Back in 2014, Manchester United legends Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt and Gary and Phil Neville took control of little known semi-professional football club Salford City FC.
The club’s subsequent rise through the leagues was closely followed by the brilliant BBC documentary series Class of 92: Out Of Their League, which proved hugely popular amongst football fans across the country.
At the heart of the show was Gareth Seddon. An honest pro, with side-lines as a model and cheese shop owner, Gareth netted 30 goals in his first season at the club to secure promotion to the Northern Premier League Premier Division.
loaded caught up with Gareth to talk about his time in greater Manchester, his experiences working with the superstar owners, and his life after Salford City.
loaded: How’s it going at your new club Ramsbottom? Sounds like you’ve got off to a bit of a flyer.
Gareth: Yeah, not bad thanks, considering I was going to retire at the start of the season. I got tempted into having one more year. One of my friends Paul Filde became the manager of Ramsbottom, and he asked me to play one more year. Hopefully I’m paying him back, I think I got, like 12 or 13 goals already this season. So, not bad for an old timer.
loaded: Just how much has Class of 92 changed your career?
Gareth: To be honest, it’s been amazing. I didn’t expect all the exposure when I first signed for Salford. I kinda got sold a dream by Gary Neville about coming and playing for him, and trying to them win promotion – that was the main reason I joined them really. Then after two months, suddenly the BBC cameras turned up… It was just class since the very beginning really.
I mean, I’m a bit of a character; I’m always messing around and having a laugh with everyone – I’m sure there’s one in every dressing room. The BBC saw that and kind of latched onto me and said, “do you mind if we follow you on and off the pitch?” That was it then, I kind of used to forget I was being filmed, and I probably said a few things that I shouldn’t have done and done a few silly things in the dressing room, but that’s just how I am. The attention was brilliant, and it’s been really good since it’s gone out on air. I’ve had some really good feedback, and there wasn’t anybody badmouthing me.
Everyone saw me for what I am – a bit of a jack the lad. Everyone I kinda met on nights out just wanted a beer with me and have a laugh. I’m just glad I came across in that kind of manner really. It’s been brilliant because I’m coming to the end of my career now. I’ve actually set up a football agency. Our aim is to pave the way for young footballers, and find the next Jamie Vardy – I’d like a non-league star who can go on and make it in the Premier League. That’s kind of our aim, so the exposure from the TV has been great for that. And I’m being a pundit for a game on Saturday too, so it’s really helped in finding a career after retiring. So yeah it’s been brilliant.
loaded: How about the modelling work, has it helped with that?
Gareth: Erm, yeah it has helped a little bit. There’s only so much this face can do though to be honest (laughs). I’m not going to get away with it forever. I think I’ve been very lucky in my career as a footballer, and I’ve been very lucky with the modelling too. I know I’m not gonna be a catwalk model or anything, so you’ve just got to make the most of what comes your way. It’s something that I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve got my head on my shoulders though – I know how lucky I’ve been. To be honest, I was a very average footballer, and I was a very average model (laughs). You know, so I take the money where I can.
loaded: What was your experience working with the likes of Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs?
Gareth: Yeah, absolutely brilliant. I know Gary and Phil and people like that seem really straight-faced on TV, but they’re really up for a laugh. Their sense of humour – I’m hoping that I kind of rubbed off on them a bit. They loved the crack and the banter between the lads just as much as we did. Like I say, I’m not saying Gary’s my best mate and he’s coming round for Christmas dinner, but we definitely bonded. He was brilliant to me, not just on the pitch but off it as well, you know. He’s still continuing to help me now even though I’m not at Salford, which is great.
‘Paul Scholes used to put in two-footed challenges in training – and this was against the team that he owned!’
It was amazing working with the rest of the guys too. I remember one night we turned up for training and it was on an old rugby pitch, which was minging. We had an old generator on the side of the pitch trying to get some floodlights working. And then I remember Scholesy coming over and throwing me a bib, saying: “Right Sedds, you’re on my side.” I had to do a double take. I was thinking, ‘frigging hell, what’s Scholesy doing here?’ I looked round and Phil was there, Giggs was there… I was thinking, ‘oh my god, people dream about stuff like this’. To be honest, Scholesy put more effort in than all us lot put together. His work ethic was unbelievable. If he ever lost the ball or his team mates gave the ball away, my God he’d he’d roll up to them and put in a two-footed challenge – and this was against the team that he owned!
We actually played a five-a side not long ago on the rooftop of Hotel Football with them all. My football agency challenged the class of 92 on a rooftop. It was amazing – Gary sorted that for me – and the guys still talk about it now. All of us just count believe how good all of them were. You know, even the likes of Gary and Phil who wouldn’t consider really skilful, in that five a side game they were head and shoulders above everybody. You couldn’t believe how good they were.
loaded: How hands on were the owners during your time at Salford?
Gareth: On a Saturday they were always watching the game in the crowd. They weren’t just doing it for the cameras either. They were doing it because they were passionate. You could just tell when you were watching the games. You’d talk to them afterwards and you just know it meant everything to them for Salford to win and get promoted. I think that’ll continue as well – it’s not a flash in the pan. Those guys have a long-term plan for the club and I can see them in five years’ time being in the Football League.
loaded: How do you look back at your time there? Obviously you had a great first season, and your second must have been slightly frustrating.
Gareth: Yeah, I absolutely loved my time there. My only regret was that I got injured at the start of the second season, and it was difficult because we were doing really well and I missed the FA Cup run with injury. When I came back it was difficult to get in the team – one because my contract was up at the end of the season and they had to bring in new players to replace me, and two because after being out that long it’s difficult to find your form if you’re not playing. But then, obviously I ended it with… if you can class it as a wondergoal in the last minute of the semi-final, and then we’re losing in the final 2-1 and then I come on and we win 3-2. You couldn’t have really scripted it any better and I’m just so glad that it ended on such a high.
loaded: You must have watched that footage back a few times…
Gareth: I’ve never watched it since… I never get it out on my phone and show people when I’m on a night out ever, promise!
loaded: Just before you go, how’s the cheese shop going?
Gareth: (Laughs) It’s going really good. We’ve just had a refurb about nine weeks ago, so we’ve spent a lot of money. It’s a full on cocktail and wine bar now. It looks amazing, and it’s been absolutely rammed every weekend. So, yeah it’s going really good thanks. Gary’s been in and seen it, and he was just like, ‘wow, it looks amazing’. We still do all the cheese, but it’s a really cool wine bar now.
Class of 92 is out now on DVD.