Tag Archives: salford city

Salford Defeat Leaves Alexander With Much to Ponder

At Salford City’s Peninsula stadium Inspirational quotes are never far from view. So much so on the steps leading into and out the stadium’s entrance, a final message for fans to take solace off on their Moor Lane exit is scripted on the concrete front.

It reads ‘There is no elevator to success, you have to take the stairs’.

For this particular quote seems highly appropriate at present. Saturday’s 3-1 loss at home to relegation-threatened Dover was a rather bitter pill to swallow for the home support.

Because by the time Dover’s Jai Reason had put the final nail in a very sorry Salford coffin, a large majority of Ammies fan had seen enough and ploughed towards the exits. All this after Dennis Politic had started what looked to be a rather promising afternoon with a goal which mirrored David Beckham’s against Wimbledon in 1996. So appropriate  The ex-Manchester United man was in the stands in his first match since becoming co-Chairman and the memories of that sunny day would surely have come flooding back.

Yet Becks would have watched what happened after and wondered where the next three points may come from. For while he and the rest of the ‘Class of 92’ squad will be a key part to Salford for their future success, Graham Alexander looked a man in need of a quick turn around in form to prove he’s the right man to continue Salford’s speedy climb up the English Football ladder.

After Alexander’s predecessors Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley guided Salford to three promotions in four seasons, it has left Alexander with big shoes to fill. After swapping League One football for non-league last summer, the Salford manager was left perplexed on the touchline as his second-half substitute tweaks failed to make the required impact as his side stumbled to their third straight defeat.

Now without a win since the mid-January, this hasn’t been a Happy New Year at The Peninsula Stadium. Yet only a year into the job, Alexander only looks to be starting what appears to be an ongoing ‘project’ at Salford, something Beckham is obviously dying to get his teeth stuck into.

Not that he would have been impressed with his new side against Dover, who climbed out of the relegation places in a well fought out display. Salford who were lucky the visitors didn’t increase their advantage after wasting two golden chances at the death, but due to other results going their way, they remain in 5th place and most importantly still in the driving seat for a playoff position.

Although things of recent weeks look grim reading, things could be a lot worse. Take Barnet and Chesterfield for example who were only relegated last season, but show more signs of going down a league rung than up one. Yet in comparison with the teams in and around them, their New Year slump couldn’t have occurred at a worst time. At seven points behind leaders Solihull Moors, their chances of becoming champions decrease every game.

Right now Salford are digging deeper into a worrying hole, but the need for realism right now is greater than ever. The doubting fans taking a look at the message on the ousted stairway should do the trick just fine.

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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.

7 Weeks: Oldham Still On The Lookout For A Manager

When Peter Wild was thrust into the limelight after the sacking of Frankie Bunn on Boxing Day, I’m sure he didn’t think that he would be still in charge of the first team seven games later.

That in no way suggests that Wild doesn’t have any ambition, I’m sure he has that in abundance but it was made pretty clear that the appointment was temporary and that a new man would be along soon to take over.

Of course, nobody expected Latics to pick themselves up from the 6-0 deficit at Carlisle, win the next two league games and dump Premier League Fulham out of the FA Cup making the choice of the new manager a little difficult, to say the least.

Bunn had barely left the building before the bookies had made the ‘local boy who done good’ favourite for the job. It was not Peter Wild however but Paul Scholes, one of Oldham’s ‘celebrity’ fans alongside Eric Sykes, Graham Lambert, Nicola Stephenson and several others you’ll never have heard of.

Scholes has been linked to the manager’s job previously, not because he has any valuable managerial experience but simply because of his love for the club and undoubted success at Old Trafford.

Given that appointing managers at Boundary Park with no track record seems to be considered acceptable, one would have thought that Scholes would now be into his sixth week into the job and facing calls for him to be sacked.

However, there appears to be a fly in the ointment in the shape of his involvement with Salford City. Most of what has been written about Scholes involvement with the National League side being a stumbling block to him joining Oldham is conjecture at the very least. However, it has been rightly pointed out that if what is stopping the club naming Scholes as the manager is the issue of his shares in Salford, then his future intentions must be brought into question.

Given that Scholes attended Boundary Park on a regular basis in the past and has not disguised his love of the club, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to expect him to jump at the chance to get on the managerial ladder and sever his ties with Salford. If we have waited seven weeks just to be told that Scholes won’t be taking the job as he’d rather play at being a club owner with his class of ’92 mates, then we have once again been taken for mugs and another chapter can be added to the volume of embarrassment that Oldham Athletic has become.

It is a long shot to suggest that Oldham can make any impact on the table, given that they are currently 11 points off the playoffs – so appointing a new manager at this stage may seem futile. I’ve been unable to find odds on who might be the next manager and I suspect the bookies like many of the fans, have lost interest as well.

