Salford City FC returned to the small screen on Thursday night on BBC One for the second series of behind-the-scenes documentary Class of ’92: Out of Their League.
While the Neville brothers, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs continue their ambitious ownership of the local team, what do we learn about the club away from the pitch?
1) It’s great to hear from Babs again
Salford’s cook has been at The Ammies for more time than some Ammies faithful have drawn breath, and I’ve had far better food at Moor Lane than other football grounds.
I remember, even at the time, being a bit shocked to learn that Babs and co had been slapped with a one star hygiene rating, when at other grounds you can’t tell whether the meat between your bun is a burger or a black pudding.
The documentary gave the impression that Salford City Council were trying to humiliate one of the longest serving members of the club, but credit to the women she is Babs rolled her sleeves up and got her much deserved redemption when the council came knocking for another inspection, because people like her are the spirit of the club, then, now, forever.
2) “I was never scared as a player or manager, I’m s****ing myself as an owner”
Said Peterborough United owner Barry Fry on Sky One’s Big Ron Manager, and the board of Salford City wouldn’t disagree.
With the Nevilles off in Spain for the majority of the episode, and the remaining owners taking back seat roles, the pressure mainly falls on chairman Karen Baird.
It’s refreshing to see more of her than in last year’s show, because in a way, she is the most active of the entire board despite only doing it as a second job.
It’s good to see a person associated at the club since before the Class of ‘92 takeover still making the key decisions because it keeps that sense of continuity from the club’s more humble past, and it looks like her role will become even more prominent in episode two after speculation mounts over Bernard and Johnno’s future.
3) Gareth Seddon is one of the nicest blokes in football
The tragic part of the documentary is that you are a first hand witness watching a footballer’s career reaching its conclusion.
And while there is the bumbling humor of Seddon locking his boots in his basement, and his cheese shop, reminiscent of the legend that former Tottenham and Derby star Dave Mackay owned a tie shop.
When the forward opens up about his operations and blood condition that reduced his frame to seven stone, it’s easily the show at its most human.
However, because of his dipping form you see Seddon at a more personal level than any other player, so much so, you wanted for history to change so he could score the winner instead of Scott Penick for Hartlepool in the FA Cup.
But there cannot be any room for sentiment at a football club, and you get the feeling Seddon knew it from his chat with his mum after the club signed Josh Hine.
4) Bernard and Johnno are old school managers and the best of friends
The dynamic duo in their first season were portrayed as strictly business.
However, this year saw the two off the pitch. It was a rather touching to hear Bernard say to his partner in crime he was one of two people who ever truly knew him and adds a balance between the two shouting on the touchline and in the dressing room.
It’s also rare to see managers at home, with the only recent TV encounter I can remember is Steve Bleasdale in the aforementioned Big Ron Manager.
The two of them can draw comparisons to ‘Bleao’ due to their rousing team talks and on pitch interactions, but far mellower family people off the pitch; it’s a brilliant insight into what goes on in the mind of a football manager.
5) Where’s Peter Lim? Nobody knows
The Singaporean billionaire’s 50% ownership of the club has always been a point of curiosity since his part in the takeover came to light.
The Valencia owner was only briefly mentioned in the first season, and has no involvement during this episode.
It’s a bit mystifying really.
Perhaps with Gary and Phil’s time at Valencia being teased in the second part we’ll finally hear from the ‘Salford sugar daddy’.
But until he speaks openly about his involvement and the decisions he takes as majority owner, it’s hard not to view Lim’s premiership with a degree of cynicism since it’s the one thing that distances the club from the grassroots community spirit that emanates from Moor Lane.
Episode Two broadcasts next Thursday at 9pm on BBC One.