Saturday, April 29, 2006

Shropshire Star: Thousands to sign petition for Jamie

Source: Shropshire Star

Up to 5,000 football fans are expected to sign a petition to help a Shropshire man get a much-needed operation.

Father-of-two Jamie Turner, 46, of Madeley, Telford, who was left fighting for his life after he was brutally attacked in Southampton in May last year, is desperate to have the operation to replace part of his skull which was removed during emergency surgery to help save his life.

But Telford & Wrekin Primary Care Trust told him he would not be undergoing surgery until June or July.

Mr Turner and his wife Karen said the operation should have been done within three to six months after it was first removed in May last year.

Mrs Turner has now launched an on-line petition that she will hand in to Telford & Wrekin PCT.

Thousands of fans are expected to sign the petition at a fundraising football match for the Jamie Turner Appeal on May 6.

AFC Telford United will take on FC United of Manchester — the non-League club set up by fans of the Premiership club disgruntled by the takeover of their club by American Malcolm Glazer.

The game will be a major step for Mr Turner who has battled through his recovery as it will be the first football match he has attended since the attack.

Mrs Turner said today she was pleased with the response received so far to the petition.

A spokesman for Telford & Wrekin PCT, said: “The PCT understands that Mr Turner’s operation has been listed for the end of June or the beginning of July and that Mr Turner will be provided with specific details regarding his admission nearer the time.

To read about Mr Turner’s battle since the attack visit the Jamie Turner Appeal website at

Anyone who wants to support the petition which will be given to the Telford & Wrekin PCT go to *.

* the address in the original article doesn't work, so we've changed it to a link that does work...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Defeat was a sideshow to big parade

Source: Bury Times
By Marc Higginson
From the Bury Times on April 27, 2006

FC UNITED 0, GREAT HARWOOD 1: FC United of Manchester will be glad to see the back of Great Harwood Town as the East Lancashire side have taken four points from the champions this season.

In truth, this niggly game was a sideshow to United's title celebrations and more than 6,000 supporters were intent on having a great day whatever the result.

The spirit and fight put up by Great Harwood was admirable, and they picked up the three points courtesy of a last minute Ben Fisher strike.

United started the brightest and could have been two goals up inside ten minutes if Rory Patterson or Steve Torpey had shown their usual cool composure in front of goal.

However, the visitors weathered the storm and were causing problems of their own through the industry of striker John Eastham The game became more and more tight, with neither side prepared to give an inch in pursuit of victory and the half-time whistle sent the two teams in on level terms.

The match exploded into life on the hour mark when United's assistant manager Phil Power was dismissed for raising his hands to Harwood left-back Kieran Fletcher.

The dismissal was harsh and the play-acting by Fletcher was embarrassing.

He writhed about the ground in agony despite being clipped, at the most, by Power.

It was play-acting at its worst and certainly added some spice to the occasion.

Just five minutes later, Fletcher had every reason to roll about the pitch in obvious pain when Steven Spencer appeared to stud the defender's groin.

He was yellow carded by the referee when a red wouldn't have been unreasonable.

The tackles were flying in, and Simon Carden managed to fire over from five yards following a delightful Patterson cross on the right. It would have been easier for the former Radcliffe midfielder to score.

Great Harwood lost manager John Hughes to the stands following more argy bargy on the touchline, but it was Hughes who had the final laugh in the game when his side took the lead in the final minute. Good work on the right by Eastham ended in a perfect cross for Fisher to fire home.

However, United were presented with the league trophy ten minutes later and the celebrations began. Before the league presentation, Josh Howard was named as Young Supporters' Player of the Season, Rory Patterson picked up the same award for all fans and Steve Spencer was named Players' Player of the Year.

PRINZ: Du bist nicht allein, Fan!

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: PRINZ (no online content)

-thanks to Matthias for the scan

Guardian: We're on the road to Albert Square

Source: The Guardian

It's a small start, but Tony Howard and FC United have begun one of the longest pub-crawls in football history

Thursday April 27, 2006

So the rumours proved to be correct: FC United's team did have an open-top bus-ride from Gigg Lane to the pub 200 yards away. The strictly tongue-in-cheek gesture was the highlight of a great day which saw an amazing 6,023 supporters turn up to see captain Dave Chadwick lift the North West Counties Second Division trophy in the club's final home game of the season.

From the Main Stand it was a sight to behold as hundreds of supporters were still streaming into the ground at 3pm, forcing the kick-off to be delayed. But, as manager, Karl Marginson, said, it has not always been like that. "At times it's like your 21st birthday party all over again," he enthused. "You're scared that no one will turn up!"

However, those fears have been expelled as the club and the crowds have gone from strength to strength. Hopefully it's because football supporters are finally starting to tire of being ripped off to boost the coffers of the rich.

Kids were again allowed in free on Saturday and their presence in the crowd this season has been particularly pleasing. Not many youngsters in Manchester, Salford and surrounding areas can afford to go to Old Trafford, but those that were at Gigg Lane at the weekend will probably never forget that day for the rest of their lives.

There was also a tinge of sadness, as it dawned on many of us that we may have left Old Trafford behind forever. That pain has been eased by the experiences we've had forming our own club, and now the talk has turned to future open-top bus-rides as we progress up the football pyramid.

This week the club agreed a further three-year ground-share with Bury, so should we repeat this season's success there's talk of the bus travelling further up Manchester Road to the next pub each year before finally making it all the way into town.

With nine divisions still to conquer, wouldn't it be great to celebrate winning the Premiership by taking the bus all the way to Manchester Town Hall and packing out Albert Square for the entire world to see? A dream? Probably, but who'd have thought 12 months ago we'd be joyously running alongside an open-top bus carrying plumbers, painters and delivery drivers 200 yards from a football ground to the pub? Anything can happen in football.

FC United play a friendly at Telford United on Saturday, May 6 to raise funds for the family of injured Manchester United fan Jamie Turner who received serious head injuries following an unprovoked attack at Southampton last season. Anyone wanting further information please visit website: or phone 0870 626 0295

Open top bus parade for FC United heroes

Source: Bury Times
By Marc Higginson

WHEN a group of disgruntled Manchester United fans decided enough was enough and set about forming a club for the fans, they wouldn't in their wildest dreams have predicted the scenes in Bury less than 12 months later.

On Saturday, however, 6,023 fans watched their FC United heroes pick up the Moore and Co Construction Solicitors North West Counties League Division Two Trophy in their inaugural season before lining the roads around Gigg Lane as the players were driven around the area in an open top bus.

It is a very long time since Bury has witnessed an occasion as big as this, and the impact FC United has had on the town of Bury cannot be underestimated.

Before the game against Great Harwood Town, a sea of red and white descended on Gigg Lane men and women, young and old to witness a slice of footballing history.

FC United appears to be a club that appeals to everybody. The carnival atmosphere is something that can only be generated by such a diverse fan-base.

Shops, pubs and chippies around Bury were all packed as supporters fuelled themselves for a day to remember.

The club's supporters have also been a lifeline for fellow teams in their league, with some clubs estimating that they have paid for three years' running costs through hosting FC United for one game.

Children were waving flags, men were singing their hearts out and the elderly ambled along with a visible spring in their step. This is how you imagine football used to be like before working class families were priced out of the game.

Kids under the age of 18 were admitted free, as the FC United board aimed to reach out to the fans of the future. The gates were thrown open to children who might not normally get to see a game of soccer, something unthinkable in the money-driven game that is professional football.

The kick-off was delayed because of crowd congestion, not a regular occurrence in football games at this level. But, the fans waited patiently for the players, the noise getting ever more deafening.

To a fan, everybody had club colours, whether it was a scarf or T-shirt. There was three stands open and very few spare seats left by the kick-off.

The FC United team was welcomed onto the pitch through a guard of honour formed by non-playing members of the squad and management team.

The game itself, ironically given the team's strong performances all season, failed to live up to the occasion as Great Harwood ended up 1-0 winners.

So the match became something of a sideshow as the United supporters enjoyed singing in the sunshine. They were even helped along by the brass band that provided the half-time entertainment.

The disappointment at losing was soon forgotten when skipper Dave Chadwick lifted the league trophy to scenes of jubilation in the stands.

And, that one moment is something that will live long in the memory of the captain, a self-confessed Manchester City fan!

"I was like a little child on Saturday morning and, to be honest, I just wanted the game to be over so I could lift that title," said Chadwick.

"Words cannot describe how I felt and it is something I could never have expected this time last season when I was delighted to be playing in front of 300 fans with my old club Prescot.

"Then, it was even scarier on the open top bus ride. I didn't know what to expect, but there were hundreds of supporters around the bus when we came out of the ground. I was gob-smacked, and every corner that we turned there seemed to be more fans. I just stood there staring. I got some video footage on my phone, but it is something I will never forget."

And, the big centre-half admitted the sheer size of FC United's fan-base took some getting used to.

"There is so much expectation and you go out wanting to put on a good show every week," admitted Chadwick.

"It did take some time to get used to the noise, because it can be deafening sometimes. It's very hard to communicate with other players on the pitch when you are playing in front of such a large crowd.

