Salford co-owner Gary Neville has been accused by Accrington owner Andy Holt of attempting to “steal” a place in the EFL after the Vanarama National League newcomers signed Adam Rooney from Aberdeen.
Striker Rooney – who scored 88 goals in 197 appearances for the Dons after joining in January 2014, left on Thursday to join Salford for an undisclosed fee and will be earning £4,000 a week.
Later in the day there was a tetchy exchange between Holt, whose side won Sky Bet League Two last term, and Neville on Twitter.
Holt responded to a post that apparently made reference to the Rooney deal by posting a message including the line: “Who’s place in the football league is @GNev2 going to steal with this p**s take.”
Neville replied on his official account with a message that said: “Steal! I hope it’s yours now! 5 ex players have matched all investment with our co-owner to build a stadium, build a successful team in a city we love and invest in football. We’ve invested millions.
“You seem to want a franchise league where the established can’t be challenged!”
Holt replied with: “What’s you budget Gary? You’re buying your way in, that’s the word on the street.”
And after Neville then tweeted “they have players on a lot more money than ours…I bet he’s pumping money in to keep his club competing!! Come on tell us Mr Chairman?”, Holt wrote: “So far our net wage bill for league 1 next season is £932,000. That’s out of a budget of £1.1m Your turn Gary.”
Neville then wrote: “I don’t know. We don’t run our club right! Only poor little Accrington do!! We put a lot of money in and aren’t embarrassed about it but you think I’m going to disclose my wages on here? He wants Franchise Football.”
Holt replied: “I don’t Gaz. But neither do I want the Wild West. It’s a casino now all the way to the top and you know it.”
Holt subsequently wrote that his proposal would be “an absolute cap on squad spending.”
When contacted, the National League said it would not be commenting on the matter.Salford have five Class of 92 former Manchester United players as co-owners in Neville, his brother Phil, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, plus businessman Peter Lim. Since the group took control of the club in 2014, the Ammies have been promoted three times.
As well as Rooney, Salford also this week signed midfielder Danny Lloyd from Accrington’s fellow League One side Peterborough.
Motherwell manager Stephen Robinson admitted his side had been blown away by Salford when going for the same player.
He said: “I actually competed with Salford for two players. I got one of them, Liam Donnelly, and completely lost out on the other one, who they blew us away with money.”