Monday, December 31, 2007

Fans Boycott a Storming Success

By Dale Haslam

On a landmark day in the history of FC United - a club whose fans are famed for making a huge racket wherever they go - it was the silence that rang out around the Tameside Stadium that spoke loudest.

In a well organised and brilliantly executed boycott, only 20 or so fans of the Bury-based outfit were visible among the 297 in attendance, with an estimated 1,500 refusing to trek to Ashton for the puzzling 12.45pm kick-off arranged at the whim of an internet television channel and without the approval of both clubs.

A few miles away at the home of Abbey Hey - just as captain Rob Nugent was powering home United's second, building on Simon Carden's first-half tap in - about 500 reds were watching the first-place reserves outfit beat nearest league rivals Club AZ.

It meant that for the first time in the club's short history, as the first-team shirts put on an impressive display on the field, there was no singing, no merriment, no smiling young faces or joy expressed off it.

The mood of the day was reminiscent of the emotional Sunday back in May 2005 when 100 or so Big United' fans dressed in black to mourn the loss of their club to current owner Malcolm Glazer, but those taking part will this time know that, unlike on that dismal Cardiff afternoon, they've won their battle.

The Curzon fans, who have seen their savvy team rise to the top of the table in a promising five months, seemed to have no problem with having the league puppet them about on their Saturday afternoon.

One middle-aged man queuing up for a much-needed steaming cup of coffee at half time seemed to sum up the apathy, or just downright stubbornness, of his fellow Curzon supporters.

"What's the point in staying away? It won't achieve anything. People need to realise it's not the 1960s anymore. You just have to get on with it," he said.

But, according to some of those who do have the power to change the status quo, that doesn't appear to be the case.

The magnitude of the boycott certainly seemed to home with today's grim-faced match commentator John Warrington, head of In Vision, who said he is confident such a situation will not be allowed to take place in future.

Speaking at half-time, he said: "It is hugely disappointing that the attendance is so low for everyone involved, especially Curzon Ashton, who have lost out on a big slice of revenue.

"When the board of FC United announced that they would be in favour of a boycott of this game, I was in Las Vegas and I was disappointed that Andy Walsh was not prepared to wait just one more day until I got back to discuss the issue with me so we could have talked it through."

He added: "As it is, I cannot see any club being shown more than once before the play-offs on a Saturday.

"But when there are concerns of the change of times, we will certainly be prepared to hold discussions with the league in order to find a solution."

Indeed, Mr Warrington admitted he did ask the league if they would move the fixture back to 3pm, with In Vision showing the game in full at 5pm. The league refused.

League secretary Phil Bradley was at today's game, but wasn't too prepared to make himself available for a comment. He left right on the final whistle.

Curzon chairman Harry Galloway said that, while he expected a low attendance, it was still a blow for his club to miss out on an estimated £10,000 windfall from a bumper attendance.

FC United of Manchester general secretary Lindsey Robertson, meanwhile, said she was delighted with the success of the boycott - and that, according to Mr Warrington, it could avoid kick-off times changing in future without agreement of the clubs involved.

She said: "It just shows how strongly the supporters feel about this matter. I know it is hard for them because they want to support the team, especially in such a big game, but it's important we stand up for what we believe in.

"If what has happened today provokes discussion about whether this will happen again, it has been worth it and it will show how essential it is for supporters to have a voice."


Sunday, December 30, 2007


(FC United general manager)

(No on-line content)

TELEVISION and foot­ball makes for a bit­tersweet relation­ship, the vast sums of money that TV companies are willing to pay for broadcasting matches reflects the popularity of the sport.

TV has helped lift the profile and exposure of the game to an all-time high - but there is a down­side, with the match-going sup­porter left guessing on what day and at what time a match is to take place.

The Northern Premier League has struck a deal for showing matches over the Internet with specialist broadcaster lnvision.

The deal has been in place for a couple of years with clubs in the league benefiting from the odd game being shown on the web.

Without any warning or expla­nation, Invision and the league decided that this weekend was the right time to broadcast a live Saturday match.

UEFA rules debar matches being broadcast between 14:45 and 17:15 so a proposal was made to change the kick-off time to 12:45.

The chosen game was FC United of Manchester's away game at Curzon Ashton Both clubs objected to the change but the league imposed the decision regardless.

As new members of the league and aware of problems caused by TV deals elsewhere, FC United met with league officials in July to ask about details of the league's obli­gations to the TV company.

League officials gave assur­ances that games would not be moved for TV without the agreement of the competing clubs.

The league now denies that any assurances were given and have refused to discuss the matter fur­ther.

As a result of these assurances not being maintained and because the league ignored the express wishes of both clubs, the board of FC United reluctantly asked for supporters to attend the reserve fixture instead of going to the first team game.

As a members-owned club it is not surprising that supporters heeded the call, with 467 attend­ing the reserve fixture and just a handful travelling to Curzon Ashton.

The stand taken by FC United's board has been criticised by some for being narrow-minded and interpreted as a failure to embrace the opportunity to gain the expo­sure offered by TV.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We are aware of how important TV is to the game; the publicity it generates and the cash revenues are vital ingredients.

Our objection is that assur­ances we believe we were given have been reneged upon and that the league has failed to explain why it was necessary to inconven­ience supporters.

The evaporation of these assur­ances follows a similar pattern to the broken promises made when the top flight started to have more games televised.

One thousand supporters attending a game at our level will generate in the region of £10,000 through gate revenue, catering, bar spend etc.

This income needs to be pro­tected and built upon not risked in pursuit of an as yet unproven Internet audience.

Supporters of our club travel in numbers; they are embraced by some, viewed with suspicion by others and seen as ripe for exploitation by a few.

When we left the North West Counties League, one league offi­cial, who opposed our acceptance two years previously, explained that he had a change of heart and recognised the benefit our sup­porters had brought to clubs in the league, generating 1250,000 a season for member clubs and the same again for the pubs and take­aways around the region.

In chasing a greater exposure for the Non-League game, our administrators need to be careful not to lose the existing audience with a disruption to kick-offs experienced higher up the Pyramid. Non-League clubs strug­gle to attract enough spectators through the gate so the exposure offered by TV is attractive and the numbers quoted for viewing fig­ures can be seductive, but it is the fan that turns up week in, week out that should be cherished.

The match-going fan generates cash every week. The TV compa­nies hope to raise revenue off the back of their coverage because advertisers wish to expose their Products to these supporters.

We are not burying our heads in the sand and recognise that some disruption to kick-off times is the inevitable price paid for the money given by the TV companies.

But the wishes of match-going fans must be paramount - other­wise what are we here for?

NLP Sunday, 30 December 2007


(No on-line content)

CURZON ASHTON were left counting the cost of FC United fans' decision to boy­cott yesterday's game after just 297 turned up at the Tameside Stadium,

Chairman Harry Galloway believes the UniBond North side could have lost £10,000 after the Red Rebels fans' no-show, following their objec­tion to the 12.45pm kick-off.

"What could we do about it?" said a dejected Galloway, who watched his side slip to a 2-0 defeat against United.

"I think it could have been prevented by the league -there was no need for it to come to this at all.

"Of course we are disap­pointed by the gate because we were expecting at least another 1,000 on top of that.

"There were about 10 to 20 FC United fans in disguise around the ground, but we had budgeted for far more.

"It has cost us about £10k and for a club like Curzon Ashton that is a lot of money."

FC United chiefs had asked fans to boycott the game after it was chosen for UniBond TV - and an early kick-off.

Despite accepting United's reasons, Galloway added: "It's written into their constitution that they are not going to be pushed about by TV compa­nies with regard to kick-offs but I would never support a boycott from our supporters on this issue."

Meanwhile, a record crowd of 467 watched FC United reserves beat Club AZ 3-1 in a home top-of-the-table Cheshire League Division Two clash.

NLP Sunday, 30 December 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Marginson rallies Rebels

Tony Glennon

FC United manager Karl Marginson regards Saturday's trip to leaders Curzon Ashton as a chance for his faltering Rebels to blast their way back into the UniBond first division north championship race.

Marginson's men have slipped to sixth after collecting just seven points from their last seven games, the latest of which was a disappointing 1-1 draw at rock-bottom Radcliffe on Boxing Day.

But victory over Curzon in the 12.45pm Tameside Stadium clash would take FC back to within nine points of the summit to reassert their claim for a third successive divisional title as they head into the New Year.

"We've had a difficult few weeks but a win tomorrow would repair a lot of the damage we've sustained at a single stroke," said Marginson.

"We simply have to keep going because a glance at the league table tells you the race for the championship is still wide-open."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Boycott Backing


FC UNITED manager Karl Marginson has backed his fans’ boycott of the team’s visit to Curzon Ashton this Saturday, December 22.

