Friday, December 29, 2006

Marginson's rallying call

Source: M.E.N.

FC United manager Karl Marginson is demanding more of the spirit which carried the Rebels to victory on Boxing Day as they seek to end 2006 on a high note.

Marginson's men see out the old year with the visit of Newcastle Town and are eager to build on a dramatic 3-2 win over Ramsbottom which saw them cut Salford City's lead in the North West Counties League first division to three points.

FC came from two goals down to beat Rammy and, in doing so, answered the critics who claimed their season was in danger of collapsing after a run of four games without a win.

Victory over Newcastle will take the Rebels back to the summit on goal difference should Salford, who have played four games more than them, lose their derby clash at Flixton.

But fans might appreciate a more routine success than Tuesday's heart-stopping triumph or, indeed, FC United's 3-2 win at Newcastle in October, which was secured by Simon Carden's injury-time strike after front man Rory Patterson had been forced to take over in goal from the injured Sam Ashton.

Said Marginson: "The boys showed tremendous character on Boxing Day and, hopefully, it's a sign that our bad run is now behind us.

"But it's vital we now don't allow our standards to slip once again. We'll undo all the good work we did against Ramsbottom if we fail to deliver tomorrow."

Rebel Reds on brink of goal milestone


By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED will be aiming to join the 100 club when they entertain lowly Newcastle Town at Gigg Lane tomorrow.

The prolific Reds have struck 97 goals in all competitions this season and three more would take them past the century mark in their 29th game of the campaign.

But manager Karl Marginson will put goalscoring feats to the back of his mind as he concentrates on closing the gap on new Division One leaders Salford City.

United trail the table-toppers, who have played four games more, by three points but, with Salford facing a tough trip to Flixton, the breakaway club will be eyeing a return to the summit before the New Year festivities begin.

Atherton Collieries' new signing David Campbell will make his home debut against third-placed Nantwich Town.

Colls boss Phil Brown, who hopes to make a further addition to the squad before tomorrow's clash, will also welcome back defender Nick Dyson, but will be without the suspended Barry Massey, who serves the final match of his three-game ban.

Atherton LR will hope to build on their hard-fought point in the Boxing Day derby with Colls. Struggling Rovers, three points above the drop zone in 18th, travel to Squires Gate - one place and eight points above the Crilly Park club.

Daisy Hill boss Tommy Moore will be desperate for some Christmas cheer when his young side entertain Bootle in Division Two. Hill are stuck in the bottom two and will need to turn things around quickly if they are to avoid a relegation battle in 2007.


Edited from

But, in marching through the back-slapping hordes, what Ferguson has also managed to do is retain his focus on the future and what he believes to be the best interests of Manchester United.

There are some, even among those who have not defected to FC United, who feel Ferguson has not always acted this way.

Although the truth is slightly different, it is argued by a sizeable minority the unseemly arguments with John Magnier over the ownership of Rock of Gibraltar created the vacuum that allowed Malcolm Glazer's £790million takeover, the merits of which are still the subject of hot debate.

In decrying FC United and those who formed it, Ferguson is accused of abandoning his socialist principles on the altar of self-preservation.

In keeping with the man, such allegations are swiftly dismissed, those who make them consigned the dustbin.

For Ferguson, throughout his life, has always had a clear sense of right and wrong and whether you are with him or not.

And for Ferguson just now, top of the Premiership at the end of 2006, the wrong thing to do would be to wallow in past glories.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

FC back on track

Source: M.E.N.

FC UNITED ended their `mini-blip' with a last-gasp 3-2 win over Ramsbottom at Gigg Lane.

The Reds' four-game run without a win looked set to continue as Ramsbottom took an early lead through Carl Thomas before adding a second just after the break with an unfortunate own goal from Rob Nugent.

But the Rebels fought back, with captain Dave Chadwick heading home from a corner before substitute Rory Patterson won a penalty which Alex Mortimer converted.
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Then, two minutes from time, the 2,924 crowd got the late Christmas present they wanted with a Nicky Platt winner.

FC play Newcastle Town on Saturday at Gigg Lane (3pm).

Late fightback puts FC boys back on track

Edited from:

By Neil Bonnar

FC UNITED received a huge North West Counties League Division One title confidence booster when they came back from 2-0 down with 17 minutes remaining to beat Ramsbottom United 3-2 in front of 2,924 at Gigg Lane.

And with leaders, Salford City, being held to a 3-3 home draw by Maine Road, the rebel Reds are back on track to clinch a second successive championship triumph.

They are now just three points behind Salford with four games in hand and assistant manager, Phil Power, paid tribute to the players for battling their way back to winning ways.

"We looked dead and buried at one point," he said. "We had numerous chances but it looked like we couldn't buy a goal. But then, as soon as one went in, it lifted the confidence and we got the roar going and never looked back. We haven't been playing as well as we can and we've been on a bad run of results but that win has put us back on track again."

Carl Lomax gave Rambottom an early lead and two United players got in each other's way to help double the lead with an own goal two minutes after half time.

Dave Chadwick pulled one back on 73 minutes and Alex Mortimer levelled the scores from the spot before Nicky Platt won it two minutes from time.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Frustrated Rebel Reds slip up again

Edited from:

By Liam Chronnell

FC United's dip in form continues as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at Flixton at Valley Road.

The Rebel Reds are five points adrift of leaders Salford City after going four games without a win.

Rory Patterson's superb 25th-minute volley had put FC in front but his strike was cancelled out by Anthony Hargeaves 10 minutes later.

The Gigg Lane club, who have four games in hand on Salford, will hope to return to winning ways at home to Ramsbottom United today.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Rebel Reds look for quick turnaround

Edited from:

By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED will hope to bounce back from their slump when they travel to rivals Flixton in Division One.

The breakaway club are suffering a mini-crisis by their own high standards and are looking to get back on the victory trail after failing to win their last three games - including their FA Vase exit against Quorn.

To make matters worse the one-time runaway leaders were knocked off top spot for the first time this season by Salford City, though the Reds have four games in hand.

But they will have to return to winning ways without new signing Jerome Wright. The winger starts a three-game ban after being sent off in his last outing for former club Maine Road.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Why Salford have gone to the dogs!

Source: M.E.N. No online content.

SALFORD City have managed to knock long-time leaders FC United off the top of the North West Counties League first division - now they're going to the dogs.

The Moor Lane club's chairman, Darren Quick, is so delighted by their success in replacing the Rebels at the league's summit that he has bought a greyhound and named it Salford City!

Football fans in big Christmas warm-up

Source: Also published in Bolton News.

By Jenny Minard

THOUSANDS of football fans are set to provide Christmas cheer for those who need it most by donating their old winter woollies to the homeless and needy.

Supporters of FC United of Manchester - the rebel club established by disenfranchised Manchester United supporters in response to the hostile Glazer takeover in 2005 - are hosting an 'Extra Big Coat Day' before their Boxing Day fixture against Ramsbottom at Gigg Lane, Bury.

Volunteers from the Salvation Army will be on hand hours before the 3pm kick-off to take coats, hats, gloves and sleeping bags to distribution centres across the county.

Lisa Flynn, a member of the FC United Supporters' Network, said: "The idea of an 'Extra Big Coat Day' follows on from last winter. FC United were in their infancy and some suggested that our support would dwindle at the onset of colder weather. In response, the supporters decided to turn up to the game in big coats.

"Now we're asking all fans - many who will have got new coats or jackets for Christmas - to dig out last year's coats and donate them to those who really need them."

The Salvation Army's David Lees commented: "We are very pleased to assist in this collection. Winter is a particularly tough time for the homeless and I'm sure they will welcome the help these supporters are providing.

"Once the coats and other items have been collected, we will take them to our Central Manchester Homeless Centre before being distributed to other centres allowing those that need them to access them directly."

The Salvation Army will be outside the reception area of the Gigg Lane football stadium from 12 noon on Boxing Day.

For more information on the event, or for further details on the FC United Supporters' Network, telephone 07895 099 333, email or visit the website at

Monday, December 18, 2006

Lions chief rules out FC alliance

Source: M.E.N.

Neil Barker

SWINTON Lions rugby league club chairman John Kidd today ruled out a ground-share scheme at Agecroft with local football club FC United.

Swinton bosses were approached by FC United and held informal talks on the possibility of the two clubs ground-sharing should Swinton set up home at a new stadium in Agecroft.

Lions chairman John Kidd today revealed FC United have contacted him to say they will not be pursuing the matter.

Kidd told MEN Sport: "We held informal discussions with people from FC United at their request regarding the possibility of them playing at Agecroft.

"FC United have since got back in touch with us to say they have no further plans to pursue this particular venture.

"I can't see it happening now but we were happy to talk with them. Regarding the new development at Agecroft, I hope to know in the next three or four months when a possible start date can be set."


Jules Spencer, the spokesman for FC United, said: "It's always been our intention to have our own ground. We are keeping our options open but there is nothing concrete happening at the moment.

"Our deal with Bury to use Gigg Lane lasts for two more seasons after this one. Preferably, we would want a stadium within Manchester itself.

"That process could last five years as was the experience for Salford Reds. We are working hard to provide what our supporters want."

Meanwhile, Swinton chairman Kidd says his immediate concern is making sure the Lions build on last season's success in the National League.

Swinton will play a pre-season friendly against Salford at Sedgley Park on February 4, the week before the official season starts with an opening match in the Northern Rail Cup.

Swinton will travel to Hilton Park for a Boxing Day clash with Leigh. They have also fixed up a New Year clash with Widnes.

Meanwhile, neighbours Salford Reds are in full training ahead of a new Super League season and will again finalise plans in Jacksonville, Florida.

