Friday, December 30, 2005

Why the clouds of 2005 have a silver lining

Why the clouds of 2005 have a silver lining
Source: The Guardian

FC United's Tony Howard looks back on a year that supporters in Manchester won't forget in a hurry

Friday December 30, 2005

The year 2005 has been described as an annus horribilis by supporters of Manchester United: their team finished the 2004-05 season trophyless; Roy Keane left in acrimonious circumstances; a poor Liverpool side somehow won the European Cup, and United then crashed out before even reaching the group stages of this season's competition. However, surely the biggest blow of them all came in the merry month of May when Old Trafford was invaded by Americans.

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The Glazer takeover saw the club plunged into massive debt by people with no love for the game and a sole interest in profit. It felt like the world had ended as many of us gave up our most prized possessions in the world - our season tickets - because, in our eyes, Manchester United as we knew it was no more. Yet FC United of Manchester's formation has provided a chink of light in the darkest of years.

It was with heavy heart that we swapped Old Trafford for Gigg Lane and many friendships and even family relationships were damaged by the decision to depart Old Trafford. Despite the sad instances of infighting amidst the red half of Manchester, those of us who made the move have been rewarded with an amazing ride over the last five months.

We've been to football grounds we never knew existed. We've been to places we'd never heard of and all the time we've rediscovered the joys that only watching football can bring. We've even seen our team score 10 goals in a game (against Castleton Gabriels), been to Accrington Stanley (v Colne) and we've still got a 'European away-day' to look forward to at Blackpool in February (v Blackpool Mechanics).

We now look forward to trips to places like Leek or Barrow and wonder whether there'll be boozers near the ground or what the stands will be like - just as last season we felt the same about trips to more glamorous destinations on the continent. None of us takes any joy as we watch the downward spiral happening at our spiritual home in M16, but I'm sure few of us have any regrets.

And as FC United end 2005 11 points clear at the top of North West Counties Division Two, with crowds regularly topping 3,000, we are sure to look forward to many more days out in wild and wonderful venues in obscure towns around the region next year. Many in Manchester may be glad to see the back of 2005, but it was also the birth of a new era in United supporters' football history. And for that reason, the year will never be forgotten.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Sth Mcr Reporter: So long Simms

Source: South Manchester Reporter
So long Simms

MAINE Road FC have been rocked after long-serving player-manager Chris Simms resigned his post at the Moore and Co Solicitors North West Counties Football League division one club.

Simms has left to join the successful FC United who are flying high in division two where he will concentrate on playing for the ambitious new club, formed by Manchester United supporters disillusioned at Malcolm Glazer’s takeover last summer.

Simms has played for Maine Road for 15 of the last 17 seasons and has clocked up over 500 appearances.

During his time he has also scored more than 100 goals for the south Manchester club.

He will make his debut for his new team against Flixton while Road secretary Derek Barber will take over as caretaker boss at Brantingham Road.

FC United boss Karl Marginson told the league’s website: "I know this move will surprise a lot of people in local non-league, but Chris is a massive Manchester United fan and is eager to be a part of what we’re trying to achieve here.

"He’s still a great player and will be a brilliant signing for us."

The veteran ex-Hyde and Runcorn midfielder has just returned to action after recovering from a groin injury sustained in a pre-season guest appearance for FC United according to the league’s official website.

With FC United riding high at the top of division two, there is every possibility that Simms could face a reunion with his former club next season should his new side secure promotion into division one.

However, Road’s hopes of festive cheer and a welcome win were hit in their local derby at Abbey Hey.

After a home defeat against Colne and the loss of Simms, Road’s attempt at getting back to winning ways looked good as they took the lead on 37 minutes through Gareth Richards.

But it was not to be though as Simpson levelled for the home team on 69 minutes before Moore slotted home an 86th minute penalty to leave Road pointless and in 14th place in the division one table.

Road are next in action on Monday, January 2 when they visit Trafford. Kick-off is scheduled for 3pm.

First published by the South Manchester Reporter

Monday, December 26, 2005

Q and A: FC United of Manchester


Q and A: FC United of Manchester
Monday 26 Dec 2005

Seven months ago the Glazer family walked in to Old Trafford, and some disillusioned United fans walked out. Thousands returned their season tickets, a few have drifted back and a splinter group decided they had had enough, and started their own United, FC United of Manchester.

Here 4thegame talks to Jules Spencer, a lifelong Manchester United fan, and former chairman of the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association, who is now a board member of the team currently lying top of the Moore & Co Construction Solicitors League Division Two.

FC United is six months old - how do you feel things have gone so far?
Amazing. We get asked all the time if it's going better than expected and I suppose that from the point of view our highest gate was nearly 4000, then I guess it is. But then I was always quietly confident that we'd make a success of it. The job now is to maintain and grow the club even further.