"It does work in our favour too though. I know a couple of lads who play for Ashton Town and they admitted that they couldn't sleep in the week running up to the game against us. That is the effect it can have on people. Some players at this level struggle to perform in front of such high crowds, but others raise their game because it's their cup final."

Despite being a City fan all his life, the captain also admits that playing for a team in red wasn't an issue.

"I knew Karl (Marginson, the manager) from one of my previous clubs, and when he rang me and asked me to come and skipper the club I didn't think twice," said Chadwick. Word soon got around that I was a City fan, but that wasn't a factor when I decided to join the club. I get some friendly stick about it all, but that's all part of the game. Just to be playing in front of so many fans every week is something I had to grab with both hands."

It's not all about 90 minutes every week, though. The club is becoming more and more active in the community and the players took to the pitch for the title presentation sporting T-shirts with the name of founder member Russell Delaney, who died in November after a long illness, aged 47.

Another founder member, press officer Jules Spencer reckons building relations off the pitch is as important as success on the pitch over the next year, and believes Bury provides key foundations for helping to do this.

Before Saturday's game, club bosses announced that they have agreed a deal with Bury to ground-share for the next three seasons.

"We want to increase our community work and reach out to everyone in the Manchester and Bury area," said Spencer.

"We are keen to keep encouraging children and playing our football at Gigg Lane allows us to fulfil many of our aims.

"When we decided to play our football at Bury, some eyebrows were raised. However, it was justified on Saturday when we had scope to let kids in for free. We wouldn't have been able to do something like that if we were playing at a non-league ground.

"The supporters have really taken Bury to heart and the atmosphere that we can generate there is something very special.

"I think the fans realise that we are providing cheap, affordable football for all the family and Bury is quite easy to get to from Manchester anyway. It is only 20 minutes away from Manchester on the tram after all."

From the Bury TimesProbably the biggest catalyst for success on the pitch has been manager Marginson. The former Radcliffe Boro midfielder sells fruit and veg by day, but come the weekend he has moulded FC United's talented individuals into a team.

United has had the luxury of bringing in some top-notch non-league stars, but moulding a successful unit is a test many a manager has failed in the past.

"I am pleased with the way things have gone and how quickly everyone settled down to winning matches," said Marginson.

"It is great to win the league and I'm extremely proud of the achievement. I have old men and little kids coming up to me in the street and thanking me, and I cannot begin to explain how great a feeling that gives me.

"However, there is always room for improvement and I have identified what we need for next season already. I think we have a good nucleus anyway, but we can strengthen in some areas. I know what is needed from playing at that level, and I will just continue to do my best."

Secretary of the league Geoff Wilkinson said: "FC United is unique because of the way it was formed. Most clubs start with players, then get the fans. FC United had the fans, then got the players.

"However, every team comes to a crossroads and the proof in the pudding comes with their ability to maintain and continue playing football when they are not winning things. No club wins everything, just look at the Premier League. However, they have raised the profile of non-league football and other clubs in the league have certainly benefited from their presence."

FC United are going up, and growing up!

Next stop? Moore and Co Construction Solicitors North West Counties League Division One and a clash with Ramsbottom United.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Junge Welt: Coming Soon

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: Junge Welt

Bury war fest in roter Hand: Wie der FC United of Manchester den Aufstieg feierte

Von Christian Bunke

Der vergangene Samstag war der Tag des Aufstiegs für den FC United of Manchester. Beim letzten Heimspiel der Saison wurde die Titeltrophäe der »North West Counties League, Second Division« verliehen. Gebührend feierten die FC-Fans diesen Erfolg ihres Verein, den es Anfang 2005 noch gar nicht gab.

Als einige Manchester-United-Fans im Laufe des vergangenen Jahres beschlossen, einen eigenen Verein aufzumachen, wurde dies von den Medien als naiver Tagtraum belächelt. Als der FC United am Samstag den Aufstieg bejubelte, waren sogar Kamerateams aus Fernost vor Ort.

Für manche Kneipenbetreiber im Zentrum von Manchester war die Aufstiegsfeier ein Grund zur Panik. FC-Fans sind bei ihnen für Protestaktionen gegen ManU-Sponsoren verschrien. Die Bewegung gegen die fortschreitende Kommerzialisierung des teuersten Clubs der Welt ist in letzter Zeit erstarkt. »Im Internet kursieren Gerüchte, es soll heute Proteste geben«, meinte ein hysterisierter Kneipier am Samstag. »FC-United-Fans kommen hier heute nicht rein«. Mit den zum FA-Cup-Halbfinale angereisten Chelsea- und Liverpool-Fans, die sich zum selben Zeitpunkt bei ihm versammelten, hatte er keine Probleme.

Die weit über 6000 FC-Fans ließen sich das Feiern nicht vermiesen. Bury, der Stadtteil, in dem der FC United sein provisorisches Domizil hat, war fest in roter Hand. In der überschwenglichen Atmosphäre geriet das Spiel zur Nebensache, die es auch war. Nur so viel: Die Heroen vom FC United verbrachten einen guten Teil der 90 Minuten damit, leicht verkatert aus der Wäsche zu schauen, verloren 0:1, sehr zum Vergnügen der Gastmannschaft Great Harwood Town.

Das hat von den Fans aber kaum einer mitbekommen, war auch egal. Der FC hatte als Tabellenführer sowieso einen Vorsprung von 23 Punkten. Nach dem Spiel folgte die obligatorische Parade im oben offenen Bus. Es war wahrscheinlich die kürzeste Busparade der Welt, zur Kneipe direkt um die Ecke. Hunderte folgten, Bury wurde zur Partyzone.

Nicht nur sportlich hat der FC in dieser Saison viel erreicht. Es gibt über 20 Fanclubs, auch in Polen und Deutschland. 100 Jugendliche aus Manchester haben einen eigenen, selbst organisierten.

Für die kommenden Monate ist der Aufbau einer Jugendmannschaft, eines Reserveteams und eines Frauenteams geplant. So will FC dem Anspruch gerecht werden, Lücken im sportlichen Leben Manchesters zu füllen.

In der beendeten Saison führten die Auswärtsspiele durch eine ganze Reihe unbekannter Kleinstädte und Dörfer. Ein Höhepunkt war sicherlich der Trip zum Auswärtsspiel gegen Blackpool Mechanics, mit 5000 Fans. Am 12. Mai soll es nach Leipzig gehen.

Der FC United ist nicht der erste Unterklasse-Club aus Manchester, der auf internationalem Parkett zu touren beginnt. Ein kleines Team aus Südmanchester namens Cheadle Town spielte bereits in 30 Ländern, unter anderem vor 65000 Zuschauern in Mexiko City. Der FC United wird dem nacheifern. Ein Transparent hat bisher alle Auswärtsspiele mitgemacht: »FC United, coming to a town near you.«


Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: Daily Mirror

By Oliver Holt

MANY congratulations to FC United who, contrary to the predictions of those at Old Trafford who said their venture would be a fad, are going from strength to strength. The club, which was formed by disaffected Manchester United fans, drew more than 6,000 supporters to the final home game of their inaugural season against Great Harwood. There has only been one bigger non-league crowd all season. Good luck to them in North West Counties Division One next year.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

BBC: FC United: aiming high

Source: BBC

By Jamie Murphy

'Vive la revolution!' Nine divisions below Manchester United, a band of rebels are celebrating wildly: Breakaway club FC United - the newest addition to the football family - have been crowned champions of the North West Counties League.

More than 6,000 fans turned up at Bury’s Gigg Lane on Saturday to see FC United crowned as champions in their first year since being set up by Manchester United fans opposed to the Glazer takeover.

Whether or not those figures will register with the upper echelons of football, they no doubt demonstrate the groundswell of support for FC United and are a huge boost for non-league Football.

Fixtures in the North West Counties League may attract fans in their hundreds, but FC United have averaged around 3,000 per game this season, even beating the average attendances of Gigg Lane’s Coca Cola Football League Two owners Bury by about 1,000 a game.

For the club set up last June, it has been a meteoric rise, FC United manager Karl Marginson agrees, ‘A lot of people said it would fizzle out, but 6,000 people came today to play their part in our promotion party it just shows the level of feeling is still going strong.’

Marginson who, when not on the touchline directing his men in red, is running a fruit and veg business from his van, says, ‘ I always had a belief inside myself and now we’ve a hard core of about two and half thousand supporters and that can only grow.’

For those fans promotion as champions has proved a fitting end to a dream first season for FC United that has drove the passion back into match days. For John Gallimore, 56 from Leigh, ‘its been a rebirth of football.’ John remembers the days at Old Trafford in the 70s.

"I’d ride up on me bike, park it behind one of the burger vans and get into Stretford End and everybody would be bouncing. But that’s changed dramatically over the years. Its like stepping back in time coming to FC, everybody’s enjoying the craic, really friendly, very vocal of course – just how the Stretford End used to be."

And fans and club will no doubt be hoping for more of the same next season. As Marginson’s outlook for next year demonstrates, ‘my hopes next season are to win every game, expectations are to win every game. You’ve got to aim above the stars because if you fail then at least you’ve reached the stars.’