Football director Steve Simms says: "We have always reaped the benefits from warm weather training - a great deal of work was done in the US last year on our defensive structures and we will again be working thoroughly in readiness for what is a very important season."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wembley dream in tatters for FC United


By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED'S mini-blip continued after their Wembley dreams were left in pieces following their controversial FA Vase exit.

After going two games without a win for the first time in the Gigg Lane club's history prior to Saturday's third-round clash against Quorn, the rebel Reds, one of the favourites for the national competition, slipped to a hugely disappointing defeat.

But if the Division One leaders were lacklustre in their two previous North West Counties League encounters, then they could not be faulted for their Herculean efforts at the weekend against the Leicestershire visitors.

After playing the majority of the second half with nine men, assistant player-boss Phil Power looked as if he had given FC an unlikely victory when he struck with just four minutes remaining.

But Jermaine Gordon sent the tie into extra-time when he levelled matters for the Midland Alliance outfit two minutes later.

And sub Nigel Julien shattered United's hopes of reaching the final at the new Wembley stadium when he grabbed the winner with virtually the last kick of the game.

The outcome was cruel on the breakaway club, who produced a hugely spirited display after Rory Patterson's 14th-minute strike had cancelled out Paul White's early opener.

Manager Karl Marginson was certainly less than impressed with the referee Mr Duncan's performance, after the match official sent off both Liam Coyne, for his part in a 21-man brawl, and Josh Howard for two bookable offences, the second of which was innocuous at best.

"I just hope there was a referees' assessor in the stand because this referee should have to answer to someone," said an irate Reds boss.

Marginson's opposite number, Marcus Law, sympathised with the hosts after admitting there had been "nine men against 12", the Quorn manager referring to the man in black's role.

Matty Taylor, outstanding throughout despite struggling with injury, was also shown a red card in the tunnel after the game as he continued his protest after the final whistle.

If that was not bad enough, the Reds, without a game this weekend, could see rivals Salford City go above them at the top of the table, albeit having played four games more.

United's away match at Formby has been postponed after the Merseysiders could not find a suitable ground to stage the game and, in particular, cater for FC's large travelling report.

Marginson's side return to action the following Saturday, when they travel to Flixton on December 23.

United, meanwhile, hope to sign talented 21-year-old Jermaine Wright from Maine Road this week.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

FCUM out of FA Vase

Source: BBC

By Jamie Murphy

Despite a brave performance with two men sent off, FCUM’s Wembley dream is over, after a last gasp extra time goal for Quorn put the Reds out of the FA Vase on Saturday.

FA Vase
FC United 2 Quorn 3
Attendance: 1,858

For the third game in a row, United started on the back foot and conceded an early goal, when Paul White hit a superb left foot volley from a Sam Ashton clearance to put the Leicestershire side ahead.

The Reds responded ten minutes later when Stuart Rudd’s rebounded shot was put away by captain Rory Patterson.

One a-piece at half-time, United came out attacking Gigg Lane’s Manchester Road End as the home supporters urged their team on. Five minutes into the second half, the fans were on their feet, but not for the reasons they would have wished.

The Visitor’s captain Robert Betts aimed an angry kick following a tackle from Rhodri Giggs, resulting in a melee. Pushing and shoving ensued before Quorn’s big centre forward Jermaine Gordon went down from a push from Liam Coyne.

Coyne was given a straight red, while Gordon was given a standing ovation for his pantomime performance. On the hour mark, things got worse for the home team when Josh Howard received a second booking for an innocuous challenge in the centre of the park.

Nine men with 20 minutes left to play, FC put in a dogged, backs-to-the-wall performance and went ahead with five minutes remaining after a goal-mouth scramble seemed to see Phil Power bundle the ball over the line. Rob Nugent settled the matter by hitting the clearance into the back of the visitor’s net.

It seemed that the Reds had grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat, but the visitors bit back instantly when the villain of the piece, Jermaine Gordon, got the equaliser to send the tie into extra time.

The Nine Men hung in there, until substitute Nigel Julien’s excellent drive from 25 yards out put Quorn 3-2 up with virtually the last kick of the game.

There were boos for the referee on the final whistle, but the home fans can be proud of the way their team carried the fight despite the odds.

With next week’s game away to Formby postponed, FC United will have time to reflect and regroup. With their lead at the top of North West Counties Division One cut down to three points by Salford City, the Reds, with two games in hand, will be hoping they can regain their form for their push for promotion.

Rebels' Vase hopes smashed to pieces

Source: Manchester Evening News

FC UNITED'S dream of an FA Vase final came crashing down as they suffered two red cards and a deciding goal in the last minute of extra time against Quorn.

The Rebels played for an hour - including a bizarre eight minutes of added time - with nine men after the controversial dismissals of defender Liam Coyne and midfielder Josh Howard.

But what had looked like being an heroic rearguard action ended in a shattering 3-2 defeat deep in extra time as Quorn sub Nigel Julien crashed in a brilliant 25-yard winner.

But the talking point was referee Mr Duncan, with Quorn manager Marcus Law sympathising with his opposite number Karl Marginson, saying how well his team had played "considering they were nine men against 12."


Marginson was blazing mad with Mr Duncan but had no qualms about the dismissal of Liam Coyne, who appeared to push an opponent in the face during a 21-man brawl.

"I didn't see why he had to red-card their man in particular when there were 20 grown men pushing each other around," said Law.

Marginson was furious at Howard's dismissal on 67 minutes.

He was booked in the first half for dissent and then shown a second yellow for an innocuous foul on Paul White.

"I just hope there was a referees' assessor in the stand because this referee should have to answer to someone," said Marginson.

Quorn took the lead when White seized on Sam Ashton's punch to smash home a half-volley.

Rory Patterson equalised and FC went ahead on 86 minutes when Rob Nugent stabbed the ball home.

Within two minutes the lead was wiped out by Jermaine Gordon and Quorn went on to win the tie with what was virtually the last kick.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Le Figaro

Source: Edited from Le Figaro, translation by Gardner. No online content.

Manchester United, which boasts millions of fans worldwide, has turned itself into a global club. When planning their strategy, the board are as concerned with merchandising sales in Thailand, Singapore or the US as they with the people who go to Old Trafford.

Is the sport drifting into mere commercialism?

People are more and more worried that this is the case. With rising ticket prices, the atmosphere in the stadia is suffering. Support is expressed less passionately than before. But football still holds a big place in English life. When Liverpool won the CL in 2005, half a million thieving scroungers gathered to greet the team on their return, a sign of the unbreakable bond that ties them to their team.

How are supporters reacting to this new commercial logic?

It's dangerous to imagine that sport can be run simply as a business. Many fans argue that football in the 21st century has lost touch with its roots. Supporters feel that they are now merely seen as clients. As a result the loyalty they feel to their club is weakened.

Is this why some fans are turning to the lower leagues?

The story of FCUM suggests this is the case. A number of former small shareholders in Manchester United founded their own club after the takeover by American pauper Malcolm Glazer. While this type of action is the exception rather than the rule, it remains a form of resistance.

Vase heartbreak for rebel Reds


By Liam Chronnell

NINE-MAN FC United crashed out of the FA Vase after conceding a last-minute extra-time winner against Leicestershire side Quorn at Gigg Lane.

Liam Coyne and Josh Howard were both sent off as the rebel Reds played the majority of the second half and the extra period with two men down in the third round clash.

Rory Patterson's 14th-minute equaliser had cancelled out Paul White's opener and substitute Phil Power looked like he had sent the Division One leaders into the next round of the national competition when he struck with just four minutes left.

But Jermaine Gordon sent the tie into extra-time when he levelled matters for the Midland Alliance outfit two minutes later.

And sub Nigel Julien shattered FC's hopes of reaching Wembley when he grabbed the winner with virtually the last kick of the game.

In the league, Atherton Collieries were guilty of throwing away the points after drawing 3-3 at Abbey Hey.

Colls led 2-0 and 3-1 before two goals in the last 12 minutes earned the home side a share of the spoils.

Seydou Bamba first goal for the club and Andy Harvie's strike saw Phil Brown's side go two up inside 31 minutes.

Abbey Hey pulled one back but Harvie's second on 70 minutes looked to have earned the visitors all three points.

But the hosts hit back eight minutes later and grabbed an 85th-minute equaliser to send Colls home disappointed.

Atherton LR's clash at Trafford and Daisy Hill's game at Norton United in Division Two were both victims of the weather as their games were postponed due to waterlogged pitches.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The alternative to a new foreign owner: let fans run your club

Source: The Independent

Toasts Note: Not specifically about FC, but rather about Fans clubs.

By Glenn Moore
Published: 09 December 2006

Not every fan dreams of a foreign billionaire buying their club, some of them want to run it themselves and, at a growing number of clubs, they are.

While Premiership clubs are being hawked around the globe Notts County, the oldest club in the professional game, are on the brink of becoming the latest to be taken over by their own supporters. They will become the sixth such club in the Football League and 15th in all. This may not seem many but when clubs are disappearing into the portfolios of unaccountable individuals, it is an encouraging trend.

The development was highlighted at the recent conference of Supporters Direct, the body which guides and promotes the supporters' trust phenomenon. The first arose from a parochial campaign in Northampton in 1991. There are now nearly 150 whose combined membership of 115,000 has put more than £10m into football and has boardroom representation at 46 clubs.

Indicating its growing influence was the presence, at the conference, of Uefa's William Gaillard and Richard Caborn, the minister for sport. Caborn was there to announce an increase in funding of £1.8m over the next three years. Gaillard revealed Uefa was to investigate rolling out the concept across Europe.

In the chair was the man who kicked it all off, Brian Lomax. Fifteen years ago, Lomax had a daughter who was a dedicated but disgruntled Northampton Town supporter. The club was a mess, deep in debt, poorly run and playing at a rusting joke of a ground. When he realised the club had been reduced to paying players from gate receipts - "you'd see the captain walking through the bar after games with a sack of coins like Father Christmas, doling out the wages" - Lomax knew a crisis was approaching and called a public meeting. Six hundred turned up including players.