FC regularly get over 3,000 supporters for home games at Gigg Lane - who are these people, disenfranchised United fans or United fans who gave up trying to get a ticket years ago?

All walks of life. And that is exactly what we wanted. Those that refused to go to Old Trafford once Glazer took over, those that were priced out of top level football years ago, whole families, kids and their mates, school parties, the list could go on. The best sight of all though is kids enjoying themselves. They underpin everything this club is about. For far too long clubs at the top of the game have not addressed were their future support is going to come from, choosing to look to the short term rather than the opposite. We think we are going a long way to addressing that.

What do you want to say to Manchester United fans not happy about the takeover - but haven't ventured to FC United as yet?
Come down and make up your own mind about what it's like. We think you'll be pleasantly surprised. And don't believe for a minute any urban myths you may have heard about us being Anti-MUFC. Anyone witnessing supporters watching the Villa - United match in the pubs before our game against Barrow last weekend, will testify what United still means to FC fans.

Have you had any contact from Manchester United FC about the new club?

Not directly, no.

How do you feel about Manchester United and it's new owners now?

Manchester United are still my club as it is for the thousands who come to our games. You can't just switch that off. Exit from Europe still hurt even though you knew it could harm Glazers business plan. Draws against City and Liverpool were just as frustrating from afar as they would have been if I'd been there. The Glazers I hold in utter contempt.

Would you close FC United if the Glazers upped and left?
It's not for me or anyone else on the board to dictate this club's future. That will be decided by the supporters as they own the club. But it's important to stress that FC United is not just an anti-Glazer vehicle. Its about building something positive for the community. About providing a home for those that are sick and tired of the path that football has been heading down over the past decade. About supporter ownership. And it's those supporters who will dictate how far and for how long this club runs. That's not a political side-step, it's the truth.

FC United are flying high, smashing 10 past Castleton Gabriels earlier this month, and running away with the title. Do you think this immediate success will help attract more fans, or work against you in the long run by creating an expectation that it will always be this easy?
No, I think we're a fairly level headed bunch of supporters. We won't be taking anything for granted.

Are you optimistic that FC United of Manchester can live up to its manifesto and always remain a club for the people?
Without a doubt. In terms of principles we know what is important to us and the reasons why the club came about. In terms of ownership it will always be owned by it's supporters, the structure of the club prevents private owners taking over.

What are your long-term hopes for both Manchester United and FC United?
I hope one day Manchester United will be returned to its rightful owners, the supporters. And I hope FC United long continues to give us the same enjoyment it's giving us at the moment. In football terms some have said they live for the day when we draw 'Big United' in the FA Cup. I'd rather draw City. And knock them out.

Have your experiences this season changed your views on lower league or non-league football?
The standard of football is surprisingly high, and without sounding too philosophical, a winning goal is a winning goal and a last minute equaliser is a last minute equaliser, whatever the level of football. You still find yourself hugging a complete stranger whether at Craven Park or Villa Park.

How far do you think the current FC United squad can go?

The manager wants to keep his squad together for as long as possible. A number of our players have dropped down several divisions and for less money to play for us, so there's no reason why he shouldn't be able to.

Will FC United always be based in Bury - or are their plans to move the club to within Manchester?
Gigg Lane has been great for us and supporters have taken it to their hearts. But we aim to have our own ground at some point in the future.

Is running your own football club easier than trying to lobby the board of another?
Hah hah, what a great question. Don't know if it's easier, but a lot of it is more enjoyable in that we have more control of our future. Glazer aside the most disillusioning aspects for me personally in recent years was feeling we were continually banging our heads against a brick wall at United. United will claim they had to listen to all their supporters (which would have been fine if they had done) and not just IMUSA or other groups. But I felt personally as Chair they could have done more to recognise what IMUSA stood for and were trying to achieve for all supporters. It became increasingly disheartening to be constantly rebuffed.

Finally - do you have any regrets about your decision not to go to Old Trafford any more?
I'm sad in a way that it ever had to come to this. But it did and we had to deal with it. But all the positives that FC United bring every day, every time we play, every time you see players mixing with supporters after a game, every time you see a volunteer giving up their pre-match drink to sell programmes, every time the team run out; you know that what we've got at FC United can't be wrong.

To find out more about the club, check out the FC United website at

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Accountancy Age: Man Utd spin-off club appoints auditor

Source Accountancy Age

Anti-Glazier fans choose Beever & Struthers to review accounts
Paul Grant, Accountancy Age, 23 Dec 2005

FC United, the football club formed by disgruntled Manchester united fans following its takeover by Malcolm Glazier, has appointed Beever & Struthers as its auditor.

