Friday, December 29, 2006

Marginson's rallying call

Source: M.E.N.

FC United manager Karl Marginson is demanding more of the spirit which carried the Rebels to victory on Boxing Day as they seek to end 2006 on a high note.

Marginson's men see out the old year with the visit of Newcastle Town and are eager to build on a dramatic 3-2 win over Ramsbottom which saw them cut Salford City's lead in the North West Counties League first division to three points.

FC came from two goals down to beat Rammy and, in doing so, answered the critics who claimed their season was in danger of collapsing after a run of four games without a win.

Victory over Newcastle will take the Rebels back to the summit on goal difference should Salford, who have played four games more than them, lose their derby clash at Flixton.

But fans might appreciate a more routine success than Tuesday's heart-stopping triumph or, indeed, FC United's 3-2 win at Newcastle in October, which was secured by Simon Carden's injury-time strike after front man Rory Patterson had been forced to take over in goal from the injured Sam Ashton.

Said Marginson: "The boys showed tremendous character on Boxing Day and, hopefully, it's a sign that our bad run is now behind us.

"But it's vital we now don't allow our standards to slip once again. We'll undo all the good work we did against Ramsbottom if we fail to deliver tomorrow."

Rebel Reds on brink of goal milestone


By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED will be aiming to join the 100 club when they entertain lowly Newcastle Town at Gigg Lane tomorrow.

The prolific Reds have struck 97 goals in all competitions this season and three more would take them past the century mark in their 29th game of the campaign.

But manager Karl Marginson will put goalscoring feats to the back of his mind as he concentrates on closing the gap on new Division One leaders Salford City.

United trail the table-toppers, who have played four games more, by three points but, with Salford facing a tough trip to Flixton, the breakaway club will be eyeing a return to the summit before the New Year festivities begin.

Atherton Collieries' new signing David Campbell will make his home debut against third-placed Nantwich Town.

Colls boss Phil Brown, who hopes to make a further addition to the squad before tomorrow's clash, will also welcome back defender Nick Dyson, but will be without the suspended Barry Massey, who serves the final match of his three-game ban.

Atherton LR will hope to build on their hard-fought point in the Boxing Day derby with Colls. Struggling Rovers, three points above the drop zone in 18th, travel to Squires Gate - one place and eight points above the Crilly Park club.

Daisy Hill boss Tommy Moore will be desperate for some Christmas cheer when his young side entertain Bootle in Division Two. Hill are stuck in the bottom two and will need to turn things around quickly if they are to avoid a relegation battle in 2007.


Edited from

But, in marching through the back-slapping hordes, what Ferguson has also managed to do is retain his focus on the future and what he believes to be the best interests of Manchester United.

There are some, even among those who have not defected to FC United, who feel Ferguson has not always acted this way.

Although the truth is slightly different, it is argued by a sizeable minority the unseemly arguments with John Magnier over the ownership of Rock of Gibraltar created the vacuum that allowed Malcolm Glazer's £790million takeover, the merits of which are still the subject of hot debate.

In decrying FC United and those who formed it, Ferguson is accused of abandoning his socialist principles on the altar of self-preservation.

In keeping with the man, such allegations are swiftly dismissed, those who make them consigned the dustbin.

For Ferguson, throughout his life, has always had a clear sense of right and wrong and whether you are with him or not.

And for Ferguson just now, top of the Premiership at the end of 2006, the wrong thing to do would be to wallow in past glories.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

FC back on track

Source: M.E.N.

FC UNITED ended their `mini-blip' with a last-gasp 3-2 win over Ramsbottom at Gigg Lane.

The Reds' four-game run without a win looked set to continue as Ramsbottom took an early lead through Carl Thomas before adding a second just after the break with an unfortunate own goal from Rob Nugent.

But the Rebels fought back, with captain Dave Chadwick heading home from a corner before substitute Rory Patterson won a penalty which Alex Mortimer converted.
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Then, two minutes from time, the 2,924 crowd got the late Christmas present they wanted with a Nicky Platt winner.

FC play Newcastle Town on Saturday at Gigg Lane (3pm).

Late fightback puts FC boys back on track

Edited from:

By Neil Bonnar

FC UNITED received a huge North West Counties League Division One title confidence booster when they came back from 2-0 down with 17 minutes remaining to beat Ramsbottom United 3-2 in front of 2,924 at Gigg Lane.

And with leaders, Salford City, being held to a 3-3 home draw by Maine Road, the rebel Reds are back on track to clinch a second successive championship triumph.

They are now just three points behind Salford with four games in hand and assistant manager, Phil Power, paid tribute to the players for battling their way back to winning ways.

"We looked dead and buried at one point," he said. "We had numerous chances but it looked like we couldn't buy a goal. But then, as soon as one went in, it lifted the confidence and we got the roar going and never looked back. We haven't been playing as well as we can and we've been on a bad run of results but that win has put us back on track again."

Carl Lomax gave Rambottom an early lead and two United players got in each other's way to help double the lead with an own goal two minutes after half time.

Dave Chadwick pulled one back on 73 minutes and Alex Mortimer levelled the scores from the spot before Nicky Platt won it two minutes from time.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Frustrated Rebel Reds slip up again

Edited from:

By Liam Chronnell

FC United's dip in form continues as they were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at Flixton at Valley Road.

The Rebel Reds are five points adrift of leaders Salford City after going four games without a win.

Rory Patterson's superb 25th-minute volley had put FC in front but his strike was cancelled out by Anthony Hargeaves 10 minutes later.

The Gigg Lane club, who have four games in hand on Salford, will hope to return to winning ways at home to Ramsbottom United today.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Rebel Reds look for quick turnaround

Edited from:

By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED will hope to bounce back from their slump when they travel to rivals Flixton in Division One.