Lomax then worked for the Mayday Trust, a charitable organisation housing people with disabilities. He formed a supporters' trust along the same lines. Although ineligible for charitable status, trusts have the same principles: transparency, democracy, unpaid administration and a not-for-profit status. Not exactly widespread values at traditional clubs.

Northampton soon slid into administration. The trust worked with the administrators in rescuing the club and raised £60,000, enough to buy a stake in the club and two seats on the board. The council then provided a smart new ground, Sixfields.

Word got around. Kettering and Darlington led a clutch of imitators and soon the new Football Task Force recommended funding. Thus was born Supporters Direct.

There are some caveats. The movement's impact in the upper echelons of the League is restricted by cost. Taking over Brentford is one thing, finding £300m to buy Aston Villa is something else. "It is harder as you go up the League," said Lomax. "With effort and diligence the figures are achievable up to League One but at larger clubs trusts have to settle for influence rather than control."

It might be thought that putting fans in charge would lead to reckless spending, as with Leeds under Peter Ridsdale and Crystal Palace under Mark Goldberg. But clubs which come under Trust control have usually been to the precipice and have no wish to return. The downside is they can struggle to succeed on the pitch, especially as some of the tax and accounting laws are against them vis-à-vis clubs which are part of conglomerates and whose losses can be offset. York and Rushden & Diamonds both dropped out of the League under Trust control and subsequently reverted to private ownership, albeit York's owner is heavily involved in the trust. "The trust there did its job," said Lomax. "It raised £1m in nine months to save the club." It also kept the team at Bootham Crescent, which had been separated from the club and sold for development, and still retains an influential voice in the club.

Saving clubs in crisis has been the most significant achievement. Partnerships like that at York may be the way to bridge the resource gap between fan collectives and Premiership costs. Another template is at AFC Telford where a partnership with the local authority has led to the club becoming a "community hub" providing healthcare and education services.

It makes a change from megastores, restaurants and night-clubs at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge.

Fan power Supporters' clubs

* FOOTBALL LEAGUE: Bournemouth, Brentford, Chesterfield, Lincoln City, Stockport County.

* NON-LEAGUE: AFC Telford United, AFC Wimbledon, Cambridge City, Enfield Town, Exeter City, FC United of Manchester, Newport IoW, Runcorn Linnets.

* SCOTLAND: Clydebank.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Tasty Cup Tie

FC United face Quorn FC this weekend, and their opponents are only one of a series oddly-named teams the Reds have faced this season

Tony Howard
Friday December 8, 2006
Guardian Unlimited

Source: The Guardian

FC United embark on their latest FA Vase adventure this weekend against the wonderfully named Quorn FC.

The Leicestershire side have certainly caused a stir ahead of the crunch third-round encounter and every self-proclaimed comedian worth his salt has come up with a food related gag.

One of the joys of dropping down the divisions from the Premiership to the non-league scene has been the the clubs United fans have discovered. Already this season the mini-Reds have played Stone Dominoes, a name which conjures up images of a Stonehenge-inspired Guinness Book of Records attempt, although their name is simply a shortening of Stone St Dominics' Scout group in Stoke-on-Trent. FC have also faced many teams with obvious links to mines, including Brodsworth Miners Welfare and Atherton Collieries.

Article continues
Last season the Reds faced Blackpool Mechanics, who obviously make no secret of their occupation, and if you're looking for a festive theme there was Castleton Gabriels - named after a local church in the Rochdale area.

Teams taking their town's name have caused confusion. Many supporters found last season's opponents Ashton Town to be a particular problem as some assumed they were from nearby Ashton-under-Lyne.

There are reports of at least one fan ending up at Ashton United's ground in the Tameside town, rather than Northwich where FC actually ended up playing Ashton Town, who in fact hail from Ashton-in-Makerfield near Wigan.

Confused? So were the majority of Reds when they saw FC were set to face Newcastle Town earlier this season. Surely they play in the north-east? Not so. Newcastle in Stoke-on-Trent were the actual opponents.

And this weekend's opponents Quorn can certainly compete with the best-named clubs around, even if they simply take the title of a small town near Loughborough, not Paul McCartney's second-favourite brand of veggie burgers. FC winger Rhodri Giggs will be all too familiar with the named food product after his brother Ryan had a spell heading their advertising campaign in the early 1990s.

United go into the fixture on the back a 'poor' run of form - a draw and a defeat in the last two games.

Such has been the prolific start to the season the dropping of four points with a home defeat against Atherton Collieries and an away draw at Congleton could herald some to call it a crisis.Before the Atherton game, United had lost only once - against Salford, a loss for which FC atoned in the previous round of the Vase with a 3-2 win.

But after two lacklustre performances in the league, the Reds are now 'only' seven points clear of Salford in the league and will be looking forward to the distraction the FA Vase brings.

Manager Karl Marginson has read his team the riot act after the recent slump and he will be hoping the Reds show more bite at Gigg Lane on Saturday.

And if they win they could face the likes of Slimbridge AFC, Chessington and Hook United or even Moneyfields FC in the next round - a tasty incentive if ever there was one.

· The match against Quorn FC is at Gigg Lane on Saturday, December 9, kick off 3pm. Admission on the gate is £7 adults, £5 over-60s and £2 under-18s.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Nugent sets sights on a United double

Stuart Brennan
Source: Manchester Evening News

ROB Nugent is aiming for a big Red double on Saturday - by cheering Manchester United to derby victory and then putting on his boots to keep FC United on course for FA Vase glory.

The 23-year-old defender describes the day as one of the biggest of his football life, but will be forced to miss most of the second half of the lunchtime Old Trafford clash with the Blues in order to prepare for the visit of Quorn to Gigg Lane.

"I will be getting to Gigg Lane earlier than usual to watch the derby in the social club," said the FC central defender, who signed up to join the rebel club on the day of its inception.

"But I will have to tear myself away for the manager's pre-match team talk, so will miss most of the second half. I just hope United can beat City and then we can make our fans doubly happy by seeing off Quorn."


Nugent is a dyed-in-the-wool Red, who joined the protests against Malcolm Glazer's takeover and, as a former Sheffield United reserve team captain, was a natural to play for the club born out of that protest.

"I have been a United fan since I was a little lad, but have become disillusioned with the way the club, and Premiership football in general, is going," said Nugent, now a trainee accountant with Trafford Borough Council.

"It all came to a head with Glazer and his debt, but there are a lot of different issues such as unaffordable prices, not being able to take kids, and the atmosphere."

Now Nugent is revving up for what he believes is the biggest game in the new club's history.

"In the last round, people were saying the Salford City game was the biggest, so this one has to be bigger," he added.

A win would put FC into the national phase of the competition.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

FC United win BBC NW award

Source: Edited from M.E.N. article

Bolton's 2004 Olympic silver medallist Khan was on hand to present the Newcomer of 2006 award. The winners were FC United, run-away champions of the NW Counties division two title last season and division one table toppers this time.

FC United hires ad agency

Simon Donohue
Source: Manchester Evening News

THEY shoot, they score! C21 is relishing the task of telling potential sponsors about the breakaway Reds' FC United of Manchester.

The Altrincham advertising and marketing agency beat off stiff competition from rivals to help position and promote the groundbreaking football club formed by MUFC fans alienated by the Malcolm Glazer takeover.

The relationship between the football club and C21 developed when FC United recognised the agency's "immediate grasp of the club's unique ethos and felt there was natural synergy with C21's creative yet practical approach".
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Andy Walsh, general manager of FC United, said: "We've been approached by other creative agencies that were eager to work with us, but it never felt right.

"C21 were recommended to us and when we met it was clear that they understood our core philosophy straight away.

"The material they have produced portrays the FC United message of bringing football back to the fans and supporting communities."


As part of their remit, C21 created a sponsorship and media pack that communicates the unique situation of FC United - a fledgling club, which enjoys a fan base 30 times larger than their rival teams.

Christina Clarke, C21's managing director, said: "The club is most agencies' dream client.

"They've received some outstanding publicity in the last 12 months but their feet are firmly on the ground. The literature we designed clearly expresses their distinct culture.

"We used some great imagery. One in particular is of an old rattle from the 1950s that belonged to a supporter's grandad. It really tells the story of football past and present and what it means to fans and their families."

The promotional literature produced has helped double sponsorship revenue in FC United's second season, with Williams BMW the main FC United Sponsor for 2006/2007 and over 30 other companies supporting the team. C21 are now working with the club to develop a three-year communications strategy and a future vision.

Monday, December 04, 2006

"Ronaldinho kann ich auch im Pub sehen"

Source: Kicker (Germany's premier football newspaper, no online content) Free Image Hosting at

Two traslations for this, first one out is Matthew Preston's effort:

“I can always see Ronaldinho in the pub”

Following the takeover of Manchester United by billionaire Malcolm Glazer many fans turned their backs on the famous English club. They formed FC United of Manchester and they believe they have found football's lost soul.

Close your eyes. Keep them closed. No blinking. Put your hand over your ears, as if it were a freezing cold day in January. Right now all you can hear is a dull thud. Let yourself drift. Your head starts to nod all the same. Does it nod, because it wants to? Or does it want to, because it does? Left, right, left again, right. It wants to, because it must. Hands away from your ears. Wow, that’s loud. Really loud. English fans are unbelievably loud. “We’ll never pay Glazer or work for Sky. But we still want City to go down. There are two Uniteds in our soul. Someone said, Glazer's a fan. Bollocks, there’s more chance of me sticking my…...”, well, we’ll leave that to the imagination. "What's even more improbable, however, is that this is a game in the 9th division of English football. In 2005 the bulk of the Man. Utd support rebelled against the takeover by American billionaire Malcolm Glazer - to no avail. The renegades went away and formed their own club: FC United of Manchester.

