Thursday, November 30, 2006

A slack night for Rebels

Source: M.E.N.

Tony Glennon

FC UNITED'S 100 per cent home record was wrecked as Atherton Collieries dug deep to storm the Rebels' Gigg Lane fortress for a 3-0 victory.

Karl Marginson's runaway North West Counties League leaders were sunk by an Anthony Pilkington hat-trick to leave a crowd of 1,723 shaking their heads in disbelief.

Pilkington struck on 15 and 45 minutes to give the visitors a 2-0 interval lead before completing his treble with a breakaway goal in the dying seconds after FC United had battled in vain to reduce the arrears.

Stuart Rudd, Danny Allen and Rob Nugent all wasted chances to hand the pacesetters a lifeline, while Josh Howard was unlucky to see his shot rattle a post.

To complete a miserable night for FC United, leading scorer Rudd was carried off late on and is now doubtful for Sunday's trip to Witton to face Congleton.

Delight for Dabbers as the promotion dream is back


By Toby Robinson
NANTWICH Town have received a major boost in their quest for promotion.

After just missing out last season, the Dabbers looked set for more misery with FC United romping away at the top of NWC Division One.

Three teams went up instead of the standard one back in May, leaving the club rueing a lost opportunity despite lifting the FA Vase.

However non-league chiefs have announced further restructuring of the pyramid system and that means extended promotion places should be up for grabs once again in 2007.

The UniBond League will expand to two regional first divisions to bring it in line with the Southern and Ryman leagues.

With Nantwich gearing up to move into their new £2.5m home at Kingsley Fields, the ground criteria will be met and a top-three finish should win promotion.

Chairman Clive Jackson says they have to grab this chance.

"I welcome the introduction of an additional first division at UniBond level," he explained.

"Whilst the arrangement doesn't guarantee promotion, with construction of our new stadium underway and combined with our current league standing, we currently have the criteria to meet the promotion requirements.

"We've worked very hard to improve our league status and facilities.

"What better incentive can we now have than to kick off a new season in a new league and in a new stadium."

Despite last Saturday's trip to Nelson being postponed due to a waterlogged pitch, Nantwich remain second.

But they have seen a seven-point gap quickly trimmed to just two with Salford City closing in and Curzon Ashton also looking ominous.

They return to action at tenth-place Bacup Borough on Saturday.

Player-boss Steve Davis says his side can't afford any slip-ups.

"It's good to know now rather than next May," he explained.

"I think it's only good if three go up and that's how it should be every year, it keeps the season alive for clubs.

"We knew if Salford won their games in hand, they would only be two points behind and credit to them.

"Although FC United have a lead, it looks like it's going to be pretty competitive for teams chasing behind.

"We just have to concentrate on us.

"We've got a tricky trip to Bacup on Saturday.

"They might be mid-table but they don't concede many and it's a sloping pitch up there."

Kevin’s singing the blues for the team in red


DON’T mention it to Man City fans, but football songwriter Kevin Phoenix (Ed: Jamie Phoenix's uncle) is singing the ‘blues’ for the team in red.

The 38-year-old singer doesn’t know whether he’s in the blue or the red corner of Manchester’s famous footballing divide but he’s penned songs about City’s sworn enemy and posted them on his website.

The site has proved a huge success with soccer fans and has had more than 7,000 hits.

One of the songs exalts United’s famous treble-winning season of 1999.

Kevin says most of the comments left on his website have been complementary but admits some fans – mainly Blues supporters – have been rather more scathing about his love of both Manchester teams.

Kevin, who once performed a City tribute song in front of 30,000 Blues fans, said: "I know for some supporters it’s seen as sacrilege to like both teams – and some have made this quite plain on my website – but I really do like both teams.

"If you’re a Blues fan you don’t really want to hear about United, and many people probably think I’m sitting on the fence. To tell you the truth I’m not really a mad football fan but I grew up in a football family and my dad was a lifelong United fan.

"The treble was something that will stick in the minds of every Red in the country for the rest of their lives and it deserved being put to music."

He added: "At the end of the day I’m a Manchester lad and I like both teams, but I love music more than I love football."

Ironically, Kevin dedicated the City song to his late father Lawrence when he was seriously ill with dementia. Sadly his dad died four years ago, just before the song was completed.

The City/United dichotomy in the Phoenix family has been passed down the generations by Kevin’ s nephew Jamie, who played for Man City’s youth team but now plays for FC United – the North West Counties team who were set up by demoralised United supporters after American tycoon Malcolm Glazer took over the Old Trafford club.

Kevin, a former busker who now works for the Northenden-based Manchester branch of the National Autistic Society (NAS), creates his songs with the help of his brother Patrick at their self-made studio in Wythenshawe.

The father-of-two, who is a friend of Take That star Jason Orange, also produced the soundtrack for an Eric Cantona documentary on the club’s MUTV station.

He is currently working with people suffering from autism on a single called Promised Land. Kevin is hoping to find a top producer to help him record the single, profits from which will go towards relieving world poverty.

All Kevin’s songs can be downloaded from his website:

Nick Towle

First published by the South Manchester Reporter

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

FCUM send Dominoes tumbling

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: BBC

By Jamie Murphy

FC United's fringe players got the chance to show mananger Karl Marginson their firepower by knocking down bottom of the table Stone Dominoes, including a debut hat-trick from 18-year-old Danny Allen.

North West Counties Football League - Division 1 (2006/07)
FC United 7 Stone Dominoes 0
Allen 14
Allen 18
Allen 59
Rudd 64
pen: Patterson 81
Patterson 89
Rudd 90

Attendance: 3,020

Eight of FC United's first team players were rested for the game against Stone Dominoes with goalkeeper Sam Ashton, midfielder Nicky Platt and front man Stuart Rudd the only players from last week’s team that beat Salford City 3-2 in the FA Vase.

While FCUM went into the game with a tally of 71 goals, Stone Dominoes had shipped 75 and notched up just two points so far this season. After a succession of tough ties, Marginson granted an opportunity for his fringe players to stake a claim and 18-year-old Danny Allen grasped the chance with both hands, scoring a hat-trick on his full debut.
25.11.06 - FCUM v Stone Dominoes
FCUM with four up front

With Rory Patterson returning from suspension and wearing the captain’s armband playing in midfield, Allen linked up with Stuart Rudd up front and the three produced some scintillating moves. On the 14th minute a slick through ball from Patterson put Allen through on goal and the striker slotted past the keeper for his and FCUM’s first goal of the day.

Just four minutes later Allen grabbed a second with a neat shot on the turn. United began to dominate possession and Stone Dominoes were virtually stifled out of the game, finding themselves short changed down the flanks, while centre backs, Brown and Coyne mopped up their attacks with ease.
Four up front

Urged on by the 3,020 fans at Gigg Lane, the Rebel Reds kept the Stone keeper busy, with chances falling to Platt, Brown, Patterson and Allen who clipped the right angle, before the half-time whistle. At times in the first half the home side were so comfortable in midfield that they were seemingly playing four up front, but for all their dominance they lacked width, something that Marginson rectified for the second half by bringing on the pacey winger Swarbrick for Nicky Platt.

Fourteen minutes into the second half Allen completed his hat-trick latching onto a loose ball with a low volley from the edge of the area. The Dominoes began to tumble as tiredness set in among the visitors unable to maintain the tempo set by United. After three consecutive corners resulted in a headed goal from Rudd on the 64th minute, the rout was on.