The club, currently top of Division Two of the North West Counties and regularly pulling in crowds of over 3,000, requires an auditor as a not-for-profit organisation.

Pete Munday, the FC United board member responsible for the club's financial matters said Beever & Struthers had been chosen because of their 'considerable experience' as auditors of other Industrial Provident Societies.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The Guardian: Christmas away day is no turkey

Christmas away day is no turkey
Source: The Guardian

Christmas away day is no turkey

Having swapped Barcelona for Barrow and Chelsea for Cheadle, FC United's Tony Howard is relishing the experience of Boxing Day at Flixton

Thursday December 22, 2005

After years of trips to Anfield or Goodison for a day of simmering inter-city rivalry, where 'Boxing' Day would often prove a lot more literal than festive; or journeys to daft places like Middlesbrough with a hangover, a date at Flixton beckons on Monday. Where? Well, it's about two miles from Old Trafford and, for many of us, that means we're walking off the Christmas turkey on the way to the game.

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The Boxing Day fixture has been a highlight of football fans' festive calendars for years; thinking about it helps you get through the rigours of Christmas Day and gives you something to look forward to when you've had one too many mince pies. It's just the excuse you need to get away from the family and down to the boozer with your mates, then into the ground to let off some steam. All while showing off your new trainers.

But how many Manchester United fans would have thought they would one day swap Anfield Road for Valley Road, Flixton? Then again, who would have thought of swapping Barcelona for Barrow, Arsenal for Accrington, or Chelsea for Cheadle? If the angel Gabriel himself had come down and visited me as I dragged myself up for last Boxing Day's match against Bolton and told me that this year I'd be going to Flixton, I'd have put it down to a drink-induced hallucination.

It's a strange world we now live in, but halfway through our first season and 13 points clear at the top of North West Counties Division Two, I wager my Christmas cracker prize that few regret their choice. Merry Fcumas.

Visit for more information about the club

Monday, December 19, 2005

News and Star: 2,303 cram in for FC United visit

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Source: News and Star (Cumbria)

Published on 19/12/2005

FOR months people had been talking about this game, for months the excitement had been building - it didn’t disappoint.

Okay so Holker lost 2-0 to the might of FC United, the breakaway club formed by disenchanted Manchester United fans after the Malcolm Glazer takeover, but this wasn’t just about what happened on the pitch.

What this game will be remembered for will be the quite astonishing atmosphere created by a huge crowd of more than 2,303.

The Holker players - more used to playing in front of no more than 50 people at their Rakesmoor Lane home - probably had to pinch themselves when out of the Craven Park tunnel they came to be greeted by a deafening wall of noise.

And for 90 minutes it didn’t stop.

Thousands of travelling FC United fans had been signing about coming to Barrow for weeks on end, and they were here to enjoy themselves.

Packed onto the terracing at the Hindpool Road end of Barrow RL’s home, the Red Army sung their hearts out and waved their scarves as if they were back on the Stretford End of Old Trafford in the good old days.

In the second half, when the sea of red and white moved onto the Popular Side, the chanting moved with them.

When their side eventually scored, the rafters of the 74-year-old rugby ground probably shook, such was the noise.

This was something very special indeed. Yes, a big pay-day for Holker, but also a day to cherish for all concerned at the club.

On the pitch, the game was decided in the space of three second half minutes when a quick-fire double ensured FC United would be returning home to celebrate Christmas with another three points.

Up until then Holker - sixth bottom of North West Counties Division Two going into the game - had just about held their own against the runaway league leaders.

But with pressure mounting FC United took the lead on 64 minutes through a stunning Simon Carden strike.

The midfielder’s left-foot half-volley from 20 yards left Holker keeper Ross Liddicott no chance as it flew just inside his left upright.

Carden, though, shouldn’t really have been given the space to fire home following a Josh Howard through ball which should have been cut out by Holker defender Barry Stevens.

Three minutes later it was 2-0 as Adie Orr chipped the ball over Liddicott from just outside the box.

The striker profited from a sliced clearance from Stevens which went almost vertically up into the air and back down again.

As it bounced Orr reacted quickest, getting his toe end to the ball and lifting it over the helpless Liddicott.

The second goal killed the game off as a contest, and had it not been for smart stops by Liddicott the visitors could have added to their tally as Holker - who had given so much - tired.

The home side - who had taken to the boxing gym in preparation for the big game - actually had the better of the first-half, and had they been more clinical in front of goal could have been in front at the break.

Top goalscorer Paul Southward will probably more disappointed than most not to have hit the back of the net after having some glorious chances.

But, unable to take their opportunities, Holker were punished in the second period as FC United upped their game.