The breakaway club are suffering a mini-crisis by their own high standards and are looking to get back on the victory trail after failing to win their last three games - including their FA Vase exit against Quorn.

To make matters worse the one-time runaway leaders were knocked off top spot for the first time this season by Salford City, though the Reds have four games in hand.

But they will have to return to winning ways without new signing Jerome Wright. The winger starts a three-game ban after being sent off in his last outing for former club Maine Road.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Why Salford have gone to the dogs!

Source: M.E.N. No online content.

SALFORD City have managed to knock long-time leaders FC United off the top of the North West Counties League first division - now they're going to the dogs.

The Moor Lane club's chairman, Darren Quick, is so delighted by their success in replacing the Rebels at the league's summit that he has bought a greyhound and named it Salford City!

Football fans in big Christmas warm-up

Source: Also published in Bolton News.

By Jenny Minard

THOUSANDS of football fans are set to provide Christmas cheer for those who need it most by donating their old winter woollies to the homeless and needy.

Supporters of FC United of Manchester - the rebel club established by disenfranchised Manchester United supporters in response to the hostile Glazer takeover in 2005 - are hosting an 'Extra Big Coat Day' before their Boxing Day fixture against Ramsbottom at Gigg Lane, Bury.

Volunteers from the Salvation Army will be on hand hours before the 3pm kick-off to take coats, hats, gloves and sleeping bags to distribution centres across the county.

Lisa Flynn, a member of the FC United Supporters' Network, said: "The idea of an 'Extra Big Coat Day' follows on from last winter. FC United were in their infancy and some suggested that our support would dwindle at the onset of colder weather. In response, the supporters decided to turn up to the game in big coats.

"Now we're asking all fans - many who will have got new coats or jackets for Christmas - to dig out last year's coats and donate them to those who really need them."

The Salvation Army's David Lees commented: "We are very pleased to assist in this collection. Winter is a particularly tough time for the homeless and I'm sure they will welcome the help these supporters are providing.

"Once the coats and other items have been collected, we will take them to our Central Manchester Homeless Centre before being distributed to other centres allowing those that need them to access them directly."

The Salvation Army will be outside the reception area of the Gigg Lane football stadium from 12 noon on Boxing Day.

For more information on the event, or for further details on the FC United Supporters' Network, telephone 07895 099 333, email or visit the website at

Monday, December 18, 2006

Lions chief rules out FC alliance

Source: M.E.N.

Neil Barker

SWINTON Lions rugby league club chairman John Kidd today ruled out a ground-share scheme at Agecroft with local football club FC United.

Swinton bosses were approached by FC United and held informal talks on the possibility of the two clubs ground-sharing should Swinton set up home at a new stadium in Agecroft.

Lions chairman John Kidd today revealed FC United have contacted him to say they will not be pursuing the matter.

Kidd told MEN Sport: "We held informal discussions with people from FC United at their request regarding the possibility of them playing at Agecroft.

"FC United have since got back in touch with us to say they have no further plans to pursue this particular venture.

"I can't see it happening now but we were happy to talk with them. Regarding the new development at Agecroft, I hope to know in the next three or four months when a possible start date can be set."


Jules Spencer, the spokesman for FC United, said: "It's always been our intention to have our own ground. We are keeping our options open but there is nothing concrete happening at the moment.

"Our deal with Bury to use Gigg Lane lasts for two more seasons after this one. Preferably, we would want a stadium within Manchester itself.

"That process could last five years as was the experience for Salford Reds. We are working hard to provide what our supporters want."

Meanwhile, Swinton chairman Kidd says his immediate concern is making sure the Lions build on last season's success in the National League.

Swinton will play a pre-season friendly against Salford at Sedgley Park on February 4, the week before the official season starts with an opening match in the Northern Rail Cup.

Swinton will travel to Hilton Park for a Boxing Day clash with Leigh. They have also fixed up a New Year clash with Widnes.

Meanwhile, neighbours Salford Reds are in full training ahead of a new Super League season and will again finalise plans in Jacksonville, Florida.

Football director Steve Simms says: "We have always reaped the benefits from warm weather training - a great deal of work was done in the US last year on our defensive structures and we will again be working thoroughly in readiness for what is a very important season."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Wembley dream in tatters for FC United


By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED'S mini-blip continued after their Wembley dreams were left in pieces following their controversial FA Vase exit.

After going two games without a win for the first time in the Gigg Lane club's history prior to Saturday's third-round clash against Quorn, the rebel Reds, one of the favourites for the national competition, slipped to a hugely disappointing defeat.

But if the Division One leaders were lacklustre in their two previous North West Counties League encounters, then they could not be faulted for their Herculean efforts at the weekend against the Leicestershire visitors.

After playing the majority of the second half with nine men, assistant player-boss Phil Power looked as if he had given FC an unlikely victory when he struck with just four minutes remaining.

But Jermaine Gordon sent the tie into extra-time when he levelled matters for the Midland Alliance outfit two minutes later.

And sub Nigel Julien shattered United's hopes of reaching the final at the new Wembley stadium when he grabbed the winner with virtually the last kick of the game.

The outcome was cruel on the breakaway club, who produced a hugely spirited display after Rory Patterson's 14th-minute strike had cancelled out Paul White's early opener.

Manager Karl Marginson was certainly less than impressed with the referee Mr Duncan's performance, after the match official sent off both Liam Coyne, for his part in a 21-man brawl, and Josh Howard for two bookable offences, the second of which was innocuous at best.

"I just hope there was a referees' assessor in the stand because this referee should have to answer to someone," said an irate Reds boss.

Marginson's opposite number, Marcus Law, sympathised with the hosts after admitting there had been "nine men against 12", the Quorn manager referring to the man in black's role.