Chances fell to Swarbrick and Ahern before the referee blew for a penalty after he judged Patterson to have been pulled down in the box. It was a harsh decision and Patterson coolly converted the spot kick low to the keepers left. Minutes later the visitors nearly grabbed a consolation with their only real chance of the game – a long range curling drive that beat Sam Ashton but not the bar.

It was a bad day at the office for poor Dominoes and their humiliation was further confirmed with a scrambled goal for FC’s 6th, claimed by Patterson. But it was to be Rudd who finally sealed the game after Swarbrick burst down the right flank and found the hit-man in space. It was bread and butter stuff for Rudd lashing home his 27th goal of the season.

The seven goal sizzler (a goal for every pound entrance fee) puts FCUM seven points clear at the top of the North West Counties League Division One. But they can expect a tougher test in their next game at home to Atherton Collieries on Wednesday.

A Knight to remember


By John Buckley, Northwich Chronicle

THE biggest game in North-wich this season is due tomorrow night when Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United officially open the Victoria Stadium.

A crowd of about 3,000 is expected and, by coincidence, will be followed the town's second biggest attendance on Sunday when the other Reds - FC United of Manchester - play Congleton Town in the North West Counties League at Witton Albion's ground. About 2,000 are anticipated.

Sir Alex has kept a long-made promise in personally opening the ground, which has grown over the past 18 months to be among the best in non-league football. He will un-veil a plaque in the main stand at 7.30pm.

He will be accompanied by Sir Bobby Charlton and Jack Crompton, the former goalkeeper and first team coach.

Fireworks and cheerleaders will give the evening a carnival atmosphere.

Four goal Danny back as a sub

Source: M.E.N.

Stuart Brennan

DANNY Allen returns to the bench for FC United tonight - after scoring four goals on his full debut!

Rebels host Atherton Collieries at Gigg Lane (7.45pm) after scoring 23 goals without reply in their last three home games, culminating in Saturday's 7-0 slaughter of Stone Dominoes in which manager Karl Marginson fielded a largely second-string side.

But Marginson will revert to something close to his strongest team tonight, which means Allen will be among the subs.
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That allows for a resumption of the 44-goal strike partnership of Stuart Rudd, who netted twice on Saturday, and Rory Patterson, who grabbed the last goal after being robbed of the sixth by Allen claiming the last touch.

"Danny did fantastically well," said Marginson. "But we will have to manage him carefully."

The Rebels are seeking clarification from the FA over the impending suspension of skipper Dave Chadwick for the crunch FA Vase third round tie with Quorn on December 9.

Chadwick is due to be banned for the game after collecting five bookings.

Whites ‘fan’ makes a mark with rebels


By Liam Chronnell

THERE is one date etched in the memory of Sam Ashton above all others - January 7, 2006.

That was the day the former Bolton Wanderers academy goalkeeper realised a life-long dream by playing for his hometown club - as an outfield player.

Ashton, a fanatical Bolton fan now plying his trade with non-league giants FC United, came off the bench to make a shock debut in Wanderers' 3-0 win against Watford in the FA Cup last season.

The 20-year-old was released by the Premiership club at the end of last term, but will never forget his moment of glory.

"I couldn't believe it," admitted Ashton, not least because the Breightmet shot-stopper came on as a striker. "I dreamed all my life of playing for Wanderers, especially with being a Bolton lad, and for it to come true was amazing."

The former Withins School pupil was handed his fairy-tale opportunity after an injury crisis left the Reebok outfit short on numbers for the trip to Vicarage Road.

Sam Allardyce included Ashton in the squad after impressing at right back in training, and replaced Mexican international Jared Borgetti in the 89th minute.

"The manager said I was part of the squad for the trip," said the young keeper. "Nicky Hunt was injured and he wanted cover for Joey O'Brien at right-back, as well as in goal. I was so excited I even forgot to take my gloves with me.

"With a few minutes to go, the manager said I was going on. I never imagined to be playing, let alone as an outfield player. It was a brilliant day when they signed me but to actually play was even better."

But the dream did not last as Ashton was allowed to leave at the end of last season, though he now is rebuilding his career at FC United, the breakaway club set up by disenchanted Manchester United supporters.

The rebel Reds are currently sweeping all before them and are the runaway leaders of the North West Counties League Division One. Ashton has been a huge part of their success, conceding just 10 goals in 23 appearances.

"It was difficult to leave. I'd been there since I was 13, but you just need to pick yourself up and get on with it," said Ashton, who is a plasterer by day. "Being at Wanderers was a great experience but I needed to be playing every week.

"I went to Cambridge and they wanted to sign me but I decided against it. I also went to Radcliffe Borough but the manager said I wouldn't be first choice. Then I got a phone call from Karl Marginson (FC United manager) and I played one game and just thought I want to sign for them'.

"That's what I did and I'm really enjoying it. The club and the fans are brilliant, and obviously winning helps."

Ashton is still in touch with several of the Wanderers players, including Joey O'Neil, and goes to the Reebok when ever he can to watch his beloved Whites.

Indeed, the talented goalkeeper sports a Bolton tattoo on his right arm, something he considered having removed to boost his career hopes.

"I thought about getting rid of it because it might stop me being picked up by a club as some fans don't like that sort of thing," he explained. "I had it done when I was 15 and it's just part of me - it's who I am.

"You never know; one day I could go back to the Reebok but for now I just want to concentrate on doing well for FC United."

Monday, November 27, 2006

Weather the only winner

Source: Edited from

All eight matches in division two of the NWCL were postponed while in division one only five of the 10 scheduled fixtures took place.

FC United stretched their lead in division one to seven points over second-placed Nantwich Town following a 7-0 home victory against Stone Dominoes.

There was a crowd of 3,020 at Gigg Lane, Bury, where FC United scored five of their seven goals in the final half-hour as the floodgates opened.

FC United 7 Stone Dominoes 0

Source: M.E.N.

Alan Wrigley

YOUNG Danny Allen was the star of the show as he notched a hat-trick on his first start for the league leaders.

United manager Karl Marginson rested several of his players in readiness for tougher battles but despite that bottom-placed Stone soon found they had no answers at a soggy Gigg Lane.

Only three of the United starting line-up had started last week's FA Vase fixture at Salford but Danny soon stood out as he hit the first three goals.

Stuart Rudd added his name to the score-sheet in the 65th minute as he rose unchallenged to head home from a Gary Sampson corner.

Dominoes then conceded a penalty as their excellent left-back Danny Young was harshly judged to have upended Allen. Rory Patterson calmly slotted home the spot-kick to make it 5-0.

Andy Matthews then had Stone's best moment as his curling right-footed effort from 30 yards clipped the inside of the post and bounced away to safety with Sam Ashton in the home goal well beaten.

Patterson scored again in the 90th minute with a low shot after a Rhodri Giggs corner and then Rudd wrapped up the victory as he stroked home his 27th goal of the season.

Seven up for the rebel Reds


By Liam Chronnell

FC United made nine changes for the visit of Stone Dominoes and still ran out 7-0 winners.

The rebel Reds stretched their lead at the top of the Division One table to seven points in front on more than 3,000 supporters at Gigg Lane.

Reserve team striker Danny Allen hit a superb hat-trick in his first start of the season as the leaders cruised to a comfortable win against the league?s basement club. The youngster opened the scoring on 14 minutes, before adding a spectacular second just five minutes later.

Allen completed his treble 10 minutes after the re-start, while there were also second-half doubled for Stuart Rudd and captain Rory Patterson as United took their total to 90 goals in all competitions this term.

A depleted Atherton LR found themselves on the wrong end of a 7-0 scoreline at high-flying Curzon Ashton.

