Tuesday, February 28, 2006
How are the preparations for the World Cup going and have you got any spare tickets?
The preparations are perfectly on track and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) in Germany has done an excellent job. As for spare tickets, I would exclude that option. Requests for tickets are something like ten times higher than tickets available.
When was the last time you attended a lower division or non-league game?
I often attend lower league games in my home Canton of Valais when I am visiting friends and family. It is important to keep in touch with the grassroots because our sport, more than many other, lives from its roots. And those are most definitely not only the top leagues.
When you first heard a group opposed to Glazer's takeover of Manchester United were forming their own team what were your first impressions?
I understand the emotions, because our sport is ABOUT emotions to a large extent. At the same time, we must look ahead and accept reality as such. For any dedicated fan to join a new club and help form a new team is certainly laudable because it stands for what association football, what club football is all about: dedication to belong to a group of like-minded people who share a goal. Therefore, I see no reason not to applaud such an initiative in principle.
What is your view on the best way for a football club to be structured and run?
I was always opposed to clubs going public and being quoted on the Stock Exchange because the pressures of the stock market where profits are the key criterion usually add pressure to the club and its management. Undue and unnecessary pressure, in my opinion. There are many models of club ownership or organization, and I personally find that a strong fan-base is key, whatever the organizational structure of the club may be. Without the fans, there is no future. As simple as that.
Many supporters of FC United felt disillusioned with the rising commercialism in the game at the top level, with games being moved to different kick-off times and allocated seating creating a poor atmosphere. Do you feel that traditional match-going supporters are being alienated by the top clubs?
I have always made it clear that too much football on television is certainly not the way I would want to go. The commercial aspects, especially in the UK, have dominated football for too long in my opinion. And I am rather certain that many a club manager or chairman are unhappy with the status quo and the fact that games are often set to start at a time when fans cannot make it, especially for away games. How can a fan attend an away game in Portsmouth, say, when it starts at 6pm on a Sunday and he would have to go back to the North the same evening? And why is it good for football if, in a given week, there are games virtually every single evening of the week? Between Cup games, Carling Cup, Premier League, Champions League there is hardly any time left for anything else. Too much football is not conducive to the game. These are issues that need to be tackled and must be resolved or else I do fear for the fan base to become constantly smaller.
If the current trend of 'Unit Owners' (i.e. Owners who have no previous emotional attatchment to the club) purchasing football clubs continues, how do you think football and eventually the clubs themselves will be affected?
I believe we must wait and see how things develop. This is a rather new phenomenon in Europe, whereas it is pretty standard in the US, for example, and in some Asian countries. I would not want to make a swiping and conclusive statement at a time when this type of development is still rather new. But needless to say that we are observing things very closely and carefully.
If there was one thing you could change about football on global scale what would it be and why?
Let me not answer this as a hypothetical question. There is indeed one thing, above all that is of maximum concern to me, and that is the lack of solidarity with countries, clubs and regions that are less privileged than the big European counterparts. The African Nations Cup has demonstrated with some clarity how football has advanced in Africa over the last few years. Yet, what I cannot see is respect for the players from that continent and solidarity with their plight.
And in the same vein, I shall try my utmost and dedicate time and energy to it so that the curse of racism disappears from our sport. It is debasing, it is disgusting and it is a vile mental state that is displayed in far too many matches around Europe. We must and shall try our best to put an end to this sickening curse.
If there was one thing you could change in the English game, again, what and why?
The foremost thing I would want to have changed is to reduce the number of Premiership clubs. This would allow for less games, for more regeneration time for players between games and for less injuries and more excitement, and also more time for fans to recuperate.
What is the best thing about English football?
Its quality, its excitement and its fanbase which is unique around the world.
FC United have a reputation for singing throughout the game and have many different songs. What is the funniest song you have heard at a football match?
I think I'll have to pass on this one. Next thing I would be branded as a staunch fan of this or that club (smiles).
Is there anything that FIFA can do to help supporters have more of a say in how their football clubs are run?
Quite frankly, no. Also, FIFA would not want to be involved in matters of a national or local nature that is so very different from one country to the other. Each society, every culture has its very specific qualities and all are different. That is why an approach in Spain will often not work in Germany or France. And because there are so many differences, our international tournaments are so exciting and reflect millions of different approaches. I welcome that.
Should there be a fit and proper person test for anyone wishing to take over a football club?
Unreservedly and absolutely yes. And that, over and above the safeguards which already exist - in the UK, it is the Financial Services Commission which scrutinizes such matters. In other countries or at European level there are similar entities, such as the UEFA licensing system. And of course FIFA has its own Task Force which shall, over time, establish relevant guidelines for such instances and beyond.
As the eyes of the football world focussed on Merseyside for the FA Cup showdown between Manchester United and Liverpool, thousands of fans that once-upon-a-time wouldn’t have missed the match for the world, instead descended on Blackpool.
While 6,000 United fans travelled to Anfield, around 5,000 reds filled the boozers, bars, and beds of the much-maligned resort to see FC United play Blackpool Mechanics.
It was the most eagerly awaited trip of the season – it was the game reds had been planning for months in advance. It was the closest we’d get to a ‘Euro away’.
The Mechanics opted to host the game at Blackpool FC’s Bloomfield Road and the half-completed ground offered a unique setting for a day both ourselves and the locals will never forget.
Used to stag parties and Booze Britain types filling their town for most, the Seasiders had never witnessed a football following as big for 20 years.