The club’s board requested the action after the UniBond League moved the kick-off time from 3pm to 12.30pm to accommodate their internet live TV coverage.

The move has angered members of the club, which was partly formed with a remit to counter the ills of modern football, including the changing of kick-off times to the detriment of supporters.

Marginson said: "I fully support our fans in this action and I did even consider pulling the team out to show people that you cannot treat football supporters with such disregard as this. We decided that the punishments that would be imposed on the club meant it was advisable to play the match but that doesn’t alter the fact that I support the boycott.

"It will be a good test for our players to play without the vocal backing and a wake up call to some of them who have got used to having 2,000 supporters singing their name.

"Maybe some of our squad will realise again how lucky they are to have the support that they do and that has to be a good thing."

An event will take place the same day at FC’s reserve game against Eagle Sport at Abbey Hey’s Abbey Stadium, kick-off 2pm. For more details visit:

Boro share spoils with Reds

Source: This is Lancashire

By Marc Higginson

BOROUGH remain rooted to the bottom of the Unibond table, without a win to their name.

However, three of their seven draws have now come against sides in the top five and, once again, they were the better side but failed to make their dominance count.

They looked odds-on for that first win when Craig Dawson put his side ahead, but FC United refused to throw in the towel and got their reward when Chris Baguley curled home a 25-yard free-kick five minutes from time.

Steve Howson, Gary Sampson and Michael Murray had all tested Reds keeper Sam Ashton before central defender Dawson rose to head home Sampson's corner after 41 minutes.

Borough couldn't find a second goal and paid the price when, with five minutes left on the clock, United's Baguley was brought down on the edge of the area.

The inspirational midfielder dusted himself down and curled a super free-kick around the wall and into the bottom corner.

In the end it took an assistant referee's flag to save a point for Borough. James Holden tapped the ball in after Lake parried a Baguley shot, only for the goal to be disallowed.

FC fans urged to boycott game

Source: Bury Times

By Marc Higginson

FC United fans have been asked to boycott their game with Curzon Ashton tomorrow.

United's board are urging supporters not to attend after television company In Vision moved the kick-off time from 3pm to 12.45pm for it to be shown live on the internet.

FC, who were founded in 2005, after American businessman Malcolm Glazer took over Manchester United, oppose the idea of games being moved to suit television audiences at the inconvenience of spectators.

Jerome Wright and Adam Turner return to the United squad after suspension, but top scorer Rory Patterson is still out.

Striker Stuart Rudd has had a setback in his return from a knee injury, and is set to be sidelined for another month.

Skipper Dave Chadwick and Josh Howard should return within a fortnight.

Radcliffe Borough director of football Peter Coyne has some juggling to do with his squad before the home clash with Clitheroe.

Cammell Laird are discussing terms with goalkeeper Sean Lake, Glyn Barker has left the club to go travelling and influential midfielder Lee Connell could be out for up to six weeks with ankle ligament damage picked up in the draw at Bradford.

Lake and Barker have yet to be replaced, but there is plenty of new competition in midfield with 21-year-old Maine Road captain Neil Chappell signing permanently and Bradford Park Avenue's Mark Jones joining on loan for a month.

Accrington Stanley teenagers Andy Smith and Joseph Shelmedine have joined on work experience.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Suffering Boro miss out again

By Marc Higginson
Radcliffe Boro 1 FC United 1,
Unibond League Division One North

EVEN the most pessimistic of scriptwriters would struggle to chronicle the hard luck stories down at Radcliffe Borough this season.

Once again Radcliffe were the better team and, once again, Boro were left with a point when it was three they deserved.

A quick glance at the UniBond table shows that Peter Coyne's men are marooned at the bottom without a single league victory all season.

What it doesn't show is that three of their seven draws have come against teams in the top five -- leaders Curzon Ashton, second-placed Bradford Park Avenue and breakaway club FC United of Manchester.

If ever there was a sign that a team can more than hold their own in this division - that statistic proves it.

However, draws are no good and the hard luck tales will continue without a bit more quality and a touch more ruthlessness.

Boro looked odds on for that elusive first win when Craig Dawson put his side ahead, but FC United refused to throw in the towel and got their reward when Chris Baguley curled home a 25-yard free-kick on 85 minutes.

"We just couldn't get the second goal to give ourselves breathing space," said Boro director of football Coyne.

"But credit to FC United. They showed their quality from the free-kick. We are just gutted we didn't get the three points."

It was Boro's big day, with 1,290 packing into Stainton Park for the inaugural competitive fixture between the two sides - and Glyn Barker almost gave his side the lead when he broke through, but shot over, after just 90 seconds.

The home side were inspired by the large crowd, and Steve Howson, Gary Sampson and Michael Murray all tested Reds keeper Sam Ashton with efforts before Dawson's opener on 41 minutes.

Central defender Dawson, who is being courted by Premiership giants Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers, rose highest to power home Sampson's corner and send his side into the break a goal in front.

Boro made most of the running in the first half, but sat back and invited pressure in the second as Chris Baguley became more and more influential with some dangerous runs from midfield.
Simon Carden brought a fine save from keeper Sean Lake after Boro's defence was split open, before the impressive Matty Taylor made a crucial tackle at the other end by stopping Barker in his tracks.

The equaliser came with just five minutes left on the clock when Baguley was brought down on the edge of the area. The inspirational midfielder dusted himself down and curled a super free-kick around the wall and into the bottom corner.

Boro were devastated, but it could have been much worse on 90 minutes when the visitors had a goal disallowed.

Visibly lifted after restoring parity, FC United were the only side capable of a winner and they thought they had it when James Holden tapped home after Lake could only parry another shot from Baguley.

But the linesman raised his flag and Boro were able to keep a semblance of Christmas cheer from a game they once again impressed in.

Boro: Lake, Murray, Sampson, Kelly, Flynn, Dawson, Jones, Forrest (Chappell), Howson, Barker, Waine. Not used: Manning, Smith.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Bumper crowd expected for big derby

Source: The Bolton News

Bumper crowd expected for big derby
By Marc Higginson

RADCLIFFE Borough will be hoping to capitalise on FC United's lack of match practice when they host their high-flying neighbours this afternoon.

The Rebel Reds have not played throughout December because of the poor weather, while Radcliffe are in confident mood after snatching a draw at the death against promotion favourites Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday.

Boro expect to break their Stainton Park attendance record, with as many as 2,500 fans expected at the game, and Coyne is banking on the occasion bringing the best out in his players.

"Any win is crucial for us at the moment, but to do it against FC United would be amazing," said Coyne. "Everyone wants to beat FC United.

"They know all about us, and I doubt that they will be taking us lightly. They know that we are not playing like a bottom of the league team.

"They might not have played for a while, but they will be ready for it. They have a big enough squad."

The visitors will have top-scorer Rory Patterson, Jerome Wright and Adam Turner missing through suspension while Lee Connell is a doubt for Boro.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bleau set for FC debut


FC UNITED face a double-header of UniBond League Division One North fixtures this week as they look to boost their chances of gaining their third successive promotion.

Fourth-placed FC host lowly Woodley Sports at Gigg Lane on Saturday, December 22, and visit rock bottom Radcliffe Borough on Boxing Day, Wednesday, December 26. Both games will kick-off at 3pm.

New FC signing Micha Bleau is almost certain to make his debut at centre half against Woodley as Adam Turner is suspended following a sending off.

Manager Karl Marginson said: “Micha is a strong lad who has played professionally at Halifax so he’s a good signing for us. With the suspensions we’ve got and his impressive form in training he should get his chance on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Rory Patterson still has a two-game suspension to serve and Jerome Wright will also be missing on a one-game ban.

FC have not played yet in December due to their scheduled matches with Chorley and Ossett Albion being called off due to the effects of bad weather.

Reds boycott

By Staff Sports Reporter

A WAR of words has broken out between an internet broadcaster and FC United, whose board is urging its fans to boycott a crunch match.

The breakaway club travel to UniBond League Division One North leaders Curzon Ashton on December 29.

But United's board is urging supporters not to attend after television firm In Vision moved the kick-off time from 3pm to 12.45 so it could be shown live on the internet.

FC, who were founded in 2005, after American businessman Malcolm Glazer took over Manchester United, oppose the idea of games being moved to suit television audiences at the inconvenience of spectators.

In a statement, the board claimed In Vision had given assurances no kick-off time would change for live screenings without the agreement of both clubs.

It said: "As a result of these assurances not being maintained and that the league management committee have gone against the expressed wishes of both clubs, the board of FC United and club officials will not be present at the fixture.

"In line with that position, the board requests that supporters exercise their power to influence decisions, by also not attending.