18 months have passed and Peter Munday looks out of the window, deep in thought. It is pretty mild for November in England. “A lot of people didn’t appreciate amidst all the euphoria how much work was required. We had to register the club with the FA , find a league, a ground, players, a manager, money...but it came off. And we're still here."

The decision was taken by 12 disillusioned Man U fans as they gathered in an Indian restaurant to lick their wounds over a curry and a few beers. They went public with the idea. “Within a week thousands of sympathisers had donated €220 000”, club treasurer Munday revealed. “The donations keep pouring in” It wasn’t long before 930 hopefuls had applied to the club for a trial, with applications coming from as far afield as the Czech Republic and Africa. As the one witty would-be striker boasted; “Nobody’s ever saved a shot of mine at one of my brother’s barbeques.” Today the club boasts a squad of 24 players, a reserve and a youth team. After winning promotion in the club's inaugural season, FC United top the table once again after 20 games with a goal difference of plus 65. "Great match, eh?" croaks Paul, who sounds as if 90 minutes of singing have taken their toll on his vocal chords.

“7-0. Mind you, it was against the bottom team." He giggles. Ketchup from his burger has dripped onto his FC United scarf. Official merchandise, as well as sponsoring also helps keep the club afloat. Shirts, mugs, caps, pennants, DVDs, ties are all on sale. "Time for a pint". The Waterloo pub at the end of the road is buzzing. For years Paul would get off at Old Trafford station. Since the summer of 2005 he now travels a couple of stops further to Bury. FC United have taken up residence at the home of fourth division Bury FC and draw almost twice as many fans as their hosts. "I've given up my season ticket at Man Utd. Glazer's not getting any of my money. I used to be able to go to Old Trafford, stand, meet my mates, have a pint. Now you have to apply for a ticket six weeks in advance, Sky dictates when games kick-off, nobody can afford the price of a ticket anymore, the penguins in the boxes aren't the slightest bit interested in the game, everyone's sitting down, you're not even allowed to fart. It's opera, not football. Alongside Paul a further 119 fans gave up their season tickets, many also sold their shares.
The fan community in Manchester has a strong code of honour and a lobby which has to be taken seriously. The influential “Manchester United Supporters’ Trust”, made up of 30 000 shareholders in the club (including VIPs and well-known journalists) played a decisive role in 1999 in ensuring that the planned takeover of the club by Rupert Murdoch did not succeed. Together with the "Independent Manchester United Supporters Association" they threatened to boycott products made by the club’s sponsors. Murdoch pulled the plug on the project.

It is partly because of this that the Glazer coup has left deep scars. "We couldn't have demonstrated at the stadium every week, “says Jules Spencer, ex-president of the IMUSA, now on the board at FC United. "The Glazer deal was basically just the catalyst. FC United is not just an anti-Glazer reaction. It is more. We wanted to freeze ticket prices, no more business lounges but the club just wasn't listening to the fans anymore. Now we want to build something for the people of the city, something positive for the future. Leave a legacy. “
Nostalgia has an important part to play. After all, it was local railway workers who founded Newton Heath Football Club as a joke in 1878. In 1902 the name was changed to Manchester United Football Club. A century later and the club is one of the world’s largest multi- million pound businesses. Manchester United refuses to comment on the rebels. And they, for their part, don’t like to comment (officially) on Manchester United. Since the initial media hype died down, the breakaway club has sought to establish a moderate profile. It does not want to be seen as some kind of a joke team from a TV programme. Everybody here is taking the project seriously.

Nobody takes it more seriously than the manager, Karl Marginson, a semi-pro with Rotherham in his day and who now gets up at 3.30 every morning to begin his grocery delivery round. It’s normally harder to find somewhere to park in Manchester than to motivate his team. He has already managed to persuade a couple of semi-pros to drop down the league ladder. No big names, though. The biggest coup was probably the signing of Rhodri Giggs, brother of Man U star Ryan. Rumours that Cantona or Roy Keane will lend their backing to the club are usually taken with a pinch of salt. Such publicity is frowned upon. Fan clubs from China, Sweden or Holland are much more welcome.

The founders of FC United have taken a lot of encouragement from the story of AFC Wimbledon. In 2002 a group of businessmen uprooted FC Wimbledon and took the club 70 miles from London, to Milton Keynes. Many fans had had enough and formed their own club. AFC now play in their own ground, "the Fans' Stadium" in the seventh division, and such is the young talent available that the club has six youth teams. In the wake of that exodus, the newly formed club, the Milton Keynes Dons currently lurk in the fourth division.

Fan opinion in Manchester is still divided. Some criticise FC United, they see FC United as simply contributing to Manchester United's woes. Some only travel to away games, so as not to line Glazer's pockets. Some identify with both clubs- two Uniteds, one soul. Many think like Paul, however. "Hey," whispers Paul, drawing heavily on his cigarette, "you know what? We're rediscovering football's soul" Next to us in the stand are women, men, kids, prams- all football daft. They dance, cheer, sing, have fun. Kick-off three o’clock, the eleventh Commandment." His chubby fingers stroke the back of his neck. “I’m over sixty, I saw Georgie Best. The feeling now, at FC United, is like back then. I don’t miss today's swollen-headed primadonnas at all. I can see Ronaldinho in the pub if I want to. Maybe one day there will be a league with The Real Chelsea, FC United, AFC Wimbledon and Liverpool Fans United. I’m going to have a whiskey. Don't tell my wife". His wife is only a few yards away from him. She is singing with the other fans in the packed pub. She is having fun, too. Not because she has too, but because she wants to. And she has been since 2005. Every Saturday, 3 o'clock."

Second translation, from Charlie (Düsseldorf_Red).

"I can watch Ronaldinho in the pub"

After the takeover of Manchester United by the billionaire Malcolm Glazer, many fans turned their back on the top club. Instead they formed their own club, FC United of Manchester and hope they have found the lost soul of football.

Close your eyes. Shut them tight. Don't peek. Hands over your ears as if it's one of those icy January days. Now it's only a vague dum-dum-du. Let yourself go. Nevertheless your head is bound to move. Does it have to? Does it want to? To the left, to the right, left again, right again. It wants to alright because it just has to. Take your hands off your ears. Fuck, is that loud! Really fucking loud! English fans are unbelievably fucking loud!

"Don't pay Glazer or work for Sky.
Still sing City's going to die.
Two United's but the soul is one.
Someone said Glazer's a fan.
What a load of shite."

Ahem, well which you can probably guess which part of the body is meant to be plugged into a socket. But it's probably a bit more difficult to imagine what's actually happening in the English ninth division. In 2005 the majority of Manchester United fans rebelled in vain against the takeover by American tycoon Malcolm Glazer. The rebels turned away and started their own club: FC United of Manchester.

18 months later and Peter Munday is lost in thought looking out of the window. It's a very mild day in the North of England for November. "A lot of us just had no idea in the euphoria of what was coming to us. Register the club with the FA - sort out a league, a ground, playes, money... but it worked and we're still here."

Twelve of the disillusioned fans were sitting down together over a curry and several pints and took the decision. They went public. "Seven days later thousands of sympathiser had donated € 220,000", reveals Munday, club treasurer. "We're still getting donations". Shortly afterwards there were 930 applications for the trials including ones from the Czech Republic or Africa and including the amusing one of a prospective centre forwards: "At my brother's summer barbecues no one's managed to stop one of my shots." Today the club has a squad of 24 players, a reserve team and a youth team. After promotion in their first season is FC United top of the league after twenty games with a lead of seven points and a goal difference of 65.

"Is that great, or what?" croaks Paul. 90 minutes of singing haven't done his vocal chords any good. "Seven nil but that was against the bottom team." He giggles. Ketchup is dropping from his burger and onto his FCUM scarf. Merchandising is important for the club: shirts; mugs; caps; DVD's; woolly hats and even ties. "Time for a beer". The Waterloo pub at the end of the street is heaving. For years Paul used to get out at the Old Trafford station. Since the summer of 2005 he's been travelling a few stops further to Bury. It was at the fourth division team in Manchester's suburbs that FC United found a home and draws nearly twice as many spectators. "I've given up my Manchester United season ticket. I'm not shoving any more money up Glazer's arse. I used to be able to go to Old Trafford and stand with my mates and have a beer. Nowawdays I have to apply for a ticket six weeks in advance and Sky decides when the kick-off should be. No one can affors the tickets and the penguins in the business boxes don't care at all about the game. Everyone sits down, you can't even fart! That's opera not football!" Along with Paul 119 other fans handed in their season tickets and many sold their shares.

The fan community in Manchester has a strong moral code and a lobby that should be taken seriously. The influential group "Manchester United Supporters' Group" made up of than 30,000 fans with shares (among them VIP's and respected journalists) played a decisive part in preventing the planned takeover of the club by media mogul Rupert Murdoch in 1999. Together with the "Indepedant Manchester United Supporters' Association" (IMUSA) they threatened to boycott club sponsors, forcing Murdoch to give up.

It was also because of this that the Glazer takeover left such deep scars. "We could have demonstrated every day in front of the stadium", says Jules Spencer, ex-president of IMUSA and now on the board of FC United. "The Glazer deal was basically just a catalyst. FC United is not just an anti-Glazer reaction. It's more than that. We wanted to freeze the ticket prices, no new business lounges but the club just wasn't listening to the fans. Now we want to create something for the people of the city. Something positive for the future. Carry on the tradition."

