'Class of 92' hoping for Salford City 'fairytale'
Published 11/07/2014 | 08:46
Neville is one of five of the much-vaunted home-grown core of United's all-conquering mid-to-late-1990s side to have invested in the non-League outfit.
Salford City currently play in the Evo Stik League First Division North - English football's eighth tier - but they have big ambitions.
Phil Neville said: "The short-term aim is to keep the club going on the level it is going.
"It is very sustainable. The committee do a great job and they will carry on doing that. We are not going to interfere in any way with how the club is run.
"But there is a fairytale story to this. Can we get into the Football League? Can we take Salford City as high as we possibly can? It is going to be a fantastic journey."
The former United players decided to get involved after coming together - with another of their famous contemporaries, David Beckham - to work on the 'Class of 92' documentary, which charted their collective success at Old Trafford.
They wanted to invest in community football in Salford and the idea of taking over the city's club took hold.
Neville stresses the group's aim is still very much community-based, about growing organically and not about pumping in vast sums to fuel an unsustainable promotion charge.
He said: "We are in this for the long haul, not the short term.
"We are not just going to do things to try to get us promoted in the quickest way possible.
"We see Salford as a class football club that does things in the right way. We want to continue with that theme.
"But there is a real hotbed of football within the Manchester and north-west area. We have spoken to people in the area and I think they have been really excited, even people who don't support Salford City, for the impact we can have.
"We are really excited to take Salford City as high as we can and have a lot of fun and make a lot of local people happy.
"We want to give jobs to local people and build up an academy. These are plans we have."
The group are not putting any timescale on their project or setting any limit to their ambition.
Nevertheless, reaching the Football League, and rising within it, is an undeniable objective.
Butt said: "We feel football has gone so far away from the everyday man in the street that we felt it would be nice for us five, who have played at the highest level, won things and played for what we consider the biggest club in the world, to go and help a club like Salford, and the people of Salford, and try to get into the Football League.
"It is something we couldn't turn down and something we will thrive on. We really want to give our all for 10, 20, 30 years.
"Salford is close to all our hearts. It is where we grew up with football. It is something we are very passionate about.
"The club has massive potential. We know it is going to take a good few years to get where we want to be but you have got to have dreams.
"We dreamt of playing for Man Utd and that came true. We have now got dreams with Salford, to get as high as we can and into the Football League. Then who knows?
"People might laugh at us and smirk and say it won't happen but we believe fully, if we put all our effort into it and give it publicity, get sponsorship, we can get them to where we feel all the people of Salford will be happy."
Part of that publicity push includes a star-studded friendly between the 'Class of 92 and Friends' and the current Salford City side, which will be played at the AJ Bell Stadium on August 7.
Tickets are on sale and organisers are hoping for an attendance close to the ground's 12,000 capacity.
"We are all taking it seriously," Butt promised. "It won't be a testimonial. We all want to stay fit and will have a lot of good players playing with us."