Salford boy Liam Hogan used to teach in the school next to their Moor Lane home – now he’s captained his hometown club to the Football League.
The 30-year-old had a brief taste of football in the top 92 with Fleetwood Town and is relishing the opportunity again. Fancy Salford to continue their rise? Check out football bet.
But the former PE teacher won’t be forgetting how far both he and the club have come as they toast promotion to the EFL.
And he remembered watching the club long before signing.
“I went to a Salford game at The Willows, the old Salford rugby league club,” Hogan recalled.
“I went to watch FC United when they were just starting out and it was a great crowd. Quite a lot of my local friends from Irlam played for Salford City under different management as well.
“I also worked at the school that literally sits next to the stadium. The group that came down today and were mascots was actually the Year 6 group I used to teach so it was a lovely moment.
“Just having people you know, working around the area, to know the faces and have them supporting you, singing your name and representing them.
“I’ve tried to do my best over the last two seasons and long may it continue. I’d love to stay on this journey with Salford because it’s a really exciting one.”
Naturally Salford’s profile has added pressures and scrutiny on the group of players and Hogan says the key has been blocking out all the external noise.
“Within the group we’re really focused on the task at hand,” Hogan said.
“As a group of about 30 – there’s been loans, lads who have arrived at the club and left, as well as a core group still here from last year – everyone has been hardworking and wanting to get on with the job and contribute to this Salford journey.
“We’ve just shut the noise out. We’ve not been arrogant or anything like that, we’ve just gone about our business in the best possible manner because anything not on the grass between the white lines is a distraction.
“Especially today with the surroundings and the occasion, it’s all about whose mental strength is on the pitch.
“We saw it last week in the penalty shoot-out (against Eastleigh) the character of our boys has been fantastic. It’s not a case of us saying, ‘Look at us, we’ve done it’.
“It’s been a case of getting on with it and we’re obviously lucky to have the support of the supporters, the work we put in pre-season and performing week-in, week-out that has got us where we are today.
“It’s good to see, using the documentary, we’ve built our fanbase, the new stadium is fantastic and the club is really moving places.
“It’s excellent we’ve got stuff off the field that’s helping us but you need results on the pitch to balance it out. We’ve answered the questions.
“There were some tough patches where we took a few knocks but credit to the boys, credit to the group we are, that we’ve dusted ourselves down, been an honest group and worked hard.”