FC United brought down to earth

Source: This is Lancashire
By Staff Sports Reporter

FC UNITED 0, GREAT HARWOOD 1: Great Harwood celebrated one of the "results of the season" as they overcame top dogs FC United in front of a crowd of more than 6,000.

There was certainly no hiding the pleasure for manager John Hughes: "We were tremendous and to think that we have taken four points off the best team in the league is very satisfying.

"No, it is more than that; it is of a great credit to the players who now know they have what it takes to really make a name for themselves going forward."

Ryan Fisher's winner, five minutes from time, was no more than Harwood deserved for a sterling performance in which many individuals excelled.

Hughes said: "Our key players, people like Ryan and defenders Kieran Nelson and Ben Haworth, came up trumps with big performances on the day and that formed the platform for us."

The decisive goal followed good work by John Eastham on the right, Fisher in the right spot at the right time to score a fairly straightforward goal to record a historic triumph for Harwood against the champions -who have been beaten only three times all season.

Monday, April 24, 2006

MEN: Six thousand join the FC United party

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: M.E.N. (no online content)

MEN: Rebels enjoy Red fan-fare

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: M.E.N.

By: Stuart Brennan

SIX THOUSAND supporters turned up as FC United threw a wild title party at Gigg Lane.

The rebel Reds, bolstered by an estimated couple of thousand Old Trafford regulars, came up with a madcap end to a remarkable first season in which they have proved to be "champions" in more sense than one.

The team suffered its third league defeat of the season, going down to an injury-time goal in a flat, bad-tempered match with Great Harwood, but the result was an irrelevance with the Moore and Co Construction Solicitors League second division trophy already in the bag.
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The size of the crowd, which was 6,023, was a far more significant statistic - a clear message to Manchester United and the rest of top-flight football that people will not continue to tolerate being priced out and taken for granted.

At Gigg Lane, the support sang for 90 minutes, and after the trophy presentation and lap of honour, they clogged up the A56 as the team staged a tongue-in-cheek open-top bus ride from the stadium just 200 yards to the Swan and Cemetery pub.

Skipper Dave Chadwick, a no- nonsense centre half and self-confessed City fan, lifted the trophy and then expressed his incredulity at the club's growth from an idea discussed over a Rusholme curry to a club which at the weekend attracted a bigger crowd than half of the games in League One.

"Just one word sums up the season - fantastic," said Chadwick, a double glazing fitter from Wigan whose job has become the subject of a dozen FC chants - "You buy one, you get one free, I said you buy one, he plays for FC" being one.


"I don't think anyone expected the club to build a fanbase like this. Six thousand people! Playing in front of a crowd like that is something you dream about.

"But here we have a hard-core which has stuck with us right through.

"For a new team to go top of the league straight away and then open up and maintain a 20-point lead, is a credit to the lads, but everything we have done we have done for those fans.

"This time last year if someone had told me that in 12 months I would have a few thousand Manchester United fans cheering me as I picked up a trophy, I would have thought they were on drugs."

Formed just ten months ago, FC United has, in some ways, been the biggest story of the football season, a means by which football supporters can express their disgust at the over-commercialisation of the game. But the bottom line is that supporters have flocked to FC because they can have a traditional day out at the match without emptying their wallets.

General manager Andy Walsh said: "I would have been more than happy with 4,000, but the sight of all those supporters singing their hearts out makes everything worthwhile.

"The lasting memory of the day, and of the season, for me, is the kids who have come to watch live football week after week. Hopefully those kids who watch us will go out and play football as well. We will be setting up our own reserve and under-18 teams next year."

And the club's attitude off the field has also earned them a more meaningful "champions" tag. The main sponsor of the club is the Bhopal Medical Appeal, a charity that is trying to help the thousands of victims of the poisonous gas leak in that Indian city in 1985. FC have recently set up FC United of Bhopal, a sports club aimed at bringing some joy into the lives of children affected by the shocking disaster which claimed 20,000 lives and has left 120,000 still suffering from the effects.


And the arrival at Gigg Lane of kit man George Hayden, who - with a couple of colleagues - had cycled to each of the 20 clubs in the division over the previous four days, was another symbol of what FC is all about. He was raising funds for eight-year-old FC fan Alex Croft, from Chorlton, a cerebral palsy sufferer who needs £15,000 for an electric wheelchair.

The team had emerged to collect the trophy wearing T-shirts with "Russell Delaney" on them, a tribute to the board member who worked tirelessly to help FC United get off the ground last summer, despite needing oxygen to combat the effects of the pulmonary sarcoidosis which claimed his life in November, at 47.

The game itself was a non-event, livened only by a red card on the hour for FC assistant manager Phil Power, whose casual flick of the hand at Great Harwood defender Kieran Fletcher brought on a display of histrionics.

Now the club is looking forward to next week's final league game against Padiham at Boundary Park, followed by a benefit match at Telford on May 6 in aid of badly-injured United fan Jamie Turner and the club's first overseas jaunt, to play Lokomotive Leipzig on May 12.

The ethos of FC United was summed up by the trophy presentation as nine-year-old Chantal Adams, from Dunham Massey, accompanied Chadwick to receive the trophy from league chairman Dave Tomlinson.

Chantal won a M.E.N. Sport competition to claim her place in the club's history, and was a fitting winner - she has followed the Rebels from their inception.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sachsen Sonntag: Treffen der Kult-Klubs

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: Sachsen Sonntag (no online content)

-thanks to Matthias for the scan


Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usThat’s FC not MUFC, Fergie

Source: Daily Star Sunday (no online content)


THE other United boss works a mile away from Sir Alex Ferguson’s palatial footballing home.

It could well be a million in terms of lifestyle.

Karl Marginson, manager of Manchester United breakaway club FC United, is up at 3.30am six days a week to deliver groceries.

When he looks up from loading his van, the formidable fortress that is Old Trafford towers above his frozen food depot where he works as a driver.


But Marginson, a life-long Man United fan, couldn’t be happier. He has won the League – Sir Alex has not.

Marginson, 35, has steered FC United to the North West Counties League Division Two title in just 10 months after being hurriedly formed in protest over the £790million debt-laden Malcolm Glazer takeover.

Life is as sweet as the oranges he delivers. Not even Ferguson’s snub fazes him after supping so much champagne.

Ferguson, when asked the other day if he would congratulate Marginson, said: “Who?”

Marginson shrugged it off with a smile and said: “If someone said to me, Joe Bloggs in the Cornish Second Division had won the league, I’d have said ‘well done’.

“It’s an achievement winning any league at whatever level. So it’s so easy to say ‘well done’. But it doesn’t bother me.”

At least 5,000 of his United fans know his name. And so do scores of players who have phoned him wanting to play for FC United.

Marginson has been catapulted into another world of United – and doesn’t miss the real thing one bit.

He added: “The last time I was at Old Trafford it was to see United beat Inter Milan in the Champions League. I got a corporate ticket.

“When I went down at half-time there were people who hadn’t moved. They’d just sat there and not been upstairs to watch the game.

“They were eating, drinking and watching EastEnders. What’s that all about?

“Yet I still remember the first time my Auntie Pammie took me to Old Trafford as a boy of seven, hearing the singing. Kids can’t get those memories any more. They can’t afford to go and aren’t part of the club. It’s too big.

“Now they can come to us and enjoy football again. We have had 4,300 watching us at our temporary home at Bury and more than 5,000 came with us to Blackpool.

“It’s fantastic to see kids who wouldn’t normally get a chance to go to football. One old fella came up to me and shook my hand.


“He just said, ‘Karl, thanks. You have given me the best time in 30 years of my football life’. Other fans have told me they have got the belief back.

“I can’t tell you how proud I am to be associated with the club. It would be nice to get recognition from across the road but I’m not bothered.

“They will never admit FC United exist because of the powers-that-be over in Tampa. Someone said the Glazers aren’t bothered because they are used to living in debt.

“They are not living in debt. Manchester United are.”

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usAlso this little notice:

Saturday, April 22, 2006

FC United 0 Great Harwwod 1

Champions... but a truly terrible game of football.... and one of the worst instances of diving i have ever seen

BUT.... an attendance of over 6,000.... that was unreal....

full pics here

ARTE: FC United and SV Austria Salzburg

Part 1/4. StretfordChris

Part 2/4. Colin Hendrie, IMUSA

Part 3/4. StretfordChris, Big_E, Vasco Wacrill, ManchesterMike, Jenga, Biffda

Part 3/4. StretfordChris, Big_E, Hanna, Cheadle Town

MEN: Football Today

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: M.E.N. (no online content)

FC United have agreed a three-year ground share deal with Bury.

The North West Counties Division Two champions have attracted crowds of over 4,000 to Gigg Lane this season and they are expecting a big crowd again for today's final home game of the season against Great Harwood Town when they will be presented with the championship trophy.

The two clubs are due to sign contracts regarding the groundshare in the next few days but it also requires approval from the Football League.

FC United players and managment will go on an open-top bus parade after this afternoon's match which will take them from Gigg Lane to the Swan and Cemetry pub.

