They are the non-league club attracting all the headlines. But as much as Salford City are gaining publicity for the fame and wealth of the club’s owners, it has to be said they deserve the coverage they are attracting because they are the real deal on the pitch, too.
City currently sit second top of the National League just a point behind Londoners Leyton Orient, who are at the summit with 36 points from 17 games. The Manchester-based club are owned in the majority (50 per cent) by billionaire Peter Lim, who also owns Spanish giants Valencia. The other stakeholders, who each own 10 per cent are former Manchester United icons Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Ryan Giggs.
One player helping to fire the Ammies up the table and who has set out his desire and ambition at the club is Adam Rooney. The Irish striker switched to Salford from Scottish Premier League outfit Aberdeen in the summer and in doing so raised more than a few eyebrows. But he has done his talking very much on the pitch and has rattled home 12 goals in 17 appearances so far this campaign.
And with the goals comes a realisation that he can be a major player in the rise of his current club, who are managed by Graham Alexander. He explains:
“We’ve gelled together now and hit good form. The team are looking strong so hopefully we can keep it going. I want to be part of something here. The enthusiasm the owners have for where they want to take Salford is why I wanted to get involved.
“We want to go through the leagues. I want to be part of the club’s future and be able to look back on success in years to come. It would be great to say I actually helped the club progress from non-league into one of the top divisions in England.”
When it comes to reflecting on his switch from north of the border to Salford, Rooney says that he didn’t expected the transfer to get so much hype, adding:
“I knew there would be questions asked about me leaving Aberdeen. But I just felt it was time for a change so I was surprised it got the publicity it did.
“People were probably waiting for me to mess up at Salford and go on a barren run. Thankfully that hasn’t happened down here. There was so much hype. Different people were talking about the decline in Scottish football. That was a load of nonsense but it blew up after that. There were all sorts of figures being thrown about on social media that I was supposedly going to earn.
“My phone and Twitter went crazy. Eventually, I didn’t bother looking at my phone for days. Online there can be a lot of negativity. I suppose if you’re going to go on there, you have to expect it. About 90 per cent of people wanted to look at it negatively. But some of the figures mentioned were just rubbish. I didn’t take any notice of it.”
One thing is for sure, defenders are certainly taking notice of Rooney as he plunders goals for fun.