Source: The Guardian
Winsford rivalry provides the missing ingredient
Topping the North West Counties Division Two by 14 points, FC United's Tony Howard is relieved the club have finally find a rival worthy of the name
Friday January 6, 2006
A bumper bank holiday crowd of 4,328 - more than hosts Bury have attracted to Gigg Lane this season, and more than eight league clubs pulled in on the same day - saw FC United again break the North West Counties League's attendance record, as the team overcame Winsford 2-1.
Victory over FC's nearest title challengers left them 14 points clear of the Cheshire side atop the second division. More importantly, however, the game provided United supporters with the one thing that has been missing during the club's fledgling season: proper rivals.
The one moan filling the air of pubs across the north west this season has been the lack of an opposing team to banter with and even 'dislike'. It's been a wonderful, friendly affair so far but Winsford have the real potential to fill that void. For this reason, many FC fans will be hoping they too get promotion, as seems likely in the 'two up' system.
There's nothing quite like the Mancunian-Scouse inter-city rivalry, so unfortunately for them, their reasonably close proximity to Merseyside and the town's position as a 1960s Liverpudlian overflow has seen Winsford classed as honorary Scousers around these parts.
And, much to our delight, the team made up of largely hometown players proved to be difficult oponents when the two sides clashed earlier in the season. They even seemed to revel amid the anti-Scouse chants and nearly caused a pitch invasion with their goal celebrations during the hard-fought 2-2 stalemate. But we loved it.
So Winsford's visit to Gigg Lane was the most eagerly awaited of the season so far. And the game didn't disappoint. After taking the lead the visitors again celebrated wildly, before goals from Simon Carden and Rory Patterson brought bedlam to Bury.
It was the ideal footballing occasion - the like of which many thought we'd never see again when we left Old Trafford behind. But long may it continue.