Every pub was packed with United fans singing lusty tributes to their heroes and hearing those songs fill the sea air as we walked from pub to pub was a sound to behold.
Accustomed to trips to far more distinguished destinations like Barcelona or Milan, United fans quickly forgot where they were as they partied the weekend away with little or no trouble. In one pub the locals and tourists alike ignored the Irish band doing a turn on stage to observe the reds assembled in the corner singing their own rebel songs.
Blackpool police who made only five arrests all weekend complemented the fans for their behaviour.
It was another seminal ‘happening’ in our brief existence, and as we sat in the pub for a straightener the morning after a manic night before, we were once again proud of the club we, the supporters, own.
The older heads cast their minds back to their last United visit in 1974. The scene this time was a more peaceful affair.
Some discussed the Stone Roses’ triumphant gig in the same town back in 1989. Then too, thousands of like-minded people from Manchester and beyond gathered to celebrate a cultural event that would go down in the city’s history.
Only time will tell whether last weekend will ever be talked about in the same breath, but just like that August evening 17 years ago, there was a huge feeling of triumph and excitement about the future.
As Roses’ singer Ian Brown sang in the Empress Ballroom that night: “The past was yours, but the future’s mine”, and out of the discarded cans, vomit and chip papers that littered the streets on Sunday morning– the future of FC United of Manchester burned brighter than the seaside sun.
- Tony Howard
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has given his backing to rebel club FC United - and slammed English football for being too commercial.
FC eased 18 points clear at the top of the Moore and Co Solicitors League second division with a 1-1 draw away to Great Harwood last night, leaving them needing a maximum of 20 points from their last ten games to clinch promotion and the title.
And they were buoyed by the comments of Blatter, one of the most powerful men in world football, who was interviewed in the club's programme at the weekend.
He said: "For any dedicated fan to join a new club and help form a new team is certainly laudable because it stands for what association football, what club football, is all about - dedication to belong to a group of like-minded people who share a goal. Therefore I see no reason not to applaud such an initiative in principle."
Around 1,100 FC United fans braved rain, sleet and snow in Accrington to watch their side drop their first points in 2006 in a game marred by appalling refereeing and some vigorous Great Harwood tackling.
FC moved ahead after 12 minutes with a Rory Patterson penalty.
But Great Harwood equalised 13 minutes from the end through Stuart Cliff.
Monday, February 27, 2006
Source: My Head
A miserable wet night saw a 1-1 draw inthe end - rory patterson getting a penalty in the first half, before missing a real sitter in the second - Harwood were well worth the draw despite some reckless challenges in the first half - man of the match for me was Barrie George.
My photos were utter rubbish, gallery here
Channel M documentary on tomorrow at 16:30 or watch this space
FC UNITED boss Karl Marginson is urging his table-topping red rebels to remain focused after seeing them place one hand firmly on the Moore and Co Solicitors League second division title silverware.
Cheered on by a crowd of 3,159 at Altrincham's Moss Lane ground, FC United seized on slips by championship rivals Winsford and Padiham to extend their lead to 17 points with a 4-1 rout of Holker Old Boys.
Goals by Josh Howard, Chris Simms - his first for the club - Will Ahern and Jamie Patterson kept Marginson's men riding high ahead of tonight's rearranged clash with Great Harwood at Accrington's Interlink Express Stadium (7.45pm).
Only a disaster can now prevent FC United being crowned champions in their debut season, but Marginson doesn't want them to ease up with the winning-line in sight, saying: "We've put ourselves in a great position, but it's vital we keep going."
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Source: North-West Evening Mail
Published on 24/02/2006
HOLKER Old Boys can expect to step out in front of more than 3,000 boisterous fans when they play FC United of Manchester at Altrincham tomorrow (3pm kick-off).
The game will the second meeting between the two clubs this season, following FC United’s 2-0 win over Holker in December.
That day a large crowd of more than 2,300 created an electric atmosphere inside Craven Park.
Tomorrow promises to be an equally special occasion, with FC United officials predicting a crowd in excess of 3,000.
Old Boys manager Derek Birrell said: “They’re going to have a huge crowd shouting them on, but I’m sure we’ll enjoy it and we’ll give it our best shot.”
Holker sit 13 places below runaway Moore and Co Construction Solicitors League Division Two leaders United.
Birrell said: “Realistically they should beat us. We’re underdogs, their wage bill alone says that.
“But the incentive is there for the lads with the big crowd and hopefully we can come away with something.”
Holker chairman Steve Livingstone said: “Everyone is excited, I think we are a better side now than when last we met.”
Two coachloads of Holker fans will make the big away-day trip out.
The game was switched to Moss Lane from FC United’s rented home at Gigg Lane because of a beer festival taking place there.
Holker (from): R Liddicott, M Daly, G Capstick, C Salton, B Stevens, R Waters, G Brunton, T Bamber, D Swarbrick, P Southward, R Bruce, C Otley, S Hammond, A Higginson.
THIEVES have stolen pictures of some of Blackpool FC's greatest players in a raid on the club's Hall of Fame.
Mortensen and Perry's pictures were stolen together with portraits of fellow 1950s greats Sir Stanley Matthews, Harry Johnston and Allan Brown.
Club officials believe the pictures, which were put up in honour at Bloomfield Road, may have been taken during last Saturday's non-League clash at the stadium between FC United and Blackpool Mechanics.
Jean Mortensen, Stan Mortensen's widow, said she was horrified by the theft.
