Thursday, April 13, 2006

Promoted to the dizzy heights of North West Counties Division One

Source: The Guardian

Tony Howard, a founder member of FC United, on the biggest night of the club's life so far

Thursday April 13, 2006

It was an emotional night for supporters of FC United of Manchester as the club confirmed promotion at the first attempt. In the same week Manchester United's owner Malcolm Glazer referred to his new acquisition as a 'franchise', while raising season-ticket prices by 12%, 2,788 fans partied like there was no tomorrow as FC United rose to the dizzy heights of North West Counties Division One.

Promotion may have been almost certain before the game and the crowd may not have beaten any records, but when the players walked over to the Main Stand at Gigg Lane, punching the air in delight, there wasn't a neck hair in the house not stood on end.

An even bigger party is likely at the last home game against Great Harwood on Saturday April 22. There are rumours of an open-top bus parade from Gigg Lane to the Swan and Cemetery pub where the players have regularly joined the fans for a pint after games. Manager Karl Marginson will enjoy that night. A delivery driver, he was unable to swap his shifts today to allow him to celebrate promotion in style, so while the fans slept off hangovers Karl was up for work at 4am.

Last Easter no one had heard of Margy and the club was a mere possibility. Then came the lowest point in many people's lives as Glazer came calling. One mate's wife compared life at their house at that time with the trauma that follows a death in the family. It really was that bad.

How apt it is that we should be toasting our first major success and the rebirth of 'United' as the world prepares to celebrate Easter, and the giving of new life.

FC United will celebrate their debut season at their final home game against Great Harwood Town at Gigg Lane, Bury on Saturday April 22. Kick-off is 3pm and admission is £7 adults, £5 OAPs and £2 under 18s.