Every letter is swaddled in nostalgia. It was in 1878 that local railway workers founded the Newton Heath Football Club. In 1902 and the club's name was changed to Manchester United Footbal Club. A century later and the club has been transformed into one of the world's largest multi-million companies (translator: is it bollocks, it's just one of the biggest football clubs). Manchester United avoids any form of comment towards the rebels. Since the first wave of media coverage has passed it's time for a more modest image. The club is not a joke made up for some stupid TV show. Everyone here takes the club seriously.

First in line is manager Karl Marginson who in his prime was semi-pro at Rotherham and now gets up at 3:30 am every morning to deliver food. It's usually more difficult to find a parking space in Manchester than to motivate the team. He's convinced a couple of other semi-pros to drop a couple of leagues. No one famous except perhaps Rhodri Giggs (29) brother of Man Utd star Ryan. People turn their noses up at the rumours that Eric Cantona or Roy Keane will be supporting the club. Fan clubs in China, Holland or Sweden are more welcomed.

The founders were also able to draw inspiration from the story of AFC Wimbledon. In 2002 a group of businessmen manhandled Wimbledon 70 miles from London to Milton Keynes. Many of the fans refused to go along and formed their own club. AFC Wimbledon are now playing in their own "Fan's stadium" in the seventh division and the youth teams go down to the under-10's. The exiled Milton Keynes Dons are now languishing in the fourth divisions.

In Manchester is the fan community somewhat divided. Some criticise FC United because they think that this makes Man United's problems worse; some only go to away games so that they don't give Glazer a penny; some feel they belong to both clubs - two Uniteds, one soul; many think like Paul. "Hey", whispers Paul while he draws heavily on his cigarette. "You know what? We're bringing the soul back to football. In the stands there are women, pushchairs, men, toddlers - every one of them football mad. The dance, party, sing and simply enjoy themselves. Kick-off, Saturday 3 o'clock, the eleventh commandment!" His thick fingers drawn up to his neck. "I'm over sixty, I saw Georgie Best. The feeling at FC United is the same as back then. I don't miss these puffed up upstarts. I can watch Ronaldinho in the pub. Maybe there'll soon be a league with The Real Chelsea, AFC Wimbledon and Liverpool Fans United. I'll get myself a whiskey but don't tell the wife." His wife is dancing a few feet away singing with the rest in a pub that is full to bursting and she is enjoying herself. Maybe like that back then. Not because she has to but because she wants to. Since 2005. Every Saturday at three.

Week of woe for rebel Reds

Source: Leigh Journal (and Bolton News/This is Lancashire)

By Leigh Journal Reporter

FC UNITED'S manager Karl Marginson will want to forget last week in a hurry after his side were held to a 1-1 draw against 10-man Congleton Town.

Following a shock 3-0 defeat against Atherton Collieries on Wednesday, the Division One leaders dropped points again, despite Town playing the last 22 minutes with a man down.

Scott Murcott's towering header had given the Cheshire club a 17th-minute lead at Witton Albion's Wincham Park ground yesterday.

United, who are still seven points clear at the top, were guilty of wasting several excellent chances to level matters, the best of which saw Rory Patterson's penalty saved after substitute Phil Power had been tripped in the area.

But, minutes later the Reds did equalise when Josh Howard pounced from close range after a goalmouth scramble following Alex Mortimer's corner on 66 minutes.

FC hopes of taking the three points were further boosted when Matt Murray saw red for lashing out at Steve Spencer, but the visitors continued to spurn chances and it was the under-siege Congleton side who came closest to winning the game when Richard Bailey's effort struck the crossbar with 11 minutes left.

United's midweek conquerors, Atherton Colls, could not follow up their superb win at Gigg Lane as they went down 3-0 at second-placed Salford City.

A Mike Turner double and one from John Robinson sinking Phil Brown's injury-hit team.

But there was better news for Atherton LR, who left it late to seal a much-needed victory against Stone Dominoes.

Oliver Babbington's first goal for the club handed Rovers a first-half lead but the basement club hit back with two goals in three minutes.

Striker Babbington equalised, however, and two goals in the final 10 minutes from Gareth Williams and Ged McCallister secured the points for Mark Cox's team.

Daisy Hill went out of the Division Two Trophy as they were crushed 5-0 at home by New Mills.

Marginson blasts Rebels

Source: M.E.N.

FC UNITED manager Karl Marginson blasted his players after they stumbled to a 1-1 draw with Congleton Town, and go into next week's vital FA Vase third round tie in their worst form.

After suffering a 3-0 home defeat by Atherton Collieries, the Rebels had to come from behind to snatch a point in a game switched to Witton Albion's ground, the first time they have gone two games without a win.

"Too many of them are getting a bit cocksure of themselves," blazed Marginson, after Josh Howard had scrambled in a 66th minute equaliser to a first half goal from the Bears' Scott Murcott.

"It's all very well signing autographs and hearing your name sung, but if they carry on playing like that some of them won't be at this club for very long."

The result could have been worse, with Scott Williams hitting a post and Jordan Johnson's cross being deflected on to the bar keeper Sam Ashton.

But FC missed a penalty, Rory Patterson seeing his spot kick saved by Paul Forester after sub Phil Power had gone down in the box.

Now FC's thoughts turn to the visit of Quorn to Gigg Lane in the Vase on Saturday, and top scorer Stuart Rudd is set to return after missing the Congleton game with a deadleg.

But places are up for grabs warned Marginson, adding: "I think some players feel they are established first-team players now, but I told them that they have to play every game as if it is their last, because one day it will be."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Super Colls tame runaway rebels


By Liam Chronnell

ATHERTON Colls pulled off the shock of the season in the North West Counties League when they beat runaway leaders FC United at Gigg Lane.

The Rebels could not handle Colls striker, Anthony Pilkington, who grabbed a superb hat-trick which capped an outstanding team performance by the Alder House side.

The victory takes Colls up to seventh on 31 points, one more than they amassed in the whole of last season.

FC United, who have scored an amazing 23 goals in their last three home games and would have gone 10 points clear at the top if they had won, rarely troubled the well organised Colls outfit in front of 1,723 fans.

Pilkington, partnered by the outstanding Craig Hobson up front, opened the scoring on 15 minutes when he beat Sam Ashton from a tight angle.

He made it two deep into first half injury time when he beat a defender and race through on goal before slotting his shot past Ashton.

Then he put the icing on the cake in the last minute with a close range shot.

Colls aim to continue their impressive run when they travel to Salford City on Saturday.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A slack night for Rebels

Source: M.E.N.

Tony Glennon

FC UNITED'S 100 per cent home record was wrecked as Atherton Collieries dug deep to storm the Rebels' Gigg Lane fortress for a 3-0 victory.

Karl Marginson's runaway North West Counties League leaders were sunk by an Anthony Pilkington hat-trick to leave a crowd of 1,723 shaking their heads in disbelief.

Pilkington struck on 15 and 45 minutes to give the visitors a 2-0 interval lead before completing his treble with a breakaway goal in the dying seconds after FC United had battled in vain to reduce the arrears.

Stuart Rudd, Danny Allen and Rob Nugent all wasted chances to hand the pacesetters a lifeline, while Josh Howard was unlucky to see his shot rattle a post.

To complete a miserable night for FC United, leading scorer Rudd was carried off late on and is now doubtful for Sunday's trip to Witton to face Congleton.

Delight for Dabbers as the promotion dream is back


By Toby Robinson
NANTWICH Town have received a major boost in their quest for promotion.

After just missing out last season, the Dabbers looked set for more misery with FC United romping away at the top of NWC Division One.

Three teams went up instead of the standard one back in May, leaving the club rueing a lost opportunity despite lifting the FA Vase.

However non-league chiefs have announced further restructuring of the pyramid system and that means extended promotion places should be up for grabs once again in 2007.

The UniBond League will expand to two regional first divisions to bring it in line with the Southern and Ryman leagues.

With Nantwich gearing up to move into their new £2.5m home at Kingsley Fields, the ground criteria will be met and a top-three finish should win promotion.

Chairman Clive Jackson says they have to grab this chance.

"I welcome the introduction of an additional first division at UniBond level," he explained.

"Whilst the arrangement doesn't guarantee promotion, with construction of our new stadium underway and combined with our current league standing, we currently have the criteria to meet the promotion requirements.

"We've worked very hard to improve our league status and facilities.

"What better incentive can we now have than to kick off a new season in a new league and in a new stadium."

Despite last Saturday's trip to Nelson being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, Nantwich remain second.

But they have seen a seven-point gap quickly trimmed to just two with Salford City closing in and Curzon Ashton also looking ominous.

They return to action at tenth-place Bacup Borough on Saturday.

Player-boss Steve Davis says his side can't afford any slip-ups.

"It's good to know now rather than next May," he explained.

"I think it's only good if three go up and that's how it should be every year, it keeps the season alive for clubs.

"We knew if Salford won their games in hand, they would only be two points behind and credit to them.

"Although FC United have a lead, it looks like it's going to be pretty competitive for teams chasing behind.

"We just have to concentrate on us.

"We've got a tricky trip to Bacup on Saturday.

"They might be mid-table but they don't concede many and it's a sloping pitch up there."

Kevin’s singing the blues for the team in red


DON’T mention it to Man City fans, but football songwriter Kevin Phoenix (Ed: Jamie Phoenix's uncle) is singing the ‘blues’ for the team in red.

The 38-year-old singer doesn’t know whether he’s in the blue or the red corner of Manchester’s famous footballing divide but he’s penned songs about City’s sworn enemy and posted them on his website.

The site has proved a huge success with soccer fans and has had more than 7,000 hits.

One of the songs exalts United’s famous treble-winning season of 1999.

Kevin says most of the comments left on his website have been complementary but admits some fans – mainly Blues supporters – have been rather more scathing about his love of both Manchester teams.

Kevin, who once performed a City tribute song in front of 30,000 Blues fans, said: "I know for some supporters it’s seen as sacrilege to like both teams – and some have made this quite plain on my website – but I really do like both teams.