She said: "It's just unbelievable somebody would do this. These people are idiots. What kind of person would do this?
"The pictures have been put up to commemorate some of the town's biggest heroes.
"It's an insult to those people who gave everything for Blackpool and an insult to the memory of Stan.
"Why would anybody even think about doing something like this? It's such sad news."
Bill Perry, who scored the winning goal for Blackpool in the 1953 FA Cup final, was equally amazed by the news.
He said: "I just cannot imagine who would carry out such a despicable act.
"I'm amazed anybody would do this. These pictures are very special to the club and to the fans. It just seems incredible somebody would take them."
The Hall of Fame was set up by supporters to honour the club's greatest players.
Mr Perry said he would do everything he could to help supporters replace the stolen photographs.
Glenn Bowley, of Blackpool Supporters' Association, who put together the Hall of Fame, said he was devastated by the theft of the portrait photographs.
He said: "A lot of work went into preparing the Hall of Fame and somebody has just come along and done this.
"I'm not going to point the blame at anybody, but it's just an awful thing to do.
"The fans had put a lot of their own time into putting together this tribute to their heroes.
"I'm just sad to see that somebody would do this.
"We're going to have to replace the pictures, which means raising more money."
Blackpool Police today confirmed they are investigating the theft of the five pictures.
Monday, February 20, 2006
Blackpool Mechs 2 FC Utd of Manchester 4
NAMES like Patterson, Chadwick and Simms hardly roll off the tongue in the way that past Red Devils Best, Charlton and Cantona do.
They are, however, part of the new face of professional football in Manchester and it was their goals which finally brought down Blackpool Mechanics at Bloomfield Road in Saturday's excellent public relations exercise for the grassroots game.
Penalties with which winger Rory Patterson opened and closed the scoring for this United had a significant bearing on a rousing contest in front of 4,300 spectators who immensely enjoyed the day out.
Watching all four goals go in at their end was sweet music to those visiting fans who packed the North Stand, where their non-stop singing was an entertaining accompaniment to the action.
Mechs, though, had done their utmost to silence the mass choir by grabbing the only goal of the first half in raising their game for a match which did the North-West Counties League proud.
Runaway second division leaders United did the vast bulk of the attacking, but Mechs were prepared for that and might have bagged a point if the referee had been as benevolent to them over penalty claims.
Stringing five men along the back, Mechs absorbed United's early advances and engineered the first real chance when Steve Hibbert was denied by goalkeeper Barrie George's fingertip save after turning back inside the man he outpaced.
United had a goal disallowed for a foul on home keeper David Stevenson from a freekick and on 37 minutes Mechs were rapturous when right-back Mike Braebaum dived through a crowd of players to head Jon Simmons' freekick into the bottom corner.
Events started turning against them just before half-time, when the referee naively failed to play advantage after the lively Hibbert broke clear despite having his shirt tugged.
Eight minutes into the second half, Hibbert climbed on an opponent in the box as Mechs struggled to clear a corner and Patterson sent Stevenson the wrong way from the penalty spot.
Five minutes later Mechs again couldn't properly clear their lines and the return ball sat up nicely for skipper and central defender Dave Chadwick to turn in space and finish off.
Mechs equalised on 68 minutes, defender Kevan Ford sweetly volleying in off the post when Stuart Booth's freekick was headed out.
Euphoria cost them concentration, for within the minute midfielder Simms had room to turn and pick his spot when Mechs again couldn't get the ball away.
Andy McKenna kicked off the line and a further United effort rolled inches wide before Ford had two solid cases for a penalty. From the second of these with 60 seconds left, United swept straight up and substitute Gordon Thompson's clumsy challenge was punished from the spot by Patterson.
Unfortunately that was the cue for several fans to run onto the pitch, to a chorus of boos. Up to then, stewards ejected just three people.
n Non-leaguers bumper pay day
Editors Note: this is not online but has been typed out by someone with the original article
The McCaskill family joined 4,000 fellow fans at Bloomfield Road to cheer on their favourite football team Manchester's other United.
Stuart and Clare and their two children Megan, nine, and Alex, five, are among the army of one-time Old Trafford diehards who no longer get their kicks out of watching Wayne Rooney and Co.
The Cleveleys' family's new idols FC United play 10 levels below the Old Trafford superstars in the North-West Counties League, where the visitors' phenomenal following meant hard-up Blackpool Mechanics netted a £10,000 payday despite losing 4-2.
Formed in the summer by disgruntled Man Utd supporters unhappy at the buyout by American Malcolm Glazer, the breakaway club are pulling in bigger crowds than several Football League clubs. That includes Bury, where the part-timers play home games.
The McCaskills, from Leicester Avenue, rarely miss home or away.
Stuart followed Man Utd from the age of six, but said: "Glazer was the final straw after a build-up over the years. Watching them means as much as Man Utd used to."
Stuart, 46, says it costs less than £20 to go to a home game now, rather than the £80 to £100 it did at Old Trafford.
"Old Trafford fans are being distanced from the players. Here you see the team arriving and there's no problem if you want autographs or a photo," Stuart added.
Saturday's match was watched by some 4,300 after it was switched from Mechs' Common Edge ground, where attendances rarely reach three figures.
Tommy Baldwin, chairman for 16 years, said the anticipated profit of £10,000 would guarantee the club's future for the next four or five years.
"It was a carnival atmosphere and Blackpool FC did a tremendous job staging the game."
