With a UEFA A licence, a masters of research degree in sports science and as a graduate of the Johan Cruyff Academy in Amsterdam, James Rowe is probably the most qualified manager to have trod the touchline here.
Chesterfield’s 38-year-old boss, whose playing career took him to places such as Grantham and Canvey Island, far from football’s mainstream, is a man who talks in technical terms about ‘confrontation lines’ and ‘pressure points’.
He was able to point out he had beaten the side who had ‘delivered the most crosses in League Two’.
James Rowe guided non-league Chesterfield to victory against Salford City in the FA Cup
However, when asked what it meant to be in the third round of the FA Cup, his was the language of football as emotion rather than science. ‘It rates No 1 in my career,’ he said.
‘You saw the emotion when we scored the second goal. You put so many hours in. I want to spend time with my family and my young son. You miss so much while putting the extra hours in but they are worth it for this.’
The trouble with Salford City is that they will always be judged by the men who own the club, the men who between them have 18 FA Cup winners’ medals.
This neat, rebuilt arena that stands less than a mile from The Cliff, Manchester United’s old training ground, where the Class of 92 were schooled to greatness, has had its share of exposure. There have been three television series about the club.
Liam Mandeville scored a screamer for the first, later celebrating by mocking Paul Scholes
However, once the harmonica that began Dirty Old Town, Ewan MacColl’s hymn to the factories and canals of Salford, ushered the teams out, the focus shifted from the Nevilles, Giggs, Scholes, Butt and Beckham to the men who had to deliver on the pitch. Mostly, they did not.
On the surface, Salford’s task appeared reasonably