"For those who do not and seek an alternative it is hoped an event' at our reserve fixture against Eagle Sports at Abbey Hey on the same day at 2pm will be held."

Curzon Ashton stand to lose about £10,000 in lost revenue from the boycott, which has been heavily backed by United fans who have signed a petition against the kick-off alteration.

Curzon chairman Harry Galloway said they would prefer the game to start at 3pm and were disappointed to be losing a cash injection, but they plan to fulfil the fixture to abide by club rules.

Reacting to FC United's statement, In Vision said: "The board of In Vision would like to categorically state that at no time were any promises made in respect of changing kick-off times on a Saturday. Therefore, the key point put forward by the board of FCUM against moving kick-off times and broken promises is invalid simply because no promises were ever made."

FC will return to action for the first time in two weeks when they face Woodley Sports at Gigg Lane on Saturday - and at Radcliffe Borough four days later.

Their previous two games, including last Saturday's trip to Ossett Albion, were postponed due to the weather.


Wednesday 19th December 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

FC Carl Zeiss spielt in Riesa in Gruppe B

Source: Thüringische Landeszeitung

Riesa/Jena. (dpa/tlz) Fußball-Bundesligist MSV Duisburg ersetzt Lech Posen beim Hallenmasters am 5. Januar in Riesa und komplettiert damit das Starterfeld. In der Vorrundengruppe B kommt es damit zum Familienduell zwischen Duisburgs Torhüter Tom Starke und seinem Bruder Manuel, der beim Landesligisten 1. FC Lok Leipzig spielt. Außerdem treffen beide Teams auf den Zweitligisten FC Carl Zeiss Jena.

In der Gruppe A spielen FC Energie Cottbus, FC Erzgebirge Aue und die britische Kultmannschaft FC United of Manchester. Das Turnier wird vom Deutschen Sport-Fernsehen (DSF) live übertragen. Der Sieger erhält ein Preisgeld von 5000 Euro.

Google Translation
Riesa / Jena. (Dpa / tlz) MSV Duisburg's team replaced Lech Poznan at the indoor Masters on 5 January in Riesa, and thus completes the starting grid. In the preliminary round group B is thus to the family duel between Duisburg goalkeeper Tom Starke and his brother Manuel, when Landesligisten 1st FC Lok Leipzig plays. Both teams also meet in the second division FC Carl Zeiss Jena.

In Group A play FC Energie Cottbus, FC Erzgebirge Aue and the British cult team FC United of Manchester. The tournament is organized by the German sports television (DSF) live. The winner receives a cash prize of 5000 euros.

Friday, December 14, 2007

FC United fans in boycott over TV kick-off switch

Source: The Chorley Citizen

Fans of UniBond Division One side FC United of Manchester look set to boycott a match in a protest at the kick-off time being shifted to suit television schedules.

FC United's clash with Curzon Ashton was due to kick off at 3pm on Saturday, December 29, but will now kick off at 12.45pm to allow the game to be shown live on the League's own internet TV channel In-Vision.

Both clubs had informed Unibond League officials that they were opposed to the switch, and the league had previously assured clubs that Saturday games would not be televised live.

Club officials of FC United say they will not attend the fixture - and have requested that supporters also boycot the match.

A statement from the FC United board on the club's website said: "TV exposure and the revenue it generates are important to football. There are times when moving a fixture is unavoidable and you only have to look at Harrogate Railway's recent televised FA Cup game to see that in some cases it is even desirable.

"But to renege on previous assurances, seek the views of clubs about a change to the kick off time and then disregard the views of the competing clubs and its supporters in this manner is unacceptable."

"The board of FC United is asking supporters to show their opposition to the League's decision by not going to the game against Curzon.

"It is regrettable that Curzon Ashton may suffer financially from the consequence of this change to the kick off time, especially given their support in opposing the switch. However the board feel that it is important that a message is sent to the League that the views of the match-going fan must take precedence and those fans should not be inconvenienced in favour of a potential Internet audience"

"All supporters are free to make up their own mind as to whether they support the call not to attend but the board of FC United believes that this particular issue is intrinsically linked to the disillusionment with top-flight football shared by many fans, that led to the formation of our club and as such a strong message needs to be communicated to the League."

Rebels boss hails boy Bleau

Source: This is Lancashire

By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED boss Karl Marginson has tipped new boy Micah Bleau for a bright future.

The former Halifax Town centre-back will make his debut for the breakaway club at UniBond Division One North play-off rivals Ossett Albion tomorrow.

"He looks a good prospect," said Marginson, of the 19-year-old defender. "He is strong, athletic and enthusiastic - and deserves his chance."

But the Rebels have been hit by a triple blow with top-scorer Rory Patterson, Jerome Wright and Adam Turner missing through suspension.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Nuge boost

Tony Howard


FC UNITED’S influential centre half Rob Nugent has been passed fit for the promotion six-pointer at Ossett Albion on Saturday, December 15.

The cancellation of last weekend’s game against Chorley has given Nugent an extra week to recover from an on-going injury and he will replace the suspended Adam Turner at the heart of United’s defence as they travel to Yorkshire in the UniBond First Division North.

Nugent’s inclusion is a welcome boost as the reds will be without top scorer Rory Patterson up front and in-form winger Jerome Wright. They will both serve suspensions for amassing five bookings.

Ossett are on equal points with FC in the last two play-off places and go into the clash on the back of an impressive 4-1 drubbing of Garforth Town, who defeated United 1-0 in the league back in August.

Manager Karl Marginson said: “Nuge coming back is a huge boost for us and the Chorley match being called off is a rare stroke of luck in that respect.

“However, we were gutted by the cancellation because we were coming through a bad patch and wanted to carry on with that.

“Ossett are a good side and they showed that by beating Garforth, who impressed us earlier in the season at Gigg Lane.

“Nugent will add strength to our defence with Adam Turner missing through suspension.

“Adam has taken his chance this season and done himself a lot of favours. It’s a shame he has to serve a suspension for a red card that was unjustly awarded.

“We’ll obviously miss Rory up front so big Peter Thomson will get his chance to impress. He’s shown already that he’s a good player with a great first touch for such a big man and I can assure the fans that there’s more to come from him as he gets his match fitness.

“We are looking forward to getting back into action and it’s a big game in terms of the promotion places so it’ll be a cracker.”

The game will take place at Ossett’s Queen’s Terrace ground. On the gate admission is free for children and costs £6 for adults.

The match will kick-off at 3pm.

FC striker won't need an operation


SUPER striker Stuart Rudd has given FC United an early Christmas present with the news that he will not need surgery on a troublesome knee injury.

The big number nine has been missing for most of the season with the cruciate ligament complaint and it was feared that he would need to be operated on, ruling him out for the rest of the campaign.

But a visit to a specialist on Monday morning resulted in the Wiganer getting the all clear.

The news could not have come at a better time for FC as they face losing current forward Aaron Burns in January. He will leave to join a league club when his contract with Cardiff City expires.

Burns has spent the last two months at United due to league rules stipulating that he is not allowed to play above UniBond level and now Rudd looks set for a February return to the side.

Manager Karl Marginson said: “It’s great news for Ruddy and for us as he has had a really frustrating season.

“Aaron has come to us and done an amazing job but he won’t be here forever so the news that Stuart will play again this season couldn’t have come at a better time for us.

“It’s not just his quality up front that we have missed but his presence too.

“It’s been a really tough season for us with many disruptions and that began with Ruddy getting injured in pre-season. He came back and got injured again, which sums up how it’s gone for us. Getting him back would give us a real lift.”

Rebels look for slice of luck

By Liam Chronnell


Ossett Albion v FC United

FC UNITED boss Karl Marginson is praying for a change of fortune.

The Rebels manager's problems continue to grow ahead of their trip to play-off rivals Ossett Albion.

Missing several key personnel to long-term injuries, Marginson has been hit by a triple blow with top-scorer Rory Patterson, Jerome Wright and Adam Turner all suspended for Saturday's clash in Yorkshire.

And the United chief admits it could not have come at a worse time.

"It's another blow," he said. "We're short on numbers at the moment but we've just got to get on with it.

"Ossett are right up there in the play-offs with ourselves and will be a tough nut to crack.

"But if we can keep it solid at the back I always fancy our chances because we are good going forwards. The game is all about scoring goals - and we can do that."

Despite have three players banned, Marginson is adamant his side have no problem with indiscipline.

He added: "I've had a bit of a word with the players but I'm not too concerned because some of the bookings have been a joke.

"Anyone who comes to watch us knows we're not a dirty team. Unfortunately, it's just one of those things that we've got to come to terms with at the moment."

