Salford City's Seddon living the dream

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Gareth Seddon's story suggests that you should always expect the unexpected.

On a Sunday afternoon in 2014, while clutching a cup of tea in his living room, the 35-year-old received the phone call that would provide his career with the finish of distinction it warranted.

Gareth Seddon was playing for Chester City when he got the call from Gary Neville

Gareth Seddon was playing for Chester City when he got the call from Gary Neville

It was England coach and former Manchester United club captain Gary Neville. The purpose of the conversation? To convince the one-time Padiham FC striker to lead the line at Salford City, now headed by a cohort of Sir Alex Ferguson's Class of '92.

Neville's sales pitch, as you would expect, didn't last long, even though Seddon would drop down the hierarchy having represented Chester in the Conference. "Last summer I got a phone call on a Sunday while I was led in my house. My phone went, I said 'hello', and he said 'hi it's Gary Neville here'. I was just like 'yeah good one'. I just thought it was one of the lads.

"Obviously I started to register the voice and I was like 'oh my God, it's Gary Neville'. He told me that, along with Paul Scholes, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, and Ryan Giggs, he'd bought a football club - Salford City. Some of them used to play for them as kids and they had a good relationship with them. He wanted to bring me in as a striker, somebody who had experience and could score goals.

"They wanted to try and win the league. You can't really say no to Gary Neville and we talked over a deal. I was 34 then and they offered me a two-year deal. For someone at my age, to be involved with those guys, it was brilliant. It really was amazing so I jumped at the opportunity."

Gareth Seddon in action for Halifax Town

Gareth Seddon in action for Halifax Town

And win the league they did, beating Darlington 1883 to the Evo-Stik First Division North title with Seddon culminating the term fourth in the goalscoring charts with 24 goals. The campaign was featured in BBC documentary "Class of '92: Out of their League".

"It's been really strange because I'm just some goofy lad from Burnley who has been very lucky to make it," said Seddon. "Obviously there's been the documentary and everybody has seen it on the BBC. I was worried thinking that I was going to look an idiot because any lad who is a model and plays football straight away 99% of people are going to hate you.

"I was hoping I didn't come across like that because I'm not like that. I genuinely get on with everybody that I meet. People always have an opinion of me before they meet me but I try to prove them wrong. I was worried how I was going to come across. But from thousands of comments on Twitter there's probably been one person say bad things.

"That ratio was brilliant for me. I've been out in town, Manchester and even in London and people walking past were doing a double take. They'd shout 'Gareth, let me get a picture with you'. It's brilliant."

He added: "In London, when I was seeing my brother, I was going down in to the subway, down the escalator, and lads on the other side shouted 'Seddon can I get a picture' and they ran round. It is a bit surreal because I'm a normal lad from Burnley but the feedback has been brilliant.

"I'm 35, nearly 36, never thought I'd get this sort of exposure. It's kind of one of the reasons why I joined Salford, even though I didn't know there was going to be a documentary. I knew there would be one last chance and work with the Class of '92.

"I knew I'd get some good advice being around those guys. I could play football with their ambition to take Salford in to the league. It was one last chance for me to get a bit of glory and prove to people that I can still score goals."

A medial knee ligament injury kept the former St Theodore's RC High School pupil out of the spotlight as the Ammies caused an FA Cup upset when dumping Notts County out of the competition at Moor Lane last month.

City host League Two Hartlepool United tonight (kick-off 7-45 p.m.) in the second round, a stage that Seddon isn't alien to. The 'Hapton Hitman' reached the fourth round with Kettering Town in 2008/09 after the Poppies beat Lincoln City, Notts County and Eastwood Town.

A late Craig Westcarr penalty looked to have earned them a replay against Premier League Fulham but an 88th minute strike from Andy Johnson plus another from Bobby Zamora a minute later ended the dream.

"For some reason we are favourites which is ridiculous - for us to be favourites against them," he said. "They are in the exact same position as Notts County in the league. The only things is that Notts County turned up and they didn't know what to expect and they kind of disrespected us a little bit by thinking they could just turn up and beat us. Hartlepool will be fully prepared and they'll be thinking that the last team we want to be getting beat by is Salford. They'll come all guns blazing and it will be a much tougher test.

"Where we've got to now, from where we were, has exceeded all expectations. We never thought we'd do this because the club had never even got to the first round before. We've got there and we've won so the second round is new territory for the club.

"I've been quite lucky to reach the fourth round before and people like Danny Webber has only ever gone in at the third round because he's played at such a high level. For the other lads they've just got to enjoy it and they can't freeze. They can't have any nerves because they weren't there against Notts County and we beat them quite easily. If we go in to the game with that same mentality then who knows."

Seddon, whop was a fitness instructor in the RAF, added: "It's a massive incentive. The dream is to beat Hartlepool and then to get Man United in the third round. I think that's everyone's dream at the club - not just because of our owners but because of the scale of it. Imagine us walking out at Old Trafford! We've got to beat Hartlepool first and it's what all the players are talking about.

"We're never going to win the FA Cup but we're going to prepare right, we've had scouts watching Hartlepool, so we know what they're about. They were live on TV during the international break so all the lads got to sit down and watch them. We know what to expect and we're quietly confident but we know it's going to be a much harder test than Notts County.

"Once you get in to the third round there's never going to be a comfortable game. I think we'd rather go for a massive team away and play it at a massive stadium with a massive crowd on TV and enjoy the experience.

"If we get a lower league team at home, where you could get beat, you've kind of wasted the opportunity. Let's just hope we draw a massive team and have a really good away day so all the fans can enjoy it. We want a proper reward."