North West Evening Mail: Fc United Spoil Holker’s Party

Source: North West Evening Mail

Published on 19/12/2005

HOLKER Old Boys chairman Steve Livingstone said he was proud of his club after a huge crowd of more than 2,300 watched the first-team lose 2-0 to FC United on Saturday.

Hundreds of travelling FC United fans sang for the full 90 minutes, creating a carnival atmosphere inside Craven Park for arguably the biggest game in Holker’s 69-year history.

Two second half goals in the space of three minutes earned the visitors the win, but for Holker it was a proud day.

Livingstone said: “All the effort that we had put in was made worthwhile, it was a brilliant day and everyone enjoyed it.

“The atmosphere was just tremendous and from what I know there was no trouble.

“The feedback I’ve had from everyone has been brilliant. The landlords from pubs around the ground said the atmosphere prior to kick-off was electric.

“I’m very proud of the club and it was great to see everyone mucking in together.”

The Moore and Co Construction Solicitors Division Two clash had been moved to Craven Park from Holker’s Rakesmoor Lane to accommodate a large crowd.

In total 2,303 people watched the game, with Holker selling around 900 tickets, FC United around 1,100 and the rest paying on the gate.

Livingstone hopes the game will have pocketed the club around £8,000.

He said: “That kind of money means we can start investing a little bit in the infrastructure at Rakesmoor Lane, making it more secure and creating a training area for our juniors.”

Holker were the better team in the first half of Saturday’s game, but they failed to take their chances and were punished by the league’s runaway leaders in the second period.

United’s first goal came in the 64th minute when midfielder Simon Carden hit a stunning volley past Ross Liddicott. Adie Orr added a second three minutes later.

Holker Old Boys manager Derek Birrell said: “The result is disappointing, but I think the lads can hold their heads up, FC United are a quality side.

“The atmosphere was great and it didn’t intimidate us. The lads did say though that it was so loud that they couldn’t hear each other or my instructions!”

FC United manager Karl Marginson — a former player with Barrow AFC — praised Holker’s work-rate and said they were “up there” with the best teams they have played so far this season.

* Livingstone this morning announced that Dave Staunton, who was joint-first-team manager at Holker, has left to rejoin West Lancashire League strugglers Furness Cavaliers.

Sunday, December 18, 2005


Source: Sunday Mirror

18 December 2005
By Ben Hunt

SIR ALEX FERGUSON is feeling the pressure at Manchester United but life for his counterpart at FC United of Manchester could not be more different.

While Fergie's flops are lagging behind Chelsea in the Premiership and suffered the humiliation of an early exit from the Champions League, FC United - the club set up by fans opposed to Malcolm Glazer's takeover - are enjoying the life at the top.

FC United are 10 points clear in the North West Counties Division Two - nine leagues below the Premiership - and last week recorded a 10-2 win over Castleton Gabriels.

Boss Karl Marginson believes the only pressure that which he is putting on himself to keep on winning.

"The only pressure I feel is the pressure I'm put on myself to do well," said life-long Manchester United fan Marginson. "I want to look after the players and results.

"Down at this level you sometimes end up getting results like 10-2, but they were bottom of the league and our tails were up a little bit.

"We have had a couple of decent results and been playing quiet well, but we have to keep that going."

Although favourites for promotion, Marginson insists he is not yet thinking about next season.

He added: "I am not thinking about being in the next division. The lads have already lost twice and that helps to keep their feet on the ground.

"It has also taught me a few lessons about complacency and we will definitely not be getting ahead of ourselves.

"Only if we are seven points ahead with two games to go would I look ahead to next year."

The club attracts some of the biggest crowds in non-league football, with an average attendance of 2,700, and Marginson says the money they bring to clubs on their away travels helps to safeguard their futures.

He said: "The attendances here are amazing. When we played Cheadle Town the day after George Best died, the atmosphere was unbelievable. The official attendance was 3,000 but it was more like 5,000."

Sunday World: Move Over Man U

Source: Sunday World (no online edition

Sunday World

Saturday, December 17, 2005

MEN: Are you watching, Malcolm Galzer

Source: Manchester Evening News

Saturday, 17th December 2005
Are you watching, Malcolm Glazer?

THE rebel football club set up by Manchester United fans after the Malcolm Glazer takeover has been proving a massive hit.

And while the Red Devils have been stuttering in recent weeks, FC United now claims to be the fastest-growing football club in the world.

And to cope with its increasing popularity, the club has now advertised for a £25,000-a-year chief executive and an £18,000-a-year club secretary.

Despite being in the second division of the North West Counties League, seven leagues below the Premiership, gates at the semi-pro club are better than some professional outfits.

