Matthew Bates would love to see the ‘class of 92’ taste success at Salford City – but not at Hartlepool United’s expense.
Pools visit Moor Lane on Friday night for an eagerly-anticipated BBC2-televised FA Cup tie.
Salford are a big talking-point in the game – and not just because theur KO’d Notts County in the first round.
The Evo Stik Northern Premier League side are co-owned by Manchester United legends – in alphabetical order – Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary and Phil Neville and Paul Scholes.
Bates has played against all five in the Premier League for Middlesbrough and rates them all as greats of the game.
And he has no issue with them taking a non-league club on a journey towards the Football League.
“There will be a lot of people who think Salford City should stay where they are,” he said.
“They have a lot of long-standing supporters who may be happy the level they are at now and want to keep it like that.
“But I’ve seen the documentary on the BBC and they are trying to put something back into the area.
“They’ve put money into it and brought investment from elsewhere.
“To think the starting point to where they are now, in the second round of the FA Cup and going for promotion, it’s amazing.
“And long may it continue for Salford, but only after we’ve beaten them on Friday.”
Bates is in awe of a player like Giggs and marvels at the group’s plans but is keen that Pools spoil their “Party”
The defender told SportMail: “I played against them all.
“I remember one match against Ryan Giggs when I was playing centre-midfield.
“He was probably early to mid-30s at the time and I remember he knocked the ball by me and just strolled past.
“I thought ‘how’s that supposed to happen?’, I was probably 19 or 20 at the time!
“But they were part of a great team.
“It’s good to see them involved in this part of the game with Salford.
“They have done well too but let’s hope we can put an end to their party.”