Saturday, February 11, 2006

FC United look to future glory


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.

Stuart Brennan
February 10th, 2006