The Reds' UniBond League Division North game against Chorley at Gigg Lane was the victim of a waterlogged pitch on Saturday - another setback, according to Marginson.

"We really wanted to play after ending our losing run - we wanted to keep it going," he said after FC secured a first win in four games on their last outing against Rossendale.

The United boss, meanwhile, has tipped new boy Micah Bleau for a bright future.

The former Halifax Town centre-back will make his debut for the breakaway club at Ossett at the weekend.

"He looks a good prospect," said Marginson, of the 19-year-old defender.

"He is strong, athletic and enthusiastic. He's been training with us for three weeks and he deserves his chance."

Rebels kick off boycott


FC United have urged their supporters to boycott the crunch promotion clash at Curzon Ashton on December 29 after a row with the UniBond League.

The league's management committee has insisted that the fixture between the teams currently top and fifth in the first division north, be switched to a 12.45pm kick-off.

The move is to enable the transmitting of the match by the league's own broadband television broadcaster NPLTV, which claims an average of 15,000 viewers globally a week.

Both clubs opposed the idea of the kick-off time being switched but the league says that the commercial advantages of the £100,000 paid for TV rights by Invision outweigh the concerns of the two clubs involved.

FC claim that the switch is against one of the founding principles of the club, which is that TV companies should not be allowed to dictate kick-off times.

The upshot is that a festive fixture which might reasonably have drawn a crowd of over 2,000 will probably now only get a three-figure attendance.

A statement put out by the club said: "The board of FC United is asking supporters to show their opposition to the league's decision by not going to the game against Curzon.


"It is regrettable that Curzon may suffer financially from the consequence of this change to the kick-off time, especially given their support in opposing the switch.

"However, the board feels that it is important that a message is sent to the league that the views of the match-going fan must take precedence and those fans should not be inconvenienced in favour of a potential internet audience.

"Curzon secretary Graham Shuttleworth said: "We were asked our views on a 12.45 kick -off and our response was that we wished to stay at three o'clock.

"We are opposed to it but are also mindful that within the UniBond League there is NPLTV, and that the league's management committee has the right to vary times and dates of fixtures.

"FC insist that they were given assurances that no fixtures would be switched for TV purposes without the agreement of both clubs, and that only midweek games would be shown live, with Saturday games being shown in a highlights package.

The league say this is the first Saturday game to be televised live this season.

Assistant league secretary Alan Allcock stated: "The only assurance given was that we would never change the date of a fixture to accommodate televising of a game."

FC United boycott threat


Matt Scott
Thursday December 13, 2007
The Guardian

FC United boycott threat

The Unibond League club Curzon Ashton could lose £10,000 in gate and catering revenue if a planned boycott by fans of FC United, the club formed by disaffected Manchester United supporters, goes ahead. FC United's board has urged fans not to travel to Curzon on December 29 after the league switched kick off to 12.45pm to accommodate an internet broadcast deal. One of FC United's founding principles was the protest at shifting kick-off times and both clubs have asked the league to reconsider. "We did oppose it but it is in the rules," added Curzon's Graham Shuttleworth. Curzon will receive £400 in facility fees for the broadcast but could lose thousands if the expected 1,200 travelling FC United fans do not attend.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Football coach's nightclub attack

Source: Rochdale Observer


PROFESSIONAL soccer coach Colin Bell ‘lost his cool’ on a dance-floor and left a man nursing a bloody nose.

Magistrates in Manchester heard that the FC United defender followed Paul Holt around the Manchester's Ritz nightclub before headbutting him in the face.

“It was a moment of madness which he deeply regrets,” his lawyer told the bench.

Bell, who coaches youngsters at Rochdale AFC, escaped a prison sentence and was given the maximum of 300 hours unpaid work for assaulting Mr Holt and causing him bodily harm.

The 24-year-old was also given a community order and ordered to pay £100 compensation to his victim, plus £60 costs.

Passing sentence the court told him: “We hope this has been a salutory lesson and the message is don't get drunk and start trouble with people”.

Prosecutor Norman Wilcock said Bell, of Bury Old Road, Heywood, had tried to goad Mr Holt into a fight.

At one stage he slapped him on the back and when confronted by door staff denied doing anything wrong. Minutes later he poked the victim several times with a rolled up poster and then attacked him.

John Kennerley, defending said Bell had acted ‘completely out of character’ due to the amount of alcohol he had consumed.

The men had been bumping into each other on the dance-floor “but he deeply regrets his behaviour and is full of remorse”, added Mr Kennerley.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The way we were

Source: IC Burton

Disenfranchised, alienated and angry, I turned my back on Villa Park on November 3 and headed north to get back in touch with football the way it used to be.

A Derby fan among the thousands of FC United who descended on Bridlington Town's Queensgate ground, my head was full of questions.

Fundamentally, they all boiled down to: "Is the football club, spawned from the bitterness at the Glazer brothers' take-over of Manchester United, taking on a life of its own?"

The sheer numbers turning up on the Yorkshire coast from Manchester (and they did all seem to be from that area - none of your Cockney Reds here) gave the first clue. Bridlington fans were outnumbered ten-to-one, as the FCUM fans spread out to all corners of the little ground.

Slogans on banners, such as "Together," "Rebels," "This is how it feels" indicated pride in the enterprise and a common feeling. But was the common feeling a love of Manchester United, of bitterness and resentment or was it a belief that FC United is a model for the future?

There is no doubt that the parent club still loom large in fans' minds but that is to be expected - after all, it's only two years or so since these people were helping to pack Old Trafford.

The songs won me over in the end. Players had their own songs and some of them were corkers. What about a version of the Sex Pistols "Anarchy in the UK" which has the line: "I know what I want and I know how to get it - destroy Glazer and Sky". That's something I can relate to.

Most poignantly, to my ears, was a straight version of "Sloop John B." In this context it seemed like a lament for a football club stolen from its supporters. With a lump in my throat, I found myself joining in.

FC United won 3-0.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Karl rallies his troops


FC UNITED boss Karl Marginson is urging the Rebels to seize the chance to get their faltering UniBond first division promotion bid firmly back on track when they entertain struggling Chorley tomorrow.

Marginson's men ended their worst-ever run of form with a 2-1 victory over Rossendale last weekend and the visit of the ailing Magpies, whose one and only league win this season was way back in August, presents them with an ideal opportunity to build on that much-needed success to get back to winning ways.

"Having ended our losing streak, it's vital we now endeavour to put a winning run together," said Marginson, whose FC side were in danger of slipping out of the play-off places prior to beating Dale, having lost four of their previous five games.

"But we must take nothing for granted against Chorley," he warned.

"They've been going through a bad time and haven't won in 14 league games, but that could make them tricky opponents because they'll be desperate to end that sequence against us."

FC United 2 Rossendale United 1

Joe Boyle


PUNCHES thrown in a tussle in the tunnel threatened to overshadow the on-field action in this battle of attrition.

The off-field problems started after Rossie manager Derek Egan and a member of the FC United backroom staff were told to leave the technical area after a heated disagreement.

Egan left the touchline and continued to watch the game from the entrance of the ‘caged tunnel’ to the changing rooms.

But shortly after Egan was sent off, FC United skipper Rory Patterson was substituted sporting a swollen eye from an incident on the field.

And as he passed Egan at the entrance to the tunnel, a scuffle started.

Several spectators then intervened before stewards stepped in to quell the fracas.

A rumbling discontent among spectators continued in the tunnel area as the match reached a conclusion.

But the home faithful’s simmering discontent was relieved when FC United snatched a late winner.

It was a cruel blow to Rossie, who had defended resolutely and deserved to take something from the contest.

But they were undone by Jerome Wright, who lobbed the ball into the net after picking up Kyle Ingham’s off-the-line headed clearance.

The Rossie defender again made a gallant attempt to prevent the ball going into the net but could not get high enough and the points went to United.

Derek Egan said both he and the FC United official were sent off for swearing but would not confirm if he was assaulted in the tunnel.

He said: ‘The ref sent us both off for swearing at each other. At the time we had four or five of their people in our technical area being threatening and abusive to our bench.

‘I would challenge anyone not to swear in those circumstances but the ref has taken the easy option because there was a lot of other stuff going on.’

Egan refused to expand on the tunnel incident and prefered to focus on his team.

He added: ‘The lads have done ever so well but it can be a cruel game sometimes. We deserved something out of the game but I have been saying that for a while.

‘We are more likely to concede when we have been going foward but we have done a lot of work. One or two players only think about going forward and do not think that if someone else is going then they need to stay.

‘I am pleased at the way they hung in there. They had to be disciplined and they hung in there and got a deserved equaliser.

‘But unfortunately they got another goal in the last few minutes. That is football.’

