Friday, March 31, 2006

The trawlers become the trawled

Source: The Guardian

With Grimsby Town after their best players, FC United fans finally appreciate how smaller clubs felt when Manchester United came a-knocking, writes Tony Howard

Friday March 31, 2006

In 1986, Manchester United supporters had to come to terms with the departure of Mark Hughes to Barcelona. More than 20 years on, FC United fans are dealing with the possibility of losing two of our best players to Grimsby Town.

You can't blame Rory Patterson and William Ahern for going for trials with the Mariners - after all, Grimsby are a professional club who can offer footballers a proper living. Both players took up the offer of a game for the Mariners' reserves against York City this week and FC manager Karl Marginson even went along to offer his support as they acquitted themselves well in Town's 2-1 defeat.

Patterson has a certain star quality. He quickly became a cult hero with his appearance as a substitute in FC's friendly against Stalybridge Celtic back in July. Due to the infancy of the club, and the haste with which a kit had to be ordered, there weren't enough numbered shirts to go round, so the Irishman ran on the pitch with a blank back to his red jersey. The crowd immediately dubbed him "Mr Mystery" and have sung about "The man with no name" ever since.

The 21-year-old has become the second-top scorer at the club and shown the ability that saw him once play for Rochdale. The reason for the brevity of his spell at Spotland may owe much to the petulance that's reared its head on occasion for FC United - he was banned following an altercation against Colne in the Cup, and was sent off in United's 2-0 win over New Mills at the weekend. His talent, however, is not in doubt.

The second triallist, local lad Will Ahern, is the best of 'Karl's Kids' - and, despite being a mere slip of a lad, the 19-year-old has taken the midfield hustle of the North West Counties League in his stride.

With FC United running away with the league title, it was inevitable that professional clubs would tempt away some of the stars Margy has assembled, and should players leave for pastures new they will do so with the support of everyone involved at the club.

It's a strange situation United fans find themselves in. More used to being the trawlers than the trawled, we are having to come to terms with the fact that we are no longer the biggest fish in the pond. Now we know how those smaller clubs must feel when Manchester United come calling with the bait.

Trialists back to face Cheadle

Source: Manchester Evening News

RORY Patterson and Will Ahern will be back in FC United colours tomorrow after both had trials with League Two side Grimsby Town in midweek.

Rebels manager Karl Marginson, who played league football for Rotherham and Macclesfield, went to watch his two players as the Mariners' reserves lost 2-1 at York.

"The Grimsby assistant manager said both of them acquitted themselves well," said Marginson.
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"Will plays with great maturity for a 19-year-old and is a real players' player, while Rory has now got his head sorted after the hard knock of being released by Rochdale after being their Young Player of the Year."

FC, who face Cheadle at Gigg Lane tomorrow, need two more goals to reach 100 in the Moore and Co Construction Solicitors League this season, and need a maximum of nine points from their last six games to be sure of promotion.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Channel M - Program 3

Few problems this week - Channel M's listings, my dvd recorder throwing a fit and finally youtube changing their service to only allow video of 10 minutes in length - all working against me - but i think we got it now - please note that i missed the opening credits and first couple of seconds of the first prog:

Ground switch pays dividend

Source: Buxton Advertiser
North West Counties League
New Mills 0 FC United 2

THE might of FC United proved too much once again for New Mills on Saturday and they slipped to defeat at Ewen Fields.
FC United - the renegade Manchester United offshoot – notched up their 23rd win of the season in their 30th league game to extend their lead at the top of the table to a massive 24 points.

However, it could and should have been a different story as straight from the kick off it was the Millers who took control as they were camped in their opponents half of the field.

Despite almost all the possession they could not carve out any real chances, with perhaps the best when Morris was played through only to slip on the surface when if he had kept his feet he would have had had a golden opportunity to score.

It came as a complete surprise when with their first real attack FC took the lead on 22 minutes when Johnathon Mitten turned on the edge of the box and fired home. It was a fine opportunist goal.

New Mills rallied and continued to press, but with half time approaching the reds scored a second goal through Patterson who scored from a right wing corner.

The second half was a pretty tame affair and after Patterson was sent off on the hour for a second yellow card, the Manchester side seemed content to hold onto their lead, which they did fairly comfortably.

The best chances that New Mills created were all from free kicks, which were extremely well taken by both Martin McDonald and Mickey Ryan. The goalkeeper for FC, Philip Melville, made a couple of fine saves from these to keep a clean sheet.

There was some consolation in the decision of New Mills to switch the game to Hyde United's home. The attendance of 1,952 was their biggest "home attendance" since the visit of Manchester United "A" some half a century ago.

New Mills: Boyle, Horrocks. M Morrison, Ryan, Jackson, D Morrison, Persechino, McDonald, Hancock, Braine, Morris subs; Jordo0n, Ignotus, Sidebottom

FC United: Melville, Nugent,Cullen, Spencer, Chadwick, Brown, Swarbrick, Ahern, Mitten, Torpey, Patterson subs; Lyon, Simms, Carden.
30 March 2006

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Rebels fix up friendly


FC UNITED will play UniBond Division One side Clitheroe away in a friendly on April 15, which had been a clear weekend in their league schedule.

A spokesman for the Rebels said: "With a free week manager Karl Marginson was eager to keep the players fully match-fit for the last few games of the season."

The Manchester Road End at Gigg Lane, where the majority of the FC United support gather for home games, will be closed for Saturday's clash with Cheadle Town, as hosts Bury carry out "essential maintenance work".
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The club will open the South Stand and Main Stand.

Stuart Brennan

Monday, March 27, 2006

New Mills 0 FC United 2


FC United maintained their relentless drive to the North West Counties second division title with a 2-0 win over New Mills.

A crowd of 1,952 at Hyde United's ground saw Joz Mitten set them on the way after 22 minutes.

Prolific goalscorer Rory Patterson sealed it with his 18th of the season just before the break to keep FC 24 points cleat at the top, although nearest rivals Winsford have played five games less.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Bild-Zeitung: Dieses Duo machte das Spiel gegen United klar

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: Bild-Zeitung (no online content)

Spiel gegen Manchester: Es ist perfekt!

Source: BILD Zeitung (no online content)

Am 12. Mai wird der 1. FC Lok (7. Liga) gegen die Engländer des FC United of Manchester (10. Liga) testen. Lok-Chef Steffen Kubald und United-Vize Luc Zentar einigten sich gestern auf der Geschäftsstelle in Probstheida per Handschlag. Auch darüber: Das Rückspiel auf der Insel wird bereits im September (genauer Termin noch offen) sein. „Ein großer Tag für uns", freute sich Zentar. Denn am 12. Mai vor genau einem Jahr war die Übernahme von Manchester United durch US-Milliardär Glazer perfekt - und der FC United durch die daraufhin abgewanderten Fans geboren. Ab wann gibt`s Karten? Kubald: „In etwa zwei Wochen."

(Quelle "BILD Zeitung" von André Schmidt)

Game against Manchester: It's sorted!
On the 12th of May FC Locomotive (7th division) will test themselves against the Englishmen of FC United of Manchester (10th division). Locomotive boss Steffen Kubald and United-Vice Luc Zentar shook hands on the deal yesterday in the Probstheida office. A return match will take place in September, but no date has been set for this yet. "It will be a great day for us", a pleased Zentar said. On May the 12th it will be exactly one year since the US billionaire Glazer's takeover of Manchester United was finalised - a move that saw the birth of FC United from disenchanted fans. When are tickets on sale for this game? Kubald: "In approximately two weeks from now".

Thursday, March 23, 2006

BBC GMR Interview with Jules Spencer

GMR Logo
Source: BBC GMR (no online content)

Recording of BBC GMR's interview with Jules Spencer available by right-clicking the GMR Logo and choose 'save as'...

Oldham Town 0 FC United 1


PROMOTION could be sneaking up on FC United quicker than the club's supporters realise.

The Rebels opened up a 24-point gap at the top of the Moore and Co Solicitors Second Division with a low-key victory in front of 1,767 fans at Boundary Park last night.

Skipper Dave Chadwick scored the only goal on 56 minutes, using his knee to improvise a lob over the Oldham goalkeeper and two defenders when the ball fell to him at a corner.
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But until the fixture backlog caused by a harsh winter starts to clear, there can be no plans for the expected celebration.

Some clubs face a hectic final six weeks to the season; Nelson - in the best position to catch FC if they win their seven games in hand - have to cram in 15 games. Only when they and fellow chasers start to work through those games will the picture become clear.