Andy Hughes, 50, is now chairman of the Bury branch of FC United's supporters' club. A combination of Glazer and being unable to afford taking his son killed a lifelong passion for the Reds.
"FC United takes over your life, more so than with Man Utd because you are involved. It's our club, it belongs to us. We've got an input.
"We've a close affinity with the players. They are normal guys like ourselves."
Oldham schoolboy James Talbot, 14, said: "My dad introduced me to the FC United players and I've gone home and away since. Man Utd cost me about £30. At FC United I pay £2 and some games are free."
Five people were arrested after fights broke out in pubs across Blackpool following the match. Police were called to The Auctioneer on Lytham Road, South Shore, at 5pm to disperse a group of 50 fans. There were several arrests at the Waterloo pub for drunk and disorderly behaviour while a 20-strong group was asked to leave Finns Bar in Talbot Square around 11pm. All five were released without charge.
20 February 2006
Meanwhile in Blackpool, five fans were arrested and a number of fixed penalty tickets were given out for drunkenness and drinking on the street as some 4,000 FC United fans descended on the town for the North West Counties League clash with Blackpool Mechanics.
It was the biggest away support at Blackpool FC's Bloomfield Road ground for 20 years and Lancashire Police admitted they were caught off-guard. Seven fans were ejected from the ground after a pitch invasion and a large crowd was prevented from getting into the ground late after watching the United game in pubs.
"We weren't expecting anything like those numbers and the match itself wasn't policed at all," said a spokesman.
"There were a number of arrests after the game but any trouble was only on the sort of scale you'd expect with a crowd of that size. The pubs were heaving."
FC United won the game 4-2.
POLICE HAD TO INTERVENE as FC United’s North West Counties League match against Blackpool Mechanics descended into chaos on Saturday. About 4,000 fans of the club formed by Manchester United supporters after Malcolm Glazer’s takeover at Old Trafford flooded Bloomfield Road, the biggest turnout of away supporters at the ground for 20 years.
Kick-off was delayed by ten minutes when three people were arrested for being drunk and disorderly and seven fans were ejected from the ground during the game after invading the pitch. Trouble flared again in the evening when two groups of about 40 supporters were ejected from pubs for fighting. Police made another five arrests and issued a series of £80 fixed penalty fines. FC United won 4-2.
Sunday, February 19, 2006
Friday, February 17, 2006
Tony Howard finds FC United blooding the first of the their very own blooming generation of talented youngsters
Friday February 17, 2006
Youngsters have been the cornerstone of Manchester United's history since the club's inception, and FC United are promising to continue the proud tradition with the introduction of youth and reserve teams next season.
United have always placed utmost importance on youth and the paying public have taken generation upon generation of talented young footballers to their hearts.
Manchester was distraught when several of the most famous youngsters in football history perished at Munich 48 years ago this month. They mourned the lost 'Busby Babes' as if they were members of their own family. And from February 6 1958 onwards, the red side of Manchester has been permanently enamoured to young players their club has brought through the ranks. Red Mancunians hold the United youngsters in higher regard than they could ever hold a multi-million pound signing.
That was one of the reasons for George Best's immediate popularity at Old Trafford. It also made United's 1996 double-winning efforts even more sweet that the team was made up largely of 'kids'. The same household names that were dismissed by Alan Hansen after they were beaten by Aston Villa on the first day of the season. How we laughed as David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes, Gary Neville and the rest paraded around Wembley with the FA Cup the following May.
The faith in youth has also lead to many false dawns. Who can forget how giddy we all got with the original 'Fergie's Fledglings' as they battled to a 2-2 draw in an amazing FA Cup replay against QPR at Loftus Road in January 1989? Unfortunately on this occasion, Deniol Graham, Tony Gill, Russell Beardsmore and Lee Martin never became big names outside of United-supporting households.
So in the week that Manchester remembered the death of the flowers of youth that were Sir Matt Busby's starlets, FC blooded the first of their own blooming generation who will hopefully help the club climb the football pyramid over the next few years.
The setting was Glossop North End in Derbyshire, and although it was technically a friendly, around 1,000 hardy souls made the trip and enjoyed watching several teenagers, who may form next year's youth team, mixing it against a side from the division above - and beating them 2-1.
Thanks to manager Karl Marginson local lads like Mike O'Neill, Will Ahern, Warren Collier et al continued United's proud tradition of encouraging young footballing talent. Hopefully they too will go on to flourish as their fledgling club does likewise.
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
FC UNITED's league clash with Chadderton, scheduled for tonight at Gigg Lane, has been called off.
The match, already postponed twice in November, was subject to a 10am pitch inspection this morning and was deemed unfit.
Edited from original longer document
Editors note: this is quite a small piece and generally not worth republishing however it is one of the first, by my estimation, in mainstream press to have a swipe at FC United - included for that reason
And then, as an even bigger bully swiped their sweets and Liverpool roused themselves for one last European Dream, they produced a mutant offspring called FC United.
Was it Glazer who spent over £100m on four players, who spent half that on a bunch of misfits who gave the team little but at least made the manager's son a rich man? No.
But with Chelsea's wallet crushing everything in its path and United in a puny third place, some fans formed their own club because "United have sold their soul"! Priceless.(...)
Monday, February 13, 2006
RORY Patterson will be available for FC United in Wednesday's home clash with Chadderton after serving his 35-day suspension.
But the former Rochdale player, a firm favourite with the support, faces a tough task in getting his place back after debutant Simon Band led the Rebels to a 3-0 win over Daisy Hill at Chorley's Victory Park on Saturday.