Window Closed: What Are Oldham’s Aims Now After January Window Signings

Shortly before the signings Zak Dearnley and Oladapo Afolayan on transfer deadline day, you could have been mistaken in thinking that the club had decided to give up on the rest of the season given the dark mood on social media. People were generally upset that Sam Surridge hadn’t been replaced following his return to Bournemouth. Well actually we did replace him but after less than two games, however, some have decided that 31-year-old Urko Vera isn’t up to the job.

There is no doubt that a similar fate awaits the two young newcomers unless of course, one or both of them hit the ground running and the side ends its run of two league defeats. The signing of the two promising forwards from Premier League clubs came as a surprise as most of the team appears to be made up of players from Abdallah Lemsagam’s contacts in Europe.

The signing of Dearnley particularly resurrected the idea that Paul Scholes appointment as manager was imminent and given his obvious Man United credentials, he might have been involved in the negotiations. Oldham’s immediate aims might appear to be to get some decent results under their belt but the most pressing problem is off the pitch

Without doubt, the vacant managers’ seat needs to be filled and if reports are to be believed, Scholes needs to sever his links with Salford City and end his TV pundit role with BT Sport before his name can be painted on the office door. This appears to make sense but the story is reported from what is usually an unreliable source.

There are thirteen teams above Oldham with similar promotion desires at present and the club face six of them in the next ten games. Latics inability to beat MK Dons who were on a poor run of form, prompted the talk that the club had lost any momentum they might have had when Peter Wild took over the reins – it is certainly true to say that we aren’t being included in any talk of playoff aspirations.

A decent run of two or three wins leading up to the local derby with Bury on February 23rd would help settle supporters, who feel they have been let down by the apparent lack of transparency shown by the club chairman. However, if the negotiations regarding the appointment of Scholes are to be believed, there is obviously a need for a softly softly approach which may not be finalised till next week.

In the meantime, Athletic need to get back on winning ways and the last minute signings could be the key that has been missing.

The Ups and Downs of Supporting Your Local Team

If I am being a) somewhat facetious b) trusting of google maps, my local team is Manchester United.

Apologies to any Reds reading this article – it won’t be about them.

When I think local football I don’t think Manchester United, I think West Didsbury and Chorlton, who play a shade over a mile away from Old Trafford.

I think teams who probably aren’t the only team you follow, teams you might not have heard of outside of the local area and teams who are totally based and dependent on the community around them.

I have followed “local football” for a long time and there are some dizzying highs and some fairly flat moments too.

I think for everyone the biggest high you will ever get supporting a lower level “local” team is that of a giant-killing. I’ve made no secret of my fondness of Curzon Ashton who have had some good FA cup runs in the past. It’s a real buzz and the atmosphere around the club and local area is tangible. Just think of the build-up to Sutton’s FA cup fixture with Arsenal a few seasons ago. You simply don’t have that anticipation around watching Manchester City play Arsenal.

The community around the clubs is incredible, match days are staffed by volunteers, I’ve been to several games where the players know a few of the fans either as they are regular faces, or because they work together (seriously).

The football isn’t as pretty as “Sari ball” or tippy tappy Guardiola football, it’s often hard and physical and can often make for great watching for very different reasons.

There are of course lows, as there are with following every team, and I sometimes find following watching National League and National League North football frustrating. Money is as big a factor here as it is in the top echelons of the game, and these are tough leagues to get out of. If you support a team who seem to get stuck at a level and simply cannot afford to invest in a squad that other clubs do (here’s looking at you Salford City). It can be tedious to watch your team nearly make the playoffs or finish mid-table when they could have done better.

However as much as I do moan at games that I’m cold or that the Tameside stadium is a tedious walk from Ashton train station, I try not to dwell on the odd frustration. I love football at this level, the rising stars leaving to go to bigger and better things, the old stalwarts who have been playing at this level forever and a day, the die-hard fans, or the locals who popped in for a game to see what all the fuss is about.

The very best thing about football at this level, that watching Premier League, or even EFL football can never give you is, you feel you are a part of it all.

The Tales Of Being a Ground-Hopper

I was bought up a dyed in the wool Manchester City fan, through thick and thin, from relegations to centurions, however, I also consider myself a Curzon Ashton fan, and have family ties to Sunderland AFC and Scunthorpe United. I have had a lot of ELF and non-league away days.

The main joys of the leagues are the eccentricities of the places and the grounds you visit. Luton, walking through a terraced house to get to the away end. Yorks bathroom facilities overlooking peoples gardens, the Stadium of light and its sweetshop-cum-nightclub as you walk from town to the ground, and so many more.

I have lost so many hours to researching the likes of North Ferriby, Grimsby and Morecambe. I have got inordinately lost trying to find Bower Fold. “I know all of Tameside like the back of my hand” I once proudly proclaimed. It turned out I do not.

