Salford City: League Two club choose to scrap Under-18 team

By Simon StoneBBC Sport
Salford City scarf
Salford City were promoted to the English Football League for the first time in 2019

League Two Salford City have decided to scrap their Under-18 team.

The club, part-owned by the 'Class of 92' group of former Manchester United players, have made the decision after months of debate.

BBC Sport understands Salford have spent approximately £500,000 per year running their academy, which is at Category Four level.

To expand their recruitment to cover the nine-to-16 age range, they would have to move to Category Three status.

That would have taken their annual spending to £1m, which would be part-funded by the Premier League.

Instead, Salford intend to use the money to enhance their elite development squad, coached by former Manchester United Under-23 boss Warren Joyce, who will be given their own games programme, with the club withdrawing from the Football League's Youth Alliance League.

Club sources are adamant the decision is based on football rather than financial grounds and feel the Elite Player Performance Plan, created a decade ago after consultation between the Football Association, Premier League and Football League, is not designed to help clubs like theirs develop young players.

Salford intend to pay their academy staff severance money beyond their legal entitlement, with their 10 second-year academy players being moved into Joyce's squad next season.

The 'Class of 92' came through Manchester United's youth system at the same time and all went on to win multiple trophies and play international football.

That gave the name to Project 92 Limited, the company that owns Salford City, in which the significant shareholders are David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and businessman Peter Lim.

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