Patterson was sent off in a cup game at Colne in November for throwing a punch at an opponent, and boss Karl Marginson wants more discipline from the fiery Irishman.
Said Marginson: "He has had a nice long time to think about what he has been missing out on and hopefully will come back firing as he was at the start of the season, and show everyone what a good player he is."
Band, a former Congelton, Buxton, Atherton LR and Trafford player and the brother of Altrincham's Peter, impressed Marginson in a midweek friendly at Glossop last week and his work-rate and bustling style were key factors in FC's win over Westhoughton outfit Daisy Hill.
Josh Howard, skipper Dave Chadwick and sub Darren Lyons bagged the goals which extend FC's lead at the top of the Moore and Co Construction Solicitors League's second division to 14 points, with rivals Padiham seeing their game frozen off and Winsford losing 2-1 at Nelson.
But Marginson liked what he saw of Band, saying: "He has been a dream. He hasn't got all the quality in the world but gives you 150 per cent and he has shown in training and in the game against Glossop that he will put it in, which is something we have been looking for."
FC have signed 18-year-old midfielder Mike O'Neill and Warren Collier, but the latter will continue to play for his current side Monton Amateurs, and be in contention for the reserve and youth teams which will be set up next season.
February 13th, 2006
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Saturday, February 11, 2006
FC UNITED are aiming to be in the UniBond League by 2008 - and will next season start reserve and youth teams.
The fledgling club's newly-appointed general manager Andy Walsh outlined a tentative vision of the future for the Rebels, formed just seven months ago from the turmoil surrounding Malcolm Glazer's takeover of Manchester United.
And he revealed that the club's board decided last summer that the initial target for team manager Karl Marginson and his coaches was to achieve two promotions in three seasons.
The Rebels are on their way towards that aim, after opening up an 11-point gap at the top of the Moore and Co Construction Solicitors League's second division.
Walsh said: "We don't want to pre-empt anything, because it is still a long way to the end of the season, but we are on target.
"It is a tremendous achievement and shows the quality of the management team and of the players who have come to play for us.
"Our main aim is to ensure we continue to play attractive, attacking football, because that is what this is all about, going back to what the sport really is - those who play the game and those who watch it."
FC United's dominance of their division in their inaugural season has led to accusations of them being a non-league version of Chelsea, attracting the best players by offering the highest wages, but Walsh refutes any comparison.
"Chelsea have a wealthy benefactor - we simply have a bigger crowd than anyone else, and believe in playing and living within our means, something that Manchester United do.
"We are able to pay players, but so are other clubs in our division, and the reason so many good players want to play for us is not because of the money, but because of the atmosphere."
FC United face Daisy Hill at Chorley's Victory Park ground tomorrow (3pm), one of a number of away games that have been switched to larger stadiums due to the unprecedented level of support the Rebels take with them.
Walsh was a driving force behind the club and was confirmed as the £25,000-a-year chief executive on Wednesday.
He reiterates that all major decisions will be taken by the club's membership - its supporters - but that plans to build their own stadium, to forge close community links in the Manchester area, and to build on the club's 3,000-plus fan base are all on the agenda.
"Not having a reserve side has been a bit of a hindrance, and we want to get a youth team going as well," says Walsh.
"As for other issues, it is very important that the membership are the ones driving this."
Captain Dave Chadwick and Gareth Ormes should be back tomorrow to strengthen a side which lost to Nelson in the Divison Two Trophy last week - and assistant manager Phil Power says there could be other changes.
A friendly fixture against Glossop, from the division above, saw FC come out 2-1 winners on Wednesday night, with goals from debutant Andrew Collins and a late winner from midfielder Chris Simms.
February 10th, 2006
Friday, February 10, 2006
HE'S played at Wembley, been capped by England and marked Gianfranco Zola - now Salford "lad" Phil Power is splitting his time between helping disadvantaged kids and leading a football revolution.
After a playing career which saw him twice win the FA Trophy with Macclesfield and two England semi-professional caps, Phil became a social worker in his home town and is assistant player-manager at FC United of Manchester - the club formed by disenchanted fans after Malcolm Glazer's takeover at Old Trafford.
Recently Phil, 40, went along to the Swinton and Salford FC United supporters branch at the Palmers in Swinton and spoke of his love for his home city and his experience with Greater Manchester's newest semi-professional football club.
Phil, originally from Pendleton but now living in Boothstown, has been surprised at the success. He sain: "I was fully behind it when I was approched by the manager and friend Karl Marginson to help out. I like the idea of making football accessible to normal people again and putting a smile back on people's faces.
"We're pulling in 4,000 at some games and there are media from all over the world turning up every week - they even film us training!
"I played in front of 15,000 at Macc and more than that on my two trophy victories at Wembley, but this experience has been something else."
This week Phil turned out for a Macclesfield Town legends team against an all-star team including Gianfranco Zola and Mark Hughes to help raise money for the cash-strapped club.
Phil balances football with his full time job as a social worker for Salford Council. "I love my job, and take great pride in helping kids from broken homes who haven't had a chance in life. I didn't know what I'd do when I finished playing professionally for Macc, and consider myself lucky to be doing this job.
"Salford is a great place with some great people and I'm really proud of my area. Lots of the kids are getting into FC United which has given them something worthwhile to be involved with. They could never afford to go to Old Trafford, but it's only a couple of quid to get in at FC.
