Football

Lim joins forces with Nevilles, Giggs, Scholes and Butt

PHOTO COURTESY OF PETER LIM

Singapore billionaire businessman Peter Lim, who is on the verge of an official takeover of La Liga giants Valencia, is making a foray into England now.

While he tried to buy Liverpool in 2010, only to be foiled at the last minute by the American conglomerate who run the English giants today, his latest football venture takes him to the far less glamorous world of the Evo-Stik Division One North club, Salford City FC.

Lim has entered into partnership with five former Manchester United players and taken a 50 per cent share in Salford City, who play in the eighth tier of the English league system.

Gary and Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt have equal shares in the other 50 per cent of the club, who are top of their division.

A source close to the deal said that five players sold the stake to Lim, 61, for an undisclosed sum. The quintet - all members of United's celebrated "Class of 92" - will each retain a 10 per cent stake in the club, the source said.

Salford was once home to The Cliff, United's training ground until 2000 and the place where the "Class of 92" took their first steps in professional football.

The former United players took a stake this year with the goal of developing local talent and ultimately taking the club into the Football League.

In reports published in various English outlets yesterday, the ex-United quintet said in a statement that Lim's experience would be invaluable as they continue with their unlikely quest to turn Salford, located on the outskirts of Manchester, into a football force.

"When we set out upon this journey we always knew at some point we wanted external partners involved, people who would share our vision for Salford.

"Peter's love of sport, above all football, is well documented," the statement said.

"Peter's experience and knowledge can help take the club to where we believe they can be."

The move is awaiting approval by the English FA, which should be a formality.

Salford's chairman Karen Baird was quoted as saying: "It's been a great start to the season, we are very excited about the future for the club.

"The most important aspect for us is that we continue to bond with our community and city and we have assurances this will happen."

- Wire Services.