Salford City’s dream has become a reality.
The team backed by Manchester United and Premier League legends David Beckham, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt, plus billionaire Peter Lim, won promotion to League Two on Saturday at Wembley Stadium.
Salford beat AFC Fylde 3-0 in the National League playoff final to clinch their first-ever promotion to the fourth-tier of English soccer. Head coach Graham Alexander took over last summer and was handed a huge budget to guide Salford to promotion.
Mani Dieseruvwe, Carl Piergianni and Ibou Touray scored the goals for Salford, as their incredible rise continues and the United legends celebrated in the stands at Wembley at the final whistle.
Backed by Lim’s money and the expertise and contacts of Neville and Co. behind-the-scenes, Salford have achieved four promotions in the last five seasons to secure their spot as one of the 92 Football League teams for the 2019-20 season.
Salford’s aim is to at least reach the Championship, the second-tier of English soccer, as the Lancashire club aim to become one of the best supported teams in the Manchester area as they offer something completely different to the giants of Man United and Man City nearby.
Money and influence go a long way, and Manchester United’s “Class of ’92” has a lot of it, so don’t be surprised that Salford City is on the rise.
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David Beckham has now bought into the English fifth-tier club, subject to FA approval, meaning the celebrated United class now has a stake in Salford City with the club fighting for its first promotion into the Football League.
“The Ammies” have been promoted three times since being taken over by Ryan Giggs, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, and Gary Neville. Beckham is the owner of Inter Miami CF, expected to debut in Major League Soccer in 2020.
The Class of ’92 released this statement:
“From the very beginning we wanted David to be involved and be with us on this incredible journey however circumstances and commitments didn’t allow that. Now the time is right and is another exciting time in Salford City’s history.
“It is important to emphasize that nothing will change in the day to day operations of the club but to have us all together was always the vision. We grew up in Salford, carved our careers here and that’s why we are doing what we are doing at Salford City.”
Salford City is a point back of the National League leaders Leyton Orient. First place gets automatic promotion to League Two, while second through seventh take part in the promotion playoffs.
The club does employ a Rooney, Adam, but the Irish striker is not related to Wayne.
Wales is among the field of the China Cup, an international tournament in Guangxi, China, to play a pair of international friendlies this week.
New manager Ryan Giggs admitted there is outside pressure to play Gareth Bale in the event at some point, but admitted he will not put the Real Madrid star at risk just to appease sponsors. In fact, the only pressure he’s feeling is from himself.
“Any risks, stupid risks, I won’t be taking,” Giggs said. “But it’s also my first game and I want to get my best team out there.”
Wales missed out on the 2018 World Cup, and there’s little to gain from having Bale out on the field the entire time. Wales will play China in the semifinals on Thursday, and then meets the winner of Uruguay and Czech Republic next week.
According to reports, Wales would lose nearly $150,000 of its $1.5 million participation fee if Bale did not play.
“I’ve not spoken to [Real Madrid manager Zinedine] Zidane, but I’ve spoken to Gareth,” Giggs said. “I’ve been in contact with him regularly in the last few months and I’m not stupid because it’s an important part of the season.”
Bale has been smothered by injuries – mostly calf problems – during his Real Madrid career, missing a stretch of over two months through October and November with hamstring issues. He has been fit since, but Zidane rarely risks Bale for the full 90 minutes. In fact, Bale’s only three full 90’s of the 2018 calendar year have all come in the last three weeks.
The 28-year-old has three goals in his last five La Liga games, including one off the bench in a 6-3 win over Girona last weekend.
Ryan Giggs has accepted an offer to coach the Wales men’s national team, calling it “an opportunity I couldn’t turn down.”
His unveiling comes a day after reports he’d be hired by Wales for his first full-time managerial gig. The 44-year-old had a 2-1-1 record as interim boss of Manchester United.
“I want to get the fans off their seats,” Giggs said. “I’m going to give it my all like I did when I played. It is probably the proudest moment of my life to lead my country.”
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Giggs made nearly 1000 appearances for Manchester United and 64 more for Wales in a glittering 23-year playing career. He won 13 Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, and two UEFA Champions League trophies.
From the BBC:
“I’m not on social media so I haven’t seen much of the criticism. I know the criticism is going to come but the way to combat that is to win games.
“The beauty of football is everyone has an opinion. It’s about striking that balance. All I can do is work as hard as I can to produce a winning team.”
Wales missed out on qualifying for the 2018 World Cup after a dramatic run to the semifinals of EURO 2016. The side has Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Joe Allen, Ashley Williams, and Ben Davies amongst its assets.
A familiar face will be aiming to bring Wales towards World Cup contention for the 2022 cycle.
Several outlets are reporting that Ryan Giggs will be taking over as Wales manager, succeeding Chris Coleman who left his post with the Dragons in November 2017 to manage Sunderland in the English Championship.
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The deal is expected to be four years for the former Manchester United midfielder, who last played in 2014.
Giggs, 44, represented Wales on 64 occasions throughout his career, scoring 12 goals in that span of matches.