When the final whistle went on Tuesday evening, I realised I had a whole new reason to dislike Salford City. If the complete ego trip of the Class of 92 wasn’t bad enough then the horrible, niggly, time-wasting group of footballers on the pitch certainly was.
There are plenty of people who actually don’t see an issue with Salford, of course. Those people are called Manchester United fans. Don’t forget, when the Class of 92 first took over The Ammies, one of the first actions they did was to change the club kit from orange to red. What team play in red that could possibly have caused them to do that?
Andy Holt, the chairman of Accrington Stanley, argued that the kind of bankrolling that Salford have experienced would lead to them stealing another team’s place in the Football League. As it so happens, they ended up taking the place of Notts County – a team relegated from the English Football League for the first time in their 157 year history.
In all honesty and, rather frustratingly, there is a perhaps valid argument that actually we can’t have too many issues with this. Lots of clubs have money and to be fair to them, they spend what they have rather than spending money against loans and thus falling into financial difficulty. After all, Argyle have profited greatly recently due to one club doing just that. Plus, loads of clubs are rich. Man City, Man United, Chelsea to name a few have all splashed the cash due to rich benefactors. Why should it be such a hardship for a non-league club to do so?
It is – quite simply – because the media seem intent on dressing the club up as an absolute fairytale story that I find so irritating. The idea that they are humble underdogs, or that millions of football fans from across the country are thrilled to see them moving up the league system. The team that spent millions and millions of pounds more than everyone else in non-league got promoted from it. Well, I for one am shocked.
This football club is a vehicle for the fantasy of rich men, those whose playing days are well behind them and so they seemingly need something else to fulfil their time with. After all, Gary Neville doesn’t seem to do much other than providing terrible, biased analysis and retweeting Salford City FC on Twitter.
When Paul Scholes was asked about the original fans at the club who were uneasy with the takeover back in 2014, his only response was that, “There weren’t many of them though, were there? 80? 90?”. Arrogance that I doubt anybody is especially surprised by. And these people wonder why nobody seems to like them or their football club.
Yet, as Argyle drew with them (with 64% possession and 27 shots may I add), it was other reasons that I found myself frustrated. They were a team who came to Home Park with virtually no intention of playing football and were more than happy to sit back, lump it to the big lad up top and that be that. How we managed to concede twice to that lot I’m not sure I’ll ever know.
Of course, Argyle can and will improve and I look forward to seeing it. But it is worth remembering when you reflect on this game that Salford almost certainly have a bigger budget than us, both for transfers and wages. Yet, who were the team wasting time at 1-1? The ones with all the niggly little fouls? The ones who for a large amount of the game stuck 10 men behind the ball and defended with all they had? It wasn’t the boys in Green, that’s for sure.
I suppose however much money your filthy rich owners can pump into the club, you can’t buy class eh?