Matty Taylor, outstanding throughout despite struggling with injury, was also shown a red card in the tunnel after the game as he continued his protest after the final whistle.

If that was not bad enough, the Reds, without a game this weekend, could see rivals Salford City go above them at the top of the table, albeit having played four games more.

United's away match at Formby has been postponed after the Merseysiders could not find a suitable ground to stage the game and, in particular, cater for FC's large travelling report.

Marginson's side return to action the following Saturday, when they travel to Flixton on December 23.

United, meanwhile, hope to sign talented 21-year-old Jermaine Wright from Maine Road this week.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

FCUM out of FA Vase

Source: BBC

By Jamie Murphy

Despite a brave performance with two men sent off, FCUM’s Wembley dream is over, after a last gasp extra time goal for Quorn put the Reds out of the FA Vase on Saturday.

FA Vase
FC United 2 Quorn 3
Attendance: 1,858

For the third game in a row, United started on the back foot and conceded an early goal, when Paul White hit a superb left foot volley from a Sam Ashton clearance to put the Leicestershire side ahead.

The Reds responded ten minutes later when Stuart Rudd’s rebounded shot was put away by captain Rory Patterson.

One a-piece at half-time, United came out attacking Gigg Lane’s Manchester Road End as the home supporters urged their team on. Five minutes into the second half, the fans were on their feet, but not for the reasons they would have wished.

The Visitor’s captain Robert Betts aimed an angry kick following a tackle from Rhodri Giggs, resulting in a melee. Pushing and shoving ensued before Quorn’s big centre forward Jermaine Gordon went down from a push from Liam Coyne.

Coyne was given a straight red, while Gordon was given a standing ovation for his pantomime performance. On the hour mark, things got worse for the home team when Josh Howard received a second booking for an innocuous challenge in the centre of the park.

Nine men with 20 minutes left to play, FC put in a dogged, backs-to-the-wall performance and went ahead with five minutes remaining after a goal-mouth scramble seemed to see Phil Power bundle the ball over the line. Rob Nugent settled the matter by hitting the clearance into the back of the visitor’s net.

It seemed that the Reds had grabbed victory from the jaws of defeat, but the visitors bit back instantly when the villain of the piece, Jermaine Gordon, got the equaliser to send the tie into extra time.

The Nine Men hung in there, until substitute Nigel Julien’s excellent drive from 25 yards out put Quorn 3-2 up with virtually the last kick of the game.

There were boos for the referee on the final whistle, but the home fans can be proud of the way their team carried the fight despite the odds.

With next week’s game away to Formby postponed, FC United will have time to reflect and regroup. With their lead at the top of North West Counties Division One cut down to three points by Salford City, the Reds, with two games in hand, will be hoping they can regain their form for their push for promotion.

Rebels' Vase hopes smashed to pieces

Source: Manchester Evening News

FC UNITED'S dream of an FA Vase final came crashing down as they suffered two red cards and a deciding goal in the last minute of extra time against Quorn.

The Rebels played for an hour - including a bizarre eight minutes of added time - with nine men after the controversial dismissals of defender Liam Coyne and midfielder Josh Howard.

But what had looked like being an heroic rearguard action ended in a shattering 3-2 defeat deep in extra time as Quorn sub Nigel Julien crashed in a brilliant 25-yard winner.

But the talking point was referee Mr Duncan, with Quorn manager Marcus Law sympathising with his opposite number Karl Marginson, saying how well his team had played "considering they were nine men against 12."


Marginson was blazing mad with Mr Duncan but had no qualms about the dismissal of Liam Coyne, who appeared to push an opponent in the face during a 21-man brawl.

"I didn't see why he had to red-card their man in particular when there were 20 grown men pushing each other around," said Law.

Marginson was furious at Howard's dismissal on 67 minutes.

He was booked in the first half for dissent and then shown a second yellow for an innocuous foul on Paul White.

"I just hope there was a referees' assessor in the stand because this referee should have to answer to someone," said Marginson.

Quorn took the lead when White seized on Sam Ashton's punch to smash home a half-volley.

Rory Patterson equalised and FC went ahead on 86 minutes when Rob Nugent stabbed the ball home.

Within two minutes the lead was wiped out by Jermaine Gordon and Quorn went on to win the tie with what was virtually the last kick.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Le Figaro

Source: Edited from Le Figaro, translation by Gardner. No online content.

Manchester United, which boasts millions of fans worldwide, has turned itself into a global club. When planning their strategy, the board are as concerned with merchandising sales in Thailand, Singapore or the US as they with the people who go to Old Trafford.

Is the sport drifting into mere commercialism?

People are more and more worried that this is the case. With rising ticket prices, the atmosphere in the stadia is suffering. Support is expressed less passionately than before. But football still holds a big place in English life. When Liverpool won the CL in 2005, half a million thieving scroungers gathered to greet the team on their return, a sign of the unbreakable bond that ties them to their team.

How are supporters reacting to this new commercial logic?

It's dangerous to imagine that sport can be run simply as a business. Many fans argue that football in the 21st century has lost touch with its roots. Supporters feel that they are now merely seen as clients. As a result the loyalty they feel to their club is weakened.

Is this why some fans are turning to the lower leagues?

The story of FCUM suggests this is the case. A number of former small shareholders in Manchester United founded their own club after the takeover by American pauper Malcolm Glazer. While this type of action is the exception rather than the rule, it remains a form of resistance.

Vase heartbreak for rebel Reds


By Liam Chronnell

NINE-MAN FC United crashed out of the FA Vase after conceding a last-minute extra-time winner against Leicestershire side Quorn at Gigg Lane.

Liam Coyne and Josh Howard were both sent off as the rebel Reds played the majority of the second half and the extra period with two men down in the third round clash.

