‘I read in a book Gary Neville was planning to sack me as Salford City manager’

Former Salford City co-manager Anthony Johnson has revealed the time he was adamant Gary Neville was planning to sack him as manager.

Johnson was named as then-non-league Salford’s manager in 2015 shortly after the Class of 92 takeover by Manchester United legends Neville, brother Phil, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs and Nicky Butt and later David Beckham in November 2014.

The project from the Class of 92 saw then give Johnson and co-manager Bernard Morley the task of winning promotion to the Football League under the pressure of being the most watched and criticised non-league club in the country whilst the ‘Class of 92: Out of Their League’ BBC documentary was produced.

Johnson recalled on the I Had Trials Once podcast how during the filming of the documentary the Class of 92 brought a book out.

READ MORE: 'I was Salford boss and thought 'what the f*** is Gary Neville saying' at first meeting'

One page had stuck in his head and affected the way he would operate at Salford due to advice that disgraced Fleetwood Town owner Andy Pilley had given Neville.

He said: “I get to this page and it started going on about how Gary and Karen, and I don’t know who else went, went around the country looking at football clubs that had been through the leagues, the infrastructure.

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“Fleetwood were one, think Wimbledon were one, FC United were one, and I get to the page and Gary’s explained to Rob (Draper) what Andy Pilley had told him when he asked him for advice and Andy Pilley had said: ‘Every manager will have a plateau season, when they do, get rid of them.'

“I read this f***ing page, in my head, that was a threat, a warning.”

Johnson admitted he saw it as an indirect message to him and co-manager Morley that they couldn’t take their foot off the pedal.

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“They didn’t mention us, but to me, what was going on was, they were getting ready in case we ever had a plateau season.

“Here’s the f***ing kicker, there never was one, we never plateaued.

“My biggest attribute is my energy and my intensity, they’re my biggest attributes – they went through the f***ing roof, it was like I had a f***ing ecstasy tablet, I was f***ing ready to go right.

“Constantly I’d keep reminding people, ‘Oh, we can’t plateau,’ can’t have him out working me, I was looking at managers like Neil Young at Chester at the time watching what he was doing, Liam Watson at Southport, promotion after promotion, you had a target on your back.

“I read that f***ing page, even now it’s still highlighted there on my bookshelf.”

Johnson and Morley were sacked in 2018 despite winning promotion to the National League for the first time in the club’s history.

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