The club averages 2,738 spectators at the home matches it plays at Bury's Gigg Lane ground - more than their hosts, a professional club three leagues higher. As well as this, the club regularly takes the same number to away games.

It also boasts 3,500 members from as far afield as New Zealand and has sold 2,500 replica shirts in its inaugural season.

And 650 fans have paid £112 for season tickets, while matchday tickets cost £7 for adults and £2 for kids compared to £26, the cheapest at Old Trafford.

The players are paid about £40 a week, which is nowhere near the £100,000 a week Rio Ferdinand is reported to earn at United.

Apart from the price, fans say the other main factor persuading them to swap the Theatre of Dreams for Gigg Lane is the atmosphere.

Fans love the singing and the humour, which reminds them of what Old Trafford used to be like before corporate supporters - dubbed the "Prawn Sandwich Brigade" by former captain Roy Keane - were blamed for failing to take part in the chants.

FC United was formed after fans reacted with fury when Glazer, the Florida-based tycoon, bought the Old Trafford club for £790m just before the start of the season.

Acting chief executive Andy Walsh said: "There are thousands of people who cannot afford to go to top-flight football these days but still consider themselves to be supporters of top-flight teams.

"For too long, top-flight clubs have looked after corporate clients and taken ordinary fans for granted.

"We're offering those people who feel disenfranchised an alternative and it has been embraced by thousands of people, and we're welcoming new people all the time.

"The interest has been absolutely phenomenal. About a quarter of the gate is gangs of kids coming in on their own, the same way we used to.

"Nowadays getting a ticket for a Premiership game is a military operation. You have to apply with a credit card six weeks before the game and that's if you can afford it. A lot of people who come to our games are affording football for the first time in a long time. And one thing people comment on is the atmosphere. It's amazing, like football used to be."

Andy, a 43-year-old former IT worker from Urmston, who says he will apply for the chief executive position, last went to Old Trafford for the final game of last season. Now he says he will not return until owners with the best interests of the supporters at heart are in place.

He said: "I haven't turned my back on United. I've been a United fan for 43 years and I will always be a United fan.

"However, I won't put money into a Glazer business. He's not got the interests of the club at heart. He's only interested in the club financially."

Over at Old Trafford, Manchester United spokesman Phil Townsend said: "We wish them well."

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Guardian: When silence is golden

Source: The Guardian

When silence is golden

FC United's Tony Howard explains how a microphone jinx is the biggest problem blighting the club's current campaign

Friday December 16, 2005

The FC United crowd may have developed a reputation for making a racket, but, ironically, the club appears to have a jinx with microphones. The strange curse struck again at the club's Christmas party when a planned question-and-answer session with the manager, team and board members was cut short because the pesky sound system kept cutting out.

It was to be the first chance for founder members to quiz the club on the first few months of existence, but instead everyone was reduced to shouting to a packed room, leaving manager Karl Marginson and acting general manager Andy Walsh with damaged vocal chords. Before it got out of hand, though, Steve Torpey took the opportunity to reveal how he "dare" support Liverpool, and Margy put everyone at ease by promising not to leave for the vacant Old Trafford hot seat should Mr Ferguson exit.

Those on the top table were thankful they had an excuse to ignore the best question of the night from a child who must have been five years old. He simply asked: "When was football invented?" Cue blank looks from all present.

The latest audio setback came after months of continued problems with the sound system at Gigg Lane, which left some in the crowd shocked to learn that we do actually have people manning the PA. DJs Bobby B and Peanut are proud of their music selections, but no one else can really pass comment because we've hardly heard them. They do appear to have developed a taste for hip hop, given their unique Mancunian 'rapping' when making announcements. "And ... goal ... United ... score ... five ... minutes," being a typical example of their 'freestyling'.

They had their work cut out - literally - on Saturday as FC chalked up the North West Counties League scoring record with a 10-2 victory over Castleton Gabriels to continue to lead at the top of the table.

The lads themselves blame the amount of 'fatties' in the Manchester Road End for muffling the sound, and they have requested a ban on bubble jackets for the same reason. It may get better as the season wears on, but for now it appears to be more a case of the Sound of Silence than the Sound of Music emanating from the DJ booth on a match day. Anyway, when was football invented ...


Source: North West Evening News

Published on 16/12/2005

FORMER Barrow AFC star defender Karl Marginson has a twofold mission tomorrow.

His primary objective — as manager of FC United — is to make certain his Manchester rebels beat Holker Old Boys at Craven Park (3pm kick-off).

When (and if) his main task is accomplished, Marginson will then get down to the serious business of meeting up with old friends for a Christmas drink.

“I’ve always liked Barrow,” said the 35-year-old, who made 78 appearances for the Bluebirds between 1996-1999.