Rory Patterson's 14th-minute equaliser had cancelled out Paul White's opener and substitute Phil Power looked like he had sent the Division One leaders into the next round of the national competition when he struck with just four minutes left.

But Jermaine Gordon sent the tie into extra-time when he levelled matters for the Midland Alliance outfit two minutes later.

And sub Nigel Julien shattered FC's hopes of reaching Wembley when he grabbed the winner with virtually the last kick of the game.

In the league, Atherton Collieries were guilty of throwing away the points after drawing 3-3 at Abbey Hey.

Colls led 2-0 and 3-1 before two goals in the last 12 minutes earned the home side a share of the spoils.

Seydou Bamba first goal for the club and Andy Harvie's strike saw Phil Brown's side go two up inside 31 minutes.

Abbey Hey pulled one back but Harvie's second on 70 minutes looked to have earned the visitors all three points.

But the hosts hit back eight minutes later and grabbed an 85th-minute equaliser to send Colls home disappointed.

Atherton LR's clash at Trafford and Daisy Hill's game at Norton United in Division Two were both victims of the weather as their games were postponed due to waterlogged pitches.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The alternative to a new foreign owner: let fans run your club

Source: The Independent

Toasts Note: Not specifically about FC, but rather about Fans clubs.

By Glenn Moore
Published: 09 December 2006

Not every fan dreams of a foreign billionaire buying their club, some of them want to run it themselves and, at a growing number of clubs, they are.

While Premiership clubs are being hawked around the globe Notts County, the oldest club in the professional game, are on the brink of becoming the latest to be taken over by their own supporters. They will become the sixth such club in the Football League and 15th in all. This may not seem many but when clubs are disappearing into the portfolios of unaccountable individuals, it is an encouraging trend.

The development was highlighted at the recent conference of Supporters Direct, the body which guides and promotes the supporters' trust phenomenon. The first arose from a parochial campaign in Northampton in 1991. There are now nearly 150 whose combined membership of 115,000 has put more than £10m into football and has boardroom representation at 46 clubs.

Indicating its growing influence was the presence, at the conference, of Uefa's William Gaillard and Richard Caborn, the minister for sport. Caborn was there to announce an increase in funding of £1.8m over the next three years. Gaillard revealed Uefa was to investigate rolling out the concept across Europe.

In the chair was the man who kicked it all off, Brian Lomax. Fifteen years ago, Lomax had a daughter who was a dedicated but disgruntled Northampton Town supporter. The club was a mess, deep in debt, poorly run and playing at a rusting joke of a ground. When he realised the club had been reduced to paying players from gate receipts - "you'd see the captain walking through the bar after games with a sack of coins like Father Christmas, doling out the wages" - Lomax knew a crisis was approaching and called a public meeting. Six hundred turned up including players.

Lomax then worked for the Mayday Trust, a charitable organisation housing people with disabilities. He formed a supporters' trust along the same lines. Although ineligible for charitable status, trusts have the same principles: transparency, democracy, unpaid administration and a not-for-profit status. Not exactly widespread values at traditional clubs.

Northampton soon slid into administration. The trust worked with the administrators in rescuing the club and raised £60,000, enough to buy a stake in the club and two seats on the board. The council then provided a smart new ground, Sixfields.

Word got around. Kettering and Darlington led a clutch of imitators and soon the new Football Task Force recommended funding. Thus was born Supporters Direct.

There are some caveats. The movement's impact in the upper echelons of the League is restricted by cost. Taking over Brentford is one thing, finding £300m to buy Aston Villa is something else. "It is harder as you go up the League," said Lomax. "With effort and diligence the figures are achievable up to League One but at larger clubs trusts have to settle for influence rather than control."

It might be thought that putting fans in charge would lead to reckless spending, as with Leeds under Peter Ridsdale and Crystal Palace under Mark Goldberg. But clubs which come under Trust control have usually been to the precipice and have no wish to return. The downside is they can struggle to succeed on the pitch, especially as some of the tax and accounting laws are against them vis-à-vis clubs which are part of conglomerates and whose losses can be offset. York and Rushden & Diamonds both dropped out of the League under Trust control and subsequently reverted to private ownership, albeit York's owner is heavily involved in the trust. "The trust there did its job," said Lomax. "It raised £1m in nine months to save the club." It also kept the team at Bootham Crescent, which had been separated from the club and sold for development, and still retains an influential voice in the club.

Saving clubs in crisis has been the most significant achievement. Partnerships like that at York may be the way to bridge the resource gap between fan collectives and Premiership costs. Another template is at AFC Telford where a partnership with the local authority has led to the club becoming a "community hub" providing healthcare and education services.

It makes a change from megastores, restaurants and night-clubs at Old Trafford and Stamford Bridge.

Fan power Supporters' clubs

* FOOTBALL LEAGUE: Bournemouth, Brentford, Chesterfield, Lincoln City, Stockport County.

* NON-LEAGUE: AFC Telford United, AFC Wimbledon, Cambridge City, Enfield Town, Exeter City, FC United of Manchester, Newport IoW, Runcorn Linnets.

* SCOTLAND: Clydebank.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Tasty Cup Tie

FC United face Quorn FC this weekend, and their opponents are only one of a series oddly-named teams the Reds have faced this season

Tony Howard
Friday December 8, 2006
Guardian Unlimited

Source: The Guardian

FC United embark on their latest FA Vase adventure this weekend against the wonderfully named Quorn FC.

The Leicestershire side have certainly caused a stir ahead of the crunch third-round encounter and every self-proclaimed comedian worth his salt has come up with a food related gag.

