Source: Heywood Advertiser
DAVE Brown can rightly say he’s part of a football revolution. The former Siddal Moor pupil, who was once on the books of Manchester United, now plays for FC United, the breakaway team formed by fans disenchanted after Malcolm Glazer’s takeover at Old Trafford.
Brown, who lives in Summit with his wife and two children, joined FC United in October having had spells at Mossley, Castleton, Horwich RMI, Bacup Borough, Radcliffe Borough and Salford City.
The 33-year-old centre half said: “I was working away in the north east and my brother told me there was a team being started by United fans who didn’t like what the Glazer family were doing at Old Trafford.
“He told me they had already sold 2,000 season tickets and I said ‘no way’ and didn’t really believe him.
“But I went to watch a game and there were 3,000 there. I couldn’t believe it. I knew manager Karl Marginson from my days at Salford and jumped at the chance to join. I was probably being a bit selfish, but I was coming to the end of my career - when was I ever going to get the chance to play in front of 2,000 people on a regular basis again?”
As a youngster, Brown was Manchester United through and through.
As well as signing schoolboy forms at Old Trafford with dreams of a professional career, he named his eldest son Robson after the former United and England skipper Bryan.
He added: “I was a schoolboy at United under Ron Atkinson, but when Atkinson was sacked, Alex Ferguson took over and cleaned the lot out to start his revolution.”
It’s well-documented how FC United was formed by Manchester United fans disenchanted by Malcolm Glazer’s aggressive takeover last summer.
What they maybe couldn’t have expected was the success they would achieve so early on - top of Division Two of the North West Counties Football League by a Chelsea-sized 17 points and playing in front of gates of more than 3,000 at Gigg Lane in a league where 100 is considered a decent turn-out.
Opposing teams have to regularly switch the games to bigger grounds to accommodate the travelling FC United fans.
Brown added: “When I first joined United, skipper Dave Chadwick was injured so I was made captain.
“For one game, my lad Robson was a mascot and was standing in the tunnel next to me.
“He loves it and has FC United posters in his bedroom. He tells all his mates that his dad plays for United!
“Like many of the FC United fans I will always be [Manchester] United through and through but hate what has happened to the club.
“FC United is what Manchester United used to be - a fans’ club.
“You can bring a family of four to Gigg Lane and it will cost you under £20. It would cost £40 just to get one person into Old Trafford.
“The fans are fantastic - they sing and sing all game - it never stops. It’s how it used to be at football matches.”
FC United fans and players dream of one day playing the other ‘United’ and this first season could be the first step on that road.
They look certainties for promotion this season and then face the long haul to try and get into the Football League.
Dave added: “We have experienced players like Phil Power and Darren Lyons who have dropped down from the Conference along with players of 18 and 19 who weren’t even born when I was at Manchester United.
“If I’m being honest, we should win this league and then it’s up to the board how far we can go.
“They seem determined to make this a success and I am proud to be a part of it. I probably only have one season left in me, but I have been approached to help with the younger players next season.
“Who knows, people may look back on this side in 10 years’ time and see me as part of a football revolution.”
MANY said it couldn’t happen, but just seven months after the Glazer family invaded Old Trafford, FC United of Manchester are top of the North West Counties Division Two table and are pulling in crowds of over 4,000.
The club was formed by disgruntled supporters of Manchester United, for whom the Glazer’s debt-laden takeover was the straw that finally broke their backs.
Fed up with years of being treated like customers, thousands of Old Trafford regulars swore to never go back.
They formed a club that would once again make football accessible for all. A club that would foster community links in Greater Manchester and give kids the chance to watch a team playing in red called ‘United’.
And it’s definitely struck a chord as nearly 5,000 fans travelled to Blackpool two weeks ago and an average crowd of over 3,000 have flocked to their temporary home at Gigg Lane, Bury.
For more information on the club, visit website: www.fc-utd.co.uk