Salford City returned to the small screen once again as the Class of ’92 continue their ambitions ownership of the local team. Their success and promotion via the play-offs last season was well publicised, however shows like this give us a good insight into the organisation of the Club off the pitch, so what have we learned?
“I was never scared as a player or manager, I’m s******g myself as an owner”
Said Peterborough United owner Barry Fry on Sky One’s Big Ron Manager, and the board of Salford City probably wouldn’t disagree.
With the Neville’s off in Spain for the majority of the episode, and the remaining owners taking back seat roles, the pressure mainly falls on chairman Karen Byrd.
It’s refreshing to see more of her than in last year’s show, because, in a way, she is the most active of the entire board despite only doing it as a second job.
It’s good to see a person associated at the club since before the class of ‘92 takeover still making the key decisions because it keeps that sense of continuity from the club’s humble past, and it looks like her role will become even more prominent in episode two after speculation mounts over Bernard and Johnno’s future.
Gareth Seddon is one of the nicest blokes in football.
The tragic part of the documentary is you are a first-hand witness, watching a footballer’s career reaching its conclusion. And whilst there is the bumbling humor of Seddon locking his boots in his basement, and his cheese shop which was reminiscent of the legend that former Tottenham and Derby star Dave Mackay owned a tie shop. When the forward opens up about his operations and blood condition that reduced his frame to seven stone, it’s easily the show at its most human. However, because of his dipping form you see Seddon at a more personal level than any other player, so much so, you wanted for history to change so he could score the winner instead of Scott Penick for Hartlepool in the FA Cup. But there cannot be any room for sentiment at a football club, and you get the feeling Seddon knew it from his chat with his mum after the club signed Josh Hine.
Bernard and Johnno, old school managers, best of friends.
The dynamic duo in their first season were portrayed as strictly business. However, this year saw the two off the pitch. It was a rather touching to hear Bernard say to his partner in crime he was one of two people who ever truly knew him and adds a balance between the two shouting on the touchline and in the dressing room. It’s also rare to see managers at home, with the only recent TV encounter I can remember being Steve Bleasdale in the aforementioned Big Ron Manager. The two of them can draw comparisons to ‘Bleao’ due to their rousing team talks and on pitch interactions, but far mellower family people off the pitch; it’s a brilliant insight into what goes on in the mind of a football manager(s).
Great to hear from Babs again
Salford’s cook has been at The Ammies for more time than some Ammies faithful have drawn breath, and I’ve had far worse food at football grounds than the food at Moor Lane. I remember even at the time being a bit shocked to learn that Babs and Co had been slapped with a one-star hygiene rating, when at other grounds you can’t tell whether the meat between your bun is a burger or a black pudding! It felt as if the council were trying to humiliate one of the longest serving members of the club, but credit to the women she is, Babs rolled her sleeves up and got her much deserved redemption when the council came knocking for another inspection, because people like her are the spirit of the club, then, now, forever.
Where’s Peter Lim?
The Singaporean billionaire’s involvement in the club has always been a big sticking point with fans since his part of the takeover came to light. The Valencia owner was only briefly mentioned in the first season and has no involvement during this episode.
It’s a bit mystifying really, since it looks like he isn’t really necessary at the club. Perhaps with Gary and Phil’s time at Valencia being teased in the second part, we’ll finally hear from the sugar daddy. But until he speaks openly about his involvement and the decisions he takes as majority owner, you can only view Lim’s premiership of the club with a degree of cynicism, since it’s the one thing that distances the club from the grassroots community spirit that emanates from the club.