'Class of 92' agree Salford City deal
Manchester United's 'Class of '92' have agreed a deal to buy non-league club Salford City FC.
Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt are set to acquire Salford by the end of the summer, if the takeover is approved by the FA.
Known as members of the 'Class of ‘92' since they were part of United’s FA Youth Cup-winning side over 20 year ago, the Nevilles, as well as Giggs, Scholes and Butt went on to amass over 3,000 first-team appearances for the Old Trafford club.
"I had my first trial for Manchester United in Salford at age 11 and I will never forget how important that was to me," Gary Neville said.
"Salford City FC to me represents those early years, the commitment, hunger, enthusiasm, desire and spirit of football and I am very excited about this venture."
Salford play in the Northern Premier League Division One North, part of the eighth division of the football system. Their home ground is about five miles north of Old Trafford.
Also Thursday, United rejected a report in The Sun that the same group of former players, backed by the Qatari royal family, were attempting to take over Manchester United.
Giggs is a player-coach at United, while Phil Neville is first team coach.
The Manchester Evening News reported Scholes would take over as manager, but such a move might only come after the team approaches league football through promotions.
The newspaper also reported that Salford would target players from sixth-tier Stockport County to build the squad.
"We know it will be tough but we will be committed to this from the start and have some very exciting plans going forward," Scholes said.
Giggs' younger brother Rhodri is a former player and manager of Salford City but left the club in 2012.
"Everyone knows how important Salford is to me, so this is an exciting acquisition that is right at the heart of what we all believe in," Ryan Giggs said.
"We want to engage the football community, use our football experience and knowledge to aspire and nurture young talent and being able to do that in Salford makes it even more exciting."
Salford City chairperson Karen Baird supported the deal, calling it "a great advert for non-league football".