Friday, April 21, 2006

East central Manchester bloodline

Editors note: doesn't 'do' advertisements, we are here to document how others see us, nothing more and nothing less... but their can be no better document of the season that we have just had than a love story written by former Steering Group member Rob Brady..

I've unashamedly written a love story that has made me cry. It could be no other way. From 1878 the red thread has wrapped Mancunians in warmth. This is a very personal attempt to intertwine the precious love for Red family, Red friends, a Red city and for the football club that takes our bloodline back, on the unpaid for train, to those Newton Heath railway workers. I've even slung in some music. But not too much. I have this one head, and having one head, it is the only head that will let me write. When it comes out, it comes out. I always try to take you for a walk. Sometimes it might be a bit of a grueller where you'd wish you'd worn sturdier shoes instead of gollies, sometimes it might be a short nip to the paper shop in your slippers for a Crunchie, but I always try to bring you back. All walks should be worthwhile.

This time the love of our life has been aggravated burgle bummed by an American occupying force. The book tries to bring you back to hatred and anger, recognising the sullen and the shoulders down, but also the churning to resistance and organisation, and the inspiration that is pulling out a piece of three-by-two and twatting them back, and getting up and living. There is soul and there is northern soul, there is Manchester United Football Club, that we fell in love with as a child, and there is FC United of Manchester.

After May the 12,th 2005 there were a number of ways to write that same love story. All of equal worth, all of equal value. The only decision that could ever be wrong was not fighting Glazer in however way you thought appropriate. The swirling majority of Reds are open and can see and respect all decisions that were made.

Mine was by doing twenty two chapters documenting the nativity of FC United of Manchester. A chapter is used on our FA Cup Final against Arsenal in 2005 and the weeks around it, when we took our good hiding, when the barricades were strewn down Warwick Road, but the message was still clearly sent to those that would seek to take away our love. The message was fuck you and fuck your family; two chapters document the inception of FC United of Manchester in that same summer; one chapter on the first ever home game and eighteen on each of the league away games in the North West Counties League division two. A league where it is considered a good day if a dog doesn't turn out a mix in the centre circle. Where most away fans looks as if they thought they could get into Grammar school by taking their 11 plus twice, getting five and a half each time.

Twenty two chapters. One for each player of the two teams with one soul. Two lungs breathing, one heart beating. It is a unity offensive book mixed in with a hooterama of the happenings that have befallen the section of the resistance that chose to drop down 10 divisions. We entered a world containing puckery necked sweatshirts, owners of Parker Pen box sets still in their original box, Postal Chess Society members and people who have almost certainly painted 'Gouranga' across a motorway flyover. We've sang 'Coz Darwen are a massive club. Foot' and 'You're once, twice an eleven fingered lady' at Nelson fans.

There was an MDF knocking together of a football club with curdled grease from the underside of our frying pans, with oxidised lost head nails that we retrieved from the skips that were sent to some takeover friendly businesses and a couple of pippy gonglers that we forgot to give David Gill. In the same tradition I am publishing the book myself. I wanted no toffee nosed get in their late twenties, who were at a diddy publishing company they didn't want to be at, telling me what to write about my loss. I'm drinking water and eating ice cubes to pay for it. It is a love story though. That should never have a price. I've mugged myself that if the book doesn't flow elegantly or if it is biz wax wet or kippery knickered uncouth, it is because it represents the level of football FC United of Manchester fans have been watching.

No one has gone away, no one ever could. The Manchester United Football Club, Mancunian embrace with the temperate, giving smile that says here it is, it's yours. You came and found it and now it can no longer leave you. You were brought near by others love, but for your own love you had to go on your own shaping walk. Those who love you knew that. They knew it because they had done it before. You didn't have to come back with anything. No one has ever asked you to. You saw. You didn't have to see. Nothing would be ill of you if you hadn't seen. But you did. There is an unshiftable, footballing belief that beauty will always remain to see its hopes cleared. This book might be shite but hopefully it can be considered as our shite. We won't melt. We'll do alright.

Robert Brady

'East central Manchester bloodline' is out... shortly after the season will have ended

The Guardian: 'FC United? Never heard of them'

Source: The Guardian

Sir Alex Ferguson's knowledge of the new North West Counties Second Division champions might be limited, but Tony Howard and his fellow FC United followers don't mind one bit

Friday April 21, 2006

At last FC United have been crowned champions, sealing their first ever piece of silverware without kicking a competitive ball in anger. The reds were at Clitheroe to play a friendly, while title rivals Nelson and Flixton attempted to catch up some of their many games in hand, but as the news filtered through that both had failed to win, an impromptu party erupted in the unlikely setting.

Clitheroe took everyone by surprise. We left on the train in the morning fully aware that we could end the day as champions but believing it was more likely to happen the following Wednesday. What we found was a fantastic town packed with pubs and even a continental bar with a street terrace that wouldn't have been out of place in Paris. Seriously. What's more, the football club themselves were fantastic hosts and gave us regular updates on the scores from elsewhere.

So, with 15 minutes left to play in our game due to a delayed kick-off, it was announced that FC United of Manchester were champions of the North West Counties Football League Second Division. Not many of those United fans present would have ever dreamt they'd be singing: "We won the football league again, this time at Clitheroe," to the tune of Down by the Riverside, to which we once sang the adapted original after winning the Premier League at Middlesbrough in 1996. It was a surreal day, but after what we've experienced this season nothing surprises us any more.

At Oldham Athletic's Boundary Park on Wednesday the 2,500 supporters got their first glimpse of the newly-crowned champions as United beat Chadderton 3-2. A banner was unfurled which made reference to Sir Alex Ferguson's ungracious comments last week that he'd never heard of FC United of Manchester or manager Karl Marginson. It read: 'FC United? Never heard of them. Champions 2006'.

The banner will be there at Gigg Lane on Saturday when thousands of supporters get to enjoy another sweet moment in our short history: the trophy presentation. All are welcome, but even though 'Big United' don't have a game, I doubt Mr Ferguson will be attending.

Saturday's game against Great Harwood Town kicks off at 3pm and admission for under 18s is free

Tommy United with football favourites

Source: Flintshire Standard

A FLINT man is being given the opportunity to line up against his football favourites after inviting them to play in his home town.

Tommy O’Neill wrote to FC United of Manchester, where he is a season ticket holder, asking them to consider visiting Flint for a pre-season friendly match against Flint Town United.

The club accepted the offer, and the match will take place at the Cae-y-Castell ground on July 8.

FC United was formed in 2005 by a group of Manchester United supporters – Tommy included – who were unhappy with the running of the Old Trafford club after the takeover by American tycoon Malcolm Glazer.

The team has just clinched promotion to the North-West Counties League first division and looks set to clinch the division two title.

They attract a following equivalent to many football league clubs and have received much national media attention.

The day will be extra special for Tommy, as not only will he see his team visit his home town, but he has also been offered the chance to play for Flint in the game.

He said: “At first I spoke to the Flint chairman and he agreed they’d host the game if it could be arranged.

“I wrote a letter to FC United thanking them for their efforts in running the club and all the good experiences I’ve had following them, and added at the bottom of the letter that Flint would be available for a friendly if they could make it. The next thing I knew they’d agreed to come here.

“It’s amazing for me to play against a team I have a season ticket for.

“As a Man United fan, that would never have happened and I’ll probably never have the chance to do it again.

Tommy, 23, head greenkeeper at Mountain Park Country Club in Flint, added: “Its great for Flint. This is probably the biggest thing for the club since Man United themselves played a friendly with David Beckham in the side a few years ago.

“I asked around the ground at the last FC United game and they’re already talking about it. The average away support is around 2,000, which is bigger than some Premiership sides can manage.”

Flint Town United club secretary Mike Gillham said the club was looking forward to a bumper crowd for the game.

He said: “We’re really over the moon about this. This will create a lot of interest locally.

“ We’ll be bringing in extra seating and we’re hoping to get an attendance of around 3,000.

“The proceeds from the game could set the club up for the whole season.”

MEN: FC eye record gate

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: M.E.N. (no online content)

United should again shatter the North West Counties League attendance record at Gigg Lane tomorrow.

The attraction is not the visit of Great Harwood but the presentation of the Division Two trophy.

Average attendances of just under 3,000, with a peak of 4,328 for Winsford’s visit in January, mean gates not only eclipse that of every other minnow in the region but some Football League outfits as well, including their landlords Bury.

And the men who launched the club are convinced they are having an effect on their mighty neighbour at Old Trafford.

“I am not naive enough to think David Gill is looking at us wondering what we are doing right and he is doing wrong but I do hope it is registering that United’s hard-core support is being eroded,” said foundermember Jules Spencer.

“The speed of FC United’s growth has taken us all by surprise. We knew there was an appetite for something like this but never could we have envisaged attracting 4,300 to a game.

“We are not claiming the moral high ground in any sense. We exist to provide people with an alternative, either to Malcolm Glazer or the escalating cost of tickets which is pricing so many families out of the Premiership.”

