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Anthony Johnson, Bernard Morley, Salford City, Vanarama National League NorthThis next article brings us to J, and we couldn’t look much further than J is for…

Jonno and Bern

Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley arrived at Moor Lane as joint managers in January 2015 from Ramsbottom United.

Having achieved promotion from the NPL Division 1 North with Rammy the season before, their task was to repeat that with Salford. In the 17 remaining games, the duo inspired 15 wins, including a crucial 2-0 win against Darlington at the end of January, and suffered just two defeats. 

The title was secured on the Tuesday night before the last game of the season when The Quakers were held away at Warrington, and Salford celebrated winning a first league title since 1978-79’s Manchester League Premier Division triumph.

Anthony Johnson, Bernard Morley, Salford City, Owen Roberts, Jonno and BernThe pair were well known for their ‘honest’ approach on the touchline and in the changing room with the players, but they certainly inspired the sort of passion they needed as 2015-16 took the club to new heights.

Starting off in the FA Cup, they didn’t just take us to the proper rounds for the first time, but they masterminded a 2-0 win against Notts County in the First Round (more later in this series), and only two goals in extra time in a Second Round replay away at Hartlepool United prevented us from reaching the Third Round.

Unlike some other non-league clubs who enjoy FA Cup success, but wither away in the league, Salford came on stronger and after a blip in February 2016 cantered into the play-offs where, after coming from behind twice in the Final against Workington, we secured a second consecutive promotion to reach the National League North for the first time. 

2016-17 again saw us reach the play-offs under the pair’s leadership, but this time a penalty shootout defeat at FC Halifax Town meant we would have another crack at the division. Jonno and Bern oversaw the transition to becoming a full time that summer, and in 2017-18 the title was won to secure a third promotion in four seasons. However by mutual consent their time in charge came to an end and they are now at Chester who have an exciting project to aim back towards the Football League.

CELEBRATIONS

Anthony Johnson, Bernard Morley, Salford City, Dave Russell, Paul Scholes
Anthony Johnson and Bernard Morley celebrate their 100th game in charge, congratulated by President Dave Russell and co-owner Paul Scholes.

There is little doubt that three promotions in four years marks the Jonno and Bern era as one of the most successful eras in the club’s history. So many successes in that space of time hadn’t been seen since the 1970s, not to discount promotion from the NWCFL and the National League as major successes in their own rights!

The club were under no illusions who they were hiring either; Jonno had been sent off for a fracas on the touchline when Rammy visited in the League Cup earlier in the 2014-15 season, and as a player Bern was sent off twice in his first few games for Salford. But their spirit and passion created a culture at the club during that time which was necessary to underpin the growth.

Nevertheless for a pair who were written off, told that joint managers can’t work, and that their style wasn’t right, they certainly silenced their critics. In 174 games they maintained just under a 60% winning percentage, and in fact their losing percentage was just 22%.

Two people we owe a lot to as a club, thank you Jonno and Bern.

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