But the re-structuring of the non-league pyramid could also have a hastening effect. Depending on what happens in that shake-up, the Second Division could see three or four teams go up rather than the two stipulated at the start of the season.

FC United manager Karl Marginson admitted at the club's general meeting on Tuesday night that he has already given a thought to next season. Should his team clinch promotion, he aims to keep the same nucleus of players with just a tweak or two.

And he also hinted that he does not expect the same huge turnover of players that AFC Wimbledon experienced after starting up in 2002 and then gaining two promotions in three seasons.

At the start of the season, Dons fans were warning their FC counterparts not to get too attached to individual players, as they would soon be replaced. Marginson disagrees.

"Some people have said that no one will recognise the team in three or four years and that is possible, but at least six or seven of our current players could play as high as Conference North level," he said.

"Oldham Town beat Alsager, who are top of the First Division, in the cup a couple of weeks ago, and last weekend they beat Salford City, also well up there.

"Other than Cammell Laird, who are an exceptional side, it's pretty much of a muchness from the top of the Second Division to the top of the First."

Cammell Laird raced to the Second Division title last season, losing just three matches, and will secure promotion again if they win all of their remaining games. FC are on course to emulate their tally of 87 points last season.

Late scare - but Town cash in on their big night

Source: Oldham Evening Chronicle

Oldham Town 0, FC United 1

by Tony Bugby

OLDHAM Town lost 1-0 to FC United, but they were still winners as they look set to bank a £5,000 cash windfall from their biggest home game of the season last night.

But the fixture at Boundary Park, in the second division of The Moore & Co Construction Solicitors League, very nearly didn’t go ahead after an astonishing blunder.

Embarrassed league officials have launched an investigation into how the match officials were informed that the division two fixture at Boundary Park was cancelled.

The error only came to light an hour before kick-off when Town secretary Dave Shepherd was puzzled by the non-appearance of the match officials.

Mr Shepherd telephoned referee Mark Bailey, who was at his Blackburn home, and the official claimed he had received a letter from referees secretary Ron Bridges informing him the match had been postponed.

As Mr Bridges is out of the country representing the Welsh FA at an international tournament, league officials are unable to work what exactly went wrong.

But they praised Mr Shepherd for his quick thinking in mustering four match officials at short notice.

Referee Derek Brannick had gone to the game as a spectator only to be telephoned as he was outside Boundary Park.

He had to dash back to his home in Shaw to get his kit while the other officials had to hurry from Castleton, Stretford and Ramsbottom.

The match started 15 minutes late, but that was the only major glitch on a night when Town’s coffers received a welcome cash influx from a crowd on 1,767 - a figure which would have been much higher had it been a weekend fixture.

It still smashed Town’s previous best home crowd of 600 for an FA Cup tie against Halifax Town 10 years ago.

And it was a proud night for Town chairman Ken Hughes, who founded the club as local works team George Dew in 1964, as he watched his team from the directors box.

“It is all about taking the club forward and I am quite pleased how things are going,” he explained.

It was a disappointing night on the field, however, as Town’s eight- match unbeaten run came to an end.

Manager Tony Mills felt some of his players did not do themselves justice as they lost for the first time in 2006.

It was a desperately poor game and Mills was unhappy with Dave Chadwick’s 55th minute match-winning goal for FC United.

He claimed keeper Dave Carnell was impeded as he tried to turn Chadwick’s header over the bar but only succeeded in pushing it into the roof of the net following a corner.

“We have lost both games to FC United 1-0 to freak goals which is disappointing, though we didn’t play anywhere near like we can do,” Mills conceded.

Town mustered only one clear-cut chance and that came at the death when a 40-yard lob from substitute Nick Murphy almost caught keeper Phil Melville off guard.

Carnell made a couple of decent saves from former Rochdale striker Rory Patterson, but other than that was not unduly busy.

Oldham 0 -1 FC Utd

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cold cold night, 3 points in the bag

click here for some photos

and click here to see the goal

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Bild-Zeitung: Manchester gegen Lok Freitag schon alles klar?

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: Bild-Zeitung (no online content)

FC fans get shirty


FC UNITED fans last night rejected an idea that the club should change their first-team shirts next season.

In the first flexing of their democratic muscles, fans at the club's general meeting in Manchester voted overwhelmingly against the fledgling club changing the home and away strips in alternate years - although the full result will not be known until all votes are counted later today.

But the club's 3,692 members were expected to back the club's recommendation that the shirts be kept free of sponsorship, that season ticket prices be slightly reduced for adults and slashed for kids, and to freeze the turnstile prices.

The first nine months of the club's life got a verdict of "so far, so good" verdict from general manager Andy Walsh, and it was reported that the club had made a profit of £67,000 to the end of February, although overheads mean that will probably be eroded by the end of the season to around £29,000.


The club say they are in a "healthy financial position" despite the decision not to have a shirt sponsor, the lack of pitchside advertising and bar takings, and the fact they pay £5,000 a match in rent to landlords Bury.

Walsh and board member Adam Brown outlined plans to begin a reserve and youth teams next season as well as expanding community links.

The wage bill for coaches, medical staff and players has worked out at £3,000 a week over a 40-week season, and the board do not intend to increase that figure next season, even though the club are poised for promotion to the first division of the Moore and Co Construction Solicitors League.

The team play Oldham Town at Boundary Park tonight, and need a maximum of 16 points from their last eight games to clinch promotion in their inaugural season.

Top scorer and influential midfielder Simon Carden is expected to return to the side tonight after missing Saturday's 8-1 thrashing of Leek CSOB due to his baby being ill.

That is likely to be the only change, with Phil Melville keeping his place as goalkeeper in place of Barry George and 40-year-old assistant manager Phil Power set to keep his place up front.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Town look for cash windfall


by Tony Bugby

OLDHAM TOWN are hoping tomorrow’s glamour game against FC United at Boundary Park will provide financial security for years to come.

It will be the biggest game in the history of the local club, easily surpassing their previous biggest crowd of 600 for an FA Cup tie against Halifax Town in 1996.

And tomorrow will be a far cry to Saturday when their home crowd was 85 for their semi-final against Salford City in The Moore & Co Construction Solicitors League Challenge Cup.

Secretary Dave Shepherd says it is impossible to estimate the size of the turnout, but believes it could exceed 3,000 which is why it was switched from the Whitebank Stadium.

He said: “Apart from FC United’s massive following, we have had a lot of interest from within the Oldham area and we are hoping Latics fans will also turn out to support us.

“The break-even figure is 1,000 ,which will cover the costs of staging the match at Boundary Park, and anything above that will be profit.

“If we could attract a crowd of 3,000 it would keep the club running for between two and three years which would be marvellous.”

FC United matches have already attracted 11 attendances of 3,000 and over and they recently took an incredible 4,000 fans to an away match at Blackpool Mechanics.

Town have already played the team, formed by Manchester United fans disillusioned by Malcolm Glazer’s takeover, at Gigg Lane in October in front of a crowd of 3,110 which was then a record for The Moore & Co Construction Solicitors League.

The local side gave a creditable display and were unlucky to lose 1-0.

“You worry that players may be overawed having never played in front of a crowd of that size, but our lads rose to the occasion and should never have lost,” explained manager Tony Mills, who added that players at their level can only usually dream of playing on such a big stage.

And though FC United are runaway leaders of the second division they are not invincible as was shown last Tuesday when they lost their second league match at home to Flixton, though they hit back with a resounding 8-1 victory against Leek CSOB on Saturday.

Mills believes tomorrow’s game will be an ever bigger occasion than their first meeting.

And he says the formation of FC United has been great for local non-league football, providing a financial lifeline for cash-strapped clubs.

The main stand and Rochdale Road end will be open tomorrow and it will be pay on the turnstiles with admission prices £7 for adults and £3 for children/pensioners.

Rebels look to the future


Stuart Brennan

FC UNITED's board wants "to keep open the option" of changing one of the club's playing strips every year - and that should spark a lively debate when the club holds its first general meeting in Manchester tonight.

The board has strongly refuted suggestions from some quarters that the club is heading down the same road as Manchester United, after bringing out a mid-season DVD, and reporting healthy profits from big attendances and sales of club merchandise.

The 12-strong board is stressing that all money generated is ploughed back into the club, and that key decisions on the future will be taken by its 4,000-strong membership - on a one member, one vote basis.

One issue that has sparked furious debate among FC's members and other supporters has been the sale of replica playing strips, which have provided the club with a big cash injection - allowing the board to take on four full-time staff, move to bigger offices and plot community initiatives and a long-term development plan.