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Chadderton 2-3 FC United

Source: The Morning Star

by MARK METCALF at Boundary Park, Oldham

NORTH-WEST COUNTIES LEAGUE 2: FC United, the champions of the North West Counties League Division 2, twice came from behind to beat Chadderton 3-2 in a pulsating match at Boundary Park last night.

A 25-yard free-kick from Glynn Billington put Chadderton in front with ten minutes on the clock, before Michael O'Neil equalised for the champions with three minutes of the half remaining.

Within two minutes of the restart Paul Ashton restored the home side's lead, driving his shot under the body of Barrie George in the FC United goal. But, the record Chadderton crowd of 2,352 saw the game change on the hour mark, when FC United midfielder Adie Orr was hauled down in the area. The referee reduced Chadderton to 10 men and Darren Lyon struck home a confident spot-kick to equaliser for the visitors.

And, on 70 minutes, former Crewe striker Phil Power carved open the Chadderton defence with a pinpoint pass to pick out Orr, who ran through to give the visitors the lead for the first time in the game.

Now the fans sing: Glory, glory, FC United . . .

Source: Bury Times

By Marc Higginson

FC United of Manchester assistant manager Phil Power was full of praise for his side's monumental feat after they clinched the North West Counties Division Two title in their inaugural season.

The breakaway club clinched the title and promotion when they hammered Chadderton 4-0 at Gigg Lane last Wednesday night. Goals from Steve Torpey, Rob Nugent, Will Ahern and Rory Patterson's penalty ensured the celebrations could begin into the night.

The Red rebels will be presented with their trophy after Saturday's home game against Great Harwood Town on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

And, Power can't hide his delight at the progress his side have made: "The lads have done brilliant to win the league so soon.

"We have had a couple of little dips along the way, but we have always responded the right way and we could end up winning the league by a considerable margin come the end of the season.

"We would have more than settled for winning it by one point when we started off last July!"

The silverware is the jewel in the crown of a club that has averaged home gates of over 3,000 and continue to confound their critics.

Power said: "Our fans have been magnificent all season and they make sure every game feels like a cup final. The lads should never need motivating when they go out and play in front of all those supporters.

"I'm pleased that we will get the trophy in front of our home fans and it should be a great day and a party atmosphere."

However, Power has admitted that the management team will not rest on their laurels and are already planning for next season.

"We will enjoy the promotion party, but we have to start thinking about next season as soon as possible," said Power.

"It is going to be much harder next season, and we need to strengthen. The lads have done well this season but we are always looking to add to the team. We have had a chat with the players and they know that we are a scalp for every team we play, so we always have to perform to our potential.

"We have a few targets already and it's our job to lure them to the club. However, that shouldn't be too hard with our fan base and we're already getting phone calls from people wanting to play for us."

The club will field a reserve team next season, and Power sees that as another step in the right direction.

"The reserve team will help us to bring through some younger players and means we can keep players, who are not playing, match fit," said the former Macclesfield striker.

"That should mean that we can have a bigger squad and people like myself and Daz Lyons can stick to the coaching, whereas the both of us have had to play every now and again this season."

Power is also eager to praise everyone at Gigg Lane, and within Bury, who have welcomed the club with open arms since its inception.

"It's been fantastic for the lads to play at a league ground and it has become our home' now.

"I'm not sure what is going to happen next season, but I would love it if we could carry on playing here. I know the fans have enjoyed it at Gigg, and the players certainly have."

One thing is for sure, Gigg Lane has played a pivotal part in footballing history over the last twelve months especially the Manchester Road End, which the vociferous United fans have turned into their very own mini Stretford End'.

PA Sport: Rebels fire Red Devils warning

Source: Sporting Life and

By Simon Stone, PA Sport

The founders of rebel club FC United have warned Manchester United their hard-core support is being eroded.

While 'big' United have a weekend off ahead of their do-or-die trip to Chelsea on April 29, the club spawned as a direct result of Malcolm Glazer's controversial Old Trafford takeover are preparing for the biggest day in their own short history.

With all under-18s being admitted free, there is every indication FC United will again shatter the North West Counties League attendance record at Gigg Lane on Saturday, when Great Harwood Town are the visitors.

The attraction is not the actual football but the presentation of the Division Two trophy and the chance to engage in some mutual backslapping after an astonishing debut campaign.

Launched from the shell of an idea initially raised in response to Rupert Murdoch's attempts to buy United in 1998 and constructed in less than two months, in some senses, FC United are the biggest story of the season.

Average attendances of just under 3,000 - with a peak of 4,328 for the January visit of Winsford - mean match-day interest in 'little' United not only eclipses that of every other non-league club in the north-west but some established Football League outfits as well, including their landlords Bury.

It would be a major surprise if, in 12 months' time, the FC United phenomenon was preparing to sweep through the Unibond League, and, while the fledgling club will not be permitted to play in the FA Cup next year, a tilt at the FA Vase will be attempted and who is to argue the club will not be one of the first to grace Wembley's magnificent arch.

Ten miles down the road at Old Trafford, the response to FC United's success ranges from grudging respect to outright hostility. Either way, the men who launched the new club are convinced they are having an effect on their mammoth neighbour.

"I am not naive enough to think David Gill is looking at us wondering what we are doing right and he is doing wrong but I do hope it is registering that Manchester United's hard-core support is being eroded," said Jules Spencer, formerly chairman of the Independent Manchester United Supporters' Association and a founder member of FC United.

"United is run by accountants. As long as they are filling the stadium, they won't be bothered by 4,000 of us watching non-league football.

"But the signs are, within a couple of years, it will hit their radar because it is the hard-core element within any club's supporter base who will stand by them when they are not being successful."

In defending himself against charges of hypocrisy - accepting the Glazer shilling after previously decrying the American's business plan as 'too aggressive' - Gill questioned why he should be forced to give up working for the club he has supported all his life, in turn querying how FC United's followers and just give up on the Red Devils and turn their allegiance somewhere else.

The truth is, they haven't. They still follow Manchester United with a passion. They just do it from a distance.

"I am still a United fan and I hope people still look upon me as such," said Spencer.

"I just prefer to spend my Saturdays in a slightly different manner than I used to.

"It is a weird feeling because I want the team to do well but I feel so much resentment towards the people running the club.

"When they were knocked out of Europe there was the torn emotion of acute sadness at your team getting knocked out of the Champions League but part of you was thinking 'I wonder if this can affect Glazer's business plan and speed up his exit'. It is difficult to reconcile the two situations in your mind."

Spencer has vowed not to set foot inside Old Trafford until Glazer has gone and his pre-season intention to watch at least one away game had to be abandoned as his commitment to FC United started to eat into his time.

If the past 12 months are anything to go by, those plans will have to be shelved again next season as the most high-profile example of a supporter-run club in England goes from strength to strength.

"The speed of FC United's growth has taken us all by surprise," said Spencer.

"We knew there was an appetite for something like this but never could we have envisaged attracting 4,300 to a game.

"We are not claiming the moral high ground in any sense. We exist to provide people with an alternative, either to Malcolm Glazer or the escalating cost of tickets which is pricing so many families out of the Premiership.

"The key thing is, in everything we do, the supporters will have their say. Nothing, from deciding whether to have a sponsors name on a shirt, to the existence of the club, will be done without their agreement."

MEN: Rebels warm up

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: M.E.N.

Tony Glennon

FC UNITED warmed up for Saturday's Gigg Lane title party with a 3-2 victory over neighbours Chadderton in front of a Boundary Park crowd of 2,352.

But Karl Marginson's newly-crowned champions twice had to come from behind to see off their plucky hosts and so preserve their unbeaten away record.

Glynn Billington stunned the rebels by blasting Chadderton in front with an 11th minute free-kick - a goal he celebrated by cheekily tearing off his shirt to reveal a City T-shirt underneath!
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That earned Billington a booking from a distinctly unamused referee, but it was FC United fans who were smiling two minutes before the break when Michael O'Neill slotted in the simplest of equalisers after player/coach Darren Lyons had smashed a shot against the bar.

Paul Ashton restored Chadderton's lead within a minute of the restart, but again the visitors came roaring back as Ricky Wilde was dismissed for tripping Adie Orr when he was clean-through on goal, leaving Lyons to convert the resulting penalty.

Orr then grabbed what turned out to be the winner with 20 minutes left, rounding off a great four-man move with a crisp finish for his 18th goal of the season.

FC United Vs Chadderton

Album should be available HERE

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Le Monde: A Manchester, le FC United milite pour un football populaire

Source: Le Monde (France)


A des années-lumière des camps d'entraînement luxueux des grands clubs, où le gazon est toujours vert et les vestiaires confortables, les joueurs du FC United of Manchester s'installent tous les mardis et jeudis soir sur les terrains du Broughton Rugby Club, dans un faubourg de Manchester. A un quart d'heure d'Old Trafford, le stade mythique de Manchester United, Karl Marginson, l'entraîneur du FC United, fait évoluer ses joueurs sur un petit terrain synthétique long d'une vingtaine de mètres. Il leur faut souvent attendre un bon quart d'heure sur le parking que les pupilles d'un club local finissent leur séance d'entraînement.