Both Atherton Collieries home clash with Bacup Borough and Daisy Hill's match at Holker Old Boys in Division Two were postponed due to waterlogged pitches.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Rebels take breather

Source: M.E.N.

Stuart Brennan

BOSS Karl Marginson is set to make up to nine changes to his buoyant FC United team as they take on bottom club Stone Dominoes at Gigg Lane in the North West Counties League.

He has seen his team come through their toughest spell with flying colours, beating promotion rivals Maine Road in the mini-derby, FA Vase holders Nantwich in the League Challenge Cup, and arch- rivals Salford City in the Vase, all away.

And the visit of Stone, who have drawn two and lost 17 of their 19 games this season, has prompted a wholesale switch. Stone have let in 75 goals, while FC have scored 71 in their 18 league games, so a cricket score is being predicted.

But Marginson will rest his front-line players ahead of next Wednesday's home clash with Atherton Collieries, with only goalkeeper Sam Ashton, 18-year-old midfielder Nicky Platt and striker Stuart Rudd set to retain their places from the side that beat Salford.

That will mean a first start for midfielder Gary Sampson, a debut for reserve-team star Danny Allen and rare appearances for Jamie Phoenix, Mike Lomax, Gareth Ormes, Dave Brown, Liam Coyne and Will Ahern.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Defiant fellow


Salford City 2
FC United 3

By Tony Howard

IT was billed as the big re-match after the famous night at the Willows in October but it fell a bit flat for Salford City as they went down 3-2 to an impressive FC United in the FA Vase.

City manager Garry Fellows’ pre-match predictions that the Ammies would beat United and go on to lift the famous trophy proved as empty as the Willows as the Salford public failed to back their side as they had done in the previous game.

A noon kick-off, due to a pre-booked function, didn’t help matters and the biting cold would also have put many off.

However, City still did those who bothered to turn up proud with a battling display but unfortunately they couldn’t match the heroics of the previous game which saw Salford win with two last minute goals.

That being said, it looked like another fairy tale was unravelling after just two minutes when Tommy Turner lashed home at the near post to give the tangerines an early lead.

It did not last though as FC United came back at them and red goal machine Stuart Rudd missed from all of three yards after good work from Rhodri Giggs. But the big number nine made no mistake moments later when he was played in by Nicky Platt to slot past ex-FC shot stopper Barrie George for 1-1.

United then took the lead when Simon Carden was played in to go one-on-one with George and he made no mistake with an expertly taken lob to warm red cockles.

City were restricted to long range efforts and resorted to pumping the ball forward more in hope than anything else and when FC skipper Dave Chadwick made it 3-1 in the second half the Ammies were out of it.

True to their never-say-die spirit, Salford battled back though and kept passing the ball on a difficult surface. Substitute David Burrows scored a deflected goal in injury time to set up a grandstand finish but it wasn’t to have the dream ending this time.

United made no mistakes at the death as they marched into the third round where they will face Quorn FC from Loughborough.

Fellows refused to be down-hearted after the game.

He said: "You’ve got to give FC credit because they responded well to our goal. But we defended badly and our keeper was very slow off his line for their equaliser.

"Then our full back played their lad on for the second. We came in at half-time and had a chat but it was the same again – bad defending on a corner for their third. John Robinson was two yards off Chadwick and he scored. Other than that I thought we kept the ball better than FC. The commitment was there but it was their day.

"Salford have got to take a lot of credit. We’re all local lads and to take FC United to 3-2 is a decent result. We haven’t got mega money and a lot of the lads play for nearly nothing but if you look at the video of that game there was only one team wanting to play football and that was Salford City.

"We’ll get back on it for Trafford on Saturday and we’re looking at progressing in the league and getting promotion if possible."

City visit Trafford on Saturday, November 25, kick-off 3pm. They then play Abbey Hey at home in another league game on Tuesday, November 28, kick-off 7.45pm.

Meanwhile, a Richard Dunne goal gave City’s youth team a 1-0 Alliance Cup win against Marine.

First published by the Salford Advertiser

Marginson keeps feet grounded


By Staff Sports Reporter

IT'S still only November but many FC United supporters are already dreaming of something many of them have seen once before - the treble.

The breakaway club, set up by Manchester United fans unhappy with the takeover by Malcolm Glazer at the start of last season, could replicate their more illustrious neighbours' achievements of 1999, albeit on a smaller scale.

The rebel Reds, seven points clear at the top of the North West Counties League Division One and through to the last 16 of the League Challenge Cup, progressed into the third round of the FA Vase at the weekend with a 3-2 victory against Salford City.
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The win avenged the Gigg Lane outfit's only defeat of the season in front of a crowd of 2,799 at The Willows - and moved FC a step closer to a trip to Wembley.

But manager Karl Marginson is refusing to get carried away despite their continued success on all fronts.

"There's no point talking about Wembley and cup finals because it can all change so quickly," said the down-to-earth Reds boss, who was up at 4am to do his fruit and veg rounds before the eagerly-awaited re-match, switched to a 12 noon kick-off on police advice.

"In cup football you only get one chance and referees, players and managers can make mistakes, but we will do our best.

"When we lost last time it really hurt the lads but we've got winners in that dressing room and they've come back even stronger.

"We've just got to keep going. It's just about the next game against Stone Dominoes now, and then the one after that, and so on. It's boring but it's true."

United entertain the league's bottom club on Saturday and Marginson will take the opportunity to rest several players following a gruelling period during which his side have also beaten title rivals Maine Road and FA Vase holders Nantwich Town.

He added: "We've had a tough three weeks and it's a good chance for some of them to recharge their batteries."

Such charitable thoughts were never likely to enter Marginson's head before the weekend's clash with Salford - the team who prevented United breaking the league record of 13 straight wins at the start of last month.

Yet it was City who enjoyed a dream start when Tommy Turner fired the home side into a second-minute lead.

But FC responded superbly and Stuart Rudd grabbed an eighth-minute equaliser, before Simon Carden put the visitors ahead four minutes later.

Captain Dave Chadwick added a third on the hour to book United's place in the next round, though David Burrows set up a tense finale when he struck a late consolation.

NW Counties Division One (ed: it was in the Vase)

Monday, November 20, 2006

FC to meet Quorn

Source: M.E.N.

FC United have face Quorn at home in the third round of the FA Carlsberg Vase.

The reds rebels beat Salford City 3-2 at the weekend in the second round.

The draw for the third round of the FA Carlsberg Vase is as follows: Barwell v Thackley Gedling Town v West Auckland Town Consett v Causeway United or Holwell Sports Whitley Bay v Coalville Town Newcastle Benfield (Bay Plastics) v Castle Vale Newcastle Blue Star v Alvechurch Durham City v Flixton Retford United v Shildon South Shields v Curzon Ashton Glasshoughton Welfare v Winterton Rangers Billingham Synthonia v Romulus FC United of Manchester v Quorn Stratford Town v Colliers Wood United Burnham Ramblers v Wroxham Fakenham Town v Cogenhoe United Wisbech Town v VCD Athletic Leverstock Green v Potton United or Ruislip Manor Halstead Town v Edgware Town Croydon v Leamington Ipswich Wanderers v Romford or Oxhey Jets Mildenhall Town v Northampton Spencer St Neots Town or Lowestoft Town v Welwyn Garden City Hailsham Town v Sherborne Town Lymington Town v Truro City Whitehawk v Selsey Chalfont St Peter or Fareham Town v Wimborne Town Wick v Eastbourne Town Chessington & Hook United v Street or Launceston Calne Town v Slimbridge Three Bridges v Bemerton Heath Harlequins AFC Totton v Moneyfields Bideford v Corsham Town
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Ties to be played Saturday 9 December 2006

Revenge is sweet for FC in Vase cracker

Souce: M.E.N.