The issue will be put to a vote at tonight's meeting.


The board makes no recommendation on which way members should vote, and board member Jules Spencer said: "The issue of replica shirts seems to have dominated discussions among our members, to more of an extent than we envisaged, and to a large degree the fact that we are freezing and reducing ticket prices has been lost in that discussion.

"It all comes down to the debate about commercialism, which cropped up when we brought out the DVD a few weeks ago - even though we only brought the DVD out after repeated requests from supporters.

"The only real issue we had at Old Trafford over matters like this was that supporters did not ultimately have a say in such decisions - at FC United the supporters themselves will take the decision.

"If supporters turn round to the board tonight - and it should be noted that the board has made no recommendations on shirts - then what they say will go. This is just about gauging opinions.

"But it does come back to the point of needing money to run a football club, and there is an argument that selling shirts helps to keep ticket prices down and so encourages people, especially kids, back to the game."

Members will be asked to vote on other matters, such as a freeze on turnstile prices, membership fees and sponsorship of shirts.

The meeting's business at the Methodist Central Hall will be followed by questions to the board and manager Karl Marginson.

Monday, March 20, 2006

FC United 8 Leek CSOB 1


FC UNITED answered a wake-up call from boss Karl Marginson to get their Moore and Co Solicitors League second division title show back on the road with a stunning 8-1 victory in front of a 2,559 Gigg Lane crowd.

Marginson made six changes to the team beaten by Flixton three days earlier and his new line-up responded by chalking up the rebel club's second biggest win of the season over a shell-shocked Leek CSOB.

Assistant-manager Phil Power got the ball rolling when he struck after just four minutes and Rory Patterson quickly added a second - FC United's 100th competitive goal.

Patterson went on to complete his hat-trick and, with Power adding his second plus further goals by Steve Torpey, new boy Dave Swarbrick and Chris Simms, the champions-elect ran riot to open up a surely unassailable 19-point lead.

Said Marginson: "I was looking for a positive reaction to Wednesday's disappointment and I got one."

Sunday, March 19, 2006

FC United 8-1 Leek CSOB

Source: The Non-league Paper (no online content).
NLP Report

By: Wayne Clark

This was an emotional occasion for the followers of FC United as the hosts for their first ever match arrived at Gigg Lane for the return fixture.

Those happy memories of a very wet afternoon in August at Leek seem like years ago now as the team push on at the top of the league table in this inaugural season.

Leek CSOB must have been expecting a backlash from United after Flixton inflicted defeat on the champions-elect on Wednesday evening. Karl Marginson, the United manager, made six changes to his line-up in response to the below-par performance in midweek.

The new look team took little time to find their stride as player/assistant manager Phil Power opened the scoring in the fourth minute with a tap-in from a Torpey cross.

On eight minutes the lead was doubled as Patterson headed home after Rob Nugent had headed back a Torpey corner taken from the United right. This second goal on the day was United’s 100th competitive goal of the season.

The third goal was again added by Patterson who picked up a loose ball after good work from Will Ahern and side-footed in from six yards. Steve Torpey then added another after receiving a neat pass from Power in a central position at the edge of the area. Torpey carried the ball toward goal before calmly finishing beyond the reach of James Hall in the Leek goal.

Just after the half-hour and Leek registered a consolation through Matt Bradbury after a Melville clearance struck Chadwick full in the face. The rebound favoured the visitors as Bradbury easily reached the loose ball ahead of Melville to roll it into the empty net.

United immediately responded through Power again who finished after being played in by Dave Swarbrick’s incisive through ball. This fifth goal was scored while Chadwick received treatment. The United captain rejoined to finish the half but would not emerge after half-time.

Dave Swarbrick scored his first for his new club, via the left hand post, early in the second period, after a neat one-two with substitute Joz Mitten, to make it 6-1.

Leek had a good period for 20 minutes where they kept United at bay but they were asking few questions at the other end as debutant Melville was largely untroubled in the United goal.

The best goal of the match, on 83 minutes, completed Rory Patterson’s hat-trick. It came about after a United corner was cleared out to Dave Brown just outside of the area. Brown rolled the ball back to Patterson, now in midfield for United, who took a couple of strides forward before hitting a right-footed thunderbolt from 30 yards that flew into the net with Hall hopelessly beaten.

The drubbing was rounded off as Chris Simms turned in the rebound after a Darren Lyons shot struck a post.

STAR MAN: Patterson (FC Utd)

Saturday, March 18, 2006

FC United Vs Leek

FC Versus Leek

Cracking day with the fans in great voice - click here to see and hear a short recording of them

Pick of the goals was a stunning drive by patterson - reocrded by al and can be seen here

Click here to see a short gallery of the days photos

Friday, March 17, 2006

FC threaten changes


FC UNITED are threatening major changes after the team slumped to their second league defeat of the season at home to Flixton on Wednesday night.

The Rebels face struggling Leek CSOB at Gigg Lane tomorrow (3pm) after the stumble in their charge towards promotion - and central midfield pair Steve Spencer and Simon Carden, and winger Dave Swarbrick are all in strong contention for a recall according to assistant manager Phil Power.

Power said: "We got what we deserved against Flixton, who played really well, and I imagine we will make a few changes on Saturday."

The club have set up a friendly at Congleton on April 5.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bild-Zeitung: England fordert FC Lok raus

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: Bild-Zeitung (no online content)

Whatever course we take, it's up to all of us

Source: The Guardian

Some important decisions must be made at FC United's second general meeting - but, as Tony Howard explains, the most important thing of all is that it's the members making the decisions

Wednesday March 15, 2006

With the recent arctic weather, games have become thinner on the ground than the grass at Gigg Lane, so FC United fans have turned their attention to events off the pitch.

The club is about to hold its first general meeting since formation back in July. On that occasion we chose the club badge and our own board. Now we are set to debate some of the issues that will form the very core of the club - whether to have shirt sponsorship, and how often to change the kit and ticket prices.

Admittedly there won't be much debate regarding the latter, as the board is proposing to give adult season-ticket holders three free matches and kids admittance for the equivalent of £1 a game.

The free match policy is a throw-back to the days when Manchester United still rewarded their supporters. Reds fans used to get two home games free with their 'League Match Ticket Books' (the poor man's season ticket), until the powers-that-be took advantage of an increase in the number of teams in the Premier League and removed the privilege.

The official line from the club was that season-ticket prices had been 'frozen' for the following season. But it didn't take us long to realise that with two extra teams in the league they had cleverly increased their revenue by two games.

No chance of that happening with our club - because we'd have the right to vote against it.

The board has also recommended "that no FC United of Manchester playing strip will carry a shirt sponsorship", and this should be backed to the hilt.

If it's good enough for Barcelona, it's good enough for us. United fans have always lamented how they'd love to see the famous red shirt unspoiled by garish type in the name of raising revenue for some faceless corporation. Now we can vote it into our rules.

The one issue that's caused great debate so far is when to change the current playing strip. Replica kit sales have been a massive revenue earner because fans, who wouldn't have touched official MUFC merchandise with a barge pole, are now snapping up the latest tat as if it is literally going out of fashion.

Knowing that all profits are piled back into the club has spurred many United fans on to do what they would never have dreamed of doing at Old Trafford - they've bought football shirts. Even if it is from a 'megastall' outside Gigg Lane rather than the Megastore that dominates the Old Trafford frontage.

So there is a choice. Do we increase this revenue by changing the kit for next season or keep it for two years? Many argue by changing the kit we are no better than the Old Trafford money-making scheme, but on the other hand all extra revenues are genuinely for the benefit of the future of the club.

It will be an interesting vote, but one thing is already guaranteed - it's all up to us. With one member and one vote, the feeling of democracy is both new and invigorating. It honestly is our club and our rules.

FC United are top of the North West Counties Division Two table with an average crowd of over 3,000. For further information visit

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

FC United 1 Flixton 2


FC UNITED'S march to the Moore and Co Solicitors League second division title was temporarily halted at Gigg Lane as Flixton ended their 18-match unbeaten run.

And the red rebels could have few complaints about their 2-1 defeat in front of a crowd of 1,924.

Graham Vaughan gave Flixton a deserved 36th minute lead when he curled in a shot from the edge of the box and there was further heartache for FC United as Lee Wilkinson made it 2-0 early in the second-half.

Skipper Dave Chadwick pulled one back for the hosts four minutes from time, but the visitors held on in a frantic finish.