Malgré les apparences, l'équipe du FC United ne mène pourtant pas l'existence normale d'un club de la North West Counties Football League, la 10e division anglaise. Les rencontres sont suivies avec ferveur par 3 000 à 4 000 spectateurs, soit dix fois plus que la moyenne des autres équipes de la même division.

Tout a commencé en octobre 2004, lorsque la reprise de Manchester United par le milliardaire américain Malcolm Glazer est devenue fortement probable. "A ce moment, un certain nombre de gens ont commencé à se poser la question : "Que faire ?"", raconte Andy Walsh, directeur général du FC United et ancien président de l'association Independent Manchester United Supporters.

La réponse prend alors peu à peu forme : pourquoi ne pas fonder un autre club de football ? C'est fait au début de l'été 2005, et plusieurs milliers de supporteurs déçus de Manchester United donnent alors de l'argent pour la création du club. "Il ne s'agissait pas de faire dissidence, souligne Andy Walsh, mais plutôt de rassembler les supporteurs déçus par cette prise de contrôle par les propriétaires actuels." Un moyen de rassembler les "brebis perdues" en attendant que les choses changent peut-être un jour à Manchester United.

Pour les fondateurs et les supporteurs du FC United, l'état d'esprit des grands clubs déçoit. "Malcolm Glazer est vu par ceux qui soutiennent FC United comme une nouvelle manifestation du mouvement de commercialisation du football", souligne Andy Walsh. Et, pour ce dernier, la course à l'argent rompt le lien entre les grands clubs et leurs fans. "Les supporteurs ont investi leur temps et leur argent dans leurs clubs, pour leur développement, et ont tissé avec eux un lien de loyauté très fort." Mais aujourd'hui, regrette-t-il, "ces grands clubs voient les supporteurs comme des consommateurs et non pas comme des partenaires". A cela s'ajoute l'inflation des prix des places dans les stades. "Il devient très difficile pour un père d'emmener ses enfants au stade pour partager l'expérience d'un match "live", à cause du prix et parce que les tickets sont aussi achetés par des abonnés à l'année ou par des entreprises pour leurs clients", pointe-t-il.

Pour Andy Walsh, c'est la vie, la passion, les encouragements et les sifflets qui font aussi la qualité du spectacle d'un match de football. Et si les fédérations ne sont pas capables de protéger les intérêts des supporteurs, elles doivent permettre à ces derniers de s'en charger. Il y a toute une palette de solutions : depuis l'élection du conseil d'administration par les abonnés, comme au FC Barcelone, à une prise de participation majoritaire par les supporteurs, comme dans certains clubs allemands. Au FC United, chaque individu qui investit 1 livre ou plus dans le club peut voter aux assemblées, selon un principe d'égalité entre tous, et élire le conseil d'administration.

Si le FC United est riche de son histoire et de l'enthousiasme qu'il suscite, il n'en fonctionne pas moins avec de petits moyens. Les joueurs ne sont évidemment pas professionnels. Trois ou quatre d'entre eux ont des contrats "semi-professionnels", qui leur permettent de toucher environ 80 livres par semaine, soit 115 euros. Sinon, l'essentiel de l'effectif reçoit près de 50 livres par match joué, soit un peu plus de 70 euros. Tous travaillent dans la journée, à l'image de l'entraîneur Karl Marginson, qui est transporteur de fruits et légumes, ou de l'attaquant Jonathan Mitten, plombier de son état.

Le site Internet du club est un lieu important d'échanges entre FC United et ses supporteurs. Comme tout site de club, il donne des informations sur les joueurs, les matches ou les déplacements. Et des affiches des matches à venir sont téléchargeables depuis le site afin que les supporteurs puissent les imprimer et les placer un peu partout dans la ville. De même, parce que " le football est un sport si important dans la société", selon Andy Walsh, les animateurs du FC United cherchent à développer l'"empreinte sociale" du club, avec des animations dans les écoles et dans les quartiers environnants.

D'un point de vue sportif, l'objectif du nouveau club est de monter de deux divisions dans les trois ans à venir. A quelques journées de la fin de la saison, le club des rebelles de Manchester occupe la première place de sa division. Et les supporteurs sont de plus en plus nombreux à suivre ses matches. Les rebelles sont en marche.

Bertrand d'Armagnac

Article paru dans l'édition du 20.04.06

English translation: FC United Fight For People’s Football In Manchester

Light years from the luxurious training grounds of the top clubs and the changing rooms comfortable, the players of FC United can be found every Tuesday and Thursday evening on the grouns of Broughton Rugby Club in a suburb of Manchester. Fifteen minutes from Old Trafford, the mythical home of Manchester Unired, Karl Maginson the manager of FC United is developing his players on small synthetic pitch only twenty metres long. Sometimes they even have to wait in the car park while pupils from a local school finish their training session.

Despite appearances the team of FC United is far from a typical club in the North West Counties League, the 10th English division. Games are followed with enthusiasm by between 3,000 and 4,000 fans; 10 times more than the average for other clubs in the same division.

It all started in October 2004 when it started to look increasingly likely that American billionaire Malcolm Glazer's takeover Manchester United could succeed. "At that moment some people started asking themselves the question: "What should we do?", recalls Andy Walsh, Managing Director of FC United and former president of the association of Independent Manchester United Supporters.

The answer took shape slowly: why not simply set up another football club? This is what happened at the beginning of 2005 and several thousands of supporters disappointed by Manchester United donated their money to the creation of the club. "It wasn't about being a nuisance," emphasises Andy Walsh, "but more about bringing together those supporters disappointed by this seize of power by the current owners". A means of gathering the "lost sheep" and waiting for things to change one at Manchester United.

For the founders and fans of FC United, the spirit of the big clubs is deceptive. "Malcolm Glazer is viewed by those who support FC United as yet another example of the commercialisation of football", explains Andy Walsh. And for Walsh the "money race" is breaking the link between the large clubs and their fans. "Fans have invested their time and their money in their clubs for their development forming a very strong bond of loyalty between them. But today, he regrets, "the large clubs see fans as consumers and not as partners". In addition there is the inflation of prices at the grounds. "It is becoming very difficult for fathers to take their children to take part in the experience of a live match because of the price and because tickets are snapped up by season ticket holders or companies as hospitality for their guests."

For Andy Walsh, it's living the life, the passion, the chants and the whistles which are part of the spectacle of a football match. And if clubs are not able to protect the interest of the fans, they have to allow the fans to go their own way. There is a whole range of solutions: from the election by season ticket holders of the board, as at Barcelona, or obtaining a majority shareholding by the fans, as is the case at some German clubs. At FC United each member who invested one pound or more in the club is entitled to vote at meetings according to the principle one member, one vote, and to elect the board.

If FC United is enriched by this story and the enthusiasm it causes, it sill has to manage on small means. The players are obviously not professionals. Three or four of them have semi-professional contracts meaning they earn around 80 pounds (115 Euros) per week. Otherwise the rest of the players earn close to 50 pounds (a little more than 70 Euros) per match. They all have full-jobs just like the manager, Karl Marginson, who delivers fruit and vegetables, or the centre forward Jonathan Mitton who is a plumber.

The club's website has become an important place for exchange between FC United and its fans. Just like every club website, it provides information about players, matches and away. The posters for upcoming matches can also be downloaded from the site so that fans can print them and post them around the town. Because "football is so important to the community", according to Andy Walsh, is why those running FC United are looking to develop a community mark for the club with events in schools and surrounding districts.

From the sporting point of view the aim of the new club is to get two promotions over the coming three years. With some days still to go until the end of the season, the club of the rebels of Manchester is top of the division. And more and more supporters are coming to the matches. The rebels are on the march.

MEN: Win place in FC history

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: M.E.N. (no online content)


FC UNITED will make a dream come true on Saturday for a M.E.N. Sport reader who can win the chance to become part of football folklore.

The self-styled people’s club will celebrate their inaugual season’s championship triumph on Saturday at Gigg Lane in Bury with all under-18s allowed in free.

But in conjunction with the M.E.N. one fan, who must be under 16, can win the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to receive the league trophy alongside star striker Rory Patterson and the rest of the jubilant rebel team.

Club director Jules Spencer said: “What a prize this is. It’s a fantastic opportunity and we hope the winner will be someone who has been with us from the start. The winner can bring along his or her parents as VIP guests.

“With United not playing this weekend our gate will naturally be boosted and with under 18s allowed in for free, we have a chance of bettering our record 4,300 gate. It will be a chance to be part of football history .”

Meanwhile team boss Karl Marginson is urging his title-winning stars not to rest on their laurels as they prepare to make their first appearance since being crowned Moore and Co Solicitors League second division champions at Boundary Park tonight (7.45pm)

It will be again be party time for the fans when their heroes face a lowly Chadderton side who they thrashed 4-0 just a week ago to clinch promotion.

But Marginson wants his players to save their title celebrations until they’re presented with the championship trophy after Saturday’s final home game of the season against Great Harwood at Gigg Lane.

“If we take our foot off the gas now, there’s a danger the champagne could be flat by the time we get to drink it,” he said.