One of the joys of dropping down the divisions from the Premiership to the non-league scene has been the the clubs United fans have discovered. Already this season the mini-Reds have played Stone Dominoes, a name which conjures up images of a Stonehenge-inspired Guinness Book of Records attempt, although their name is simply a shortening of Stone St Dominics' Scout group in Stoke-on-Trent. FC have also faced many teams with obvious links to mines, including Brodsworth Miners Welfare and Atherton Collieries.

Article continues
Last season the Reds faced Blackpool Mechanics, who obviously make no secret of their occupation, and if you're looking for a festive theme there was Castleton Gabriels - named after a local church in the Rochdale area.

Teams taking their town's name have caused confusion. Many supporters found last season's opponents Ashton Town to be a particular problem as some assumed they were from nearby Ashton-under-Lyne.

There are reports of at least one fan ending up at Ashton United's ground in the Tameside town, rather than Northwich where FC actually ended up playing Ashton Town, who in fact hail from Ashton-in-Makerfield near Wigan.

Confused? So were the majority of Reds when they saw FC were set to face Newcastle Town earlier this season. Surely they play in the north-east? Not so. Newcastle in Stoke-on-Trent were the actual opponents.

And this weekend's opponents Quorn can certainly compete with the best-named clubs around, even if they simply take the title of a small town near Loughborough, not Paul McCartney's second-favourite brand of veggie burgers. FC winger Rhodri Giggs will be all too familiar with the named food product after his brother Ryan had a spell heading their advertising campaign in the early 1990s.

United go into the fixture on the back a 'poor' run of form - a draw and a defeat in the last two games.

Such has been the prolific start to the season the dropping of four points with a home defeat against Atherton Collieries and an away draw at Congleton could herald some to call it a crisis.Before the Atherton game, United had lost only once - against Salford, a loss for which FC atoned in the previous round of the Vase with a 3-2 win.

But after two lacklustre performances in the league, the Reds are now 'only' seven points clear of Salford in the league and will be looking forward to the distraction the FA Vase brings.

Manager Karl Marginson has read his team the riot act after the recent slump and he will be hoping the Reds show more bite at Gigg Lane on Saturday.

And if they win they could face the likes of Slimbridge AFC, Chessington and Hook United or even Moneyfields FC in the next round - a tasty incentive if ever there was one.

· The match against Quorn FC is at Gigg Lane on Saturday, December 9, kick off 3pm. Admission on the gate is £7 adults, £5 over-60s and £2 under-18s.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Nugent sets sights on a United double

Stuart Brennan
Source: Manchester Evening News

ROB Nugent is aiming for a big Red double on Saturday - by cheering Manchester United to derby victory and then putting on his boots to keep FC United on course for FA Vase glory.

The 23-year-old defender describes the day as one of the biggest of his football life, but will be forced to miss most of the second half of the lunchtime Old Trafford clash with the Blues in order to prepare for the visit of Quorn to Gigg Lane.

"I will be getting to Gigg Lane earlier than usual to watch the derby in the social club," said the FC central defender, who signed up to join the rebel club on the day of its inception.

"But I will have to tear myself away for the manager's pre-match team talk, so will miss most of the second half. I just hope United can beat City and then we can make our fans doubly happy by seeing off Quorn."


Nugent is a dyed-in-the-wool Red, who joined the protests against Malcolm Glazer's takeover and, as a former Sheffield United reserve team captain, was a natural to play for the club born out of that protest.

"I have been a United fan since I was a little lad, but have become disillusioned with the way the club, and Premiership football in general, is going," said Nugent, now a trainee accountant with Trafford Borough Council.

"It all came to a head with Glazer and his debt, but there are a lot of different issues such as unaffordable prices, not being able to take kids, and the atmosphere."

Now Nugent is revving up for what he believes is the biggest game in the new club's history.

"In the last round, people were saying the Salford City game was the biggest, so this one has to be bigger," he added.

A win would put FC into the national phase of the competition.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

FC United win BBC NW award

Source: Edited from M.E.N. article

Bolton's 2004 Olympic silver medallist Khan was on hand to present the Newcomer of 2006 award. The winners were FC United, run-away champions of the NW Counties division two title last season and division one table toppers this time.

FC United hires ad agency

Simon Donohue
Source: Manchester Evening News

THEY shoot, they score! C21 is relishing the task of telling potential sponsors about the breakaway Reds' FC United of Manchester.

The Altrincham advertising and marketing agency beat off stiff competition from rivals to help position and promote the groundbreaking football club formed by MUFC fans alienated by the Malcolm Glazer takeover.

The relationship between the football club and C21 developed when FC United recognised the agency's "immediate grasp of the club's unique ethos and felt there was natural synergy with C21's creative yet practical approach".
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Andy Walsh, general manager of FC United, said: "We've been approached by other creative agencies that were eager to work with us, but it never felt right.

"C21 were recommended to us and when we met it was clear that they understood our core philosophy straight away.

"The material they have produced portrays the FC United message of bringing football back to the fans and supporting communities."


As part of their remit, C21 created a sponsorship and media pack that communicates the unique situation of FC United - a fledgling club, which enjoys a fan base 30 times larger than their rival teams.

Christina Clarke, C21's managing director, said: "The club is most agencies' dream client.

"They've received some outstanding publicity in the last 12 months but their feet are firmly on the ground. The literature we designed clearly expresses their distinct culture.

"We used some great imagery. One in particular is of an old rattle from the 1950s that belonged to a supporter's grandad. It really tells the story of football past and present and what it means to fans and their families."

The promotional literature produced has helped double sponsorship revenue in FC United's second season, with Williams BMW the main FC United Sponsor for 2006/2007 and over 30 other companies supporting the team. C21 are now working with the club to develop a three-year communications strategy and a future vision.