FC United general manager Andy Walsh said he did not see the incident in the tunnel and was happy with the stewarding of the game.

He said: ‘It is how you respond and it was over in a couple of minutes. At the end of the game we made sure that the players and officials left the pitch without further incident.’

The match was played at Radcliffe Borough, with Gigg Lane hosting an FA Cup tie.

And Rossendale started with the advantage of the slope and were first to create a chance when Watson headed into the side netting from Cook’s corner.

However straight from the resulting goal kick, Simon Carden’s through ball picked out Patterson – the league’s leading scorer – and he scampered clear and beat Rigby from close range.

The second half was only 11 minutes old when Egan was sent off but this seemed to motivate the visitors.

And Rossie equalised in the 76th minute when Mario Daniels wriggled free on the right and crossed for Tom Williams to net from six yards.

But with thee minutes left Wright popped up to net the winner.

Rossendale United: Lloyd Rigby, James Heywood (Steve Everett), Kyle Ingham, Joe Booth, Kevin Brown, Andrew Watson, Tom Williams (matt Edgington), John Turner, Mario Daniel, Ben Lloyd, Adam Cook (Ben Stanford).

FC United 2 Rossendale 1

Tony Howard


POACHER Jerome Wright shot down the Rossendale Stags to keep FC United in play-off contention.

Playing a ‘home’ game at Radcliffe due to Bury’s FA Cup commitments, FC responded to manager Margy’s pre-match calls for his side to adopt a siege mentality with a fittingly dogged performance.

The game was marred by the sending off of Stag’s boss Derek Egan in the second half, after he got his antlers in a twist during an altercation with reds striker Rory Patterson.

Patterson had been targeted from the start by the Rossendale back line, ably stewarded by Johnny Metgod-a-like Kevin Brown and the visitors took great delight in hoofing United’s Irish star at every opportunity.

But FC’s top poacher managed to evade the Stag’s defence for long enough to score the opener with just 11 minutes gone. Strike partner Aaron Burns turned beautifully on the edge of the box to feed Patterson, who emphatically netted his 17th of the season.

The game exploded in the second half as a melee ensued on the touchline. Egan was sent from the bench but he struggled to find his way to the dressing rooms.

Dale took advantage of the situation best and England youth international Tom Williams scored a tap in to restore parity, after good work from the odd-booted striker Mario Daniels.

Then Wright became a hunter possessed as he chased down the Stags.

He lobbed the ball into the night sky and after an eternity the snow-covered ball landed under the cross bar off the head of a defender. The win ended a three-game losing streak for FC.

The reds face Chorley at Gigg Lane on Saturday, without starman Rory Patterson, who is suspended for two games. All under-18s getting in free. Kick-off is at 3pm.

Patterson blow for Rebels boss

By Liam Chronnell

FC United v Chorley

UniBond League Division One North

KARL Marginson has been hit with more selection problems ahead of FC United's home clash with struggling Chorley.

Already without long-term absentees Stuart Rudd, Josh Howard and captain Dave Chadwick through injury, the Rebels boss must now cope with the loss of top-scorer Rory Patterson to suspension.

The Reds' 18-goal hitman has picked up a two match ban after collecting his 10th yellow card of the season.

And Marginson admits it could not have come at a worse time as the title-chasing Gigg Lane outfit prepare for a busy festive period.

"It's a big blow," said the United boss. "Any team would miss a player of Rory's ability but with the injuries we have at the moment - it's a nightmare."

Striker Peter Thomson is set to be handed his first league start since joining from Barrow - and Marginson has backed him to fill Patterson's prolific boots.

He added: "Thomo's a big lad and more of a target man in the Stuart Rudd mould. He's now got a chance to impress and give me a selection headache when Rory is available again."

The FC manager was also delighted to see his team end the worst run in the breakaway club's history.

Jerome Wright grabbed an 87th-minute winner to secure the Reds' first victory in four games after they defeated Rossendale 2-1 at Stainton Park.

In a game switched to Radcliffe Borough's ground due to Bury's FA Cup tie at Gigg Lane, the winger pounced on a goalkeeping error to seal the points.

Patterson's opened the scoring on 11 minutes, before the fiery Irishman was involved in the match's main talking point seven minutes after the break when, following his substitution, he became involved in a touchline altercation with Rossendale manager Derek Egan, who was subsequently sent off. The pair clashed again on the way to the dressing room.

Rossendale hit back through Tom Williams on 76 minutes but, with just three minutes remaining, Wright punished some woeful defending to grab a vital win, despite eight minutes of injury time.

l All under-18s will be able to attend Saturday's home clash with Chorley for free.

Thursday 6th December 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

FC clash all-ticket sell-out

Source: This is Lancashire

By Marc Higginson

RADCLIFFE Boro's Boxing Day local derby clash against high flying FC United at Stainton is expected to be an all-ticket sellout. On the instruction of the police, capacity has been set at 2,500 - and there will be no segregation.

It will be the first meeting between the sides in a competitive game.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

FC United 2 Rossendale United 1

ROSSENDALE were forced to play much of the second half with just 10 men, but they were unlucky to go down to a late goal from FC United.

Rossendale started the game with the advantage of the slope and were the first to create a chance when, from Cook's corner, Watson put his header into the side netting.

However, straight from the resulting goal kick Simon Carden's through ball to the league's leading scorer Rory Patterson put him in the clear and he made no mistake from close range.

Both sides then tested the opposing defences but didn't create any clear chances and the half-time score remained 1-0 to the home side.

The second half was only 11 minutes old when Rossendale manager Derek Egan was sent off, but this only seemed to spur Rossendale on as they took control of the game and were rewarded in the 76th minute when Tom Williams levelled the scores as he neatly finished off a cross from Mario Daniel.

It looked as if this would be good enough to earn Rossendale a well deserved point, but with three minutes left on the clock, Kyle Ingham's goal-line clearance was lobbed back into the box by Jerome Wright and, despite frantic efforts to clear the ball, it fell into the back of the net.

10:55am Monday 3rd December 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007

FC back to winning ways

Source: M.E.N.

tony glennon

FC United stay fourth despite ending a run of three successive defeats with a 2-1 home victory over Rossendale.

Rory Patterson fired the Rebels into an 11th minute lead after latching onto Aaron Burns's clever pass.

Tom Williams equalised, but Jerome Wright then lobbed in a winner three minutes from time to give FC a much-needed boost.

Meanwhile, Hyde United manager Steve Waywell saluted his savage Tigers after they'd stepped up their Blue Square North title assault with a 5-2 mauling of ten-man Hinckley.

Waywell's men never looked back after Gareth Seddon and Matthew Tipton had put them two-up inside 12 minutes.

The visitors then contributed to their own downfall when Colin Morrison was sent off for arguing.

And, though Hyde didn't have it all their own way after that, two goals from sub Chris Simm and another Seddon strike completed a thumping victory which keeps them riding high in the table in second, just a point behind leaders Harrogate.

"We got off to a great start and that made it a lot easier for us than it might have been," said Waywell, whose free-scoring side have now bagged 47 goals in 19 games.

Elsewhere, Stalybridge, too, hit the goal trail with Ashley Winn (2), James Dean and Chris Hall on target in a rousing 4-0 win at Solihull.

But Leigh RMI remain rooted at the bottom after crashing 2-0 at Tamworth.

UniBond premier pacesetters Witton Albion made it nine home wins out of win with Adam Warlow's hat-trick helping them sink North Ferriby 4-2 to maintain their seven-point lead. And a last-gasp Iain Howard equaliser earned Ashton United a precious point from their trip to fellow strugglers Kendal, which finished 2-2.

Curzon Ashton remain four points clear at the top of division one north thanks to a 3-1 win at Ossett Albion.

Trafford seized on Salford's 1-0 home defeat by Newcastle to replace them at the Vodkat League summit.

But they needed an injury-time equaliser by Chris McKay to salvage the 1-1 draw with Atherton Collieries which has taken them to the top.

Wright ends FC losing run

Source: The Bolton News

By Liam Chronnell

Jerome Wright grabbed an 87th-minute winner to end FC United's run of three straight defeats in a stormy 2-1 win over Rosendale at Stainton Park.

In a game switched to Radcliffe Borough's ground due to Bury's FA Cup tie at Gigg Lane, the winger pounced on a goalkeeping error to seal a much-needed victory.

But Rory Patterson's 18th goal of the season on 11 minutes put FC on course for a first victory in four attempts.

The fiery Reds hitman was involved in the match's main talking point seven minutes after the break when, following his substitution, he became involved in a touchline altercation with Rossendale manager Derek Egan, who was subsequently sent off, and the pair, allegedly, clashed again on the way to the dressing room.