FC United 1 - Flixton 2

Flixton Home

A well deserved win for Flixton who looked fantastic - United on the other hand looked quite poor - this is Rory Pattersons missed penalty - pictures of the game Here

(thanks to FCfollower on the messageboard for providing the footage

Op shock could end Carden's season


FC UNITED can open up a 21-point gap at the top of the Moore and Co Solicitors League second division when they face fellow promotion hopefuls Flixton at Gigg Lane tonight (7.45pm).

But the Rebels have been hit by the blow that free-scoring midfielder Simon Carden, who has been out for ten weeks with a knee injury, may require surgery which would count him out for the rest of the season.

Carden, who tops the FC goalscoring charts with 18, will shortly make a decision on whether to play on with the problem or to go under the knife.

Kevin Elvin and Mark Rawlinson will also miss tonight's game, but new signing Dave Swarbrick is hoping for his debut.

"It will take him time to settle in but he impressed us when we played his former club Holker Old Boys," said manager Karl Marginson.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ideales versus negocios


Babelfish translation.

Una historia de convicciones: en contra del millonario Malcolm Glazer, que compró al poderoso Manchester, el equipo más importante de Inglaterra, hinchas disidentes abandonaron el club y fundaron el FC United, una entidad de fútbol aficionado que es sensación en su país

No es una típica historia de amor a la camiseta de un club; es una historia de amor a los ideales. Manchester United es el segundo club más rico del mundo, detrás de Real Madrid, y un equipo símbolo en Inglaterra. Sin embargo, el año último perdió una buena cantidad de socios por una sencilla razón: el norteamericano Malcolm Glazer aumentó a 74,8% su paquete accionario y pagó, en total, 1400 millones de dólares. Inmediatamente, la decisión provocó que miles de hinchas abandonaran el club y empezaron de cero: fundaron uno nuevo, lo bautizaron FC United y en su estatuto establecieron por escrito que el club no debía ser vendido nunca. Hoy, el club es récord de convocatoria y la historia sorprende en su país...

Si se traza una comparación con el fútbol local, es como si un grupo de socios de Racing, cuando fue gerenciado por Blanquiceleste SA con Fernando Marín a la cabeza, hubiese decidido dar un paso al costado y fundar un nuevo club o unirse a uno de la D, como Yupanqui o Atlas, y la nueva entidad se convirtiese en un auténtico boom deportivo.

Eso sucedió en Inglaterra con el FC United, una institución nacida el 5 de julio de 2005 y con características distintivas: los socios tuvieron que elegir democráticamente el nombre del nuevo proyecto. Ganó FC United of Manchester con el 44% de las preferencias. También se presentaron AFC Manchester 1878 y Manchester Central.

La North West Counties League (la liga de los Condados del Noroeste de Inglaterra), por presión popular, aceptó la inscripción del FC United para el torneo de la segunda división de dicha región.

No fue sencillo dar el sí, pues en ese momento el club no tenía director técnico, ni jugadores, ni dirigentes... Lo único que tenía eran aficionados ávidos de gestar una nueva entidad. Unos 4000 disidentes de Manchester United en contra del gobierno de Glazer.

El club abrió un concurso público y eligió entrenador: Karl Marginson. "Soy seguidor de Manchester United, pero me opuse a la venta del club a Glazer y tal vez por eso me eligieron a mí", argumentó en la web del nuevo club. Luego de un llamado en los medios, FC United armó su plantel de jugadores aficionados en una prueba a la que asistieron 900 pretendientes con entusiasmo para defender la camiseta del flamante club, con los colores rojos como Manchester.

Ocho meses después de su fundación, el club es un éxito bate récords. Encabeza con comodidad su categoría, con 18 puntos de ventaja sobre el segundo, ayudado por el corazón y el bolsillo de sus hinchas. En el primer partido, el 13 de agosto, perdió de visitante ante Leek CSOB. El resultado fue lo de menos. La noticia fue que al equipo lo acompañaron 2.590 hinchas, una cifra superior a la acumulada por su rival en los 17 partidos de la temporada anterior, en su estadio.

El club funciona como una especie de cooperativa. Todas las decisiones se establecen en votaciones entre sus socios. En la página principal de su website se recibe al usuario y se lo invita a un aporte de dinero. Según el último arqueo, se llevan recaudados 200.000 euros por parte de los casi 5000 hinchas que ya muestran con orgullo su carnet de socios. El FCUM jugaba como local en el estadio Butcher´s Arms de Droylsden (3.500 localidades); ahora, frente a la avalancha de aficionados se mudó al Gigg Lane de Bury (11.000). Además, 20 empresas interesadas en esta historia romántica se convirtieron en los auspiciantes del FC United.

En época de todopoderosos como Malcolm Glazer y Roman Abramovich, el dueño de Chelsea, que con dinero compran jugadores y tradiciones, a veces surgen historias conmovedoras como la de FC United; de ideales en pie.

Como dicen dos carteles que se pegan en cada partido del FC United: "Canción de amor en la Décima División", expresa una. "No tengo que vender mi alma", asegura la otra.

Y, en una de las canciones que más suena en cada partido, los hinchas cantan toda una declaración de principios contra la nueva vida del Manchester United, el ex club de sus amores: "Le mostraremos a Glazer como se da pelea; prefiero estar contra un paredón antes que ser un fan de él..."

Todo un símbolo de las convicciones de un grupo de hinchas que un día pegó el portazo frente al avance de poderosos mecenas en un mundo -el fútbol- que, en algunos, todavía guarda fidelidad a los ideales.

Por Carlos Beer
De la Redacción de LA NACION

Sin títulos y con números en baja

Desde el desembarco fuerte de Malcolm Glazer en Manchester United, las cosas no funcionan como el poderoso empresario norteamericano desea. El club registró una caída en sus beneficios de unos 18,2 millones de euros durante la temporada 2005, en la que no obtuvo ningún título. El director ejecutivo de la institución, David Gill, lo atribuyó a la baja de los ingresos procedentes de los contratos de televisión y a los malos resultados del equipo.

"Ha sido un año muy productivo, pero, pese a la caída, Glazer está conforme con el rendimiento del plantel", fue la escueta explicación del dirigente a la prensa cuando se conocieron estos números rojos.

Neuer Klub mit alter Seele

Source: Neues Deustchland

Ropey Translation Here

Manchester hat jetzt zwei Uniteds

Von Christian Bunke

Im Juni vergangenen Jahres gründeten rund 1000 enttäuschte Fans von Manchester United ihren eigenen Fußballklub, FC United of Manchester. Die Übernahme von Manchester United durch den US-Milliardär Malcolm Glazer war der Tropfen, der für diese Fans das Fass zum überlaufen brachte. Ein neuer Verein musste her, der Fußball mit Seele wieder für Fans erlebbar machen sollte, ohne Kommerz und zu bezahlbaren Preisen.
Viele zweifelten damals an der Durchführbarkeit des Projektes. So zum Beispiel Tommy Baldwin, der Vorsitzende des Klubs Blackpool Mechanics. »Kein Mensch kann ernsthaft glauben, dass die Leute aufhören, zu Manchester United zu gehen, nur weil ihnen nicht gefällt, wem der Klub gehört. Ich hätte liebend gerne 1500 Fans hier in Blackpool zu Besuch, aber dies wird nicht passieren.«

Baldwin sollte irren: Am 18. Februar 2006 kamen 5000 Fans zum Match zwischen Blackpool Mechanics und FC United – in die neunte Liga, die North West Counties League, Second Division. Die Züge von Manchester nach Blackpool waren am Wochenende überfüllt, der Badeort wurde zu einem Kurzurlaubsziel für singende Fans.
Der FC United hält seit Beginn der Saison 2005/06 die Tabellenspitze in der 2. Amateurregionalliga im englischen Nordwesten. Der Aufstieg scheint sicher. Die Spieler kommen teilweise aus den Akademien britischer Premierleague Teams wie Manchester City, andere haben viele Jahre als Profispieler in verschiedenen britischen Fußballigen hinter sich.

