Source: 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.'