Tony Howard

FC UNITED tasted sweet revenge as they won 3-2 at The Willows to march through to the third round of the FA Vase.

The Reds were keen to make a point after Salford inflicted their only defeat of the season back in October and they didn't disappoint the majority of the 2,799 fans.

But they didn't have it all their own way, as the Ammies took the lead through Tommy Turner after just two minutes; his shot beat United keeper Sam Ashton at his near post.
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Stuart Rudd was guilty of missing a golden opportunity to equalise for the visitors, before making amends as he latched on to a through ball to slot past ex-FC keeper Barrie George and make it 1-1.

United started to take control and Simon Carden added a second by lobbing the ball over the advancing George.

Then when FC skipper Dave Chadwick scored a third with a header from a Josh Howard corner in the second half, Salford looked to be dead and buried.

But true to their fighting spirit, City got one back through David Burrows in injury time.

For a few moments, their fans dreamed of repeating October's heroics, but it wasn't to be.

A happy FC manager Karl Marginson said: "There was a lot of spice involved after what happened last time and the lads reacted in the right way."

Salford manager Gary Fellows praised his opponents, saying: "We got a great start but you've got to give FC United credit for how they came back."

FC gain revenge for only defeat

By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED avenged their only defeat of the season and moved a step closer to a trip to Wembley with a 3-2 victory against Salford City in the second round of the FA Vase.

The Rebel Reds defeated their NWCL Division One rivals, the only team to beat United this season, in front of a crowd of 2,799 at The Willows.

Tommy Turner handed Salford a dream start when he fired home in the second minute, but Karl Marginson's side responded superbly and Stuart Rudd grabbed an eighth-minute equaliser, before Simon Carden put the visitors ahead four minutes later. Captain Dave Chadwick booked United's place in the last 64 of the nationwide competition with a third on the hour, though David Burrows struck a late consolation.

Atherton Collieries, who entertain Newcastle Town in the league tonight, could not join them as they slipped to a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Northern Counties East Premier outfit Glasshoughton Welfare.

Colls' Jermain Peters cancelled out a James Parkinson own goal, but Ashley Brewer sent the Castleton side through with a 71st-minute winner.

In league action, Atherton LR drew 2-2 at Formby - despite turning up 30 minutes late. Half the team and the kit were delayed on the way, and it was no surprise when Rovers conceded a third-minute opener. But goals from Duncan Richards and debutant Kayed Coppil put the visitors in front, before a Will Dolan penalty four minutes from time earned Formby a point. In Division Two, Simon Farrell scored in Daisy Hill's 1-1 draw with Chadderton.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Simon stuns Salford

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource:

By Jonathan McKeith. Saturday, 18 November 2006.

The FA Carlsberg Vase
Second Round Proper
Saturday 18 November 2006
£1,000 to each winning club

FC United's Simon Carden scored the goal of the game as his side came from behind to beat league rivals Salford City 3-2 in the Second Round of The FA Vase.

A huge crowd - at Salford Reds rugby league side's stadium - were rewarded with a goal inside the first 120 seconds of the match. City's Tommy Turner drawing first blood for the Ammies.

Despite the early goal, the game was failing to live up to expectations as both sides struggled to replicate the passion of their league fixture early last month.

City ran out 2-1 winners that day but there was no danger of the score being repeated as United turned the game on its head with two goals in two minutes.

Stuart Rudd slammed home to bring FC United level and five minutes before half-time Carden received the ball on the edge of the box and noncholantly lifted his shot over the 'keeper and into the net.

David Chadwick added a third for United before a late Dave Burrow goal for Salford set up a tense finish.

But United held on for the victory and afterwards an understandably disappointed Salford City secretary Bill Taylor said: "It was a very flat game. The crowd weren't as vocal as the last game between the two and it didn't have the passion. We had chances at the end and could've pushed it into extra time, but that's football."

There was no shortage of passion at Romford as they drew 4-4 with Oxhey Jets after extra time.

Hussain Ali gave the visitors a 34th minute lead only to see his strike cancelled out six minutes later by Romford's Ben Turner.

The home side looked to have booked their passage into the next round with Patrick Elbi's strike 20 minutes from time but Steve Stratford pushed the match into extra time with an equaliser for the Jets three minutes into injury time.

And the goals didn't stop in extra time either. Lee Pyne put Romford back in front before Ian Holdom levelled for the the South Midlands League side.

Romford, who were playing with ten men following John Maskell's sending off, looked to be on their way out after Stratford's second - only for Des Gallen to save the day five minutes from the end.

Romford secretary Colin Ewuenson said: "That was good end to end stuff but we were on top for most of the game, even with ten men. We'll be confident going into Wednesday night's replay."

Elsewhere, there were big wins for Newcastle Benfield (Bay Plastics) as they thrashed Dunston Federation Brewery 6-1 away, while Curzon Ashton went one better as they beat Parkgate 7-1.

Potton United and Ruislip Manor drew 3-3 in another high-scoring tie.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Different Giggs, different league . . . but every bit as Red

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usBy CHRIS WHEELER Last updated at 22:20pm on 17th November 2006

Rhodri Giggs chuckles mischievously at the suggestion he would ever pretend to be his brother to attract the ladies.

"Maybe," he says. "Or I got my mates to do it. It worked most of the time as well!"

Not these days, of course. Not with a fiancee and a baby to look after. But there is no mistaking the family resemblance. Those piercing dark eyes, the angular features and thick stubble.

Rhodri, 29, even plays on the wing wearing the red shirt of United. FC United of Manchester, that is, the protest club formed by supporters disillusioned over Malcolm Glazer's controversial takeover.

On Saturday afternoon, before 32-year-old Ryan attempts to keep Sir Alex Ferguson's team flying high at the top of the Premiership at Sheffield United in a 5.15 kick-off, his younger brother will be hoping to nudge the other United one step nearer the new Wembley when they travel to local rivals Salford City in the FA Vase.

Up to 7,000 fans are expected for the meeting between clubs who play in the North West Counties League, eight rungs below United on the football ladder. "That's what sold me," says Giggs, who joined in the summer from Mossley. "I just think it's great playing non-league football in front of that many people.

"But I don't think we'll ever rival United. It's like chalk and cheese. I feel daft just talking about it. The only thing we've got in common is the shirt and the name."

As hard as he tries to distance himself from the politics of it all, there is no escaping Ferguson's disdain.

"I saw him at a sportsman's dinner at United two months ago and he looked straight through me," says Rhodri. "Maybe he didn't recognise me, but I think he did. He's got a bee in his bonnet about FC United."

On the pitch, as in life, Rhodri occupies the opposite flank to Ryan.

A right winger, he began his career as an apprentice at Torquay in 1993 - the season after his brother helped United end their 26-year wait for the title - and took two years out of the game after he was released before resurfacing in Scotland, Wales and finally back in non-league football near the family home in Manchester.

Then there is the chequered personal past. While Ryan has remained the ultimate professional, dedicated to one club and his career, Rhodri's troubles came to a head when he was jailed for nine months in 2001 for his part in a fight with a group of Manchester City fans outside a nightclub.

"I was targeted in the club because of my name," he says. "I left to get away but they followed us. I'm not going to start anything but I'm not going to walk away either. It was a big shock when I got sent down because my solicitor said I'd get probation. I don't think the judge took my name into account, even though he was a director of Liverpool!"