Der FC United legt Wert auf demokratische Spielregeln. Im Gegensatz zu den englischen Profiklubs gehört der FC United seinen Fans. Und die bestimmen auch die Richtung, in die der Klub läuft. Viel Wert wird auch auf die Jugendarbeit gelegt. Beim Freundschaftsspiel des FC United of Manchester gegen Glossop North End AFC liefen beispielswiese drei 16-Jährige auf, deren erster Klub United heißt.
Für Jugendliche unter 18 Jahren beträgt der Eintrittspreis bei Heimspielen zwei Pfund und gehört somit zu den niedrigsten im Land. Die Tickets so billig wie möglich zu lassen, gehört zu den erklärten Vereinszielen. Diese Preispolitik soll das Stadionerlebnis Fußball für eine völlig neue Fangeneration ermöglichen.
Innerhalb eines halben Jahres entstand eine lebhafte Fankultur mit unabhängigen Fanklubs, Fanzines, Flaggen, Fahnen und natürlich Gesängen. Viele FC-United-Anhänger konnten sich die Eintrittspreise für Old Trafford, das Stadion des »großen Bruders« Manchester United, nie leisten.

Dass sie alle dennoch der alten ManU-Schule entstammen, kann man den Gesängen der FCUM-Anhänger entnehmen, in denen neben dem verhassten neuen ManU-Eigner Glazer und dem Bezahlsender Sky in altbekannter Manier der Lokalrivale Manchester City geschmäht wird: »Don't pay Glazer, don't pay Sky. Still singing City's gonna die.« Übersetzt: »Wir zahlen nicht für Glazer und auch nicht für Sky. Wir singen immer noch, dass City sterben muss.«

Und an anderer Stelle wird die alte Liebe zu ManU beschworen: »Es gibt zwei Uniteds, doch die Seele ist eins!«

Monday, March 13, 2006

New Mills switch for FC


FC UNITED'S Moore and Co Solicitors League second division trip to New Mills a week on Saturday has been switched to Hyde United's Ewen Fields stadium and is all-ticket.

The capacity has been set at 4,000 and tickets, priced £6 and £4 (concessions) are now on sale from the Millers, who also have a limited number of stand seats priced £7.

Tickets are also available from the Piccadilly Ticket Line (0161 832 1111), at Hyde Sports, 31 Clarendon Place, or by cash payment only from the Gigg Lane ticket office prior to FC United's home game against Leek CSOB this Saturday.

Friday, March 10, 2006

FC United swoop for Swabba

Source: North West Evening Mail
Published on 10/03/2006

DAVE Swarbrick is today expected to complete a move to FC United of Manchester.

The forward impressed when scoring for Holker Old Boys in their 4-1 league defeat to Karl Marginson’s side last month.

Now FC United, the club formed in the summer by Manchester United fans angry at Malcolm Glazer’s takeover at Old Trafford and watched by crowds of around 3,000, have moved to sign the Barrow-based ace.

Swarbrick, who is on registration forms at both Moore and Co Construction Solicitors League outfit Holker and Nationwide North side Barrow AFC, was due to play in a friendly for FC United last night against Woodley Sports.

He is expected to complete a move today and be in the squad to face Flixton at Gigg Lane on Wednesday night.

Marginson, a former Barrow AFC player, said: “Dave impressed against us and expressed an interest to come to the club, so we are more than happy to give him a chance. He impressed with his pace and his great delivery.

“He’s coming in as part of the squad, and if he does well it’s all well and good for him.

“We got a letter from the lad expressing an interest. As soon as that happened I gave his dad a ring.

“I spoke to (Barrow AFC manager) Phil Wilson and he had no problem with it, I think Barrow are going to retain his registration for Conference North.”

Swarbrick started the season at Holker Street, but has failed to establish a place in the first team squad under new boss Wilson.

Last month he began playing again for Holker, the club he was at as a junior, while also featuring for AFC reserves.

For the deal to go through Holker will have to sign the necessary league transfer forms.

Holker chairman Steve Livingstone said: “We’re currently processing our side of the transfer forms. As far as we’re concerned the transfer will go ahead in the next 24 hours.

“I’ve had a chat with Dave and he’s is absolutely delighted, he’s like a kid in a candy shop. He’s a cracking lad and he’s got a great opportunity. It could be the start of a very illustrious career at FC United.”

Earlier in the season Holker staged the league visit of FC United at Craven Park. More than 2300 people watched Holker lose 2-0.

Good links have been built between the two clubs who may meet in a friendly next season.

Do Chadderton FC really exist?


Tony Howard explains why a fourth cancellation of their fixture with Chadderton has prompted FC United fans to harbour conspiracy theories

Last weekend FC United fans started fostering conspiracy theories. For the fourth time this season a match with our neighbours from Oldham was postponed, prompting supporters to ask: 'Do Chadderton FC really exist?'

The home fixture has been called off three times already and is still awaiting an alternative date, and last weekend's away date, set for the Tameside Stadium, also fell victim to the weather. The fixture appears to be cursed as David Platt's hometown club are the only team in the North West Counties League Division Two that United haven't yet played. Therefore rumours that ex-player and Take That 'superstar' Mark Owen is set to make a one-off return for the big game cannot yet be quashed.

The constant cancellations due to the particularly biting weather have brought new meaning to the term 'winter break'. With no undersoil heating at this level, by the time FC play their next competitive game against Flixton on Wednesday, March 15, it will have been over two weeks since the last [a 1-1 draw with Great Harwood Town]. The Reds even had to arrange a midweek friendly on astroturf against Woodley Sports just to be sure a game could actually take place.

In the past, the only time us United fans have heard the term 'winter break' was when Sir Alex Ferguson was calling for one to be introduced to the Premiership. Now we've become accustomed to matches being at the whim of the weather.

Due to North West Counties rules stipulating that games can't be called off until the day of the match itself, the club has introduced a telephone information line for fans to call. It is hoped the move will prevent a repeat of the situation for the first Chadderton postponement when several fans still turned up at Gigg Lane. At least on that occasion they were treated to a curry with the players, by way of compensation, and a great night was had by all - even if Mark Owen didn't show up.

Anyone wanting to check if an FC United game is set to take place can call the information line on 0870 6260295

Article in Unitedsupporteren

Source: Unitedsupporteren issue 6 2005/2006 (the Magazine for Manchester United Supporters Club, Scandinavian Branch) no online content.

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There’s Only Two United! (sic)
Last summer some United supporters left Old Trafford behind and went to follow amateur football at Gigg Lane instead. The atmosphere they create there is being talked about at levels above their station, high up in the league system.

Gigg Lane, November 2005: Cold, miserable and quiet. Manager Chris Casper is on the touchline trying to egg his players on. Trying to get them to give that little bit extra needed to get a goal. Bury FC, one of the worst teams in the professional league, is about to go out of the FA cup before the competition has even properly started. Bury, one of many professional clubs on the verge of bankruptcy, could really have done with more that the 2,940 spectators who turned up for this game, not to mention a cup run that lasted just a little bit longer. I make my way back, in a slightly frozen state, to the tram. Thinking there must be at least 1000 more fun things do do with my life than this; bad football watched in a ground with no atmoshphere played in a field out in the sticks.

Gigg Lane: January 2006: It’s cold, fun and the noise level is incredible. It’s still 10 minutes until kick-off , and the packed stand behind one of the goals is singing: “Bring on United!”. This is sung non-stop from ten to three until the players come on to the pitch. The FCUM manager Karl Marginson is chewing his lip, he looks a little bit nervous. The closest thing FCUM comes to a ‘hate’ game in North West Counties League division 2 is this game. Normally a game at this level will attract 32 spectators and a few stray dogs, not today. FC United are at home to Winsford United (Winsford is a scouse overspill town of course), Winsford is also one of three teams battling it out for promotion from division 2.

The record attendance for FCUM at home is 3,808 against Daisy Hill back in October when the fan’s favourite Adie Orr scored two. Now, at ten to three, the stands are filling up nicely in the rented home of FCUM which just happens to be the one they share with Bury FC.

-What do you recon, will the attendance today be more than 3,000?
-Way over. There is 1,000 outside waiting to get in! –claims Julian Spencer as he lights his fifth cigarette in an hour. He is freezing, but proud and happy. Until last summer Spencer was the chairman of the Independent Manchester United Supporters Association (IMUSA). Then Glazer came along and it was all over. Spencer became one of many Manchester-lads who, whilst still counting themselves as MUFC supporters, refused to spend money at Old Trafford.

He became a member of the board of FC United of Manchester instead.

-It wasn’t just the Glazer takeover that tipped the balance for me. I’ve been heavily involved in IMUSA for years and was deeply frustrated over the way our club met us. Many felt the same way as I did, and we decided to use our energy and time in doing something positive rather than hitting our head against a wall all the time.

When AFC Wimbledon was formed it was to a backdrop of universal praise from the footballing world (read; supporters). They’d been on the receiving end of a Norwegian based heist, their club was moved to a different part of the country.