"If you’re a Blues fan you don’t really want to hear about United, and many people probably think I’m sitting on the fence. To tell you the truth I’m not really a mad football fan but I grew up in a football family and my dad was a lifelong United fan.

"The treble was something that will stick in the minds of every Red in the country for the rest of their lives and it deserved being put to music."

He added: "At the end of the day I’m a Manchester lad and I like both teams, but I love music more than I love football."

Ironically, Kevin dedicated the City song to his late father Lawrence when he was seriously ill with dementia. Sadly his dad died four years ago, just before the song was completed.

The City/United dichotomy in the Phoenix family has been passed down the generations by Kevin’ s nephew Jamie, who played for Man City’s youth team but now plays for FC United – the North West Counties team who were set up by demoralised United supporters after American tycoon Malcolm Glazer took over the Old Trafford club.

Kevin, a former busker who now works for the Northenden-based Manchester branch of the National Autistic Society (NAS), creates his songs with the help of his brother Patrick at their self-made studio in Wythenshawe.

The father-of-two, who is a friend of Take That star Jason Orange, also produced the soundtrack for an Eric Cantona documentary on the club’s MUTV station.

He is currently working with people suffering from autism on a single called Promised Land. Kevin is hoping to find a top producer to help him record the single, profits from which will go towards relieving world poverty.

All Kevin’s songs can be downloaded from his website:

Nick Towle

First published by the South Manchester Reporter

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

FCUM send Dominoes tumbling

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: BBC

By Jamie Murphy

FC United's fringe players got the chance to show mananger Karl Marginson their firepower by knocking down bottom of the table Stone Dominoes, including a debut hat-trick from 18-year-old Danny Allen.

North West Counties Football League - Division 1 (2006/07)
FC United 7 Stone Dominoes 0
Allen 14
Allen 18
Allen 59
Rudd 64
pen: Patterson 81
Patterson 89
Rudd 90

Attendance: 3,020

Eight of FC United's first team players were rested for the game against Stone Dominoes with goalkeeper Sam Ashton, midfielder Nicky Platt and front man Stuart Rudd the only players from last week’s team that beat Salford City 3-2 in the FA Vase.

While FCUM went into the game with a tally of 71 goals, Stone Dominoes had shipped 75 and notched up just two points so far this season. After a succession of tough ties, Marginson granted an opportunity for his fringe players to stake a claim and 18-year-old Danny Allen grasped the chance with both hands, scoring a hat-trick on his full debut.
25.11.06 - FCUM v Stone Dominoes
FCUM with four up front

With Rory Patterson returning from suspension and wearing the captain’s armband playing in midfield, Allen linked up with Stuart Rudd up front and the three produced some scintillating moves. On the 14th minute a slick through ball from Patterson put Allen through on goal and the striker slotted past the keeper for his and FCUM’s first goal of the day.

Just four minutes later Allen grabbed a second with a neat shot on the turn. United began to dominate possession and Stone Dominoes were virtually stifled out of the game, finding themselves short changed down the flanks, while centre backs, Brown and Coyne mopped up their attacks with ease.
Four up front

Urged on by the 3,020 fans at Gigg Lane, the Rebel Reds kept the Stone keeper busy, with chances falling to Platt, Brown, Patterson and Allen who clipped the right angle, before the half-time whistle. At times in the first half the home side were so comfortable in midfield that they were seemingly playing four up front, but for all their dominance they lacked width, something that Marginson rectified for the second half by bringing on the pacey winger Swarbrick for Nicky Platt.

Fourteen minutes into the second half Allen completed his hat-trick latching onto a loose ball with a low volley from the edge of the area. The Dominoes began to tumble as tiredness set in among the visitors unable to maintain the tempo set by United. After three consecutive corners resulted in a headed goal from Rudd on the 64th minute, the rout was on.

Chances fell to Swarbrick and Ahern before the referee blew for a penalty after he judged Patterson to have been pulled down in the box. It was a harsh decision and Patterson coolly converted the spot kick low to the keepers left. Minutes later the visitors nearly grabbed a consolation with their only real chance of the game – a long range curling drive that beat Sam Ashton but not the bar.

It was a bad day at the office for poor Dominoes and their humiliation was further confirmed with a scrambled goal for FC’s 6th, claimed by Patterson. But it was to be Rudd who finally sealed the game after Swarbrick burst down the right flank and found the hit-man in space. It was bread and butter stuff for Rudd lashing home his 27th goal of the season.

The seven goal sizzler (a goal for every pound entrance fee) puts FCUM seven points clear at the top of the North West Counties League Division One. But they can expect a tougher test in their next game at home to Atherton Collieries on Wednesday.

A Knight to remember


By John Buckley, Northwich Chronicle

THE biggest game in North-wich this season is due tomorrow night when Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United officially open the Victoria Stadium.

A crowd of about 3,000 is expected and, by coincidence, will be followed the town's second biggest attendance on Sunday when the other Reds - FC United of Manchester - play Congleton Town in the North West Counties League at Witton Albion's ground. About 2,000 are anticipated.

Sir Alex has kept a long-made promise in personally opening the ground, which has grown over the past 18 months to be among the best in non-league football. He will un-veil a plaque in the main stand at 7.30pm.

He will be accompanied by Sir Bobby Charlton and Jack Crompton, the former goalkeeper and first team coach.

Fireworks and cheerleaders will give the evening a carnival atmosphere.

Four goal Danny back as a sub

Source: M.E.N.

Stuart Brennan

DANNY Allen returns to the bench for FC United tonight - after scoring four goals on his full debut!

Rebels host Atherton Collieries at Gigg Lane (7.45pm) after scoring 23 goals without reply in their last three home games, culminating in Saturday's 7-0 slaughter of Stone Dominoes in which manager Karl Marginson fielded a largely second-string side.

But Marginson will revert to something close to his strongest team tonight, which means Allen will be among the subs.
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That allows for a resumption of the 44-goal strike partnership of Stuart Rudd, who netted twice on Saturday, and Rory Patterson, who grabbed the last goal after being robbed of the sixth by Allen claiming the last touch.

"Danny did fantastically well," said Marginson. "But we will have to manage him carefully."

The Rebels are seeking clarification from the FA over the impending suspension of skipper Dave Chadwick for the crunch FA Vase third round tie with Quorn on December 9.

Chadwick is due to be banned for the game after collecting five bookings.

Whites ‘fan’ makes a mark with rebels


By Liam Chronnell

THERE is one date etched in the memory of Sam Ashton above all others - January 7, 2006.

That was the day the former Bolton Wanderers academy goalkeeper realised a life-long dream by playing for his hometown club - as an outfield player.

Ashton, a fanatical Bolton fan now plying his trade with non-league giants FC United, came off the bench to make a shock debut in Wanderers' 3-0 win against Watford in the FA Cup last season.

The 20-year-old was released by the Premiership club at the end of last term, but will never forget his moment of glory.

"I couldn't believe it," admitted Ashton, not least because the Breightmet shot-stopper came on as a striker. "I dreamed all my life of playing for Wanderers, especially with being a Bolton lad, and for it to come true was amazing."

The former Withins School pupil was handed his fairy-tale opportunity after an injury crisis left the Reebok outfit short on numbers for the trip to Vicarage Road.

Sam Allardyce included Ashton in the squad after impressing at right back in training, and replaced Mexican international Jared Borgetti in the 89th minute.

"The manager said I was part of the squad for the trip," said the young keeper. "Nicky Hunt was injured and he wanted cover for Joey O'Brien at right-back, as well as in goal. I was so excited I even forgot to take my gloves with me.

"With a few minutes to go, the manager said I was going on. I never imagined to be playing, let alone as an outfield player. It was a brilliant day when they signed me but to actually play was even better."

But the dream did not last as Ashton was allowed to leave at the end of last season, though he now is rebuilding his career at FC United, the breakaway club set up by disenchanted Manchester United supporters.

The rebel Reds are currently sweeping all before them and are the runaway leaders of the North West Counties League Division One. Ashton has been a huge part of their success, conceding just 10 goals in 23 appearances.

"It was difficult to leave. I'd been there since I was 13, but you just need to pick yourself up and get on with it," said Ashton, who is a plasterer by day. "Being at Wanderers was a great experience but I needed to be playing every week.

"I went to Cambridge and they wanted to sign me but I decided against it. I also went to Radcliffe Borough but the manager said I wouldn't be first choice. Then I got a phone call from Karl Marginson (FC United manager) and I played one game and just thought I want to sign for them'.

"That's what I did and I'm really enjoying it. The club and the fans are brilliant, and obviously winning helps."

Ashton is still in touch with several of the Wanderers players, including Joey O'Neil, and goes to the Reebok when ever he can to watch his beloved Whites.

Indeed, the talented goalkeeper sports a Bolton tattoo on his right arm, something he considered having removed to boost his career hopes.

"I thought about getting rid of it because it might stop me being picked up by a club as some fans don't like that sort of thing," he explained. "I had it done when I was 15 and it's just part of me - it's who I am.

"You never know; one day I could go back to the Reebok but for now I just want to concentrate on doing well for FC United."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Weather the only winner

Source: Edited from

All eight matches in division two of the NWCL were postponed while in division one only five of the 10 scheduled fixtures took place.

FC United stretched their lead in division one to seven points over second-placed Nantwich Town following a 7-0 home victory against Stone Dominoes.

There was a crowd of 3,020 at Gigg Lane, Bury, where FC United scored five of their seven goals in the final half-hour as the floodgates opened.

FC United 7 Stone Dominoes 0

Source: M.E.N.

Alan Wrigley

YOUNG Danny Allen was the star of the show as he notched a hat-trick on his first start for the league leaders.