Giggs spent a month in Manchester's Strangeways before he was moved to the same open prison in Kirkham where Jan Molby, Mickey Thomas and Simon Garner served out their sentences, working as a bin orderly and playing for the football team.

"We only had home games!" he laughs. "I did my ligaments playing volleyball and had to get a taxi to the hospital at 10 at night. Leaving prison to go to hospital on my own. Crazy! But I only had about a week or two left.

"People were friendly in jail. There were one or two unpleasant ones, but out of 1,500 inmates that's not bad. And most of them were Scousers as well. In fact they were the most fun to be with.

"Ryan didn't come to see me and obviously he couldn't write because people would have read the letters. But he rang me a few times to see how I was getting on."

There have been other scrapes, but not all of them were his fault. Like the incident two years ago when he parted company with a Porsche Carrera after four masked men carjacked him in the city's Moss Side.

He refuses to blame the problems on his parents' break-up. Former rugby league player Danny Wilson returned to Cardiff following his split with Lynne Giggs when the boys were young, and although Rhodri has not spoken to his dad in six years, he knows Ryan has met up with him while on international duty with Wales.

Having a mixed race father has created issues for both sons.

"I see myself as more black than white," says Rhodri. "I was a bit darker when I was younger. My friends from school think I'm black but I don't really knock about with them any more. The lads I know now don't really know I'm black. My black friends think I'm black and my white friends think I'm white."

Above all, he's a Red and there is no disguising the pride he feels at seeing Ryan weave his way into Old Trafford folklore.

"I just love to watch him. Maybe he plays the game the way I've always wanted to. My favourite moment was the FA Cup semi-final goal against Arsenal in 1999. If you look at the video of United's Treble season, at the end of the Arsenal game and the camera goes to Ryan, I'm on the pitch.

"A steward tried to stop me but I just ran past him and was the first person to jump on Ryan. He told me to get off because his leg was killing him!

"I've been so lucky to be a part of it in a little way. They're good memories.

"I've had to stand up for him a few times as well. If I sit in the south stand at Old Trafford, I'm going to end up fighting with someone. They wouldn't know about football if one hit them on the head.

"Last season at Wigan, every time Ryan got the ball this guy was moaning until he set up a goal. I just snapped and told him to shut up. Usually I bite my lip, but he was getting a bit too lairy."

Rhodri is mellowing and fatherhood has helped. He is settling into life with his fiancee Natasha, her five-year-old son and their baby Louis, who has almost outgrown the swinging chair his uncle bought him.

While Ryan earns £80,000 a week at Old Trafford and has just moved into his new multi-million pound home near their mother in Worsley, Giggs Jnr is more than happy making use of his Class II HGV driver's licence and helping FC United on the long haul up the non-league ladder.

"The comparisons have never really bothered me," he says. "I know that if I really knuckled down and had a bit of luck along the way I might have been able to do what Ryan has done, but I never had that dedication.

"Maybe I'll dream about scoring the winner against Salford but that's about it."


Rhodri GiggsSource: The Voice of Sport


The lesser known Giggs is a United Star. But having spent time in prison Rhodri explains why he is no Ryan

People of mixed race sometimes struggle to come to terms with who and what they are, but Rhodri Giggs, 29, seems to have no such worries.

Born to a mixed race father and a white mother, the younger sibling of the Manchester United legend Ryan, is enjoying something of a renaissance in his life and career.

While Ryan has garnered volumes of column inches during his glittering tenure at Manchester United, not many people have been aware of his dual heritage, and he admits in his autobiography that there were times in his life when his colour was an issue for him.

Rhodri, too, may have experienced these same perils, but as he forthrightly tells The Voice of Sport, he always knew who he was.

“I’ve always felt black and never felt white, it was weird at school to be called black, but now people think I’m white,” he says. “It doesn’t really bother me anymore, I know I’m black or mixed race. I’m comfortably with who I am.”

The name Giggs has been synonymous with Manchester United for the last 15 years as Ryan produced an unparalleled level of excellence in their iconic shirt.

However, away from the glare of the media spotlight another Giggs has assiduously carved out a football career for himself too, albeit in the non-league.

At present, he is part of the red revolution sweeping across the Northwest Counties Division One at FC United, a club formed by disgruntled Manchester United fans in 2005 who were opposed to the Malcolm Glazer takeover.


Their vociferous and large support has forced them to move all their home matches to Bury FC and convinced Rhodri to leave his previous club Mossley to join them.

“This league is Northwest Counties so it’s all within a 30-mile radius, where at Mossley we had just been promoted and we have been going all over the show and I didn’t fancy that,” he adds, in his softly spoken thick Mancunian accent. “So I went to one of the FC United games and saw the support and I thought - I’m going to sign for them.

“I’ve played non-league football now for 10 years and you go to some places and you get 80 people in January but in January, we’ll be going to Gigg Lane, Bury, getting 2,500. There’s a big difference and they’re so loud, I mean really, really, loud.”

After winning promotion from the Northwest Counties Division Two last season, the club look on course for another one, after claiming nine wins from nine by the end of September. And with Rhodri, who has an uncanny physical resemblance to his brother, displaying consistent goal scoring form and an ability to create goals for others. Belief amongst FC united supporters has heightened that they could claim a place in the League within five years. “It could take a good 10 years before they get to the League,” cautions the right-winger.

“They may do it before but I’d say 10 years, it’s just really difficult. You have to go the Unibond first, then the Unibond Premier, Conference North, then the Conference before you reach the league. So it’s four or five years leagues you’ve got to win and you’re not going to do that every year. The higher up the leagues you go, it gets more physical, you need a bit more experience, and it’s harder.

In 2001, Rhodri reached the nadir of his life when he was imprisoned for assault for nine months, along with his friend Christopher Doyle, who received 15 months after an altercation between them and a group of Manchester City fans outside a nightclub.

“It’s not for me, jail, it’s no good.

When you go to prison it makes you not want to go back. I changed as soon as I went to prison and came out, it was five years ago now and it makes you not want to go back. It made my relationship with my mum and brother stronger and it made me stronger, it made us all strong, I think.”

Rhodri, who by his own admission has mellowed, recently had his first child and is hoping to make it a double celebration by clinching silverware at the end of his maiden season for FC United.

“Winning the league, that’s what I want, I was in this league with Salford for seven or eight years and never ever won it. I came second with Mossley but never ever won it, so I want to win this league.

“I just had a child Louis. It’s changed me a lot, it changes the way you think of life as he depends on you, I’ve never had that before so it’s strange but good.”

Published: 17 November 2006
Issue: 1244

FC United on revenge mission


By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED will be eager to avenge their only defeat of the season when they take on Salford City in the second round of the FA Vase tomorrow.

The Division One rivals prevented the Reds from breaking the North West Counties League record of 13 consecutive victories when they struck twice in injury time to seal a dramatic 2-1 victory last month.

The game attracted a crowd of more than 4,000 and, with passions sure to be running high again, both on and off pitch, the re-match has been switched to a 12 noon kick-off on police advice.

United will make one change for the short trip to The Willows, home of rugby league's Salford City Reds, with centre-half Rob Nugent, available again after recovering from a head wound, replacing the cup-tied Dave Brown. Striker Rory Patterson is suspended.

Also on the Wembley trail are Atherton Collieries, who travel to Northern Counties East Premier Division side Glasshoughton Welfare.

The Colls make the trip to Castleford full of confidence after booking their place in the last 16 of the League Challenge Cup last weekend.

Skipper Alex Lord is expected to make his first start after serving a one-match ban, while winger Andy Harvie has recovered from injury.

Out of the FA Vase, but buoyed by two excellent cup victories in their last two games, Atherton LR travel to fellow strugglers Formby.