"As one of the biggest United supporting areas in Greater Manchester, Salford could be a real base for FC and I'd be the proudest man in the city if we one day got our own ground here."
February 10th, 2006
(Punk Football apologises to no-one - toast)
When two Austrian tourists were promised 'a trip to United', they hadn't planned on an afternoon at Gigg Lane, as Tony Howard explains
FC United's appeal has gone intercontinental as people from across the globe descend on Gigg Lane to see what the fuss is about. Foreign television stations have been a permanent presence at games, and last Saturday, two Austrians made the pilgrimage for the North West Counties Division Two Trophy clash with Nelson. Once they'd got over the fact it wasn't technically 'Manchester United' they were going to see, they had a great day.
Wolfgang, an architect from Vienna and student girlfriend Martina, wanted to take in a match while in Manchester, and staying just a mile from Old Trafford, it made sense to them when their hosts promised to take them to see 'United'. What didn't make sense was the fact they were soon walking past the ground, where Rooney et al were set to play Fulham, to the Metrolink tram stop and on their way to Bury.
Wolfgang follows Rapid Vienna in his home city, but prefers to watch English games on television. "The quality of the football in Austria is not the highest," he said as we travelled to the ground. "So we watch English football instead to get our entertainment." Unfortunate then that he chose probably the worst game so far in FC's history as they went down 1-0 after extra-time in a frankly dire affair.
What made the day enjoyable for the two Europeans was what happened off the pitch in the stands and watering holes. That is, once they'd grown tired of people in the pubs mishearing their nationality and constantly asking what was happening in the latest episode of Neighbours.
Sampling a pint of bitter after the match, Wolfgang said: "All the way through the game the fans sing. And it is loud. Then afterwards everyone seems to have a party, even though the team lost everyone is drinking and singing. Everyone is happy!"
The politics strike a chord too, as back in their home country supporters of Austria Salzburg are considering 'doing an FC' and forming their own club in the aftermath of the takeover by Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz. In a warning of what could happen at Old Trafford, the billionaire has changed the club's name to Red Bull Salzburg, altered the club's badge and colours, swapped the fan's popular end and, more shockingly still, banned anyone who's protested about it.
So, they may have seen a terrible game of football but when the Austrians return home they can tell those in Salzburg all is not lost. They can relay tales of how fans can successfully build their own club and bring enjoyment back to football - even when getting beat.
Friday February 10, 2006
Thursday, February 09, 2006
FC UNITED have confirmed Andy Walsh as their new chief executive.
He will take up the £25,000-a-year post at the Moore and Co League Second Division club, with Luc Zentar appointed as secretary.
Walsh will resign from the club's board to take up his new position.
Monday, February 06, 2006
SHELL-SHOCKED FC United boss Karl Marginson urged the Rebels to learn a harsh lesson after seeing them crash out of the Moore and Co Solicitors League Division Two Trophy.
Marginson's men made an unexpected quarter-final exit when visiting Nelson, who'd lost their previous game 14-0, stunned all but a handful of the 3,007 Gigg Lane crowd into silence by snatching a last-gasp extra-time winner.
The 1-0 defeat - only FC United's third all season - leaves them free to concentrate on wrapping up the title, with their lead now down to 11 points and all the teams beneath them having at least a game in hand.
Marginson said: "Fair play to Nelson, they set their stall out for a draw and ended up winning, but hopefully it will remind us we don't have a divine right to win matches.
"We're disappointed, but we now have 14 cup finals ahead of us in the league, starting with Saturday's trip to Chorley to meet Daisy Hill. We've responded well to our previous losses and I expect us to do the same this time. "
FC United dominated possession without creating many clear-cut chances and, when they did find a way through Nelson's resolute defence, Adie Orr saw his 105th minute effort flagged offside.
FC United: Padiham switch
PADIHAM'S home clash with FC United on April 29 has been switched to Oldham's Boundary Park ground.
The switch has been made after talks with police.
FC United currently top the table while Padiham lie in second place and Latics' chief executive Alan Hardy said: "We were only too willing to help. It is a game that could break all attendance records."
The Punk Football site has been asked to put this announcement up on behalf of the club.
Supporters of FC United of Manchester can re-live the first half of the club’s extraordinary inaugural season with the release of a review on DVD.
Featuring 93minutes of action from 14 games and 51 goals, the DVD has been issued in response to supporter demand.
It includes highlights from the newly-formed club’s first friendly at Leigh RMI through to their 3-1 January victory over Nelson in division two of the North West Counties League.
There are also interactive galleries, fans’ clips and a bonus short film: “The People Versus Malcolm Glazer”.
FC United, formed in July 2005 by disillusioned and disenfranchised Manchester United fans, is currently top of the division and attracts record-breaking attendances which have placed the club as the 87th best-supported in the country.
The review of the season to date charts the huge crowds, witty chants and genuine passion for the team in red.
Andy Walsh, FC United board member and acting general manager, said: “When we started this, we didn’t know what to expect. We arrived at Leigh wondering whether anyone would turn up.
“Well they did, and since then things have got better and better. Our season has been captured on video and we decided to release the DVD after supporters told us it was what they wanted.
“It’s brilliant to look back on what has been achieved and the DVD will serve as a little piece of history for all those who have enjoyed the ride.”
The DVD is available now for £12.99 from www.fc-utdshop.co.uk, with all profits going back into the club.
6th of February 2006
The article has been painstakingly typed out and can be found here
The Sporting Scene
THE RED DEVIL
Why is an American financier risking everything on English football?