United manager Karl Marginson rested several of his players in readiness for tougher battles but despite that bottom-placed Stone soon found they had no answers at a soggy Gigg Lane.

Only three of the United starting line-up had started last week's FA Vase fixture at Salford but Danny soon stood out as he hit the first three goals.

Stuart Rudd added his name to the score-sheet in the 65th minute as he rose unchallenged to head home from a Gary Sampson corner.

Dominoes then conceded a penalty as their excellent left-back Danny Young was harshly judged to have upended Allen. Rory Patterson calmly slotted home the spot-kick to make it 5-0.

Andy Matthews then had Stone's best moment as his curling right-footed effort from 30 yards clipped the inside of the post and bounced away to safety with Sam Ashton in the home goal well beaten.

Patterson scored again in the 90th minute with a low shot after a Rhodri Giggs corner and then Rudd wrapped up the victory as he stroked home his 27th goal of the season.

Seven up for the rebel Reds


By Liam Chronnell

FC United made nine changes for the visit of Stone Dominoes and still ran out 7-0 winners.

The rebel Reds stretched their lead at the top of the Division One table to seven points in front on more than 3,000 supporters at Gigg Lane.

Reserve team striker Danny Allen hit a superb hat-trick in his first start of the season as the leaders cruised to a comfortable win against the league?s basement club. The youngster opened the scoring on 14 minutes, before adding a spectacular second just five minutes later.

Allen completed his treble 10 minutes after the re-start, while there were also second-half doubled for Stuart Rudd and captain Rory Patterson as United took their total to 90 goals in all competitions this term.

A depleted Atherton LR found themselves on the wrong end of a 7-0 scoreline at high-flying Curzon Ashton.

Both Atherton Collieries home clash with Bacup Borough and Daisy Hill's match at Holker Old Boys in Division Two were postponed due to waterlogged pitches.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Rebels take breather

Source: M.E.N.

Stuart Brennan

BOSS Karl Marginson is set to make up to nine changes to his buoyant FC United team as they take on bottom club Stone Dominoes at Gigg Lane in the North West Counties League.

He has seen his team come through their toughest spell with flying colours, beating promotion rivals Maine Road in the mini-derby, FA Vase holders Nantwich in the League Challenge Cup, and arch- rivals Salford City in the Vase, all away.

And the visit of Stone, who have drawn two and lost 17 of their 19 games this season, has prompted a wholesale switch. Stone have let in 75 goals, while FC have scored 71 in their 18 league games, so a cricket score is being predicted.

But Marginson will rest his front-line players ahead of next Wednesday's home clash with Atherton Collieries, with only goalkeeper Sam Ashton, 18-year-old midfielder Nicky Platt and striker Stuart Rudd set to retain their places from the side that beat Salford.

That will mean a first start for midfielder Gary Sampson, a debut for reserve-team star Danny Allen and rare appearances for Jamie Phoenix, Mike Lomax, Gareth Ormes, Dave Brown, Liam Coyne and Will Ahern.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Defiant fellow


Salford City 2
FC United 3

By Tony Howard

IT was billed as the big re-match after the famous night at the Willows in October but it fell a bit flat for Salford City as they went down 3-2 to an impressive FC United in the FA Vase.

City manager Garry Fellows’ pre-match predictions that the Ammies would beat United and go on to lift the famous trophy proved as empty as the Willows as the Salford public failed to back their side as they had done in the previous game.

A noon kick-off, due to a pre-booked function, didn’t help matters and the biting cold would also have put many off.

However, City still did those who bothered to turn up proud with a battling display but unfortunately they couldn’t match the heroics of the previous game which saw Salford win with two last minute goals.

That being said, it looked like another fairy tale was unravelling after just two minutes when Tommy Turner lashed home at the near post to give the tangerines an early lead.

It did not last though as FC United came back at them and red goal machine Stuart Rudd missed from all of three yards after good work from Rhodri Giggs. But the big number nine made no mistake moments later when he was played in by Nicky Platt to slot past ex-FC shot stopper Barrie George for 1-1.

United then took the lead when Simon Carden was played in to go one-on-one with George and he made no mistake with an expertly taken lob to warm red cockles.

City were restricted to long range efforts and resorted to pumping the ball forward more in hope than anything else and when FC skipper Dave Chadwick made it 3-1 in the second half the Ammies were out of it.

True to their never-say-die spirit, Salford battled back though and kept passing the ball on a difficult surface. Substitute David Burrows scored a deflected goal in injury time to set up a grandstand finish but it wasn’t to have the dream ending this time.

United made no mistakes at the death as they marched into the third round where they will face Quorn FC from Loughborough.

Fellows refused to be down-hearted after the game.

He said: "You’ve got to give FC credit because they responded well to our goal. But we defended badly and our keeper was very slow off his line for their equaliser.

"Then our full back played their lad on for the second. We came in at half-time and had a chat but it was the same again – bad defending on a corner for their third. John Robinson was two yards off Chadwick and he scored. Other than that I thought we kept the ball better than FC. The commitment was there but it was their day.

"Salford have got to take a lot of credit. We’re all local lads and to take FC United to 3-2 is a decent result. We haven’t got mega money and a lot of the lads play for nearly nothing but if you look at the video of that game there was only one team wanting to play football and that was Salford City.

"We’ll get back on it for Trafford on Saturday and we’re looking at progressing in the league and getting promotion if possible."

City visit Trafford on Saturday, November 25, kick-off 3pm. They then play Abbey Hey at home in another league game on Tuesday, November 28, kick-off 7.45pm.

Meanwhile, a Richard Dunne goal gave City’s youth team a 1-0 Alliance Cup win against Marine.

First published by the Salford Advertiser

Marginson keeps feet grounded


By Staff Sports Reporter

IT'S still only November but many FC United supporters are already dreaming of something many of them have seen once before - the treble.

The breakaway club, set up by Manchester United fans unhappy with the takeover by Malcolm Glazer at the start of last season, could replicate their more illustrious neighbours' achievements of 1999, albeit on a smaller scale.

The rebel Reds, seven points clear at the top of the North West Counties League Division One and through to the last 16 of the League Challenge Cup, progressed into the third round of the FA Vase at the weekend with a 3-2 victory against Salford City.
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The win avenged the Gigg Lane outfit's only defeat of the season in front of a crowd of 2,799 at The Willows - and moved FC a step closer to a trip to Wembley.

But manager Karl Marginson is refusing to get carried away despite their continued success on all fronts.

"There's no point talking about Wembley and cup finals because it can all change so quickly," said the down-to-earth Reds boss, who was up at 4am to do his fruit and veg rounds before the eagerly-awaited re-match, switched to a 12 noon kick-off on police advice.

"In cup football you only get one chance and referees, players and managers can make mistakes, but we will do our best.

"When we lost last time it really hurt the lads but we've got winners in that dressing room and they've come back even stronger.

"We've just got to keep going. It's just about the next game against Stone Dominoes now, and then the one after that, and so on. It's boring but it's true."

United entertain the league's bottom club on Saturday and Marginson will take the opportunity to rest several players following a gruelling period during which his side have also beaten title rivals Maine Road and FA Vase holders Nantwich Town.

He added: "We've had a tough three weeks and it's a good chance for some of them to recharge their batteries."

Such charitable thoughts were never likely to enter Marginson's head before the weekend's clash with Salford - the team who prevented United breaking the league record of 13 straight wins at the start of last month.

Yet it was City who enjoyed a dream start when Tommy Turner fired the home side into a second-minute lead.

But FC responded superbly and Stuart Rudd grabbed an eighth-minute equaliser, before Simon Carden put the visitors ahead four minutes later.

Captain Dave Chadwick added a third on the hour to book United's place in the next round, though David Burrows set up a tense finale when he struck a late consolation.

NW Counties Division One (ed: it was in the Vase)

Monday, November 20, 2006

FC to meet Quorn

Source: M.E.N.

FC United have face Quorn at home in the third round of the FA Carlsberg Vase.

The reds rebels beat Salford City 3-2 at the weekend in the second round.

The draw for the third round of the FA Carlsberg Vase is as follows: Barwell v Thackley Gedling Town v West Auckland Town Consett v Causeway United or Holwell Sports Whitley Bay v Coalville Town Newcastle Benfield (Bay Plastics) v Castle Vale Newcastle Blue Star v Alvechurch Durham City v Flixton Retford United v Shildon South Shields v Curzon Ashton Glasshoughton Welfare v Winterton Rangers Billingham Synthonia v Romulus FC United of Manchester v Quorn Stratford Town v Colliers Wood United Burnham Ramblers v Wroxham Fakenham Town v Cogenhoe United Wisbech Town v VCD Athletic Leverstock Green v Potton United or Ruislip Manor Halstead Town v Edgware Town Croydon v Leamington Ipswich Wanderers v Romford or Oxhey Jets Mildenhall Town v Northampton Spencer St Neots Town or Lowestoft Town v Welwyn Garden City Hailsham Town v Sherborne Town Lymington Town v Truro City Whitehawk v Selsey Chalfont St Peter or Fareham Town v Wimborne Town Wick v Eastbourne Town Chessington & Hook United v Street or Launceston Calne Town v Slimbridge Three Bridges v Bemerton Heath Harlequins AFC Totton v Moneyfields Bideford v Corsham Town
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Ties to be played Saturday 9 December 2006

Revenge is sweet for FC in Vase cracker

Souce: M.E.N.

Tony Howard

FC UNITED tasted sweet revenge as they won 3-2 at The Willows to march through to the third round of the FA Vase.

The Reds were keen to make a point after Salford inflicted their only defeat of the season back in October and they didn't disappoint the majority of the 2,799 fans.

But they didn't have it all their own way, as the Ammies took the lead through Tommy Turner after just two minutes; his shot beat United keeper Sam Ashton at his near post.
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Stuart Rudd was guilty of missing a golden opportunity to equalise for the visitors, before making amends as he latched on to a through ball to slot past ex-FC keeper Barrie George and make it 1-1.