Monday, December 04, 2006

"Ronaldinho kann ich auch im Pub sehen"

Source: Kicker (Germany's premier football newspaper, no online content) Free Image Hosting at

Two traslations for this, first one out is Matthew Preston's effort:

“I can always see Ronaldinho in the pub”

Following the takeover of Manchester United by billionaire Malcolm Glazer many fans turned their backs on the famous English club. They formed FC United of Manchester and they believe they have found football's lost soul.

Close your eyes. Keep them closed. No blinking. Put your hand over your ears, as if it were a freezing cold day in January. Right now all you can hear is a dull thud. Let yourself drift. Your head starts to nod all the same. Does it nod, because it wants to? Or does it want to, because it does? Left, right, left again, right. It wants to, because it must. Hands away from your ears. Wow, that’s loud. Really loud. English fans are unbelievably loud. “We’ll never pay Glazer or work for Sky. But we still want City to go down. There are two Uniteds in our soul. Someone said, Glazer's a fan. Bollocks, there’s more chance of me sticking my…...”, well, we’ll leave that to the imagination. "What's even more improbable, however, is that this is a game in the 9th division of English football. In 2005 the bulk of the Man. Utd support rebelled against the takeover by American billionaire Malcolm Glazer - to no avail. The renegades went away and formed their own club: FC United of Manchester.

18 months have passed and Peter Munday looks out of the window, deep in thought. It is pretty mild for November in England. “A lot of people didn’t appreciate amidst all the euphoria how much work was required. We had to register the club with the FA , find a league, a ground, players, a manager, money...but it came off. And we're still here."

The decision was taken by 12 disillusioned Man U fans as they gathered in an Indian restaurant to lick their wounds over a curry and a few beers. They went public with the idea. “Within a week thousands of sympathisers had donated €220 000”, club treasurer Munday revealed. “The donations keep pouring in” It wasn’t long before 930 hopefuls had applied to the club for a trial, with applications coming from as far afield as the Czech Republic and Africa. As the one witty would-be striker boasted; “Nobody’s ever saved a shot of mine at one of my brother’s barbeques.” Today the club boasts a squad of 24 players, a reserve and a youth team. After winning promotion in the club's inaugural season, FC United top the table once again after 20 games with a goal difference of plus 65. "Great match, eh?" croaks Paul, who sounds as if 90 minutes of singing have taken their toll on his vocal chords.

“7-0. Mind you, it was against the bottom team." He giggles. Ketchup from his burger has dripped onto his FC United scarf. Official merchandise, as well as sponsoring also helps keep the club afloat. Shirts, mugs, caps, pennants, DVDs, ties are all on sale. "Time for a pint". The Waterloo pub at the end of the road is buzzing. For years Paul would get off at Old Trafford station. Since the summer of 2005 he now travels a couple of stops further to Bury. FC United have taken up residence at the home of fourth division Bury FC and draw almost twice as many fans as their hosts. "I've given up my season ticket at Man Utd. Glazer's not getting any of my money. I used to be able to go to Old Trafford, stand, meet my mates, have a pint. Now you have to apply for a ticket six weeks in advance, Sky dictates when games kick-off, nobody can afford the price of a ticket anymore, the penguins in the boxes aren't the slightest bit interested in the game, everyone's sitting down, you're not even allowed to fart. It's opera, not football. Alongside Paul a further 119 fans gave up their season tickets, many also sold their shares.
The fan community in Manchester has a strong code of honour and a lobby which has to be taken seriously. The influential “Manchester United Supporters’ Trust”, made up of 30 000 shareholders in the club (including VIPs and well-known journalists) played a decisive role in 1999 in ensuring that the planned takeover of the club by Rupert Murdoch did not succeed. Together with the "Independent Manchester United Supporters Association" they threatened to boycott products made by the club’s sponsors. Murdoch pulled the plug on the project.

It is partly because of this that the Glazer coup has left deep scars. "We couldn't have demonstrated at the stadium every week, “says Jules Spencer, ex-president of the IMUSA, now on the board at FC United. "The Glazer deal was basically just the catalyst. FC United is not just an anti-Glazer reaction. It is more. We wanted to freeze ticket prices, no more business lounges but the club just wasn't listening to the fans anymore. Now we want to build something for the people of the city, something positive for the future. Leave a legacy. “
Nostalgia has an important part to play. After all, it was local railway workers who founded Newton Heath Football Club as a joke in 1878. In 1902 the name was changed to Manchester United Football Club. A century later and the club is one of the world’s largest multi- million pound businesses. Manchester United refuses to comment on the rebels. And they, for their part, don’t like to comment (officially) on Manchester United. Since the initial media hype died down, the breakaway club has sought to establish a moderate profile. It does not want to be seen as some kind of a joke team from a TV programme. Everybody here is taking the project seriously.

Nobody takes it more seriously than the manager, Karl Marginson, a semi-pro with Rotherham in his day and who now gets up at 3.30 every morning to begin his grocery delivery round. It’s normally harder to find somewhere to park in Manchester than to motivate his team. He has already managed to persuade a couple of semi-pros to drop down the league ladder. No big names, though. The biggest coup was probably the signing of Rhodri Giggs, brother of Man U star Ryan. Rumours that Cantona or Roy Keane will lend their backing to the club are usually taken with a pinch of salt. Such publicity is frowned upon. Fan clubs from China, Sweden or Holland are much more welcome.

The founders of FC United have taken a lot of encouragement from the story of AFC Wimbledon. In 2002 a group of businessmen uprooted FC Wimbledon and took the club 70 miles from London, to Milton Keynes. Many fans had had enough and formed their own club. AFC now play in their own ground, "the Fans' Stadium" in the seventh division, and such is the young talent available that the club has six youth teams. In the wake of that exodus, the newly formed club, the Milton Keynes Dons currently lurk in the fourth division.