Mark Cox's side, two places above the third-from-bottom Merseysiders, are looking for their first league win in 13 league games, but will have to deal with the threat of former Rovers player, and NWCL player of the year in 2004, Ben Obong.

Another side desperate for three points is Daisy Hill. Stuck in the bottom two, they face a tough trip to Chadderton in Division Two.

Salford make switch


By Alan Wilson. Thursday, 16 November 2006.

Salford City v FC United of Manchester
The FA Carlsberg Vase
Second Round Proper
12.00 noon, Saturday 18 November 2006
£1,000 to each winning club
Click here for the weekend's fixture list

Salford City chairman Darren Quick is keen to retain the Manchester bragging rights when his side face local rivals FC United in The FA Vase Second Round.

Salford ended United's unbeaten start to the season with 2-1 victory in the league early in October.

And Quick is hoping for more of the same this time around saying: "This has got to be the tie of the round.

"We beat them in the league a few weeks ago and that was their first defeat. We are very proud of that and pleased with the draw because we really want to beat our neighbours."

FC United started life in a blaze of publicity when a group of disgruntled Manchester United fans decided to form their own club in response to the arrival of Malcolm Glazer at Old Trafford.

And their links to Sir Alex Ferguson's side afford them an enormous fan base both home and away and add to the rivalry amongst the local sides.

With such massive interest in this FA Vase game, Salford have switched the tie to a neutral venue with an increased capacity on police advice, but that has brought problems of its own.

"Because of the amount of interest shown in the game we have had to switch the game to the local rugby league side where we can get more fans in," Quick added.

"We are expecting a crowd of between five and six thousand. We had the choice of playing the game at our place and getting a crowd of about 1,200 or switching the tie to cope with the demand.

"That brings as many problems because we have got to pay for the rent and also the policing of the tie and those aren't cheap.

"The home tie in the league was very good for us because that was a much needed cash injection."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

‘We’ll beat United and win FA Vase’

Source: Salford Advertiser

SALFORD City Football Club boss Gary Fellows says his team will beat FC United in their FA Vase high noon showdown and then go on to win the whole competition.

The match at The Willows on Saturday, November 18, is being billed as a big rematch after Salford beat FC 2-1 in a pulsating North West Counties League game in October in front of 4,000 fans.

It is still FC’s only defeat of the season and the reds top the league, with City not far behind in fourth.

Fellows said: "We are a better team than FC United and we showed that at the previous game.

"FC play on good pitches in big grounds every week because of their crowd, but we don’t get that advantage and we’re still not far behind them.

"There’s not one player in my squad I would swap for one of theirs.

"My lads are all local with the majority living less than a mile from The Willows.

"I honestly think that whoever wins on Saturday will win the FA Vase and I’m more than confident it will be us.

"There’ll be a big crowd again - Salford people will be there in force."

Fellows’ brother Adie will lead the Ammies out on to the pitch.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Giggs' United front


Salford City v FC United of Manchester

The FA Carlsberg Vase
Second Round Proper
12.00 noon, Saturday 18 November 2006

Rhodri Giggs is the brother of Manchester United and Wales star Ryan Giggs. He began his playing career as a youngster with Torquay United and has since turned out for Bangor City, Aberystwyth Town, Kidsgrove Athletic, Salford City, Bacup Borough and Mossley.

29-year-old Rhodri is now part of the FC United of Manchester side who will play his old club Salford City in the Second Round of The FA Carlsberg Vase on Saturday.

We caught up with him in the build up to the game.

Rhodri, your FC United side triumphed 3-0 at Padiham in the First Round of the Vase. How did you feel about that result?
It was a good win for the team. We had lost 2-1 at Salford in the league so it is always pleasing to bounce back after a defeat.

Was 3-0 a fair scoreline at Padiham?
I’d say so. They didn’t really trouble us at the back. We created plenty of chances so 3-0 was a fair result.

There was an impressive attendance of 1,371 at Padiham. So the FC United fans turned out in force again?
There is always great support - home or away. That means that every game is a big occasion. All the other teams just look at the calendar and they can’t wait to play FC United. It is their cup final and so we have to treat it like a cup final as well.

FC United have been drawn away to Salford City in the Second Round of The Vase. As you have already mentioned, they beat you recently in the North West Counties League.
The result could have gone either way. But Salford did well and they got the win. We were upset to lose and we would like to put it right in the Vase.

FC United was only formed last year. So a good Vase run would be a big boost for the club?
Yes. We are top of the North West Counties League First Division and we want to win the title. But the lads also want to do well in the Vase for the fans. Those supporters can have a good day out wherever we go in the Vase.

FC United has been a great success.
It has been brilliant, yeah. I’ve only been here a few months but it has been really good. The progress that the club has made has been amazing and it can only get better.

The atmosphere at matches is quite remarkable isn’t it?
Yes. It took me a few games to get used to it. I had previously played in front of 100-150 people for Mossley. But now I am at FC United where our home crowds at Bury’s Gigg Lane ground range between 2,000 and 5,000. That is a big difference and the fans are very loud. They have a good voice!

And if you can progress in The FA Vase, the interest will build won’t it?
Yes of course. And that can only be good for the club.

Salford City v FC United of Manchester is one of 64 ties in The Vase this weekend. For a full list of fixtures click here. If you fancy going along to watch one, you can search our Club Finder to locate your chosen team.

Monday, November 13, 2006

More cup joy for FC United


By Liam Chronnell

FC United's assault on all fronts continued as they sailed into the last 16 of the League Challenge Cup with a 3-0 win at title rivals Nantwich Town.

Rhodri Giggs opened the scoring for the leaders three minutes into the second half, and further goals from top-scorer Stuart Rudd and captain Dave Chadwick ensured their was no way back for the FA Vase holders, who are seven points behind United in second place, at Jackson Avenue.

Joining the Reds in the third round are Atherton Collieries, who won their first game in the competition since reaching the final in 2002/03.

The Alder House club enjoyed a superb 2-1 victory against high-flying Maine Road thanks to Craig Hobson's last-minute winner.

Anthony Pilkington had handed Colls a fourth-minute lead but Mike Turner equalised for the visitors with 20 minutes remaining.

Hobson struck late on, though they were indebted to goalkeeper Dave Rogerson for a spectacular save as Maine Road look to hit back immediately.

Atherton LR also continue to enjoy themselves in the cup with their second knockout success in a week.

After dumping UniBond Premier League side Radcliffe Boro out of the Lancashire Trophy in midweek Mark Cox's side defeated Blackpool Mechanics 1-0.

Ged McAllister's 14th goal of the season on the hour mark was enough to see off the home side.

Daisy Hill went down to two late goals at fellow Division Two side Chadderton.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Clancy sees red in classic

Source: South Manchester Reporter

North West Counties Division One
Maine Road 1
FC United 2

AN enthralled crowd of more than 3,000 turned out to witness Maine Road take on FC United in a tense encounter on Saturday.

In an end-to-end first half Road were first to cause panic with a desperate melee inside the FC United six-yard box.

United came straight back with dangerman Stuart Rudd going close from 18 yards, before Tony Coyne shot just wide from close range.

As Road got on top, a good header on by Turner put Neil Chappell through, but his shot lacked the power to trouble Reds’ ‘keeper Ashton.

Richards then went close in the 42nd minute, getting on the end of a pinpoint cross from the impressive Mack.

A minute later saw the best chance yet as Road won a free kick 25-yards out.

Wright stepped up to take it and hit a ferocious swerving shot, acrobatically pushed on to the crossbar by Ashton.

