Non League Daily

Ammies challenge excites Casper after reuniting with former Class of 92 team mates

Twenty five years ago he shared a dressing room with five players that would go on to become some of the greatest English players of their generation.

Now he will play a key role in helping them create a legacy with Vanarama National League North club Salford City.

As a player, Chris Casper was a promising, solid defender and played alongside Gary Neville in the heart of the defence as Manchester United's youngsters claimed the FA Youth Cup with a 6-3 aggregate win over Crystal Palace.

Casper played every minute of the two-legged final, including a 3-2 second leg win in front of just under 15,000 supporters at Old Trafford.

As the likes of David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs and the Neville brothers went on to win numerous trophies in the famous red shirt, Casper's Old Trafford first team career was brief.
 
After signing professional terms at the age of seventeen, the Burnley-born defender made just seven appearances for the Red Devils.
 
In October 1994, a year after captaining an England's U18s side containing Sol Campbell and Robbie Fowler to victory in the European Championships, he made his professional debut in a 2-0 home win over Port Vale in the Coca Cola Cup.
 
He would make just six more appearance for Sir Alex Ferguson's first team, although did spend time on loan at Bournemouth, Swindon Town and Reading, joining the latter on a permanent deal in 1998.
 
Casper's professional career was ended in a Boxing Day fixture against Cardiff City in 1999 after a tackle from City's Richard Carpenter led to a double leg fracture.
 
Casper went on to coach Team Bath and manage Bury but has now been reunited with his former Class of 92 team mates after being appointed as Salford City's Sporting Director in February.casper long
 
The Ammies have become one of the most high-profile clubs in non-league football following a takeover by five of the Class of 92 players three years ago.
 
Two promotions has led the club to the brink of the National League and within touching distance of their Football League ambitions.
 
Casper has been thrust into a pivotal role and has helped with their transition from part-time to full-time, professional status.
 
This is the biggest move in the Class of 92's time with their hometown club and their former Red Devils team mate is proud of the work they have done so far.
 
"They have tremendous commitment to the club" explained Casper.
 
"We are in regular contact to get the club moving towards where they want to be.
 
"The Chairman has also been a big part in the work we have done over the last three or four months and has been really supportive. She has played a massive part in the success of the club over the past few seasons and is very committed to taking the club forward.
 
"We have moved through the part-time to full-time transition and we are continuously looking to improve .
 
"We still have our season ticket holders from when the owners took over and we are working hard to forge stronger links with the community.  That is the owners' wish and we feel a huge responsibility to give something back to the community"
 
Part of their attempts to create strong links with their community has been shown in their work in the transfer market this summer.
 
The likes of Liam Hogan, Lois Maynard and Danny Livesey have all been tempted away from National League clubs.
 
All three are from the area and Casper admitted, although they will be key to their club's plans for the season, they have been signed to help give the club an identity this season.
 
"We must have an identity" stressed the forty two year old.
 
"Hogan, Livesey, Maynard, they know the area and the people, they understand the culture and the roots of the proud, hard working city of Salford.

 salford managers rain"It's the same with the owners.  They are passionate about Salford, they want to improve things for the area on and off the pitch.
 
"It's a big step moving to a full-time professional status and it requires a big commitment from all involved.
 
"Not just the club, but the community too.
 
"Salford, as a city, has an honesty about it.  It has an intensity and a passion.
 
"That has to be replicated in the club's work and we have a duty of care to ensure that happens"

The Ammies’ management team of Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley have overseen two promotions from Evo-Stik NPL First Division to National League North.
 
The next step is their biggest yet, as they look to make the jump into non-league's top tier and to within one promotion of bringing Football League clubs to Salford.
 
Casper is enjoying working alongside the former Ramsbottom United managers and is keen to give them "all the support possible" to help the club make the next step.
 
He said "They are passionate about the club and about what we are doing here so that makes it enjoyable for me.
 
"We are trying to develop the recruitment side of the club, it's one of my main aims, although my role also includes helping to create an Academy which will feed the first team and give young players the same opportunities as we got at Manchester United.

"That is critical! Young players are the heartbeat of the club, they bring an energy and a vibrancy to the whole club. We have just taken our first cohort of Academy players and I’m really looking forward to seeing them develop.
 
"We are only as good as the players we bring in here and that is even more important with the move to full-time status.
 
"We have worked hard to get the players we want, we have worked hard to give Anthony and Bernard the tools they need to continue moving this club forwards"

salford super six
Casper has been in his role for four months now, after his initial appointment in February.
 
It's quarter of a century since he shared a dressing room with messrs Giggs, Butt, Scholes and the Neville brothers.
 
It's twenty five years since he played a part in setting the foundations for the careers of the greatest crop of players to come through an English club's youth system.
 
But have they changed throughout careers that saw them win trophies at home and abroad?
 
Has the mood changed now that their communications have moved from changing room to board room?
 
"Not at all" revealed Casper.
 
"The passion, the fire, the determination is all there.
 
"They want Salford City to be successful, just as they were keen to see Manchester United be successful back then.
 
"The mood and determination is infectious.
 
"I am in a privileged position here.  I know that and I am proud to be in the position I am in"
 
The setting has moved from dressing room to board room, but you get the feeling that the success stories will keep coming for Casper and his former Class of 92 team mates.
 
Article: Mark Carruthers (@marknldaily)
Image: Reuters Media/Salford City

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