“My time up there was probably my happiest time in football, and I still have mates up there such as Morty (Neil Morton) and Lee O’Keeffe.”

Marginson, who lives in the Urmston district of the city, supported the Red Devils from boyhood until last summer when FC United was born out of a massive pulse of disaffection caused by the Malcolm Glazer takeover at Old Trafford.

“It’s a working-class game, a game where you should be able to get your fingers dirty and where you shouldn’t have to pay a fortune at the turnstiles,” he said.

Marginson confirmed the 1200-plus FC United fans who are heading for Furness are regarding tomorrow’s trip as a special event in their calendar.

“Our fans are viewing the Barrow match as our Euro away game,” he said.

“When they supported Manchester United they used to go to the ends of the earth. So this is our Euro away game — and our Christmas party.”

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Castleton Gabriels (Home) 10-2

we want ten

a cracking game and a crackin atmosphere - FC winning 10-2

Click here for foties

Saturday, December 10, 2005

All the Manchester Reds

Source: L'Equipe (no online content, for English translation scroll past the scans).

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English translation:

There used to be Manchester United … here is FC United, which has existed as a dissident team ever since an American showed up with his millions. The result: a shared passion that divides families.

Stuart Davies has still not come round to it. At sixty-two this dedicated Manchester United supporter doesn’t understand the choice his eldest son, Andrew, has made. After thirty years of shared thrills at Old Trafford, he has seen his son turn his back on Man U and support the dissidents of FC United of Manchester, ten divisions lower. “But why do you go to watch them?” barks the father, while munching a steak in the Malmaison brasserie in the heart of the city. A few weeks ago, Stuart accompanied his son to an FC United match, an occasion he judges, with irony, “amusing”. “That’s because we don’t go to the game for the same reasons”, his son retorts tactfully. You like the game, and me, the atmosphere. At Old Trafford, in the last fifteen years, ordinary supporters, families, have been driven away or split up. Today, a season ticket doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be next to your mates in the stand. What’s more, you’re obliged to sit down, you’re surrounded by stewards. With FC United, it’s different. With FC United I’ve rediscovered the ambience of Old Trafford twenty years ago. And then, I was one of those who didn’t want to sanction the takeover of the club by the American businessman Malcolm Glazer. When some supporters disillusioned with Manchester United created the club, I followed them by becoming a member, my membership also means I’m one of the club’s proprietors.”

Stuart sits up, rests his hands on the back of his head and holds forth in his Welsh accent. “English football has certainly changed. But the blame lies mainly with Rupert Murdoch, and his blasted Sky. The scheduling of Premier League matches is crazy, the price of seats in the stadiums has become very expensive ?” (30 pounds - 44.3 euros for Manchester United, 5 pounds - 7.4 euros for FC United.)

1.30 p.m. The lunch between father and son has finished. There’s just time for a manly handshake on the steps of the restaurant, then each goes his separate way to support “his” team. Stuart strolls around Old Trafford, his match not due to begin till 3.30 p.m. Andy hurries to nearby Piccadilly station. At 3.00 precisely, “Little United” confront New Mills at Macclesfield, thirty kilometres from Manchester. Scarcely has he left the train when his mate Andrew, another indefatigable supporter of FC, pops up from the crowd. While a crowd of FC supporters walk from the station, despite the drizzle, the two friends opt for a taxi, so as to knock back a pint before the match. In the parking lot by the corrugated iron stands at the Church Lane end of the stadium, they meet Andy Walsh, the club’s general manager, who is busy selling FCU badges and scarves out of the back of his estate car.

“Thanks to donations (1 pound for one share in the club) from our 3,500 members, we have raised £170,000 (251,140 euros). But that’s not sufficient if we want to sustain and develop the club”, explains Walsh. Nevertheless, they have got off to a good start: last summer, more than 900 players put themselves forward for FC United, 200 passed the trials and 17 have been retained. Like Jonathan Mitten, who agreed to descend 5 divisions, or the goalkeeper Phil Priestley, who played at Bangor City, but who has since left, having been unable to get a place in the FC team.

After a minute’s silence in memory of George Best, the match begins while 600 FCU supporters sing one of the 40 songs from their eclectic repertoire. “We all live in the Georgie Best boat, the Georgie Best boat, the Georgie Best boat!” On the pitch, “Little United’s” players confirm their
incipient status as predators of the North West Counties League (FC United is top of the table). By half-time, they have already stunned their opponents with two goals thanks to the local David Beckham, the whirlwind no. 10, a former 3rd division player. The rain doubles in intensity, but it can’t quench the frenetic enthusiasm of the supporters.

