Giggs and Neville seal takeover of Salford FC subject to approval
Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes have sealed a deal to takeover Salford City, subject to FA approval.
The trio - along with Phil Neville and Nicky Butt - have acquired the non-league outfit. The deal is expected to be completed in the summer.
Sportsmail revealed last month that Neville and Giggs – along with other members of Manchester United’s famous ‘Class of ‘92’ – were looking to make a financial commitment to the club in a bid to boost the recruitment of talented young footballers in the area.
Gary Neville (left) and Ryan Giggs met at Media City, Manchester, to discuss the takeover of Salford FC
'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.'
With Giggs still an active player at United, Phil Neville on David Moyes' coaching staff and brother Gary involved with England, it is not yet known precisely what role they plan to take in their new venture, but it is understood there will be no immediate change to the management structure at Salford City.
Giggs has sealed a deal with Neville and stopped to pose a photo with a passer-by on Thursday
Giggs then had to run to make the meeting with Neville and Nicky Butt
Giggs added: '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.
'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.'
Neville tweeted: 'For clarity - No name change/ no ground change and management and committee as before!'
Delighted to be part of @salfordcityfc in the future! For clarity - No name change/ no ground change and management and committee as before!
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) March 27, 2014
Scholes will definitely be involved at some stage after seemingly turning his back on the Moyes coaching regime at Old Trafford. Sources close to Neville and Giggs have not commented on suggestions their old team-mate will be the manager.
The scale of the former players’ investment has also not been confirmed yet. One possibility is that they will not plough their own money in to Salford – which may well be renamed Salford ’92 – but use their profile and connections to attract vast sponsorship deals.
Salford FC are currently playing in the Northern Premier League and are semi-professional.
Giggs is set to wrap up his playing career at United at the end of this season but is already busying himself for when he's permanently off the pitch. The evergreen midfielder and Neville own a restaurant together, Cafe Football at Westfield Stratford City.
The pair are also behind Hotel Football, an accommodation and leisure complex opposite Old Trafford, for which construction has begun.
After performing at the highest level as players, both are now establishing themselves as coaches, with Giggs a player-coach at United and Neville an assistant to England boss Roy Hodgson in addition to his work as a Sky Sports pundit.
Both have a noted interest in youth development and supporting their local area - Neville was born in Bury and lives in the vicinity while Giggs lives in Worsley to the west of Manchester.
Earlier this month Neville and Giggs were joined by former team-mates Scholes and Nicky Butt as they watched Salford's game with Curzon Ashton.
The ultimate goal would be to take Salford City FC, nicknamed the Ammies, into the Football League from the Evo-Stik First Division North - that would mean four promotions.
Neville has previously revealed his concerns about the lack of English players rising through the ranks from non-League football into the top four tiers.
Neville said: ‘The lower echelons of English football — once a vital breeding ground for players such as England internationals — are now withering away. The most alarming trend is in the lower reaches of the game, tiers two and three and non-League.
‘English football is neglecting the base of the pyramid. I think we have severed the cord between the game and its roots.’