For FC the story was different. The ‘real’ club, Manchester United, was still there. Some of the supporters wanted something else though – a club they could call their own. The solution was FC United, a club owned by its members. Any member turn up to the general meetings holding just that one vote. That members, or supporters if you like, actually own the club is not the normal way of life in English football.

The reactions to FC have been varied, both from other teams and of those following Manchester United. Some say it is nonsense to change clubs. Others see FC United as a nostalgic wish for football getting back to it’s roots, and wish them well – but doubt it will work. Others again have been to a single game and are hooked.

All choices are respected. Like the girls on reception at Gigg Lane this Saturday. They put in time for nowt for FC United on match-days, along with some 120 others. One renewed her ST at OT this season but hasn’t been to a single match so far this season. One of the others is still doing both MUFC and FCUM, the third gave up her ST. They’re all agreed on one thing though; FC United is fun and this club is starting to be an important part in their social life as well.

No matter how many, and why, have chosen to switch from MUFC to FCUM, the United fanzines have adopted a ‘all choices are to be respected’ policy. If you’ve decided to do MUFC games, you’re not going to be called a Glazerite. Have you decided to drop the Premier League hysterics (sic) for close-fought games against Flixton or Blackpool Mechanichs instead, your choice should be met with understanding. The Fanzine’s editorials are clear; there are no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ choices.

-The choices are of an individual nature. I can’t say what’s right for you. You’ve got to choose (Julian Spencer).

Outside the stadium, an hour before kick-off, I find myself talking to a few of the supporters. All kinds; those who still attend ‘real United’, and quite a few who used to go to Old Trafford but had to give it up. The last group is the larger of the two.

-I’ve not been able to afford going to Old Trafford for many years now. I don’t particularly want to go and watch anybody else. This (FCUM) I can afford, and the atmosphere is fantastic. It’s £7 for adults and £2 for kids. That’s nothing says Andrew Concannon, who has brought his kids; Thomas and Emily to the game. It’s Emily’s first game, Thomas is attending his 2nd.

-I like the philosophy behind FC United, the way the fans own the club. I don’t really feel a part of Manchester United anymore, even though I’m still a supporter – says Steve Yates. He’s ready for his first ever FC United game, and doesn’t really know what to expect.
-I’ve heard a lot of good things, and hope it will be fun.

Fun is a key-word for FC United, if you’re a fan our not. FC United has the highest attendances in the amateur leagues as I write this. In the Conference there are some teams that can compete, but AFC Wimbledon’s average is lower than that of FCUM. In the 4th division of the league several teams have a lower attendance record than FCUM. The FCUM-supporters give the club income and economical strength to move up the league. Even with low prices for admission is it clear that the turnover in the first year will be several million kroner (1 GBP = 11.5 NOK).

Spencer is dreaming of FCUM getting a ground of their own. It can seem like a long way off, but the success of AFC Wimbledon is obviously an inspiration to FC United. If everything works out AFC Wimbledon can be in the same division as Milton Keynes in a few seasons. Neither Spencer or anyone else wants to talk about this, but there is no reason why this club can’t progress if the supporters remain loyal. The size of their support is just so much larger than that of their opponents.
-A lot of the clubs in our league was sceptical as to letting FC United in. Other teams had had a difficult time getting accepted and FCUM could only offer promises, no infrastructure at all. The travelling FCUM support has been a lifeline for several clubs though, according to Winsford United’s exec Bob Astles.

I’m quite impressed as to the standard of football to be honest, not bad for a team at the very lowest rung of the ladder. A full 10 divisions below Manchester United . But then again several of the FCUM players have solid backgrounds. Both Joshua Howard and Mark Rawlinson were juniors at Manchester United, and Leon Mike is enjoying his debut for FCUM today. He has played for City – but claims to be a United fan like several others in the team. FCUM’s strip is the familiar red top, white shorts and black socks. Many of the songs are the same as at Old Trafford and this club doesn’t hide where it’s coming from. The players earn less than £100 per week, and according to Spencer doesn’t FCUM pay over the odds in this amateur world. Several players have dropped divisions and pay to play for FCUM. The club has employed two people to get the administrative work running smoothely, and both the manager and assistant manager (Power) has part time employment with the club.

FC United’s success has not gone un-noticed in the media. At the game I attended there were media from both Russia and Holland (The Netherlands). Since I was there The Guardian has had a big piece regarding FCUM.
Andrew Donegan is perhaps the best example of a FC United supporter; he has given up his ST at Old Trafford and has been to every FCUM game this sesaon. Before the Winsford game he steps in at the mega-stall as a seller.

-Why pay £30-£40 to go to Old Trafford only to sit in complete silence watching boring football if you can come here? Jumping about and having fun? I wake up on match-days with butterflies in my stomach.
-But the football is poor compared to Old Trafford?
-I don’t care. As long as I see a team of players proud to wear the shirt.

The game is a close fought match between two teams trying to play football. The atmosphere is top for the full 90 minutes. Particularly the stand behind the goal – it’s a long time since I’ve experienced this kind of atmosphere at Old Trafford. When Rory Patterson puts away the winner with two minutes left on the clock, I thought the roof was going to be blown off with the noise. 4,328 witnessed this. A record. Again. An attendance Bury can only dream about.

For me, and most MUFC supporters, there will only ever be one United. My heart wasn’t in it at Gigg Lane. Having said that, it was a good laugh. If you find yourself in England and have the opportunity to watch FC United in addition to the Real United, don’t hesitate. Go. You’ll not regret it.

FC United ticket talks


FC UNITED members will discuss cutting their season ticket prices for next year after reporting to members that the fledgling club "s in a healthy financial position.

On course for promotion from the Moore and Co Solicitors League second division, the club has also taken on two full-time staff, is about to advertise for a third, and will report bumper sales of merchandise, the profits from which will all be ploughed back into the club.

The board is proposing that admission prices for home games will be frozen at £7 for adults and £2 for under-18s.

It will be among the proposals put to the club's membership at their first annual meeting, to be held at the Central Methodist Hall in Manchester on March 21.

Woodley Sports 2 FC United 4


FC United beat Unibond League first division side Woodley Sports 4-2 in a friendly last night.

The game was arranged after postponed fixtures left the newly formed side without a game in over two weeks.

Goals from Adie Orr, Joz Mitten, Darren Lyons and Simon Band handed FC victory.

The club yesterday signed 22-year-old striker Dave Swarbrick from Cumbrian side Holker Old Boys.

Swarbrick has also played for Barrow in the Conference North.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

FC United: Rebels get friendly


FC UNITED will play UniBond One promotion hopefuls Woodley Sports in a friendly fixture at the Stockport side's Lambeth Grove ground tonight.

The Rebels' manager Karl Marginson arranged the game as last week's postponement and this weekend's blank schedule meant the team would have gone 16 days without playing ahead of the home game with Flixton on March 15.

Admission to the game will be £3 for adults and free for under-18s.

The fledgling club is also set to announce it will take on a third full-time member of staff.

They will shortly be advertising for a club development officer whose job will be develop the club's community links.

Meanwhile, FC United have released their first DVD, charting the first three months of their inaugural season.

The 93-minute disc shows highlights from the club's first 14 games, including 51 goals, and also carries a short film `The People vs Malcolm Glazer'.

The DVD is available for £12.99 from

Stuart Brennan
M.E.N. 9th March, 2006

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Rebel Reds in town


UNIBOND League play-off chasing Woodley Sports have hastily arranged a friendly game against ‘Red Rebels’ FC United for Thursday night at Lambeth Grove [7.45pm kick-off].

Sports boss Ally Pickering is a close friend of his FC United counterpart Karl Marginson, and the two set up the clash last Friday night when the Reds realised that they were looking at two weeks without a game.

There’s no danger of Thursday's game being called off thanks to Woodley’s fantastic new ‘Fieldturf’ playing surface, and Pickering is looking forward to it.

"Really I’ll just be using the game as a training exercise ahead of our big cup semi-final on Saturday," said Pickering. "But it’ll give all our lads a good run-out and the club will hopefully take a few quid through the gate.

"Karl Marginson has asked about the possibility of a friendly at our place quite a few times, I’m glad we can help them out if they’re in need of a bit of match practise."

FC United were set up last summer by a group of disgruntled Manchester United fans opposed to the Malcolm Glazer takeover.

They now play their home games at Bury’s Gigg Lane ground in front of regular gates of 3,000+, and are flying high in the second division of the Moore and Co Solicitors North West Counties League.