In their war against commercialised football, one of their favourite targets remains the stewards. They thought that they would be rid of them on leaving Old Trafford, but as FCU draw more than 2,000 supporters to each match, the host teams have subsequently made use of security services. So in the second half of the game a steward is subjected to a good-humoured diatribe. His bushy moustache provokes a machine-gun rhythm chant. “Moustach, stach, stach, stach, stach”, chorus the swaying supporters, forcing the steward to retreat.

The match ends on a decisive score: 5-0 for the visitors and their manager, Karl Marginson, a deliveryman and long-time follower of Man U, a masterly combination of speed, attack and virile defence to a man. After a session of hugging between players and supporters, the latter decamp to the pubs to watch “Big United’s” match.

At the other end of the city, Stuart Davies is already installed in the stand at Old Trafford, behind the goal. Before taking his place in the still half-empty stadium, he meditated for a few moments before the railings in front of the stadium and the flowers, football shirts and scarves laid there in memory of George Best. His head bowed, Stuart then went into the stadium café for a cup of tea. Five minutes before kick off, a friend and neighbour arrived in the stand. Separated by 15 metres, the 2 men will remain seated throughout the match, finally won (3-0) by Manchester. Before meeting once more and returning home by car.

For his part, Andy sang of the glory of “Little United” while watching the stream of images of “Big U” in the pub opposite the station in Macclesfield. In the middle of players and supporters united in the cult of beer as the evening begins.

Jérôme Cazadieu
10th December 2005

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Guardian: Long Live Punk Football

Source: The Guardian

Tony Howard explains how FC United have found themselves at the forefront of the game's newest sub-culture

Friday December 9, 2005

An anarchists' book fayre is probably the last place you'd expect to find a football club, but FC United had a starring role at a Manchester event last weekend. Among the anti-capitalist, anti-establishment, anti-ID card and anti-everything literature, I discovered a piece on our erstwhile football club.

"F'CUM Punk football!" screamed the back page of issue 79 of 'Resistance - the anarchist bulletin', with the author lamenting "the start of the end for commercial football".

Let's get one thing straight, I never set out deliberately to go there; I simply wandered in off the street after getting caught short en route to Macclesfield for FC's latest adventure against New Mills in the divisional cup. I was therefore pleasantly surprised to discover just how far the club has impacted upon alternative culture.

Fans have long promoted FCUM as purveyors of 'punk football' after the phrase was coined on independent fans' website, while FC fanzine Under the Boardwalk recently had a 'Punk issue' and there are banners bearing the slogan at matches.

And save for manager Martyn Margetson wearing a nose ring and wing wizard Steve Torpey swapping his mullet for a Mohawk, the phrase is perfectly apt. As the punk movement grew through fans' distaste of the mainstream music they were being served, so FC United has hatched, and currently thrives on football supporters' dissatisfaction with mainstream football.

Punk had no rules and the very essence of anarchy is the principle of 'self policing', a process replicated at FC games where the local constabularies no longer provide a significant presence at matches. Even the initials FCUM provide a perfect punk slogan; custom-made to be sprayed on a press-studded leather jacket. The dodgy barnets sported by Messrs Torpey and Rory Patterson also add to the shock factor so loved by punks.

So there you have it - as 1976 was the defining year for punk music then 2005 is year zero for 'punk football'. We can only hope our own brand of anarchy will succeed where punk failed and we'll see the hierarchy fall as we claim back the game that is rightfully ours.

Incidentally, Torpey, mullet et al, swapped his infamous thong for a pair of Speedo's in the driving Cheshire rain, scoring a hat-trick in the 5-0 win. All against a backdrop of supporters pogoeing across the terraces to a beat of their own. Long live punk football.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005


Adored in Manchester

Source: Eurosport

Roy Keane has been the hot topic of conversation around Europe this week, as the final destination of the now former Manchester United midfielder remains uncertain.

All the biggest and best clubs in Europe have been mentioned in the same sentence as Keane since the hard man left by mutual consent/was sacked following his now infamous TV interview outburst.

Clubs from the stature of Real Madrid all the way down to the likes of Portsmouth have reportedly been interested in the Irishman, but one (un)likely option has been missed by the British media.

Inside Europe's bet is on Keane staying in Manchester... not signing for City though - he'd never be able to after his horrific attack on Alfie Haaland - but instead opting for FC United, the unofficial offshoot club of the Premiership club, created by fans opposed to the takeover of Manchester United by Malcolm Glazer.

Ex team-mate Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has reportedly already offered his services to the North West Counties League Second Division side, strengthening our belief that Keane's signature for the fledgling club is not as ridiculous as it sounds.