“I know it’s only human nature for players to relax in these situations, but the lads have to realise how important it is that we finish our incredible debut season on a high note.”

So for the chance to collect the trophy on Saturday all you have to do is name FC United’s current top scorer. Write to FC United Competition, Sports Desk, M.E.N. 164 Deansgate, Manchester, M60 2RG or email or fax 0161 834 9122. Please include your name, address, age and day-time telephone number. All entries must be in by noon on Friday and normal MEN competition rules apply.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

BBC: Nugent living United dream


By Dominic Atherton

When Robert Nugent joined the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association, he could not have imagined how far it would take him.

Nugent, 23, now plays for FC United, the club formed by disillusioned Manchester United fans after Malcolm Glazer's takeover in July 2005.

And the central defender is realising a long-held ambition - playing for United.

"When I was young I used to go to Old Trafford with my dad and dream of playing for United," Nugent told BBC Sport.

"And this is United. It is not Manchester United Football Club but it is the soul of that club and to be able to be on the pitch representing that soul is indescribable."

The story of Nugent's football career is not an unusual one.

After joining by Sheffield United as a striker at the age of 16, he quickly found himself having to learn a new skill - versatility.

"I started out as a striker when I was younger but when I went to Sheffield United I was needed in central midfield and eventually ended up playing central defence," he said.

"I was not as fast as some of the other strikers and my ability had always been getting on the ball and playing rather than scoring goals, so it actually suited me."

Despite his adaptability however, Nugent struggled to establish himself and was eventually released by the Yorkshire club.

But in a romantic twist of fate, the Manchester-born Nugent's return to his home town brought unexpected luck.

"When Sheffield released me I moved back home and started going to all the Manchester United games again and got really involved," he said.

"When everything started happening with Malcolm Glazer I just wanted to go to the protests and let the club and its potential new owners know what they were getting involved with. I wanted to vent my anger at what was happening."

When the idea for a rebel football team emerged, Nugent put his name down for involvement and soon found himself pulling on the red shirt of FC United.

"I was really lucky in a way because joining the club gave me a chance to get back on the bigger stage," he said.

"Obviously the North West Counties leagues are much lower than even the Conference but I couldn't ask for any more than playing in front of the FC United fans."

Nugent's goalscoring instincts have proved useful for the team and the defender sealed a fantastic first season with a goal in the game that saw FC United clinch promotion.

They defeated Chadderton 4-0 at Gigg Lane on 12 April - their 25th win in 33 games - to secure promotion from the North West Counties Second Division.

"Obviously you want to try and score goals and get the limelight that all strikers do. I still try and get up for corners and I've managed to score four this season," he said.

"But I am just happy to be playing to be honest. I've got friends who play in front of bigger crowds than I do and make much more money but you've just got to accept it and find something else that you're good at."

The 23-year-old did just that and now spends his time off the field as a trainee accountant.

"I was lucky because my parents always drove me on to get the best grades I could when I was at school and I've been fortunate to have that to fall back on," Nugent said.

"Some of the lads I used to play with didn't have that and have had to work really hard once their football careers finished.

"We had our chance in football and nothing really happened so you just have to pick yourself up and get on with life."

Monday, April 17, 2006

MEN: Rebels ready for title party

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: M.E.N. (no online content)

Tony Glennon (Manchester Evening News)

FC UNITED are planning to turn the final home game of their triumphant debut campaign into a family celebration after clinching the Moore and Co Solicitors League second division title without kicking a ball.

The rebels were crowned champions while winning 1-0 in a friendly at uniBond League Clitheroe due to the failure of rivals Flixton and Nelson to secure the victories they needed to prolong the title race for another 48 hours.

Flixton were surprisiongly held to a goalless draw by lowly Holker, while Nelson were sunk by two James Curley goals at Oldham Town.

Those results were enough to leave Karl marginson's men once again reaching for the bubbly just three days after they'd toasted promotion following a 4-0 rout of Chadderton.

FC United fans get the first chance to salute their championship-winning heroes when the rebels meet Chadderton in the return game at Boundary Park on Wednesday night.


But club bosses are reserving the biggest celebrations for Saturday's Gigg Lane clash with Great Harwood when they'll receive the title siverware from league chairman Dave Tomlinson.

FC United press officer Jules Spencer said: "We want to make Saturday into a real family occasion and so, not for the first time this season, we're offering free admission to all under-18s.

"This is our way of enabling as many local families as possible to share in celebrating what we've acheived and, at the same time, allowing us to say thank-you to all our supporters for the trememdous backing they've givven us since our lauch last summer."

With the championship and promotion now in the bag, FC United bosses can savely look ahead to next term, when they face the prospect of a considerably stiffer challenge in division one.

Spencer added: "Karl has already stated he's been planning for next season for the last couple of months.

"We're not going to develop a big boys' attitude because we know life in the first division will be much tougher, but Kar's confident we can hold our own."

MEN: Hince on FC United

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Paul Hince (Manchester Evening News)

NOW here is a story that has put a smile back on the face of a cynical old scribbler. FC United moving up in the world after gaining promotion in their very first season in business. Congratulations to manager Karl Marginson and his bonny team.

But more than anything, I would like today to doff my cap to the fans of the club formed as a direct result of the Glazer takeover at Old Trafford. Take a bow every last one of you. As true football supporters go, the fans of FC United are Premiership class.

I still remember driving through a monsoon last August to watch FC's first competitive match against Leek SCOB who normally attract an attendance of 70 paying customers, two dogs and a ginger tom.

But more than 3,000 spectators were crammed into Leek's modest headquarters. My guess is that 2,900 of them were FC United fans. And they were magnificent.

As I drove back towards Macclesfield along the Leek Road that day I recall thinking that it would never last. It gives me enormous pleasure to admit that I was wrong. When promotion was clinched with a 4-0 victory over Chadderton on Wednesday, FC were roared on by 2,788 fans inside Gigg Lane.

That is 40 times greater than any other club at that level can attract.

What lies in waiting for FC United over the years to come I have no way of knowing. What I do know is that this won't be their first and last promotion. This is a club going places. How could it be any different? With wonderful fans like that behind them, the sky's the limit.

Aftonbladet: Erik Niva

Source: (Sweden)

*edited from a longer article, English translation after original text*

Q (Aftonbladet): Till sist, vad var det viktigaste vi missade i helgen?

A (Erik Niva): – Påsken, denna återuppståndelsens tid… Jag har alltid känt stor sympati för människorna bakom FC United of Manchester, de Man United-fans som blev så desillusionerade av Malcolm Glazers köp av klubben att de startade en utbrytarklubb längst ner i seriesystemet. I lördags säkrade FC United segern i glamourserien Moore & Co Construction Solicitors North West Counties Division Two, efter att Flixton bara fick 0–0 borta mot Holker Old Boys. Punkrockaren i mig jublar över gör-det-själv-manifestationen. Gillar du inte de etablerade alternativen – skapa dig ett eget. FC United har nu bara nio divisioner kvar upp till moderföreningen.

English translation

Q (Aftonbladet): Lastly, what was the most important football news we missed this weekend?

A (Erik Niva): – Easter, the time of resurrection. I've always felt sympathetic towards the people behind FC United of Manchester, the fans who were so disillusioned by the Malcolm Glazer takeover of Manchester United that they started their own club at the lowest level of the football league system. Saturday they secured the championship in the glamour league called Moore & Co Construction Solicitors North West Counties Division Two after Flixton only managed 0-0 away to Holker Old Boys. The punk-rocker in me delights in this do-it-yourself manifestation. If you don't like the established alternatives - go make your own. FC United has now only nine divisions to climb up to the mother club.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Sunday Mirror: The voice of the North West

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: Sunday Mirror (no online content)

Stuart Mullock, The voice of the North West

'When I broke the story that rebel Manchester United fans, alienated by the pending takeover at Old Trafford by Malcolm Glazer, were planning to form a breakaway club there were some people who dismissed them as crackpots.

Fourteen months on, FC United of Manchester are champions of the North West Counties second division.

And it seems even the suits at the so called Theatre of Dreams are now having nightmares about what is happening 12 miles away at Gigg Lane.

Last week, when given the chance to acknowledge the achievements of Karl Marginson and his team, Sir Alex Ferguson walked away from a press conference in some embarrasment.

I also understand the commercial department of the self styled biggest club in the world were less than impressed about the local rag devoting the back page to FC United following the 4 -1 win over Chadderton which sent them to within nine divisions of the Premiership itself.

There was apparantly even a veiled threat made to the paper that they would have their accreditation for United games removed if they continued to report a story which gives every football fan in Britain belief that sanity will one day be restored to the game.

FC United have pulled in average gates of 3,000 - more than many football league clubs - and their founders and supporters should be lauded for carrying out their threat to walk away from the most glamorous club in the country on principle.

But lets be honest, even if they win promotion for the next nine seasons, they will never rival Manchester United. So what is driving all the paranoia at Old Trafford?

Perhaps its the fact that while the Glazer clan talk about Manchester United being "a great franchise" the two words at the forefront of the other United are Football Club.

