.

I remember being hooked on West Bromwich Albion in those days. So when my friend told me about Salford City FC… it kind of took me back to those days – back to the community feeling.

At the time I became a fan, the whole team was in a big transition, and I really felt the whole Class of 92 buzz.

Ian: I bet you’ve been surprised about the quick rise through the leagues?

Jens: I know that when they took over, the whole game changed. I know that some fans were against money coming into the game at the volume it did. But the class of 92 were not just rich guys wanting to direct a team.

They had a history with the area, and I feel that they genuinely wanted to give something back to the place that gave them great careers. Salford City is, in spite of the money, still a team that is very much about the community.

Yes, for sure. It blew everyone away, that they could get 3 promotions in 4 years. I guess it also bred a lot of envy in the fan world of sub-Premier League teams although there are no local players left, the team is still all about Salford. It gives Salfordians something to be proud of. Which team would not love to have more money on thier hands?

Ian: Yeah I bet, what are your thoughts on this season so far?

It has been a bit rocky so far, late 2018 proved to be a bit of a challenge, but they caught up nicely in the end. However, we should still be happy to get into the playoffs for promotion, and sometimes you need to let things settle before you make the next big leap.

The team as such is still finding it’s feet

Ian: Do you think another promotion is on the cards?

We are now spending time and energy in the FA Trophy, and there are some strong teams in the National League, and nothing is set in stone. I applaud their latest signings, and they may provide the energy and extra talent, that it would take to get promoted directly but honestly, I would love to see them get promoted again. It would take Salford City FC into a whole other game.

Ian: You say you have created the Redammies website, tell me more?

Jens: Sure…

Living so far from the team, I wanted to do the next best thing, which would be to get involved with other Ammie fans. So I wanted to network with them and that is the main reason I created the site. Redammies.club is an alternative site for fans, with networking features on its own proper domain. I did not want to create yet another group on Facebook. There is already one great community of Salford City fans running a group there.

Redammies.club is a networking site for fans and supporters of Salford City FC. I started it a couple of weeks ago (mid-January 2019), and we have 50+ active users within three weeks in!

That may not seem a lot to you, but starting a brand new (and unofficial) site is an extremely steep curve to climb. I am confident that we will grow quickly and my first aim is to reach 100 active users by the end of February, and 500 users by Summer 2019. I don’t aim for the number of users as much as I aim for the quality of the user base. I sincerely hope my enthusiasm and dedication will inspire other supporters to join redammies.club

Ian:Brilliant, where can fellow Ammies find it?

Jens: They should go to https://redammies.club, and sign up. The procedure is extremely simple and user-friendly – Salford City FC Red Ammies Supporters Site – This is the new home for the fans and supporters of Salford City FC, also called the Red Ammies. Fan site with forum groups, networking and more.

Join us, and make it happen!

Ian: Excellent, I wish you all the best for it Jens.