Fan opinion in Manchester is still divided. Some criticise FC United, they see FC United as simply contributing to Manchester United's woes. Some only travel to away games, so as not to line Glazer's pockets. Some identify with both clubs- two Uniteds, one soul. Many think like Paul, however. "Hey," whispers Paul, drawing heavily on his cigarette, "you know what? We're rediscovering football's soul" Next to us in the stand are women, men, kids, prams- all football daft. They dance, cheer, sing, have fun. Kick-off three o’clock, the eleventh Commandment." His chubby fingers stroke the back of his neck. “I’m over sixty, I saw Georgie Best. The feeling now, at FC United, is like back then. I don’t miss today's swollen-headed primadonnas at all. I can see Ronaldinho in the pub if I want to. Maybe one day there will be a league with The Real Chelsea, FC United, AFC Wimbledon and Liverpool Fans United. I’m going to have a whiskey. Don't tell my wife". His wife is only a few yards away from him. She is singing with the other fans in the packed pub. She is having fun, too. Not because she has too, but because she wants to. And she has been since 2005. Every Saturday, 3 o'clock."

Second translation, from Charlie (Düsseldorf_Red).

"I can watch Ronaldinho in the pub"

After the takeover of Manchester United by the billionaire Malcolm Glazer, many fans turned their back on the top club. Instead they formed their own club, FC United of Manchester and hope they have found the lost soul of football.

Close your eyes. Shut them tight. Don't peek. Hands over your ears as if it's one of those icy January days. Now it's only a vague dum-dum-du. Let yourself go. Nevertheless your head is bound to move. Does it have to? Does it want to? To the left, to the right, left again, right again. It wants to alright because it just has to. Take your hands off your ears. Fuck, is that loud! Really fucking loud! English fans are unbelievably fucking loud!

"Don't pay Glazer or work for Sky.
Still sing City's going to die.
Two United's but the soul is one.
Someone said Glazer's a fan.
What a load of shite."

Ahem, well which you can probably guess which part of the body is meant to be plugged into a socket. But it's probably a bit more difficult to imagine what's actually happening in the English ninth division. In 2005 the majority of Manchester United fans rebelled in vain against the takeover by American tycoon Malcolm Glazer. The rebels turned away and started their own club: FC United of Manchester.

18 months later and Peter Munday is lost in thought looking out of the window. It's a very mild day in the North of England for November. "A lot of us just had no idea in the euphoria of what was coming to us. Register the club with the FA - sort out a league, a ground, playes, money... but it worked and we're still here."

Twelve of the disillusioned fans were sitting down together over a curry and several pints and took the decision. They went public. "Seven days later thousands of sympathiser had donated € 220,000", reveals Munday, club treasurer. "We're still getting donations". Shortly afterwards there were 930 applications for the trials including ones from the Czech Republic or Africa and including the amusing one of a prospective centre forwards: "At my brother's summer barbecues no one's managed to stop one of my shots." Today the club has a squad of 24 players, a reserve team and a youth team. After promotion in their first season is FC United top of the league after twenty games with a lead of seven points and a goal difference of 65.

"Is that great, or what?" croaks Paul. 90 minutes of singing haven't done his vocal chords any good. "Seven nil but that was against the bottom team." He giggles. Ketchup is dropping from his burger and onto his FCUM scarf. Merchandising is important for the club: shirts; mugs; caps; DVD's; woolly hats and even ties. "Time for a beer". The Waterloo pub at the end of the street is heaving. For years Paul used to get out at the Old Trafford station. Since the summer of 2005 he's been travelling a few stops further to Bury. It was at the fourth division team in Manchester's suburbs that FC United found a home and draws nearly twice as many spectators. "I've given up my Manchester United season ticket. I'm not shoving any more money up Glazer's arse. I used to be able to go to Old Trafford and stand with my mates and have a beer. Nowawdays I have to apply for a ticket six weeks in advance and Sky decides when the kick-off should be. No one can affors the tickets and the penguins in the business boxes don't care at all about the game. Everyone sits down, you can't even fart! That's opera not football!" Along with Paul 119 other fans handed in their season tickets and many sold their shares.

The fan community in Manchester has a strong moral code and a lobby that should be taken seriously. The influential group "Manchester United Supporters' Group" made up of than 30,000 fans with shares (among them VIP's and respected journalists) played a decisive part in preventing the planned takeover of the club by media mogul Rupert Murdoch in 1999. Together with the "Indepedant Manchester United Supporters' Association" (IMUSA) they threatened to boycott club sponsors, forcing Murdoch to give up.

It was also because of this that the Glazer takeover left such deep scars. "We could have demonstrated every day in front of the stadium", says Jules Spencer, ex-president of IMUSA and now on the board of FC United. "The Glazer deal was basically just a catalyst. FC United is not just an anti-Glazer reaction. It's more than that. We wanted to freeze the ticket prices, no new business lounges but the club just wasn't listening to the fans. Now we want to create something for the people of the city. Something positive for the future. Carry on the tradition."

Every letter is swaddled in nostalgia. It was in 1878 that local railway workers founded the Newton Heath Football Club. In 1902 and the club's name was changed to Manchester United Footbal Club. A century later and the club has been transformed into one of the world's largest multi-million companies (translator: is it bollocks, it's just one of the biggest football clubs). Manchester United avoids any form of comment towards the rebels. Since the first wave of media coverage has passed it's time for a more modest image. The club is not a joke made up for some stupid TV show. Everyone here takes the club seriously.

First in line is manager Karl Marginson who in his prime was semi-pro at Rotherham and now gets up at 3:30 am every morning to deliver food. It's usually more difficult to find a parking space in Manchester than to motivate the team. He's convinced a couple of other semi-pros to drop a couple of leagues. No one famous except perhaps Rhodri Giggs (29) brother of Man Utd star Ryan. People turn their noses up at the rumours that Eric Cantona or Roy Keane will be supporting the club. Fan clubs in China, Holland or Sweden are more welcomed.

