THE most interesting news of the last week for me was the announcement that Manchester United legends from the Class of ’92 were taking over Evo-Stik Division One North club Salford City, with the ultimate goal of attaining Football League status.
In a nutshell, local people made good are putting their money where their mouths are and Salford City FC are the grateful benefactors. Officials at the club must be in dreamland. This got me thinking – dreaming, in fact – about a takeover of the Colls by a local celebrity.
Do we have any local celebrities?
I checked Wikipedia and all but one of Atherton’s notable residents were long-since buried. The only surviving one was chess superstar Nigel Short.
Well, 35 years ago I was acquainted with Nigel. He went to my primary school – St Philips – although he was a couple of school years older than me. Nigel was also in my 12th Atherton Cub football team – his dad David was our gaffer.
I can’t say I had too much to do with him, but I remember playing in a St Philips chess tournament where the winner of the tournament played Nigel for the overall school title.
I was ousted in my second game after a narrow victory over Alan Edwards in the opening round. Of course, Nigel won the game and went on to challenge for the World Chess Championship. Last Thursday, I sent Nigel a cheeky tweet to see if he would consider making a bid for us. I await his response.
Nigel was only my second target, the first was the acclaimed Emmerdale actor Mark Charnock, who plays the legendary Marlon Dingle.
I also know Mark from my days in the Cubs – 12th Atherton was a hot-bed of talent in my era. I was good mates with Mark, we spent many hours playing football on the park as a trio along with another Mark – Toker.
Marlon usually went home with his glasses in bits as contact lenses were not really available to kids back then. I also remember he introduced me to the ace comic Roy Of The Rovers. He left the area in the early 1980s and when he made his Emmerdale bow I thought to myself ‘I know him’, but it took months to fathom out where from. Anyway, I tweeted him asking for an investment and I got a reply.
There was recognition of our 12th Atherton days, but no bite on my tongue-in-cheek investment offer. So it seems my dream of the Class of ’78 investing in my club is just fantasy!
Good luck to the Class of ’92 and Salford City FC. I wish them every success, but hope they don’t forget the foundations Salford City – a friendly, grassroots club – was built on.