Simon Smedley
March 8th 2006

Monday, March 06, 2006

United stand puts Dave at the heart of a revolution

Source: Heywood Advertiser

DAVE Brown can rightly say he’s part of a football revolution. The former Siddal Moor pupil, who was once on the books of Manchester United, now plays for FC United, the breakaway team formed by fans disenchanted after Malcolm Glazer’s takeover at Old Trafford.

Brown, who lives in Summit with his wife and two children, joined FC United in October having had spells at Mossley, Castleton, Horwich RMI, Bacup Borough, Radcliffe Borough and Salford City.

The 33-year-old centre half said: “I was working away in the north east and my brother told me there was a team being started by United fans who didn’t like what the Glazer family were doing at Old Trafford.

“He told me they had already sold 2,000 season tickets and I said ‘no way’ and didn’t really believe him.

“But I went to watch a game and there were 3,000 there. I couldn’t believe it. I knew manager Karl Marginson from my days at Salford and jumped at the chance to join. I was probably being a bit selfish, but I was coming to the end of my career - when was I ever going to get the chance to play in front of 2,000 people on a regular basis again?”

As a youngster, Brown was Manchester United through and through.

As well as signing schoolboy forms at Old Trafford with dreams of a professional career, he named his eldest son Robson after the former United and England skipper Bryan.

He added: “I was a schoolboy at United under Ron Atkinson, but when Atkinson was sacked, Alex Ferguson took over and cleaned the lot out to start his revolution.”

It’s well-documented how FC United was formed by Manchester United fans disenchanted by Malcolm Glazer’s aggressive takeover last summer.

What they maybe couldn’t have expected was the success they would achieve so early on - top of Division Two of the North West Counties Football League by a Chelsea-sized 17 points and playing in front of gates of more than 3,000 at Gigg Lane in a league where 100 is considered a decent turn-out.

Opposing teams have to regularly switch the games to bigger grounds to accommodate the travelling FC United fans.

Brown added: “When I first joined United, skipper Dave Chadwick was injured so I was made captain.

“For one game, my lad Robson was a mascot and was standing in the tunnel next to me.

“He loves it and has FC United posters in his bedroom. He tells all his mates that his dad plays for United!

“Like many of the FC United fans I will always be [Manchester] United through and through but hate what has happened to the club.

“FC United is what Manchester United used to be - a fans’ club.

“You can bring a family of four to Gigg Lane and it will cost you under £20. It would cost £40 just to get one person into Old Trafford.

“The fans are fantastic - they sing and sing all game - it never stops. It’s how it used to be at football matches.”

FC United fans and players dream of one day playing the other ‘United’ and this first season could be the first step on that road.

They look certainties for promotion this season and then face the long haul to try and get into the Football League.

Dave added: “We have experienced players like Phil Power and Darren Lyons who have dropped down from the Conference along with players of 18 and 19 who weren’t even born when I was at Manchester United.

“If I’m being honest, we should win this league and then it’s up to the board how far we can go.

“They seem determined to make this a success and I am proud to be a part of it. I probably only have one season left in me, but I have been approached to help with the younger players next season.

“Who knows, people may look back on this side in 10 years’ time and see me as part of a football revolution.”

MANY said it couldn’t happen, but just seven months after the Glazer family invaded Old Trafford, FC United of Manchester are top of the North West Counties Division Two table and are pulling in crowds of over 4,000.

The club was formed by disgruntled supporters of Manchester United, for whom the Glazer’s debt-laden takeover was the straw that finally broke their backs.

Fed up with years of being treated like customers, thousands of Old Trafford regulars swore to never go back.

They formed a club that would once again make football accessible for all. A club that would foster community links in Greater Manchester and give kids the chance to watch a team playing in red called ‘United’.

And it’s definitely struck a chord as nearly 5,000 fans travelled to Blackpool two weeks ago and an average crowd of over 3,000 have flocked to their temporary home at Gigg Lane, Bury.

For more information on the club, visit website:

Saturday, March 04, 2006

United they Stand

Note: This article first appeared in swine magazine, online at and has been reprinted in this Months ICE magazine.

What The World Is Waiting For
by Martin Hall

When Rio Ferdinand took his seat on the substitutes bench for England’s recent game against Austria it’s unlikely he was straining to hear the singing coming from FC United’s supporters at Bury’s Gigg Lane ground. However, had he listened carefully he would have heard the following ditty:
“I don’t care about Rio, He don’t care about me, All I care about is watching FC, watching FC.”

As England fans watched another dire, negative performance from ‘their’ team and paid in the region of £40 for the privilege, a few miles away 3,808 people were watching FC United: entertaining football from players passionate about the club they represent, 90 minutes of non-stop singing, great banter between all supporters and six goals. All for the princely sum of seven pounds.

FC United of Manchester Football Club was formed this summer by Manchester United fans angry at Malcolm Glazer’s strongly opposed takeover at Old Trafford. There were other factors too. The crass commercialism of the club was getting worse, ticket prices were becoming increasingly exorbitant and the intangible ‘connection’ between players and fans was practically non-existent.

Just as the punk revolution of 1976 was borne out of a ‘Do It Yourself’ ethos and a desire to show that the emperors of the mainstream were indeed naked, FC United comes from a long-held Mancunian belief that the status quo does not necessarily have to remain unchallenged and that the people ‘in charge’ don’t necessarily know best.

Or as Primal Scream’s Mani put it in the latest edition of the excellent FC fanzine Under The Boardwalk: “It’s a case of ‘please mister, can we have our ball back.’ It’s been nicked and no-one’s even asked us if they can have it.” The club have had a remarkable start to the season, dropping only 5 points so far. They have also smashed all attendance records for the North West Counties League Division Two, and the buzz is getting bigger with every game.

BBC GMR and Radio 6 DJ Conrad Murray has been a familiar face at FC’s matches and he’s certainly buzzing off the match-going experience: “I really enjoy the fact that it’s like when I first started going in United Road with my mates from school. You’d be phoning round on the Friday night seeing who was going. Loads would turn up and you’d all stand together. It’s all inclusive- you don't need to apply for acceptance.”

Liam Ronan, Swine contributor and Sheffield Wednesday fan agrees with Murray’s comments: “I think what’s quality about it is that you can go along and support FC without feeling guilty. It’s a good craic and a top day out. And it’s definitely the only time you’ll ever hear me chanting ‘United’ at a football match!”

To paraphrase Tony Blair, FC United have accepted the best parts of Manchester United’s history- great fans and diverse support- and rejected the worst - excessive commercialism and disregard for supporters. As well as upholding the finest traditions of Manchester United Football Club, FC are aiming to prove a positive force in the game and beyond.

Dr Adam Brown- a respected former member of the Football Task Force and board member of FCUM- wants the club to be an integral part of the Manchester community: “In many ways the club has been set up as a community club in that it is an expression of the community of the fans that wanted to form it. In that sense it’s bound up in the ethos of the club anyway.”

“We’ve made it very clear that we want the club to be of service to all the communities in Manchester. But obviously it’s early days and the kind of funded outreach work that the best clubs do is something that takes a bit of time to put in place.” Brown believes that the youth of Manchester are vital to the future of FC and wants to ensure this often neglected demographic are catered for: “We’ve got a particular desire to be accessible for young people and on matchday that’s reflected in terms of the £2 prices for under-18’s.

We made it consciously under 18’s rather than under 16’s because we recognise that anyone between 16 and 18 is likely to be in full-time education and very few are going to be earning an adult wage. We had a under-18’s day where 700 under 18’s came in for free. “We’re applying for some money from Sport England to help us develop community ties at the club and that will lead to a coaching course which the club will run for under 18s. There’s a lot of interest in working with schools.”

The difference in ethos between FC United and premier league team is simple, according to Brown: “Everything that FC United makes is reinvested in the club and that is absolutely fundamental to understanding the difference between the commercial, corporate model that is dominating the top level of English football and the kind of model that we’re pursuing.”

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of all of this is how quickly the Steering Committee were able to set up the club. Never mind the chant ‘shit ground, no fans’, at the start of June FC United had neither a name nor a stadium! The first major supporters meeting after Glazer’s takeover was held at the Methodist Church Hall on Oldham Street with the next one at the Apollo.

A sense of defiance permeated both meetings and Andy Mitten, editor of the influential fanzine United We Stand says he was not surprised at the rapid establishment of the club or the enthusiasm with which the supporters have embraced FC: “They had to seize the initiative and be up and running in a matter of weeks to tap into the feeling amongst Reds post-takeover.
“It was imperative that they started the 05-06 season. I wasn’t surprised because I knew the calibre of people involved and what they were capable of.