United were then hit by a sucker punch when Tom Williams equalised on 76 minutes.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

United probe Russian slur

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: The Sunday Mirror (no online content)

MANCHESTER UNITED have launched an investigation into remarks alleged to have been made by Ryan Giggs which suggested the Welsh winger wants to play for FC United, the non-league club founded by fans in protest at Malcolm Glazer's takeover.

Russian mag Total Football reported Giggs (right) saying: “I can't imagine playing for another club. But I can name one – FC United.

“This club is very close to me, as many of the supporters who formed it have supported me throughout my career. My brother plays there. If fate calls me to leave Man United, I would only play for this team.”

When United officials were told about the interview, they asked Giggs for an explanation. He insisted he had not done the interview and the club are looking into the matter.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Rocking Rebels vow to stop rot

Stuart Brennan

KARL Marginson has urged FC United fans to rally round the team as they try to halt the worst run of results in the club's short history.

The Rebels boss has called for a `siege mentality' from his players and the support as he looks for a hat-trick of league wins over Rossendale United at Radcliffe's Stainton Park ground.

FC have followed a run of six straight league wins with four defeats in five games which has dented their bid for promotion from the UniBond League first division north, and Marginson has made a strong appeal for togetherness.

"I think it's time we rallied around and adopted the siege mentality we grew to love as United fans," he said. "Rivals criticise our club, which is a disgrace because what we stand for is everything a football club should be."

Marginson is set to be boosted by the return of FC icon Rob Nugent, the only player still at the club who played in the first friendly at Leigh in July 2005.

Rossendale have been beaten twice already, home and away in the league this season, and FC are looking for a much-needed treble in a match switched to Radcliffe due to Bury having an FA Cup tie at Gigg Lane.

Stags change tactics for visit to FC United

DEREK Egan intends to scrap Rossendale United's all-out attack approach at FC United tomorrow in a bid to stop the club's poor run.

The Stags have slumped into the bottom five of UniBond Division One (North) after losing their last three matches and conceding 10 goals.

But United boss Egan said: "We have to approach the game slightly differently than we have done in the last few weeks," he explained.

The Stags will be without striker Phil Eastwood.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Double defeat for FC United


FC UNITED are reeling from a double-whammy of defeats in the UniBond First Division North.

They endured hillside hell on Tuesday night, being reduced to 10 men in a 2-0 reverse at eighth-placed Mossley.

And they conceded four goals to second-placed Bradford Park Avenue for the second time this season three days earlier.

United lost the home game with Bradford 4-3 and they are now 10 points off the championship pace in fourth spot.

The reds never got into their stride on Tuesday night. And after stand-in centre half Adam Turner was dismissed for an alleged elbow before half-time it didn’t take the forecasting skills of Mossley substitute Michael Fish to predict an FC defeat.

Playing against the backdrop of the beautiful peak district hills, the game did not live up to its setting. It was an ugly affair on a dodgy pitch peppered with unreadable undulations.

Rory Patterson and Aaron Burns both fluffed good early chances for FC.

But, spurred on by their vocal supporters with an average age of 12, Mossley looked the better side right from the off and they secured victory with two second half goals – a side footed finish following an almighty goalmouth scramble and a cooly taken penalty.

The result would have been even worse for FC had it not been for the inspired form of goalkeeper Phil Priestly, who was again deputising for the injured Sam Ashton.

And FC fans endured further disappointment during the half-time break when it was revealed that no one had won the raffle. Mossley’s supporters had proudly sold tickets allowing someone the chance to win a ‘colour telly’.

Injury-riddled FC were forced to field a makeshift defence at Mossley and the same was true for Saturday’s home game with Bradford.

The back four included debutant Danny Jarrett and 21-year-old Adam Turner, who was making his first start for the club.

And big spending Bradford had few problems in creating goal scoring opportunities.

They took the lead in the first minute before FC hit back with a Turner header and Chris Baguley’s close range finish.

A dubious penalty decision against Turner then helped Bradford to open up a 4-2 advantage.

Patterson scored a late penalty after Simon Carden had been brought down but the goal proved to be a mere consolation.

The reds can’t be questioned in terms of effort and endeavour but they need some key personnel back, and soon, if they are going to get their promotion challenge back on track.

They play fifth from bottom Rossendale in the league on Saturday, December 1, kick-off 3pm. The fixture list shows it to be a home game but it will be played at Radcliffe Borough’s ground due to Bury being in FA Cup action at Gigg Lane.

Normal admission prices apply and season tickets will be valid.

We can’t win league – Marginson

By Liam Chronnell

FC United v Rossendale

UniBond Division One North

KARL Marginson admits FC United's title dreams are over.

The Rebels are chasing a third successive league glory.

But after slipping to their third defeat on the trot - and their fourth in five games - the Gigg Lane tenants now trail leaders Curzon Ashton by 10 points.

And, with just one team guaranteed automatic promotion, the Reds boss believes his injury-hit side will have to settle for a place in the end-of-season shake up.

"We've got to be looking at the play-offs," said Marginson, whose league ambitions have been decimated by injuries to five key players.

"To reach them now would be an achievement with all the problems we've had. We've lost the backbone of the team and a lot of experience. That's not making excuses, that's just how it is.

"But we've got to get on with it. We've still got a lot of good footballers here and it's important they realise that."

The breakaway club, who are suffering their worst ever run in their short history, were left counting the cost of having defender Adam Turner controversially sent off as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Mossley on Tuesday night.

The young defender, making only his second start, was harshly given his marching orders on the stroke of half-time for a professional foul on Gareth Hamlet.

The striker then added insult to injury when he put the hosts in front on 52 minutes - and was heavily involved again as Mossley wrapped up the points with nine minutes to go after he was brought down by stand-in goalkeeper Phil Priestley in the penalty area and Martin Allison slotted home the spot-kick.

The defeat came just three days after the Reds went down 4-3 against promotion rivals Bradford Park Avenue.

They led 2-1 after 16 minutes thanks to goals from Adam Turner and Jamie Baguley, but the visitors hit back in fine style to lead 4-2 with 21 minutes remaining.Rory Patterson 18th goal of the season from the penalty spot in the last minute proved no more than a late consolation for FC.

Fourth-placed United will look to bounce back against Rossendale at Radcliffe Borough's Stainton Park at the weekend.

Marginson, who hopes to boost his flagging squad with two new players ahead Saturday's clash, hopes to have goalkeeper Sam Ashton and defender Rob Nugent back, but will still be without the influential trio of captain Dave Chadwick, last season's top scorer Stuart Rudd and midfielder Josh Howard, who are all long-term absentees.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mossley 2 FC United 0

Source: M.E.N.

Tony Glennon

TEN-man FC United were left counting the cost of rookie defender Adam Turner's controversial dismissal as they suffered another blow to their UniBond First Division North promotion hopes in crashing at Mossley.

Turner, making only his second start for the Rebels senior side, saw red on the stroke of half-time when he was judged to have pulled Gareth Hamlet's shirt to deny the Lilywhites striker a scoring opportunity.

Hamlet proceeded to rub salt in FC's wound by firing Mossley in front from close-range in the 52nd minute.

And he also had a hand in their second goal 10 minutes from time, when he forced keeper Phil Priestley into conceding a penalty, confidently dispatched by Martin Allison to clinch the points for the home side.

FC battled to the finish but were unable to save themselves from their third successive league defeat, and their fourth in their last five games - a sequence they must snap out of quickly if they're to stay in the promotion hunt.

FORMER United man Dion Dublin struck twice as Norwich secured a second straight Championship win by beating Blackpool 3-1 at Bloomfield Road last night.

Dublin had given Norwich a 30th-minute lead against the run of play, before the Seasiders claimed a 38th-minute equaliser through Gary Taylor-Fletcher.

Martin Taylor, put Norwich in front with a 73rd-minute header before Dublin's second sealed it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Marginson will stick with stand-in battlers

Stuart Brennan

KARL Marginson will be happy to stick by his makeshift back four as his team head to Mossley for a derby match on Tuesday night.

The Rebels' defence, including debutant Danny Jarrett and 21-year-old Adam Turner who made his first start, shipped four goals against a team which is emerging as favourite to clinch the one automatic promotion spot in the UniBond League's first division north.

It was the second time in six weeks that the Yorkshire outfit - reputed to be the division's biggest spenders - had scored four on FC turf, after their surprising 4-1 FA Trophy rout last month.

But Marginson had nothing but praise for his injury-hit team, which was without four of their six contracted players including goalkeeper Sam Ashton and defensive rock Dave Chadwick.

"I was proud of the way we kept going, and thought a draw would have been a fair result," said the manager philosophically.

"Given all the injury problems we had, I thought we played some excellent football, but I'm afraid you don't always get out of a game what you put into it.

