Wednesday, December 20, 2006

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