By John Cassidy
the following is the text that relates to FC:
Some United fans have abandoned the club for F.C. United of Manchester, a semi-professional team founded after the takeover, which competes in the North West Counties Football League, a division ten rungs below the Premier League. F.C. United plays home games at a stadium in Bury, an industrial town about ten miles north of Manchester. One evening, I drove to the stadium, paid an entrance fee of seven pounds, and found about two thousand people, most of them men between the ages of twenty and fifty, settling in to watch F.C. United play Eccleshall F.C.
The F.C. United players, who include a plumber, a schoolteacher, a stock boy, and a window fitter, were wearing red and white-Manchester United's colors-and, in the stands, a fan had unfurled a large banner that read "FC UNITED. MUFC EXILES." Another banner said "OH, FC UNITED. THE ONLY TEAM IN MANCHESTER THAT’S NOT IN DEBT." The atmosphere was festive; despite the crowd's small sire, the sound of its singing filled the stadium.
At halftime, the score was 3-0, with F.C. United in the lead. In the bar under the stands, I ran into Jules Spencer, one of the organizers of the anti-Glazer protests, who is on F.C. United's board. Over the summer, Spencer and his colleagues raised a hundred thousand pounds for the team, from four thousand donors. Each donor became a member of the club, a not-for-profit organization modelled on the "associo" scheme, which is common in Spain. "Ultimately, it means the supporters hold the power," Spencer explained. 'They own the club. They elect the board."
F.C. United continued to dominate its opponent in the second half, running up the score to 7-1. Some of the team's supporters teased Eccleshall's goalkeeper, yelling "You fat bastard!" every time he touched the ball. At Premier League grounds, fans can be arrested for swearing, but here they could curse with impunity. "F*ck off, linesman!" a middle-aged man sitting near me screamed whenever an officiating decision went against the home team. "F*ck off!"
With each goal by F.C. United, the chants grew even louder. Some were familiar-"United, United, top of the League!” others were new. The previous day, two Manchester United fans had accosted Alex Ferguson at an airport in Hungary, where his team was playing a game. According to the English papers, Ferguson told the fans that if they didn't like what was happening to United they could watch Chelsea instead. Word of the encounter traveled fast. The F.C. United fans sang in unison:
And Fergie said:
Go watch Chelsea.
Are you having a laugh?
We'll be watching FC.
(with thanks to J. Stephen Hartsfield of MUST-USA who scanned, tested and edited the piece)
Sunday, February 05, 2006
made even harder to swallow by the fact that FC had what looked like a perfectly good goal disallowed for offside when it shouldn't have been
click here to see the incident
but... congratulations to Nelson, we've played them 3 times now so seen a lot of them and best of luck to them in the trophy
Friday, February 03, 2006
Tony Howard joins fellow supporters in finding alternative entertainment after FC United's latest postponement
Over 2,000 FC United fans travelled to Accrington Stanley on Sunday - only for the match to be called off an hour before kick-off due to a partly frozen pitch. Would-be hosts Great Harwood Town's loss was Accrington landlords' gain as the travelling supporters switched their attentions to the bar - after all, there was a 'big United' game to watch on television. In case an excuse were needed.
Before this season it was an unusual experience for supporters of Manchester United to have to deal with a postponement, such is the prevalence of undersoil heating at the top level. In fact, whilst partaking in a 'no-match' beer we tried to work out the last domestic game involving United to be hit by the weather. Aston Villa at home in the 1991-92 season appeared to be the general consensus, with the blame being put on the Manchester rain on that occasion.
However, thoughts soon turned to Great Harwood Town. They lost out on an estimated cash windfall of £15-20,000, with the game likely to be rearranged for a weeknight meaning a diminished turn-out. They may have been wise to organise a hasty whip-round in the public houses of Accrington on Sunday to make up some of the shortfall.
FC's home game with Chadderton has already been hit by the weather with Bury's Gigg Lane being frozen and the fixture appears jinxed. The club's official website has the amended date down as 99/99/2006 - it seems that we are destined never to play that game.
Off the pitch (literally this time), FC fans were cheered by being able to see goals they thought were confined to the memory banks after local television station 'Channel M' (for Manchester) struck up a deal to show a monthly highlights programme. The contract is sure to boost the station's viewing figures considerably from the numbers that currently watch former Children's BBC host and Ed the Duck cohort Andy Crane read the news.
In many areas the station's signal is weaker than Sir Alex Ferguson's excuses for backing the Glazers, so imagine the scene in thousands of Mancunian households as dad spent Monday night stood by the television holding the aerial at precisely 43.9 degrees in order to attain the perfect reception. It was worth it, though, as an excellent first show confirmed that Josh Howard, Steve Torpey, Leon Mike et al are well worth your hard-earned admission fee.
Some great memories were revisited and it was easy enough to convince ourselves that a trip to Blackpool on February 18 to play the Mechanics is far more enticing than 'big United's dream FA Cup fixture at Liverpool on the same weekend.
There will be free admission for under-18s at FC United's North West Counties Division Two Trophy game against Nelson at Gigg Lane on Saturday
Thursday, February 02, 2006
MACCLESFIELD Town are offering fans the chance to attend ‘An Evening with Phil Power’ on Thursday, February 2.
The Macc Branch of FC United, the breakaway club formed by Manchester United supporters, have organised the night with the former Town legend in aid of the Save Our Silkmen fund.