The founders were also able to draw inspiration from the story of AFC Wimbledon. In 2002 a group of businessmen manhandled Wimbledon 70 miles from London to Milton Keynes. Many of the fans refused to go along and formed their own club. AFC Wimbledon are now playing in their own "Fan's stadium" in the seventh division and the youth teams go down to the under-10's. The exiled Milton Keynes Dons are now languishing in the fourth divisions.

In Manchester is the fan community somewhat divided. Some criticise FC United because they think that this makes Man United's problems worse; some only go to away games so that they don't give Glazer a penny; some feel they belong to both clubs - two Uniteds, one soul; many think like Paul. "Hey", whispers Paul while he draws heavily on his cigarette. "You know what? We're bringing the soul back to football. In the stands there are women, pushchairs, men, toddlers - every one of them football mad. The dance, party, sing and simply enjoy themselves. Kick-off, Saturday 3 o'clock, the eleventh commandment!" His thick fingers drawn up to his neck. "I'm over sixty, I saw Georgie Best. The feeling at FC United is the same as back then. I don't miss these puffed up upstarts. I can watch Ronaldinho in the pub. Maybe there'll soon be a league with The Real Chelsea, AFC Wimbledon and Liverpool Fans United. I'll get myself a whiskey but don't tell the wife." His wife is dancing a few feet away singing with the rest in a pub that is full to bursting and she is enjoying herself. Maybe like that back then. Not because she has to but because she wants to. Since 2005. Every Saturday at three.

Week of woe for rebel Reds

Source: Leigh Journal (and Bolton News/This is Lancashire)

By Leigh Journal Reporter

FC UNITED'S manager Karl Marginson will want to forget last week in a hurry after his side were held to a 1-1 draw against 10-man Congleton Town.

Following a shock 3-0 defeat against Atherton Collieries on Wednesday, the Division One leaders dropped points again, despite Town playing the last 22 minutes with a man down.

Scott Murcott's towering header had given the Cheshire club a 17th-minute lead at Witton Albion's Wincham Park ground yesterday.

United, who are still seven points clear at the top, were guilty of wasting several excellent chances to level matters, the best of which saw Rory Patterson's penalty saved after substitute Phil Power had been tripped in the area.

But, minutes later the Reds did equalise when Josh Howard pounced from close range after a goalmouth scramble following Alex Mortimer's corner on 66 minutes.

FC hopes of taking the three points were further boosted when Matt Murray saw red for lashing out at Steve Spencer, but the visitors continued to spurn chances and it was the under-siege Congleton side who came closest to winning the game when Richard Bailey's effort struck the crossbar with 11 minutes left.

United's midweek conquerors, Atherton Colls, could not follow up their superb win at Gigg Lane as they went down 3-0 at second-placed Salford City.

A Mike Turner double and one from John Robinson sinking Phil Brown's injury-hit team.

But there was better news for Atherton LR, who left it late to seal a much-needed victory against Stone Dominoes.

Oliver Babbington's first goal for the club handed Rovers a first-half lead but the basement club hit back with two goals in three minutes.

Striker Babbington equalised, however, and two goals in the final 10 minutes from Gareth Williams and Ged McCallister secured the points for Mark Cox's team.

Daisy Hill went out of the Division Two Trophy as they were crushed 5-0 at home by New Mills.

Marginson blasts Rebels

Source: M.E.N.

FC UNITED manager Karl Marginson blasted his players after they stumbled to a 1-1 draw with Congleton Town, and go into next week's vital FA Vase third round tie in their worst form.

After suffering a 3-0 home defeat by Atherton Collieries, the Rebels had to come from behind to snatch a point in a game switched to Witton Albion's ground, the first time they have gone two games without a win.

"Too many of them are getting a bit cocksure of themselves," blazed Marginson, after Josh Howard had scrambled in a 66th minute equaliser to a first half goal from the Bears' Scott Murcott.

"It's all very well signing autographs and hearing your name sung, but if they carry on playing like that some of them won't be at this club for very long."

The result could have been worse, with Scott Williams hitting a post and Jordan Johnson's cross being deflected on to the bar keeper Sam Ashton.

But FC missed a penalty, Rory Patterson seeing his spot kick saved by Paul Forester after sub Phil Power had gone down in the box.

Now FC's thoughts turn to the visit of Quorn to Gigg Lane in the Vase on Saturday, and top scorer Stuart Rudd is set to return after missing the Congleton game with a deadleg.

But places are up for grabs warned Marginson, adding: "I think some players feel they are established first-team players now, but I told them that they have to play every game as if it is their last, because one day it will be."

Friday, December 01, 2006

Super Colls tame runaway rebels


By Liam Chronnell

ATHERTON Colls pulled off the shock of the season in the North West Counties League when they beat runaway leaders FC United at Gigg Lane.

The Rebels could not handle Colls striker, Anthony Pilkington, who grabbed a superb hat-trick which capped an outstanding team performance by the Alder House side.

The victory takes Colls up to seventh on 31 points, one more than they amassed in the whole of last season.

FC United, who have scored an amazing 23 goals in their last three home games and would have gone 10 points clear at the top if they had won, rarely troubled the well organised Colls outfit in front of 1,723 fans.

Pilkington, partnered by the outstanding Craig Hobson up front, opened the scoring on 15 minutes when he beat Sam Ashton from a tight angle.

He made it two deep into first half injury time when he beat a defender and race through on goal before slotting his shot past Ashton.

Then he put the icing on the cake in the last minute with a close range shot.

Colls aim to continue their impressive run when they travel to Salford City on Saturday.