Monday, December 05, 2005

FCUM artikel in Ajax fanzine Dappre Strijders

Thanks to AjaxRed for letting me know about this - to see AjaxReds excellent Blog click here

Pages 1 & 2

Pages 3 & 4

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Lancashire Life: United They Stand

Source: Lancashire life (no copy online)

Lancashire Life1

Lancashire Life2

Free Image Hosting at

Free Image Hosting at

Click each image above to see full page

New Mills Away 5-0 (Cup)

can't touch this...

Managed to somehow get a pass for this game but the weather was so bad i wished i hadn't -miserable day brightened up by a good result

My Full Gallery Here

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Outside the Green Door #4

Twomowers…if he was a dog he’d bark at kids on the roundabout in Delamere park
Outside the Green Door

It’s Best by bus
Georgie’s death was generally treated with great respect from nearly all football fans. Football is meant to be entertainment (not business) and that’s what Georgie did best. Of course there were always gonna be a few who thought the tributes/mourning/grieving was a bit over the top but there haven’t been many proper geniuses, you won’t see owt like him in the game again so the accolades etc. were appropriate in this case. Let’s face it, you’d have paid to watch him tie up his Stylo Matchmakers, he’s the reason many got into football and are still watching it today and that’s why there were so many tributes, not just from United fans but from fans all over the place.
Anyways as someone on the telly said ‘life throws up little coincidences’ referring to the first game at O.T. following Georgie’s death against West Brom, the team he made his debut against and reference was also made to the match at Benfica and the obv relevance of that game. But there was another. Me and a small East Manchester firm were going to watch FC United the satdee after Georgie passed away. The game against (bullied) Cheadle was once again moved, this time to Edgeley Park. It meant that we could get the number 7 bus from Capital rd. in Openshaw all the way to Stockport town centre. The red no.7 picked us up and made its way through Abbey-on-the-Hey and then headed for Reddish SK5 where, the greatest twat in all the land and all the world Mike Doyle comes from. The no.7 skilfully bobbed in and out of the traffic as if to say to Doyle, ha - try and stop me Doyle you clumsy bastard, but did Doyle stop our red no.7? Did he fookin ‘ellerslike. The offers on at Bargain Booze – where they make life richer for the pourer - on Reddish rd. nearly tempted us, in a Georgie kinda way, but fortunately our no.7 didn’t stray from its goal and we breezed into Stocky. We had beers and sung Georgie Best world and went to the match and sung it more. It was a good day, the no.7 had delivered. It was just a shame that I couldn’t be at the West Brom game. Under the circumstances I decided that the best tribute was to neck a box of wine* and not turn up. Cheers Judd.
* Stowell’s Temperanillo temporarily £9.99 at kwik save for 3 litres.

Light Dinner
The Openshaw chrimbo lights were switched on early this year by various celebrities from the council’s Hooper St. depot. Why not give them a visit this yuletide? (the lights not the council lads – durr brain). Don’t bother having your tea first cos every other fookin shop on the Old Rd. is now a fookin takeaway. I don’t know - the art of home cooking has all but gone through the fookin window as the arse falls out of society as we know it. They’ll be watching the baked’s speech eating kebabs round our way this year.

The Guardian: FC United

Source: The Guardian

FC United's Tony Howard

Thursday December 1, 2005

It was a week for remembering legends at FC United - red heroes past, present and passed away.

Recently departed Russell Delaney, one of the club's board members and instrumental figure in the club's formation, was honoured with a minute's applause at the home match against New Mills. On Saturday another hero - arguably United's greatest ever player, George Best - was honoured with a similar tribute away against Cheadle.

Many United fans have favoured the idea of applause over silence after experiencing one such tribute at Juventus several years ago. It makes perfect sense, and when Russell's family made the request we were happy to oblige by paying a fitting tribute to a man who would have hated the very notion of a 'silence' in his honour. Similarly, Georgie would have preferred the tribute he got at West Ham on Sunday.

The shrine of flowers and other items at Old Trafford includes many FC United contributions. It also includes heartfelt odes from Leeds and Liverpool supporters - proof that only a tiny minority of their supporters are bereft of decency and respect.

Meanwhile, reds of an FC persuasion also hailed more recent players, with Roy Keane's name sung at both games this week after he was cheekily linked with a move to the club in a local newspaper. Keane was joined in the terrace pop charts by Eric Cantona after the French messiah waxed lyrical about FC in the club programme, sparking a swift "Eric Cantona's an FC United fan" chant. We still hope he will cement his support by pledging his name in some way.

Still, in the absence of such heroes, a new generation are blossoming. Winger Steve Torpey turned in another blistering performance as FC beat New Mills 6-1, before the weekend trip to Stockport's Edgeley Park saw a barnstorming game finish 3-3, courtesy of a last-minute United equaliser.

It was a fitting finale to an emotional and historic week.