[Friendly] Salford City 5-1 Class of 92 XI
Salford City: Paul Linwood (24), Nicky Platt (33), Danny Browne (51), Gareth Seddon (74) Michael Oates (83)
Class of 92: Ryan Giggs (45pen)
Ryan Giggs showed his boss Louis van Gaal just what he is missing by scoring as he took on the Salford City team that he now co-owns with Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Gary and Phil Neville in a fund-raising match that attracted a 12,000 crowd to the AJ Bell Stadium in Eccles.
The so-called ‘Class of 92’ of former United players have taken over the Evo-Stick League Division One North side and all five turned out as well as bringing their old team-mates from their schoolboy days to play a friendly, with Robbie Savage playing centre forward, to the amusement of the capacity crowd, who booed his name when the teams were read out.
Rio Ferdinand travelled up from London to be assistant manager but it was the original youth team coach who honed the illustrious talents at United, who was managed the ‘Class of 92 and friends’ for the night.
Eccles was gridlocked as crowds attempted to reach the AJ Bell Stadium, causing kick off to be delayed 25 minutes, indicating the success of the evening that was held to raise funds for the club.
Former United players Raimond van der Gouw, Mikel Silvestre, John O’Kane, Quinton Fortune, Ben Thornley and David May all played, the latter two as subs, while former England cricketer captain Michael Vaughan came on for the second half with fast bowler Steve Harmison on the bench.
And Savage endured the indignity of being substituted for comedian Jack Whitehall while former England fast bowler Harmison came on 65 minutes, presenting something of an imposing presence at centre half.
But though the United assistant manager Giggs got on the score-sheet with a penalty and Scholes was his elegant self in central midfield with Butt seemingly full of energy it was the semi-pros who had the upper hand, embarrassing their owners by beating them 5-1.
Salford’s Sam Madeley did his career prospects at the club no favours by turning Gary Neville one way, then then the other before landing him on his backside.
In fact, the Class of 92 were saved by van der Gouw’s impressive reflexes, with the 51-year-old displaying age-defying agility to keep out Salford early on.
But he couldn’t stop Paul Linwood opening the scoring with a looping header from Nicky Platt’s corner on 26 minutes while Platt himself scored from close range on 34 minutes before Giggs’ penalty on 45 minutes made it 2-1 on the stroke of half time.
Phil Marsh added a third for Salford on 52 minutes with Gareth Seddon and Mike Oates getting on the score sheet late on to make it 5-1 to Salford.
The closest the Class of 92 came to a second half goal was a curling shot on 78 minutes from former United trainee and Watford player Danny Webber that hit the post.
A bizarre moment in the game saw a fan jump onto the pitch and hang from the goal. Giggs, Scholes and co watched on as he was accompanied off the pitch.
Referee Mark Halsey also ended up on the floor after getting a knock.
All the money generated by the match goes directly to Salford City, and Giggs was delighted to get back in action to help raise funds.
'I couldn't turn down the opportunity of putting the boots on with the lads again,' Giggs said.
'It's for a good cause, it's a great way of raising the profile and for keeping fit as well'
The new owners have ambitions of getting Salford into the Football League, and Butt - who, unlike Phil Neville, is retaining a place on the United coaching staff along with Giggs - said: 'We all have dreams. We all think we can go as high as we can.
'We think it is a city that deserves a Football League club. If we can get there, who knows how high we can take it?
'Firstly, we need to get into the Football League as soon as possible. How long that will take I don't know. But once we are there we can reach for the stars.'