"The defence did well considering it was thrown together at training on Thursday night, and only had 45 minutes to work together before coming up against a team as dangerous as Avenue.


"We brought Adam in from the reserves, where he was player-of-the-season last term, and I thought he was possibly man-of-the-match, especially as it was his first start in such a big match.

"He grew in stature as the game went on. We will have to see how Rob Nugent is before picking the team for tomorrow night - he was suspended but has a cartilage problem and his ankle strapped, but this game proved to me that we have more than capable replacements with the two lads who came in."

Avenue hit FC with a sucker punch in the first minute, centre forward Mike Moseley heading in the first goal but the Rebels hit back as Turner headed the equaliser from a corner and Chris Baguley forced the ball home to make it 2-1 on 15 minutes.

But Avenue were level before half-time through Steven Connors and went ahead through Darren Hockenhull's spot-kick on 63 minutes when a dubious penalty was awarded against Turner.

Marginson was furious with the decision.

He said: "The lad just ran across Adam and tripped over - no way was it a penalty."

Avenue made it 4-2 on the counter-attack through Moseley again, but FC replied with a Rory Patterson penalty in the dying seconds after battling Simon Carden had been brought down.

New Avenue for FC?

Tony Howard


FC UNITED manager Karl Marginson is threatening to wield the axe as his squad prepare for a vital UniBond First Division North promotion clash.

The reds take on second-placed Bradford Park Avenue at Gigg Lane this weekend and Margy says the time may have come to shake things up after a woeful showing at Bamber Bridge saw them lose 3-0 on Saturday.

Third-placed United were outclassed at Ironbridge leaving Marginson to question the strength of his players.

Margy said: “I’ve said all along that I will stick by them for as long as we can afford to, but the time may be coming when we may need to look at that.

“We need to be keeping clean sheets, but we just haven’t been good enough at the back for some time now and I want to sort that out as soon as possible. It may mean new faces or at the very least, changes.

“We need to ask, ‘have we got the personnel to do it?

“And at the moment I don’t think we have.”

New boy Colin Bell partnered Rob Nugent at the centre of defence on Saturday, but they simply didn’t gel.

FC had previously beaten Brig 5-0 in the Presidents Cup, but it was a completely different story on Saturday.

Margy said: “They put a totally different team out today and were a lot stronger than the game we won 5-0.

“Individual errors cost us dear once again and we gifted them the first goal thanks to a mistake by Sam Ashton.

“They were a big strong outfit, but we should be addressing that and we should be able to adapt to that kind of opposition.

“We just didn’t manage it and that needs to be looked at.

“We’ve got a lot of good footballers but they’ve got to be prepared to do the dirty work too.”

United were on the receiving end of a 5-0 hammering by Bradford in the FA Trophy earlier in the season after taking the Yorkshire side to a replay.

The reds will be hoping to do what Bamber Bridge did to them by delivering a bit of payback.

Margy said: “We need to come back and show some fight against Bradford.

“Especially as they gave us a hiding in the FA Trophy.

“When things are going against you, you’ve got to go out there and be prepared to get stuck in and show some fight.”

Saturday’s game will give a decent indication of how things will shake up at the end of the season.

One team is promoted up to the UniBond Premier Division and four more must play-off for the other place.

Margy added: “There’s a long way to go and I still think we will be there or there abouts at the end of the season.”

The game against Bradford at Gigg Lane kicks off at 3pm.

Rebel Reds slump to third defeat

By Liam Chronnell

FC United 3 Bradford Park 4

FC United's title ambitions received a major blow as they slipped to their third defeat in four games against promotion rivals Bradford Park Avenue.

The injury-hit Rebels went down at home and now trail UniBond League Division One North leaders Curzon Ashton by 10 points.

Karl Marginson's third-placed side led 2-1 after 16 minutes thanks to goals from Adam Turner and Jamie Baguley.

But the visitors, who inflicted the heaviest ever defeat on the Reds when they beat the breakaway club 4-1 in the FA Trophy last month, hit back in fine style to lead 4-2 with 21 minutes remaining. The game hinged on the third goal, which was a contentious penalty.

Rory Patterson's 18th goal of the season from the penalty spot in the last minute proved no more than a late consolation for FC, who now have a mountain to climb if they hope to record a third successive title success.

8:38pm Sunday 25th November 2007

Fans play part as Avenue dig deep

By Ian Whiting

FC United 3, Bradford Park Avenue 4

Avenue put daylight between themselves and one of their major rivals for promotion from UniBond Division One North with a superb victory in an incident-filled match at Gigg Lane.

The Coca-Cola League Two ground of Bury FC, which will be visited by the other Bradford side on the first Saturday of the new year, was a fitting venue for such a close-fought contest.

"It was a high-scoring game and I would have thought it was a very entertaining one for the big crowd," said Avenue boss Benny Phillips of the clash in front of 2,283 spectators, which equalled FC United's record this season.

"There was fantastic support from our fans, who really made themselves heard and contributed to a great atmosphere in the stadium. It was very enjoyable from my point of view.

"I was disappointed with their third goal because there was a foul on Tom Baker before they broke to get the penalty. It was a foul in the area, I'm not disputing that, but play should already have been stopped.

"We conceded two goals from set-pieces, which is unlike us, but take nothing away from FC United as they are a top-quality side."

Phillips, a former professional with Bury at Gigg Lane, added: "Ben Jones is going through an unfortunate little spell. He had a goal disallowed here and two in the last home game. He is certainly putting the effort in.

"Mike Moseley was fantastic in this game and Steve Connors was awesome but I wouldn't like to single anyone out because it was a real team performance."

Avenue got off to a wonderful start by taking a first-minute lead. Liam Flynn powered through to prevent a wayward pass going out of play and his cross was converted by a Moseley header.

The home side responded in some style and by the 16th minute they were 2-1 in front.

Their first came from a corner, central defender Adam Turner heading in, and Avenue keeper Jon Worsnop then made a fine save only to see Chris Baguley sweep the ball home.

Avenue were back level by the break after skipper Connors curled a low shot from distance into the bottom corner in the 38th minute - and the visitors got their noses back in front just after the hour mark.

Moseley was pushed over in the area by Turner and the referee immediately pointed to the spot, Darren Hockenhull stepping forward and making no mistake.

Just six minutes later Jones collected a Worsnop kick out and crossed for Moseley to add the fourth Avenue goal.

FC United hit back again just into stoppage time when former Avenue player Rory Patterson netted from their own penalty.

A ball into a packed area caused confusion and Avenue defender Matt Daly was singled out as the man who made the foul challenge.

That was just into the second minute of the four that were added and the home side, backed by their huge following from the terraces, ensured the visitors endured a tense ending.

6:07pm Sunday 25th November 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Rebels rocked by injuries


FC UNITED have been stunned with news that skipper Dave Chadwick could be out for the season with cruciate ligament damage.

And with goalkeeper Sam Ashton a "serious doubt" and Rob Nugent suspended as well as suffering from injury, the Rebels go into tomorrow's crunch Gigg Lane clash with promotion rivals Bradford Park Avenue with big defence problems.

Manager Karl Marginson has moved to plug one of the gaps by drafting in 6ft 1ins former Southport and Nantwich centre half Danny Jarrett from Northwich Vics.

With last season's 45-goal top scorer Stuart Rudd and influential midfielder Josh Howard also missing until the New Year, Marginson will be without four of his six contracted players .

Phil Priestley is ready to step in for Ashton, who has a knee problem picked up in last week's 3-0 defeat at Bamber Bridge, the heaviest away loss in the club's history.And Avenue inflicted FC's heaviest home defeat, a 4-1 FA Trophy mauling last month.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Avenue face tough Gigg Lane test

By Ian Whiting

Avenue's run of consecutive UniBond Division One North victories will be under severe threat on Saturday when they take on FC United of Manchester.

The promotion contenders briefly swapped second place in the table last week, with Avenue currently occupying the runners-up spot but only on goal difference as the pair trail leaders Curzon Ashton by just three points.

Avenue are hoping most of their core supporters will follow them over the Pennines to Gigg Lane, home of Bradford City's league rivals Bury. FC United have been tenants at the Coca-Cola League Two ground since being formed by disgruntled Manchester United supporters.

They have a huge following for a non-league club and Avenue's three or four hundred loyal fans face being outnumbered by as much as ten to one - but club captain Steve Connors feels the venue will bring the best out of the players in the Bradford squad.

"The lads will be up for it in the first place because it is against one of the teams in and around us in the table," said Connors, who began his career at Bury's neighbours Oldham Athletic.

"But I know they are all looking forward to playing in a stadium like Gigg Lane and the playing surface is very good.