‘The Maltese Falcon’, who is now assistant manager at FC United, will take part in a question and answer session, before signing autographs and having his picture taken with fans
Doors open at 7.30pm and there will be refreshments and a full bar facility. Raffles will be held for signed shirts and footballs from both FC United and Macc, as well lots of other top prizes. There will also be an auction. Entrance is free although fans will be able to make a donation if they wish.
Tickets are still available for the club’s Hot Pot and Curry night on Friday, February 3 at Moss Rose. Admission is £10. For more details contact the club on 01625 264686.
Wednesday, February 01, 2006
Toasts note: Not mainstream press, but the first mention of FC in Gaeilge I reckon
FC United. An 'splinter-group' den tacaíocht do Manchester United a bhris ón chlub an Samhradh seo chaite nuair a tháinig Malcolm Glazer agus a airgead a thóg sé ar íosacht chun MUFC cheannach. Thosaigh siad club nua i Manchain dárbh ainm Football Club United of Manchester (FCUM) AR AN 5ú lá de Mí Iúil 2005 le bunreacht nua. Seo cúpla sliocht:
"FC United of Manchester is a new football club founded by disaffected and disenfranchised Manchester United supporters."
"Our aim is to create a sustainable club for the long term which is owned and democratically run by its members, which is accessible to all the communities of Manchester and one in which they can participate fully. Although driven by very different circumstances, FC United of Manchester takes as its inspiration a number of supporters’ groups who have gone down this route, including AFC Wimbledon, who have offered unstinting support."
"FC United of Manchester is intended to create a football club which addresses the concerns which many Manchester United fans have had over the last decade or more with how the club and football have developed, culminating in the club’s takeover by Malcolm Glazer. We will follow the best traditions of Manchester United’s past by developing policies which encourage youth participation in terms of both playing and supporting."
Cúpla altanna an-mhaith más cheapaim fhéin. Seasann an club seo do gach rud ceart i sacair. An óige, tradisiúin, tacaíocht. BHÍ MUFC mar seo go dtí b'fhéidir deich nó cúig blian déag ó shin, ó na laethanna Martin Edwards. Bhí bean nua i shaol an chlub: airgead. Agus a lán airgead "culminating in the club's takeover by Malcolm Glazer." Timpeall chéad bhlian ó shin bhí MUFC chun tosaigh le gach rud ceart i sacair. Bhí siad mar an chéad grúpa chun tacaíocht a thabhairt do imreoirí, le cúpla stailcanna sna 1910's. Anois is sponge í do gach rud bunaithe ar airgead. Níor imir siad san FA Cup i 2000 mar dúirt an bord gnó go mbeidh sé níos fearr chun ainm MUFC a chur amach i Meirceá Theas chun airgead a dhéanamh. Ach cad faoin tradisiún? An tradisiún a tagann le bheith ag imirt sa corann is sinne sa damhain? Amach an doras leis an smaoineamh sin!
Ó tháinig na Meirceanaigh go Sir Matt Busby Way an tSamhraidh seo chaite, bhí mé an-imníoch le toradh fad-téarmach do MUFC. Ar nós plean Stalin sa 20's agus 30's cheap mé go raibh plean cúig bliana sa club. Cheap mé sa chéad cúig bhlian, beidh an chlub comh-bocht le na fhiacha (debts) atá Malcolm chun thabhairt go MUFC go mbeidh orainn faigh réidh le Rooney, van Nistelrooij, Ferdinand, C Ronaldo chun airgead a shábháil agus ansin go mall ar dtús titim síos an tsraith go dtí go immíonn muid go léir ón Premiership chun imirt i gcoinne foirne ar nós Leeds, Stoke, Huddersfield et al. Táim fós an-buartha.
Ach nuair a chuala mé an nuacht go raibh club nua chun tosú le na buartha céanna liomsa, leis an grá céanna liomsa do stair MUFC bhí an-áthas orm! Tá na imreoirí go léir amitéireach. Tá an bainisteoir ag obair i gnó glasraí agus torthaí dá bhrí sin is club do na daoine cruthaithe ag na daoine le na smaointe ceart don cluiche uilig. Am íontach do na teanntóirí fírinneach ó MUFC.
Thosaigh FCUM sa dara sraith North West Counties Football League (NWCFL) ar an 13ú lá de Mí Lúnasa 2005 i gcoinne foireann dárbh ainm Leek CSOB. Buaidh siad 5-2 as baile. Tháinig 2,500 daoine ó Manchain chun tacaíocht a thabhairt go dtí FCUM. Uimhir beag i gcomparáid lé uimhreacha an Premiership ach smaoineamh go raibh meán an líon tacaíocht roimh FCUM san NWCFL ná 100! "Start as you mean to go on" mar a déarfhá: ón lá sin, bhí an lámh uachtarach ag FCUM sa sraith 17 uaire, comhscór 4 agus cailleadar uair amháin. Le linn 13.08.05 go 29.01.06 scóráil siad 74 cúl (22 cluiche), le cluiche amháin i gcoinne Castleton Gabriels ina buaidh siad 10-2 agus tá siad sa quarter finals sa Division Two Trophy i gcoinne Nelson an Sathairn seo. Ádh mór do Margy agus na lads!
Táim an-bhróidúil. Is teanntóir mór mé do FCUM. Ní ríomh caillfidh mé mo grá do MUFC ach tá rud rómánsúl do FCUM. Ádh mór dóibh amach anseo.
Go raibh maith agaibh as ucht léamh an alt fada seo.