Salford City’s joint-manager Anthony Johnson has told NLD writer Tom Feaheny that he wants to keep his players feet on the ground after another appearance on BBC One.
The Ammies, who have impressed in the National League North so far this season, were in the Class of 92 show for a second series, but Johnson wants everyone to be happy with it, but for the focus to be on what really matters.
He said “It’s the second time we have done it, this time includes our FA Cup run, it’s still a bit surreal, me and Bern are still getting up in the morning to go to work, people say, you’re on TV so you’re famous and I’m a bit like well no I’m not.
“It’s still a bit surreal, but we want to keep our feet and the players feet on the ground, we can enjoy being on the screen and enjoy what it is.”
With Salford gaining plenty of attention on social media and a growing fan base Johnson says it has brought many positives for the club.
“It’s been brilliant, I think this will lead to bigger crowds when the games are on, as daft as it may sound us being on TV, probably gives teams a bit more motivation to beat us.
“They see the cameras and maybe think we are being a bit arrogant even though we are not, there is a thing about cameras, but we are just normal people trying to do our job, but with the owners and the cameras, the show has benefited other clubs, we played Workington not long after the first show was on and there was something like 1500 people there because people are interested in it.”
With the owners of the club including Gary and Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt, there is plenty of attention on them due to their famous past, Johnson says he first had to get used as to what happened.
“At first it was very difficult to understand their thinking process, especially when you lose or are playing badly, you try to impress Paul Scholes the best midfielder of his generation for England, then you’ve got Gary Neville he’s up there in the right-back position, they look at you and judge you, not necessarily as football people but as owners.
“There is no extra pressure on me and Bernard as we have sky high expectations and they always have been whether at Ramsbottom or Salford, we run as a normal club, the committee has meetings, Karen the chairwomen runs it from the day to day.”
These famous owners also make appearances at matches and Johnson says it gives both sides a boost heading into games.
“In the first season, games like Ossett Town away, it added a bit of motivation, especially with Gary who was the England assistant manager at the time, it raised their game, it is also natural for players of other sides to look at Scholes and Neville and think about raising their game, it’s interesting right now there are no cameras here at the minute and we are still doing alright.”
While Johnson and Bernard Morley have formed a good working partnership as joint managers, Anthony admits their relationship is based on more than the sport.
“People say it doesn’t work and I can vouch that sometimes that is the case, because the season before we took charge of Ramsbottom in 2009 we played under joint-managers and it didn’t work, for me and Bernard we are best friends off the pitch, our children and wives are good friends, it’s not just a case of football, we trust each other off the pitch, our families are very close.
“It is probably unique how close we are, we have disagreements, we are after a common ground and that is to win games of football, we’ve had ups and downs and the trust is concrete for us.”
It has been a good start for City, but Johnson says his message to the players is clear.
“I think we and Darlington both have real momentum, I don’t think it is a surprise we are doing well, we’ve both done good in the last few seasons, if someone said we’d have made this start we would have snatched your hands off, but we want to be realistic, we have already played established sides and done well against well.
“We’ve said it in the first pre-season session, it’s one game at a time, each game is a cup final, we fully prepare for that one match, we want to win every game, the reality is it won’t happen, but we want to fully prepare and be ready for each game.”
Interview: Thomas Feaheny (@thomasfeaheny)