In the third instalment of New Blood where we take a look at the six new sides competing in the National League next term, we cast our eye over a side who’ve risen through the ranks to non-league’s top tier, Salford City.
Name: Salford City Football Club
Nickname: The Ammies
Manager: Graham Alexander
Stadium: Moor Lane
2017/18 league position: 1st (National League North)
Appointed following the departure of join-managers Bernard Morley and Anthony Johnson, Graham Alexander took the reigns at Moor Lane in May. He began his playing career with Scunthorpe United in 1988 making his debut in the first team aged 20 in 1991. He’d go on to make over 150 appearances for the Iron before moving on to Luton Town in 1995. After four years at Kenilworth Road he began an eight year stint in Lancashire, signing for Preston North End. After over 350 league matches for the Lilywhites where he captained the side he moved on to Burnley in 2007, earning promotion to the Premier League in his second season. His playing career ended in 2012 during a second stint with Preston before taking up the management of Fleetwood Town, with previous experience as caretaker with North End. Three years with Fleetwood and two with Scunthorpe followed before being dismissed by the latter in March 2018, even with his side 5th in League One.
Although newcomers to this level, Salford have a plethora of talent among their ranks and have continued to add to it during the summer. Defender Nathan Pond left Fleetwood Town after 12-years at Highbury to bolster the talented backline. Liam Hogan was the Ammies title-winning skipper last term having joined from Gateshead. Hogan has a proven record at National League level and should have no problems returning to non-league's top flight. Meanwhile, midfielder Danny Whitehead signs up fresh from winning the National League title with Macclesfield last season and is a very shrewd signing for City.
Moor Lane has been the home of Salford City since 1978 and was a multi-use sports ground for most of its existence. Since the takeover from the class of 92 and Peter Lim, the ground has been drastically upgraded in the previous four years. New stands and facilities have seen Moor Lane turned from a lower non-league ground to a stadium with Football League ambitions.
Formed in 1940 as Salford Central, the Ammies have spent the majority of their history in the lower echelons of non-league football, predominantly in the local Manchester, Cheshire and then the North-West Counties. Success was found in the Manchester Premier Cup in the late seventies whilst they also triumphed in 2008 they were eventually promoted to the Northern Premier Division One North, having won the North West Counties League Cup in 2005. In 2014 the 'Class of 92' (Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes Gary Neville and Phil Neville), completed their takeover of the club with Peter Lim then taking over a 50% stake. With this investment they earned back-to-back-to-back promotions and now for the first time will compete in the National League.