United started to take control and Simon Carden added a second by lobbing the ball over the advancing George.

Then when FC skipper Dave Chadwick scored a third with a header from a Josh Howard corner in the second half, Salford looked to be dead and buried.

But true to their fighting spirit, City got one back through David Burrows in injury time.

For a few moments, their fans dreamed of repeating October's heroics, but it wasn't to be.

A happy FC manager Karl Marginson said: "There was a lot of spice involved after what happened last time and the lads reacted in the right way."

Salford manager Gary Fellows praised his opponents, saying: "We got a great start but you've got to give FC United credit for how they came back."

FC gain revenge for only defeat

By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED avenged their only defeat of the season and moved a step closer to a trip to Wembley with a 3-2 victory against Salford City in the second round of the FA Vase.

The Rebel Reds defeated their NWCL Division One rivals, the only team to beat United this season, in front of a crowd of 2,799 at The Willows.

Tommy Turner handed Salford a dream start when he fired home in the second minute, but Karl Marginson's side responded superbly and Stuart Rudd grabbed an eighth-minute equaliser, before Simon Carden put the visitors ahead four minutes later. Captain Dave Chadwick booked United's place in the last 64 of the nationwide competition with a third on the hour, though David Burrows struck a late consolation.

Atherton Collieries, who entertain Newcastle Town in the league tonight, could not join them as they slipped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Northern Counties East Premier outfit Glasshoughton Welfare.

Colls' Jermain Peters cancelled out a James Parkinson own goal, but Ashley Brewer sent the Castleton side through with a 71st-minute winner.

In league action, Atherton LR drew 2-2 at Formby - despite turning up 30 minutes late. Half the team and the kit were delayed on the way, and it was no surprise when Rovers conceded a third-minute opener. But goals from Duncan Richards and debutant Kayed Coppil put the visitors in front, before a Will Dolan penalty four minutes from time earned Formby a point. In Division Two, Simon Farrell scored in Daisy Hill's 1-1 draw with Chadderton.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Simon stuns Salford

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource:

By Jonathan McKeith. Saturday, 18 November 2006.

The FA Carlsberg Vase
Second Round Proper
Saturday 18 November 2006
£1,000 to each winning club

FC United's Simon Carden scored the goal of the game as his side came from behind to beat league rivals Salford City 3-2 in the Second Round of The FA Vase.

A huge crowd - at Salford Reds rugby league side's stadium - were rewarded with a goal inside the first 120 seconds of the match. City's Tommy Turner drawing first blood for the Ammies.

Despite the early goal, the game was failing to live up to expectations as both sides struggled to replicate the passion of their league fixture early last month.

City ran out 2-1 winners that day but there was no danger of the score being repeated as United turned the game on its head with two goals in two minutes.

Stuart Rudd slammed home to bring FC United level and five minutes before half-time Carden received the ball on the edge of the box and noncholantly lifted his shot over the 'keeper and into the net.

David Chadwick added a third for United before a late Dave Burrow goal for Salford set up a tense finish.

But United held on for the victory and afterwards an understandably disappointed Salford City secretary Bill Taylor said: "It was a very flat game. The crowd weren't as vocal as the last game between the two and it didn't have the passion. We had chances at the end and could've pushed it into extra time, but that's football."

There was no shortage of passion at Romford as they drew 4-4 with Oxhey Jets after extra time.

Hussain Ali gave the visitors a 34th minute lead only to see his strike cancelled out six minutes later by Romford's Ben Turner.

The home side looked to have booked their passage into the next round with Patrick Elbi's strike 20 minutes from time but Steve Stratford pushed the match into extra time with an equaliser for the Jets three minutes into injury time.

And the goals didn't stop in extra time either. Lee Pyne put Romford back in front before Ian Holdom levelled for the the South Midlands League side.

Romford, who were playing with ten men following John Maskell's sending off, looked to be on their way out after Stratford's second - only for Des Gallen to save the day five minutes from the end.

Romford secretary Colin Ewuenson said: "That was good end to end stuff but we were on top for most of the game, even with ten men. We'll be confident going into Wednesday night's replay."

Elsewhere, there were big wins for Newcastle Benfield (Bay Plastics) as they thrashed Dunston Federation Brewery 6-1 away, while Curzon Ashton went one better as they beat Parkgate 7-1.

Potton United and Ruislip Manor drew 3-3 in another high-scoring tie.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Different Giggs, different league . . . but every bit as Red

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usBy CHRIS WHEELER Last updated at 22:20pm on 17th November 2006

Rhodri Giggs chuckles mischievously at the suggestion he would ever pretend to be his brother to attract the ladies.

"Maybe," he says. "Or I got my mates to do it. It worked most of the time as well!"

Not these days, of course. Not with a fiancee and a baby to look after. But there is no mistaking the family resemblance. Those piercing dark eyes, the angular features and thick stubble.

Rhodri, 29, even plays on the wing wearing the red shirt of United. FC United of Manchester, that is, the protest club formed by supporters disillusioned over Malcolm Glazer's controversial takeover.

On Saturday afternoon, before 32-year-old Ryan attempts to keep Sir Alex Ferguson's team flying high at the top of the Premiership at Sheffield United in a 5.15 kick-off, his younger brother will be hoping to nudge the other United one step nearer the new Wembley when they travel to local rivals Salford City in the FA Vase.

Up to 7,000 fans are expected for the meeting between clubs who play in the North West Counties League, eight rungs below United on the football ladder. "That's what sold me," says Giggs, who joined in the summer from Mossley. "I just think it's great playing non-league football in front of that many people.

"But I don't think we'll ever rival United. It's like chalk and cheese. I feel daft just talking about it. The only thing we've got in common is the shirt and the name."

As hard as he tries to distance himself from the politics of it all, there is no escaping Ferguson's disdain.

"I saw him at a sportsman's dinner at United two months ago and he looked straight through me," says Rhodri. "Maybe he didn't recognise me, but I think he did. He's got a bee in his bonnet about FC United."

On the pitch, as in life, Rhodri occupies the opposite flank to Ryan.

A right winger, he began his career as an apprentice at Torquay in 1993 - the season after his brother helped United end their 26-year wait for the title - and took two years out of the game after he was released before resurfacing in Scotland, Wales and finally back in non-league football near the family home in Manchester.

Then there is the chequered personal past. While Ryan has remained the ultimate professional, dedicated to one club and his career, Rhodri's troubles came to a head when he was jailed for nine months in 2001 for his part in a fight with a group of Manchester City fans outside a nightclub.

"I was targeted in the club because of my name," he says. "I left to get away but they followed us. I'm not going to start anything but I'm not going to walk away either. It was a big shock when I got sent down because my solicitor said I'd get probation. I don't think the judge took my name into account, even though he was a director of Liverpool!"

Giggs spent a month in Manchester's Strangeways before he was moved to the same open prison in Kirkham where Jan Molby, Mickey Thomas and Simon Garner served out their sentences, working as a bin orderly and playing for the football team.

"We only had home games!" he laughs. "I did my ligaments playing volleyball and had to get a taxi to the hospital at 10 at night. Leaving prison to go to hospital on my own. Crazy! But I only had about a week or two left.

"People were friendly in jail. There were one or two unpleasant ones, but out of 1,500 inmates that's not bad. And most of them were Scousers as well. In fact they were the most fun to be with.

"Ryan didn't come to see me and obviously he couldn't write because people would have read the letters. But he rang me a few times to see how I was getting on."

There have been other scrapes, but not all of them were his fault. Like the incident two years ago when he parted company with a Porsche Carrera after four masked men carjacked him in the city's Moss Side.

He refuses to blame the problems on his parents' break-up. Former rugby league player Danny Wilson returned to Cardiff following his split with Lynne Giggs when the boys were young, and although Rhodri has not spoken to his dad in six years, he knows Ryan has met up with him while on international duty with Wales.

Having a mixed race father has created issues for both sons.

"I see myself as more black than white," says Rhodri. "I was a bit darker when I was younger. My friends from school think I'm black but I don't really knock about with them any more. The lads I know now don't really know I'm black. My black friends think I'm black and my white friends think I'm white."

Above all, he's a Red and there is no disguising the pride he feels at seeing Ryan weave his way into Old Trafford folklore.

"I just love to watch him. Maybe he plays the game the way I've always wanted to. My favourite moment was the FA Cup semi-final goal against Arsenal in 1999. If you look at the video of United's Treble season, at the end of the Arsenal game and the camera goes to Ryan, I'm on the pitch.

"A steward tried to stop me but I just ran past him and was the first person to jump on Ryan. He told me to get off because his leg was killing him!

"I've been so lucky to be a part of it in a little way. They're good memories.

"I've had to stand up for him a few times as well. If I sit in the south stand at Old Trafford, I'm going to end up fighting with someone. They wouldn't know about football if one hit them on the head.

"Last season at Wigan, every time Ryan got the ball this guy was moaning until he set up a goal. I just snapped and told him to shut up. Usually I bite my lip, but he was getting a bit too lairy."

Rhodri is mellowing and fatherhood has helped. He is settling into life with his fiancee Natasha, her five-year-old son and their baby Louis, who has almost outgrown the swinging chair his uncle bought him.

While Ryan earns £80,000 a week at Old Trafford and has just moved into his new multi-million pound home near their mother in Worsley, Giggs Jnr is more than happy making use of his Class II HGV driver's licence and helping FC United on the long haul up the non-league ladder.

"The comparisons have never really bothered me," he says. "I know that if I really knuckled down and had a bit of luck along the way I might have been able to do what Ryan has done, but I never had that dedication.

"Maybe I'll dream about scoring the winner against Salford but that's about it."