LONDON (Reuters) - Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs and team mates from the famous ‘Class of 92’ have agreed a deal to buy Salford City who play in the muddy and unglamorous world of English soccer’s eighth tier.
Giggs, along with Paul Scholes, Gary Neville, Phil Neville and Nicky Butt, will complete the deal for the humble Northern Premier League Division One North club later in the year, according to a statement on the club’s Twitter page.
The former players, who were dubbed the ‘Class of 92’ after United won the FA youth Cup that year before going on to achieve unprecedented success, will buy Salford subject to Football Association and Northern Premier League approval.
“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,” said Giggs, who is still playing for United’s first team at the age of 40.
“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.”
Gary Neville, who retired in 2011 after playing for Manchester United for almost 20 years, said: “I had my first trial for Manchester United in Salford at age 11 and I will never forget how important that was to me.”
“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, who play in front of gates of around 100, could become a hub for talented local youngsters, who would remain in the area with a view to being groomed for a seamless move into the professional game.
Both Neville and Giggs have links with Salford as Giggs grew up there and Neville lived nearby while United’s old training ground ‘The Cliff’ was in the district.
Salford were formed in 1940 and have always played in the lower reaches of the non-League pyramid.
David Beckham, another member of the Class of 92, has somewhat bigger plans of his own in the United States.
A group led by the former England captain this week unveiled plans to build a 25,000 seat stadium on Miami’s waterfront for the Major League Soccer team he will own.
Reporting by Toby Davis; editing by Alan Baldwin