“I always felt there would be an initial wave of enthusiasm and publicity- but what was important was what happened after that. Many in non-league were sceptical. The manager of one non-league team said to me: ‘Is this going to happen or what? And isn’t it just going to be a flash in the plan?’”
“It did happen and given that attendances are rising and not falling, it’s unlikely to be a flash in the pan.”

There have been many memorable moments for the club so far. The pandemonium of the first game, the travelling support for the Supporters Direct tie against Wimbledon and the performances in the League have all been exceptional. But perhaps the first competitive match -away at Leek- offers the most accurate insight into the mind of an FC supporter.

Despite a torrential downpour that was more befitting of the African rainy season than the North West non-league season, over 2,500 fans crammed into a, ahem, ‘traditional’ football ground to witness a 5-2 win for FC. The public transport system meant a three and a half hour journey back from deepest Staffordshire but for former Student Direct editor (and contributor to FC’s superb matchday programme) Matt Haley, the day was a welcome return to football’s key values: “The problem with modern-day top-flight football is that every time you buy a ticket you’re just making rich men richer.

“At the risk of sounding overtly political, FC is almost like a socialist utopia in the sense that all the money you spend is ploughed back into the club instead of funding the Chairman’s Ferrari addiction or whatever.” Haley’s conviction is a common one. With ‘football in crisis’ currently a mainstay of sports headlines, it seems that supporters are becoming increasingly disillusioned with keeping their star players in Moschino shirts and diamond earrings whilst paying over the odds for the dubious privilege of 4-5-1 and trite PR statements gobbled up by quote hungry hacks.

Chelsea’s European Cup attendances serve as proof that the money-men may have finally killed the goose that laid the golden egg. But the Moore & Co Construction Solicitors North West League Division Two is a far cry from the shallow opulence of the Premiership and Andy Mitten thinks things can only get better for FC: “FCUM are receiving so much good publicity at the moment that I can only see the crowds continuing to rise.

People are going to games, enjoying themselves and returning. They feel that they are getting value for money and great entertainment- principally because of the atmosphere. “People who called themselves United fans but stopped going to games for various reasons are now match going fans of FC. Their enthusiasm for watching live football has been rekindled, their cynicism tempered. Not everyone agrees with the concept but FCUM has put a smile on thousands of faces.”

And Conrad Murray is adamant FCUM is no gimmick or fad: “I reckon FC is definitely going to go from strength to strength. The club has a great infrastructure in place and the ongoing increase in crowds is evidence that it’s going to get bigger and better. Viva la revolution!”

Friday, March 03, 2006

A cold wet night in Accrington

Source: The Guardian

A cold wet night in Accrington

Not longer after Manchester United were winning the Carling Cup, FC United went 18 points ahead in the North West Counties Division Two, writes Tony Howard

Friday March 3, 2006

Soon after Gary Neville held aloft the once-mocked Carling Cup amidst the Cardiff fireworks, FC United fans were preparing to travel to Accrington to face Great Harwood Town - a club runners-up Wigan were playing regularly 30 years ago.

In 1976 Latics recorded their lowest attendance of the season against the East Lancashire side on their way to a fifth place finish in the Northern Premier League.

Not many of the 730 people in attendance at that game would ever have imagined Wigan would one day be playing mighty Manchester United in the League Cup final - indeed, it was two years before Wigan were invited to join the Football League at Southport's expense and the top tier of English Football must have seemed a million miles away.

Tommy Docherty's exciting United side, on the other hand, were on their way to Wembley after returning to Division One following their brief sojourn in the league below. How many in the 57,000 Old Trafford crowd who saw the reds beat West Ham 4-0 on February 28, 1976 would ever have thought they'd be watching non-league football 30 years later?

But, while Wiganers recovered from their hangovers and the 19-hour traffic jam out of Cardiff, 1,100 United fans travelled to Accrington on a cold, wet Monday night for a rearranged North West Counties Division Two fixture.

If it wasn't difficult enough dealing with the conflict of feelings of seeing our once beloved Manchester United win their first silverware of the Glazer regime, we were faced with an experience we feared would be the norm once we dropped down 10 levels of English football.

Michael Fish would've struggled to predict the combination of weather conditions that saw snow, sleet, hail; rain and gale force winds descend on Accrington all within 90 minutes.

It's harsh criticising officials at this level, when they only receive £25 a game, but they had a shocker to add to our 'joy'. And it's not sour grapes - FC were gifted a penalty for no apparent reason, on the way to drawing the game 1-1 and moving 18 points clear at the top.

But, despite this we once again had an enjoyable night in the home of the famous Accrington Stanley. We may have shivered and we may have shaken our heads at some of the decisions, but we were huddled together against the cold - behind the club that is genuinely ours.

The Millennium Stadium may have felt like a million miles away, but as Wigan have proved anything is possible in football. We have already managed to take more fans to play Great Harwood than they did 30 years before, so who would bet against FC United of Manchester playing Manchester United in the League Cup Final 2036? f the Old Trafford club haven't gone bust by then, that is.

- Tony Howard

FC United: Chadderton trip in doubt


FC United, now 18 points clear in the Moore and Co Solicitors League second division, aim to take another step towards the title with a victory over struggling Chadderton, who have switched the game to Curzon Ashton's Tameside Stadium.

But supporters are being warned to keep a weather eye open as the cold weather puts the game in doubt.

The pitch is currently frozen and with more freezing conditions forcast for the weekend, prospects of the game going ahead are poor.

League rules do not allow the match to be called off before the day of the game, therefore a pitch inspection will take place on Saturday morning.

Supporters are urged to check either the club's new information line (0870 6260295) before travelling.

FC United on Transworld Sports

An excellent 8 minutes of footage from Transwolrd sports - gives a thorough background to the club and the glazer takeover, obviously aimed at those who know nothing about the club - well worth watching.

This will be shown again on Channel 4 at 7am on sunday morning

click here

Thursday, March 02, 2006

FC United rent out Robins' nest


MOSS LANE witnessed its largest crowd of the season on Saturday - but there was barely an Alty fan in sight.

While the Robins enjoyed a well-deserved weekend off, thousands of disaffected Manchester United supporters descended on the ground to show their support for the self-styled fans' club, FC United of Manchester.

They numbered 3159 in total, forming not only the biggest crowd of the current campaign but the biggest in more than four years, since 3302 watched Alty take on Darlington in the FA Cup Second Round on December 8 2001.

Although many observers doubted FC United's ability to sustain initial interest in the club, crowds have actually grown steadily over the course of the season and their average home attendance now stands at 3,001.

But while the club enjoyed a successful day at Moss Lane, general manager Andy Walsh says he still cannot believe the amount of support they continue to attract.

"It went very well and we are very grateful to Altrincham for the help they gave us from Graham Heathcote down to the stewards and the service staff," he told SAM Sport.

"We've been staggered by the level of support this season. We thought we would maybe get 1,000 people here at the start but we are averaging over 3,000 now.

"It just shows what is available to people who can't afford to watch Premiership football but also those who don't want to give their money to Malcolm Glazer."

The deal to play at Moss Lane was strictly a one-game arrangement, organised after a beer festival at FC United's current home Gigg Lane clashed with their fixture against Holker Old Boys.

Rumours abound about the club's prospects of finding a permanent home but Walsh claims they will continue to take things one step at a time.

He said: "It's very early days yet. We are going to go into negotiations with Bury over the next few weeks about extended our groundshare to next season but Moss Lane is certainly another option.

"It's in the Trafford area, it's got good transport links and people are familiar with the ground both through watching Manchester United's reserves and through watching Altrincham themselves."

The game itself may not have been a classic but FC United triumphed 4-1, extending their lead at the top of the North West Counties Division Two table to 17 points in the process.

Josh Howard opened the scoring just before the interval and although Holker equalised through Dave Swarbrick, there was a clear gap in class between the sides and goals from Chris Simms, man of the match Rory Patterson and William Aherne eventually sealed the win.

For Alty, the game represented a chance to bring in much-needed funds on a non-matchday and director Grahame Rowley praised everyone at the club for helping to ensure the day went smoothly.

"I have to thank all the fans and helpers who made sure Saturday went smoothly," he said.

"We always try and do our best to accommodate other clubs, it's about being part of the community, so it would be good if we could arrange for FC United to come down and play a preseason friendly this summer."