I’ve said it before and I will reiterate, you will go to so many more interesting places once you drop out of the Premier League. I don’t want to spend £60 on a Pendolino to go to watch Chelsea. I will however happily wonder “where on earth is this place” looking at a teams name, and waste close to an entire weekend traipsing over there, probably with a slight existential crisis stuck in motorway traffic along the way. Don’t add up how much you spend on petrol and trains on these excursions. You could probably book yourself an all-inclusive break somewhere significantly more desirable than Nottingham.

You can have some great days out without leaving the home comforts of the Greater Manchester area too. Broadhurst park has a remarkable atmosphere for football of that level, attracting thousands to every game, and singing the whole game through. Stockport County, as you would expect from a team with their history, have a huge ground, tucked away down a terraced street, and adverts in the toilets stating if you buy a funeral with a local provider you get a free county shirt.

Salford City, perched on the top of a hill in Kersal with its sloping pitch and rapid development is worth going to now before they inevitably need to relocate. Oldham’s ground remains quite literally the coldest place I have ever been to, and Macclesfield’s ground (stretching the boundaries of Greater Manchester here, but it’s about a tenner on the train) is as old as time and utter beauty.

Sure you don’t have Aguero playing for Bury and Rashford kicking about for Altrincham, but there is a charm of following your team away in the leagues and National League, you might find yourself wondering if you will die of exposure stuck in stationary traffic on the A1 but also you will see the same die-hard faces every week, you’ll go to some hilariously cheap pubs, you’ll get unforgivably lost in Middlesborough, and go to a lot of seaside towns.

Make a resolution to go to a game or two away this season, you won’t regret it.

The Meaning Of Proper Football – A Non-League Take on Life As a Fan

While labelling myself as a fan of Curzon Ashton, I have a complete obsession with groundhopping, and not enough funds to even consider trying to tick off the 92, so traipsing around non-league grounds, and indeed non-league football has become something of an obsession. And frankly, those that only go and watch their Premier League team are missing out.

Whether its the dizzying heights of the National League or the hungover scratched together teams, there is a charm to non-league that you just won’t find in the professional leagues.

No one in the history of Premier League football has ever turned to their companion and say “that number nine collects my bins, no really he does,” as I once overheard at a game. Nor has there ever been an announcement asking if the crowd has someone holding a referees licence in it, as I have seen happen twice at the same ground. Finally, my favourite ever was a South West London based team tweeting that their game was cancelled as they had no keeper, as their only goalie “Dave” had been kicked out by his wife “again.”

Getting to the grounds is often an adventure, and you find them, tucked away down terraced streets, or strangely, at Swinton FC, through the carpark of a funeral parlour, and Hyde in the carpark of a leisure centre. The excitement about the thought of a trip to Stalybridge Celtic, and the respective train station having a nigh on famous pub inside it, only to then realise Bower Fold is absolutely nowhere near the train station at all, and all of Stalybridge appears to be an enormous hill.

And when you get to the ground themselves you are in for a treat, bars that are more like real pubs at Guiseley AFC and Farsley Celtic, the odd characteristics like Salford’s sloping pitch, the bathroom facilities basically in sheds. And often a mishmash of stands built decades apart that has a charm that the higher leagues with concrete bowls of the edge of towns will never have.

The football is fast and physical, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a boring game. I saw two South Shields players sent off for entirely unrelated incidents in the space of 2 minutes, and when you get to the lower and Sunday leagues you are guaranteed more goals than you could imagine. I met someone once who played in a Greater Manchester league who claimed there was a team in their league with a goal difference of over -100, and they weren’t even bottom.

It’s also affordable, you can go and watch Maine Road FC, get in get a programme, a pie and a pint for little over a tenner. And the ground is full of characters with stories to tell, people at Stockport County with their tales of glory days, people at West Didsbury and Chorlton with their dogs.

Some of the clubs have incredible stories such as Rushden & Diamonds, rising from the flames following expulsion from missing a FA deadline, or Dulwich Hamlets dogged determination to continue despite the best efforts of their awful landlords.

Several of the clubs are staffed exclusively on match days by volunteers, with a real passion for their club and local area. Which, when standing at a freezing Hurst Cross watching Ashton United v Curzon Ashton on new years day I had an inordinate amount of respect for. There is a sign in the bar at FC United saying “Consider yourself part of the family.” And perhaps therein lies the very heart of non league for me; it’s accessible, the player hitting in three goals isn’t going to be driving home in a car that is worth more than the average Manchester House, the manager isn’t full time, you’ll see the same members of the crowd in the exact same spot week in week out and game after game, it doesn’t cost as much as a minibreak to Prague to take your family and while you’ll probably not be watching the next Jamie Vardy or Stuart Pearce, who both rose from the non league ranks rather than through academies, get yourself down to watch your local team, you’ll likely love it.

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