In a feisty end to the half Road full-back Mark Clancy was controversially red-carded, and deep into nine minutes of injury time, Rudd pounced on some indecision by keeper Hall to put FC 1-0 ahead.

In the second half Rhodri Giggs and Matt Carden twice missed chances for United, before 10-man Road hauled themselves level. Mack won a crucial ball in midfield before finding Richards, whose determination took him through two tackles, and his shot squeezed past the desperate dive of keeper Ashton.

United attacked straight from the restart and Hall dropped a cross at the feet of Rudd, who shot over.

Five minutes later Maine Road were close to taking the lead. Mack’s free kick was met by McGee’s head, only to be denied by a great save from Ashton.

As United dominated possession Rudd went close again with a header that clipped the bar.

Maine Road were reliant on the counter attack and it nearly paid off in the 79th minute as some great football between Wright and Richards, allowed Halligan free in the six-yard box, but his shot was cleared off the line.

United’s pressure finally paid off in the 83rd minute when a cross came in from the left, which Road failed to clear.

It fell to the dangerous Rudd, who made up for his earlier miss, driving the ball past a hapless Hall. United should have sewn it up a minute later as Rory Patterson, through on his own, beat the ‘keeper, but not the post.

First published by the South Manchester Reporter

The day football rolled back the years

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: South Manchester Reporter

THOUSANDS of Reds and Blues enjoyed a real derby day atmosphere as the breakaway Manchester United team took on a club started by Manchester City fans.

More than 3,100 fans travelled to Stalybridge to see FC United beat Maine Road by two goals to one in an incident-filled encounter.

The game was a harkback to the long lost days of football. Fans stood shoulder-to shoulder on the terraces, sang from start to finish and paid just £7 to get in.

Chorlton-based Maine Road, which was founded by City fans 51 years ago, played half of the game with ten men following the sending off of Marc Clancy but were squeezed out by two goals from Stuart Rudd.

The game was moved from Maine Road's home at Brantingham Road to Stalybridge Celtic’s Bower Field ground to accommodate the large number of fans wanting to attend. It was played in a partisan atmosphere with around 2,500 FC supporters finding some opposition in the shape of around 500 Road fans and some curious Blues.

Profits from the game are expected to cover Maine Road’s costs until the end of next season. Manager Ian Walker said: "It was the most enjoyable game of football in which I have been involved. The atmosphere FC United create is absolutely superb."

The two teams will meet again in the return fixture at Gigg Lane in Bury on April 9.

FC manager Karl Marginson said: "Road’s attitude was excellent - I have nothing but admiration for them."

First published by the South Manchester Reporter

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Source: A Ducth football mag, translation to follow.

Double assault!

Source: Crewe Chronicle

By Peter Morse

CREWE Alex and Nantwich Town are aiming for cup glory on Saturday.

The Alex travel to Bradford City in the FA Cup first round hoping to set-off on a profitable run in the world's most famous domestic knockout competition.

And Jackson Avenue is expected to be a 2,000 sell-out for Nantwich's League Cup clash with FC United of Manchester.

Alex boss Dario Gradi said: 'Ours is a tricky tie but this is the FA Cup and who knows what will happen? We'll do our best.

'We can prepare well because we don't have a midweek match. That's beneficial because we can do some work. Recent matches have taken a toll, but the injury situation is easing now.'

Crewe hope to welcome fit-again Luke Varney, David Vaughan, Billy Jones and captain Neil Cox back for the trip to Bradford, who have suffered four straight defeats.

Nicky Maynard is sidelined, although his hamstring tear is not as severe as first feared. Julien Baudet (Achilles) is out, while the Alex need permission from Liverpool to field loan man Danny O'Donnell.

Luke Rodgers will keep his place in attack after bagging a last minute winner against Port Vale on Saturday.

Midfielder Ben Rix has happy memories of scoring a 30-yard screamer at Bradford in 2004, but hopes for better than the 2-1 defeat Crewe suffered that day.

He said: 'The result is the most important thing on Saturday. Bradford have a good side and beat us easily 3-0 in August, but we hadn't gelled as a team then. Now, if we play well we can beat anybody.'

Crewe's youth side are also in cup action. Steve Holland's men travel to Oldham's Boundary Park for an FA Youth Cup first round tie tonight (7pm).

Meanwhile, Dabbers boss Steve Davis says his team is ready for FC United, formed by Manchester United fans disgruntled at the American takeover of Old Trafford.

The visitors have a massive fan base and will help fill Jackson Avenue for the North West Counties League Challenge Cup second round fixture.

Davis said: 'As we are moving to a new ground next season, this could be the last time anyone can see a packed Jackson Avenue.

'United are a good side and lead the way in Division One, and we are second, so I'm sure it will be a great spectacle well worth watching.'

Nantwich hope to have Paul Donnelly back after injury, while Gyorgy Kiss plans to fly back from Hungary to take part.

* A limited number of remaining tickets are on sale at Jackson Avenue (01270 621771), Crewe Alex, FP Sports of Hospital Street Nantwich, and The Red Lion of Wybunbury.

Cheshire Police have instructed the strictly ticket-only affair is restricted to 2,000 people. Prices are: Adults £7, senior citizens £5, juniors £3.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Red-hot Rudd is the Maine man

Source: M.E.N.

Stuart Brennan

THE mini derby ended up as a snapshot of Manchester football history, with the Blues bristling with pride and seething with injustice, and the Reds swaggering off with the points after a 2-1 win.

Maine Road, founded by City fans 51 years ago, played half of the game with ten men but were only squeezed out by two goals from Stuart Rudd as FC continued their march at the top of the North West Counties League.

The Blues had full-back Marc Clancy unfairly sent-off in first half injury time and when the referee added on an amazing eight minutes to that first period, Rudd headed the Rebels in front.

But in front of a crowd of 3,151 at Stalybridge, Road fought back fiercely and equalised through Gareth Richards, only for Rudd to bundle in the winner with seven minutes to go.

Three days earlier, Rudd looked likely to be ruled out for weeks with a suspected fractured eye socket, but he was given the all-clear to play when new X-rays revealed nothing more than bad bruising.

The game was played in a partisan atmosphere with around 2,500 FC supporters finding some opposition in the shape of around 500 Road fans, bolstered by a few curious Blues.


And afterwards FC manager Karl Marginson paid tribute to the opposition: "You have to give Maine Road massive credit for making it a contest. Their players don't get paid any money, but even when down to ten men their attitude was excellent - I have nothing but admiration for them.

"They were definitely unlucky to have a player sent off. There was no chance that was a straight red card, with some of the challenges that were going in - but all of those challenges were honest, with no-one trying to hurt anyone."

Maine Road boss Ian Walker was proud of his team, but says he faces stick from some of his FC-supporting pupils - he is head of PE at St Monica's school in Prestwich, and some of his boys had a cheeky banner on prominent display at the Joe Jackson End proclaiming him to be both a `Bluenose' and a `bignose'!

"I am proud, but also a bit disappointed, because it's hard when you get that close in such a big game and get nothing out of it," said Walker.

"The red card was bizarre and then the ref played eight minutes of injury time in the first half - he seemed to be waiting for them to score.

"But it was the most enjoyable game of football in which I have been involved. The atmosphere FC United create is absolutely superb.

"We set out this season to get in the top five but after a display like that there is no reason we can't go up with them and have more days like that."

The day was a financial success for Maine Road, although they were disappointed that more City fans did not turn up. Said chairman Ron Meredith: "This match has brought a lot of expense and hard work, but the money will keep us going this season and possibly next as well.