Maybe they're worried the local council may offer FC an open-topped bus parade of the city. More likely its the fact that while Old Traffords capacity will increase to 76,000 next season, United continue to lose their soul.

Last week the club confirmed our exclusive that ticket prices will rise by 10 per cent and more next season as the Glazers attempt to raise enough cash to meet the debts they took out to complete their takeover.

Why should a father break the bank to take his kids to the game when hes got Sky and can get his fix of live football bt shelling out £7 for adults and £2 for Under-18s across the town at Gigg Lane?

That is the crux of the matter. At a time when the Glazers are desperate to maximise revenue streams they know that by doing so they risk sending more alienated supporters to the other side.

The Glazers obviously thought the battle was over, but it continues. Not only can the rebels raise a glass to their success on the pitch, they can also toast the fact that they have bloodied the nose of the United establishment.

There's no longer only one United.'


Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: The Non-League Paper (no online content)

April 1995: Independent Manchester United Supporters Association (IMUSA) is formed.

September 9, 1998: Rupert Murdoch signals intention to take over Manchester United. IMUSA and newly-formed Shareholders United against Murdoch (SUAM) co-ordinate opposition.

April 9, 1999: Monopolies and Mergers Commission rejects Murdoch bid.

Spring 2005: In response to Malcom Glazer's bid to take control of Manchester United, a steering group is formed. The idea of forming a new club, under the name of "FC UNITED" is floated.

May 2005
: Glazer buys the 28.7 per cent stake of Irish racing tycoons JP McManus and John Magnier.

June 2005: Announcement of club launch. 3,000 people become founder members by pledging money.

Founder members to vote on new club name after 'FC United' is rejected by the FA for being "too generic"

Karl Marginson appointed manager, while 900 people apply for club trial, of whom 200 are selected. Those are reduced at the trial to 17, to add to players signed from local Non-League scene.

Membership of North West Counties League announced.

July 5: First EGM of the new club at Manchester Central Methodist Hall. Official club title of "Football Club United of Manchester" announced.

Eleven board members elected, including IMUSA founder member and leading campaigner against Murdoch, Andy Walsh.

Home ground of Gigg Lane (Bury FC) announced.

July 16: First game, a 0-0 draw away to Leigh RMI.

August 13: First league fixture, 2,590 fans watching 5-2 win at Leek CSOB.

August 15: First home game - a 3-2 win over Padiham.

January 2, 2006: Biggest crown - 4,328 v Winsford.

April 9: Clinch historic promotion with 4-0 win at home to Chadderton.

NLP: How watching TV saw Rory join Rebels

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: The Non-League Paper (no online content)

FC UNITED'S mystery man believes that he is part of a remarkable story and thanks fate for his part in it.

Rory Patterson made his first appearance as a substitute in the Rebels' pre-season friendly with Stalybridge Celtic and was immediately nick-named "The Man With No Name" and "Mr Mystery", as he had no number on his back.

But nine months, 18 goals and a promotion later, the 21-year-old forward is a firm favourite.

"The fist time I was waiting to come on as a substitute I could hear the fans singing - it was unbelievable," he said. "We know we are part of something special, the start of something and it is a big deal to end the first season with promotion.

"We will always be part of the team that started it and that is a great feeling and certainly something to tell the kids."

The ex-Rochdale trainee joined from Radcliffe Borough in the summer but revealed that the story of his move ran in tandem with the roller-coaster that has been FC United.

"My story began as I played with Margi (Karl Marginson) at Radcliffe," the Ulsterman said. "When I saw on Sky he'd got the job, I picked up the phone and wished him all the best.

"A couple of weeks later I got a call from Karl asking if I'd like to join him. I jumped at the chance. I had no questions at the time and there are no regrets now. maybe it was fate that I saw it on Sky."

The striker has recently been on trial with League Two side Grimsby, but there are no doubts where his future lies.

"Here, with FC United," he said. "If he (Karl) wants me, I'm going to be on board."

NLP: Reds in black and on the up

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: The Non-League Paper (no online content)

By Stephen Bond

THE SCEPTICS were lining up to take pot-shots when FC United embarked on what may one day become part of footballing filklore. But one month shy of their first birthday, with promotion secured and an average crowd of 3,000, the doubters have had their words rammed down their throats.

But board member Jules Spencer knows that the club is still a baby in football terms, and must learn to walk before it can run.

"We have been running for under 12 months and if we started spouting off about playing League football, we'd be setting ourselves up for a fall," Spencer said. "We'd be showing a big-time attitude we can't afford.

"There is also a fantastic history in Non-League football and for us to talk above our status would be disrespectful to the clubs that have been around for years.

"The foundation they've formed is what allowed us to come into existence."

Despite Spencer's caution, he revealed the club's future plans, which could see UniBond football at Gigg Lane within two years.

"At the beginning, we set ourselves a target to be playing UniBond football in three seasons," he said. "Our aim is two promotions in three years and the first has now been achieved, so we are on track."

Spencer also said the club expects - in financial terms - to end the season in black, not the red they were prepared for.

"We budgeted to make a small operation loss this season, but we've made a small profit and in the business plan all the profits go back into the club," he said.

"The club wasn't formed so people could make a profit - the money will go back into the club or the community initiatives we help.

"The key thing is, the directors are all fans and will dictate the direction of the club."

Any United fans expecting to see manager Karl Marginson splash the cash this summer should forget it. Spencer says the long-term future of the club is paramount to their plans.

"The budget we set this season will remain in place," he said. "If we turned around and said we were about to spend big, it would be a poor decision.

"Nothing here is for the short-term - we are here for the duration."

Spencer admitted that he was almost in tears on Wednesday night as the Rebels beat Chadderton 4-0 to ensure they will be playing in North West Counties Division One next season.

Rebels fans may be dreaming of one day singing their hearts out as away supporters at Old Trafford - and if the first season is anything to go by, you'd be a brave man to bet against it.

Daily Express: What a delivery!

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSouce: Daily Express Weekend (no online content)

KARL MARGINSON, manager of FC United, the club formed by disillusioned Manchester United fans, couldn't hang around for promotion celebrations last Wednesday night.

The anti-Glazer brigade, who have turned their back on the Premiership for the North West Counties Second Division, confirmed a first-season promotion with a 4-0 win against Chadderton in front of 2,788 fans at Bury's Gigg Lane.

But Marginson (right) shot off early to grab some sleep - as his grocery round begins at 4am!

Saturday, April 15, 2006


Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: The Daily Mirror

Sir Alex Ferguson was not among those impressed with the promotion of FC United, the breakaway club formed in the wake of US tycoon Malcolm Glazer's takeover, at the first time of asking.

FC United made the step up to the North West counties Division One earlier this week, but Fergie remained tightlipped when asked to comment on the achievement. "Who?" was the Manchester United boss's first response to questions about the rebels, who are bossed by milkman Karl Marginson.

When he finally realised who he was being asked to talk about. Fergie's mood darkened. "You're joking. I'm not interested," he said before bringing yet another abrupt end to a press conference.

-thanks to Portia Vale for the tip

FC United gepromoveerd in eerste seizoen

Source: (no, really) [The Netherlands]

English translation after original article

FC United, de club die door boze fans werd opgericht toen Manchester United door Malcolm Glazer werd opgekocht, is voor de eerste keer in haar historie gepromoveerd na een 4-0 thuisoverwinning tegen Chadderton.

Na 25 van de 33 gespeelde wedstrijden te hebben gewonnen is de club vijf wedstrijden voor het seizoenseinde verzekerd van promotie naar de North West Counties Football League First Division. Dit is acht divisies onder de Premier League waarin Manchester United momenteel de tweede plaats bezet.

De promotie is opmerkelijk, aangezien de club slechts in haar eerste bestaansjaar is, en op 20 juni 2005 toestemming kreeg om tot de North West Counties Football Association toe te treden. Bij tryouts voor het eerste team kwamen er maar liefst ruim 260 aanmeldingen. Een eigen stadion heeft FC United niet; hoewel de voorzitter van Droylsden FC, een fervent Manchester United-fan, had aangeboden het stadion van Droylsden te laten gebruiken gooide de gemeente roet in het eten. Uiteindelijk werkte United haar thuiswedstrijden af in het stadion van Bury FC.

English translation: FC United promoted in first season

FC United,the club founded by angry Manchester United fans when Malcom Glazer bought Manchester United,is promoted for the first time after a 4-0 victory against Chadderton.

After winning 25 of there 33 games the club was guaranted of promotion to the North West Counties League First Division. Thats eight divisions below the Premier League where Manchester United at this moment the number two spot occupied.

The promotion is remarkable, coz the club is only in there first year of existence,and on the 20th of July 2005 permission got from the North West Counties Football Association te enter the competition. At the tryouts for the first team there were more the 260 registrations. FC United doesnt have there own staduim, although the chairman of Droylsden FC, an hardcore Manchester United fan, had offered to use the staduim of Droylsden but the City Council didnt agree with this so FC United had to look for another staduim. After some weeks FC United finally found their staduim: Bury FC’s Gigg Lane.

Thanks to FCUM Holland Branch for the translation.