"Most of our players will never play in front of a crowd as big as that again."

FC United in Maine Road triumph

Edited from

By Liam Chronnell

A Stuart Rudd brace handed leaders FC United the derby honours against 10-man Maine Road.

The prolific striker scrambled home an 83rd-minute winner - his 23rd goal of the season - to seal a 2-1 victory for the breakaway club in front of 3,181 supporters at Stalybridge's Bower Fields.

Rudd had broken the deadlock on the stroke of half-time but Gareth Richards equalised on the hour mark for Road, the club set up by Manchester City fans, before Rudd struck again with seven minutes left.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Manager praises rebels


FC United have won a ringing endorsement from the boss of rivals Maine Road in the run-up to their "mini derby" on Saturday.

The match has been switched from Maine Road's Brantingham Road home in Chorlton to Stalybridge Celtic's 6,500 capacity Bower Fold stadium, such is the interest in the fixture.

Maine Road chairman Ronnie Meredith has told the FC United website that he was against allowing the club, formed by disaffected Manchester United supporters opposed to the Glazer takeover, into the North West Counties League. But now admits he was wrong.

"I was totally against them coming into our league at first and I've been proved totally wrong," he said.

"I was against it because at that point FC United didn't even exist, they didn't have a ground. I don't think they even had a manager.

"It seemed like total madness to me. But history has proved me wrong and I'm happy it has done because they have been fantastic for the league."

And, United assistant manager Phil Power acknowledged the compliment. He said: "We've proved during the last two seasons that we could be a boost for every team we play against because of our level of support. We have a hard core of about 1,800,which is brilliant."

FC United manager Karl Marginson has watched his blue rivals and knows they will be difficult to beat.

He said: "They don't half work hard. We've seen some clubs raising their game for us, but their players can't work any harder than they already do week-in week-out.

"They're a good honest side. As ever, though, we'll be looking to get three points."

Marginson's task will be harder as United's leading striker Stuart Rudd looks certain to be sidelined after fracturing an eye socket in Saturday's 8-0 victory over Glossop.

A crowd of 3257 took part in the club's inaugural People United Day.

Struggling Atherton LR will hope to pick up points at home to Bacup Borough, while Atherton Colls look to continue their good run at St Helens Town. Second Division strugglers Daisy Hill face a tall order when they entertain leaders Winsford.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

FC United 'two steps from the League in three years'

Souce: M.E.N.

Stuart Brennan

REBEL club FC United have unveiled their bold vision of the future - in which they will be two steps from the Football League within three years, and in their own stadium in five.

The club formed by disaffected Manchester United fans just last year revealed their plans to the acclaim of members at their annual meeting this week.

The club warned it was very much adopting a tactic of "aim for the stars and you might just reach the moon."

But after winning the North West Counties League's second division in their inaugural season, and now sitting seven points clear at the top of the first division and attracting average gates of around 3,000, they want to:

WIN promotion in three successive seasons to take them to Conference North by 2009.

REACH an average of 5,000 supporters per home game by 2009.

BUILD their own 7-10,000 capacity stadium, as central to Greater Manchester as possible, by 2012.

DEVELOP their own training facilities by 2009.

START a women's team next season.

MAKE waves in the FA Cup and FA Trophy, starting next season.

Board member Adam Brown said that discussions have already begun with local authorities in Greater Manchester, with the FA and Football Trust, and other bodies with regard to finding a suitable site and funding for the stadium.


But he stressed that no site has yet been identified, and warned that it could take longer than the five years - citing Salford City Reds' current wrangle over their proposed new home at Barton as an example of how things can get tied up in red tape.

"There are no fixed plans for a stadium as yet," he said. "There are no deals that have been done that we are keeping quiet about, and no sites sorted out. All the speculation is wrong.

"But we can't realise the potential of this football club without our own ground.

"It's incredibly ambitious what we are trying to achieve at FC United, and we have to be patient and realistic about how things develop. If we get this right, it will help to change football by providing a good, visible example of how English football could be run."

Another board member, Vas Wackrill, said: "We want to be a beacon for the way a club should be run, with everybody having a say and having a vote."

The club revealed that, in its inaugural season, it made an overall £240,000 surplus, most of that from donations of £176,000 when the club was set up in the summer of 2005.

Pete Munday, the board member who looks after finance, said: "We have £280,000 in the bank, but a lot of that is money related to this year in terms of sponsorship income and season ticket sales, so it exaggerates our situation. But it is extremely healthy."

But the board warned that staying at Gigg Lane as tenants of Bury - which will continue for at least the next three seasons - is not sustainable, especially now that the club is expanding by employing six staff, setting up youth and women's teams and increasing its community work.


Another board member, Jules Spencer, warned that FC United will not be running willy-nilly into the future, loaded up with dreams and aspirations.

He said: "We will not be trying to reach the Conference North in three or four years if that means we betray the principles on which this club is founded."

General manager Andy Walsh, reflecting on the club's startling progress, said: "One thing we have rightly been accused of is being ambitious.

"The start of this club was the direct opposition to the takeover of Manchester United, but for many it was the culmination of the thieving from football by people who have come into the game for their personal profile or profit."

TOP scorer Stuart Rudd is out of action for "several weeks" after fracturing an eye socket in Saturday's 8-0 win over Glossop.

Midfielder Steve Smith has been allowed to leave and play for Leek in order to gain match fitness.

Derby day for fans' clubs

Source: M.E.N.

MANCHESTER is buzzing ahead of derby day this weekend but the big match will not be played at either Old Trafford or Eastlands.

Away from the glamour of the Premiership, the first ever fans' derby between clubs formed by United and City supporters will take place at Stalybridge's Bower Fields on Saturday with the added spice of a top of the table clash.

Instead of watching their favourite millionaire superstars, thousands of Mancunians will instead cheer on the van drivers, brickies, and window fitters of FC United and Maine Road.

The rivalry will be just as intense as any Manchester derby with established club Maine Road, who were formed in 1955 and attract an average of around 60 fans per game, trying to prove a point against new boys United and their enviable supporter base of around 3,000.

And the rivalry off the pitch is sure to be reflected on it as FC lead the North West County League First Division after winning 15 out of 16 games and the Blues aren't far off the pace in second/third.

A massive crowd of up to 5,000 is expected so Maine Road's home ground at Brantingham Road, Chorlton, was considered too small and the match was switched to the 6,500 capacity venue.

Where as FC United are well known following their high-profile formation in the wake of Malcolm Glazer's takeover at Old Trafford and their large crowds at Gigg Lane, not many Blues even know Maine Road exist.

Road were formed by City Supporters Rusholme to give fans a team to play for on Sundays but they quickly progressed into Saturday football and adopted the name of the Maine Road Social Club near to City's ground.


The Sky Blues, whose badge is based on City's old crest, hope to raise awareness of their club.

As Road manager and City fan Ian Walker says: "We've had a real drive to get our fans interested by contacting supporters clubs, so we hope there will be 2,000 Blues there.

"The main stand is already sold out to people connected to the club.

"FC swept all before them this season because, in a similar vein to United and City, they have the money to attract the players and we can't match that.

"But like any derby all that goes out the window and we can hopefully beat them on the day."

FC manager and lifelong Red Karl Marginson is also looking forward to the challenge.

"Chris Simms, our under-18s manager, played and managed there for many years so we know all about their players and I was impressed when I saw them recently," he says.

"We won't approach the game any differently than all the others. However, the lads will be aware that the supporters see it as a derby and we won't let them down."

Admission is by payment at the turnstiles and is £7 for adults and £3 for under-16s and over 60s.