"This will be one of the biggest tests of the season but we have won five on the trot, one of those against the league leaders, so we are confident.

"I know we have the quality in the squad to go and get a result against FC United but at the same time we all know how tough this game will be."

The teams have already met twice this season but not for league points. Avenue had home advantage in the FA Trophy preliminary round and although the clash at Horsfall Stadium ended all square, Avenue won the replay 4-1 and Connors was one of the scorers.

Paul Gedman started the rout that night at the beginning of October but Avenue boss Benny Phillips has confirmed his joint top scorer is facing a protracted lay-off following the injury he suffered in the 3-0 home win over Bridlington Town last Saturday.

Phillips said: "Paul's leg is still very swollen. I went to BRI to see him after the game and was pleased to find out that it wasn't a broken bone.

"We haven't seen much of him this week due to the fact that he can't drive because of the swelling and until that goes down the medical staff won't be able to tell how much ligament damage there is.

"If Paul is going to be out for a long time I will look to bring in another striker, either on loan or a short-term deal. He had seven stitches in an open wound so we are looking at a minimum two to three weeks before he gets back into full training."

· Avenue's reserves will be looking to strengthen their top-three place in the Lancashire League when they face Harrogate Town at Horsfall tomorrow night (7.45pm).


Hot-shot Burns is man in form

By Liam Chronnell

FC United v Bradford Park Avenue

UniBond League Division One North

KARL Marginson has warned Robbie Fowler and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to watch out - Aaron Burns is after you.

The former Manchester United reserve team striker has hit eight goals in as many games since joining the Rebels from Cardiff.

Burns, who is being followed by a host of top-flight clubs, including Blackburn and Everton, cannot play above UniBond League level until the transfer window opens in January.

The Championship club still hold the player's registration - and if Burns carries on his prolific form then Marginson believes the Bluebirds could be ready to give him a second chance.

"Hasselbaink and Fowler better watch out because Cardiff haven't been scoring," said Marginson.

"What is good about Aaron is he keeps going. Even if he misses an easy chance, he keeps going and, through his brightness, takes the next one.

"We don't know if he'll be with us after January because he wants to play professional football at the highest level he can, but we're just going to enjoy him while we can."

The FC manager will be hoping Burns can fire again against title rivals Bradford Park Avenue at Gigg Lane on Saturday.

The inconsistent Reds, who fell six points behind leaders Curzon Ashton at the weekend, are still smarting from last month's 4-1 thrashing by the Yorkshire outfit in the FA Trophy.

And Marginson wants an immediate response from his players following the 3-0 defeat at Bamber Bridge.

He said: "It's a huge game against one of the best teams in the league on Saturday. We've got to bounce back from last weekend's defeat at Bamber Bridge and the lads need to stand up and be counted."

United's Jekyll and Hyde season continued on Saturday as they went down against the Preston club - a side they thumped 5-0 in the President's Cup just over two weeks ago.

Bridge's ex-England schoolboy international, Ryan Salmon, pounced on goalkeeper Sam Ashton's error to open the scoring on 14 minutes.

Striker Dave Eaton, who once partnered Wayne Rooney up front in the Everton reserves, added a fine second on 51 minutes and Salmon's header wrapped up the points just three minutes later to inflict the Rebels' second defeat in three games.

1:18am November 22, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bamber Bridge 3 FC United 0

By John Hill

Bamber Bridge cruised to a 3-0 victory over league favourites FC United in a record league crowd of 1435 at Irongate.

After losing to the Manchester United breakaway club 5-0 last month, you would have expected Phil Entwistle's men to be in for a tough afternoon but it was far from the case.

Brig were on top all afternoon in all areas of the pitch, out battling United, to send out a clear message to the rest of the division.

It took 11 minutes for the opening goal of the game. Stephen Brown's cross from the right should have been easily caught by Sam Ashton in the FCUM goal but he dropped the ball right into the path of Brig's leading tallies man Ryan Salmon, who was never going to miss from close range.

Bamber Bridge almost doubled their lead just minutes later. Brown's cross found Alex Porter unmarked in the box, his shot was terrifically saved by Ashton in the United goal, to make up for his previous howler.

FC United did respond in the last ten minutes of the opening half and showed a bit of class that you would expect from the side flying high in the division. However, the Brig weathered the storm to hold on to their lead going into the interval.

If the message at half time from manager Phil Entwistle was to kill the game off then they certainly did that in the opening ten minutes of the second half.

Brig came out after the break like a house on fire. They were rewarded with their second of the game after 51 minutes, David Eaton opening his Bamber Bridge account, drilling home from 12-yards.

Then just three minutes later, it was effectively game, set and match. Brown who was terrific all afternoon whipped a free kick in to the box and there was Salmon to flick home comfortably for his second of the game.

In all fairness Bamber Bridge could have had more but with an impressive display and result to go with it, this can now be a catalyst for their season ahead.

9:39am today


Drubbing for FC at Bridge

By Liam Chronnell

BAMBER BRIDGE 3, FC UNITED 0: FC United's Jekyll and Hyde season continued as they were comprehensively beaten.

The Rebels thumped the Preston club 5-0 in the President's Cup just over two weeks ago, but their UniBond League Division One North rivals claimed their revenge in emphatic fashion.

After six straight victories, Karl Marginson's team have now lost two of their last three games as Curzon Ashton stretched their lead at the top of the table six points.

Former England schoolboy international, Ryan Salmon, pounced on goalkeeper Sam Ashton's error to open the scoring on 14 minutes.

Striker Dave Eaton, who once partnered Wayne Rooney up front in the Everton reserves, added a fine second on 51 minutes and Salmon's header wrapped up the points just three minutes later.

9:22am today

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Brig's 3-0 bumper pay day

Published Date: 17 November 2007
Location: Preston

"The last time we had this many through the gate they were all here to see the Hollyoaks lot."

Brig's bumper day against FC United of Manchester - the breakaway club formed by disgruntled fans of Manchester United - ended with three points and a big pay cheque.

Goals by Ryan Salmon, new signing Dave Eaton and a deft header - sadly for FC United in the wrong net - sealed a 3-0 win for Phil Entwistle's rampant side in front of 1,435 fans at Irongate.

The crowd was the biggest for a Bamber Bridge game in years - forgetting a recent charity match.

"We had around 2,000 down for the match the other Sunday when the Hollyoaks cast played," said beaming chairman Terry Gammans. "If I could get Phil to pick one or two of them every week we'd be rolling in it!"

It was Brig's turn to milk the bandwagon cash cow that is FC United of Manchester and their vociferous band of followers, who founded the club in protest at the Malcolm Glazer takeover at Old Trafford.

Even before kick-off, it was obvious this was not going to be any normal Unibond League game.

Traffic cones, PNE stewards, police, 800 programmes instead of the usual 100 printed, a never ending pie stall queue and the best of all...a bar in an old changing room.

"We've got a second bar," said Terry, proudly. "It's in the old changing room at the back. We've called it the Lager and Beer Lounge."

Bemused neighbours whose homes overlook the ground were spotted peering out of their windows, bemused as to what all the racket was about.

Gary Thorpe, 41, was watching the action over his garden fence.

"I normally shut the curtains when they play on a cold Tuesday night, but this is great, set the club up for the season the money they'll make today.

"I had three lads with Manchester accents walk through my garden and jump over the fence and into the ground. Wife was going mad she was."

They probably wish they hadn't bothered coming at all.

Brig dominated the early part of the game and went ahead on 15 minutes, the ever-dangerous Ryan Salmon ramming the ball home from close range.

It could have been more but for FC United's impressive keeper.

Two goals in two second-half minutes sealed the win for Brig and it could have been more.

"Can we play you every week?" was the amusing chant from the hardy band of home fans.

"'We don't play for Sky Sports no more' and 'Let's pretend we're 3-0 up," came the retort.

Brig will net at least £10,000 - plus bar takings - from Saturday's brush with the ultimate fans' club.

And the best thing? The FC United cashpot bandwagon will be back at Irongate in February for another league fixture.

Let the tills roll...

Andy Sykes

Last Updated: 18 November 2007 2:08 AM

Friday, November 16, 2007

Burns fires a warning

Stuart Brennan

ROBBIE Fowler and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink beware - Aaron Burns is after your jobs!
The FC United striker struck a classy hat-trick against Rossendale in midweek, and is aiming for more in the clash with promotion rivals Bamber Bridge.

Watched by Premier League clubs, Blackburn and Everton on Wednesday, as well as Chesterfield and Huddersfield, Burns showed why he was Manchester United Reserves' top goalscorer last season, and why Cardiff moved for him in the summer.

A registration foul-up means Burns can only play at UniBond League level or below until the transfer window re-opens in January, and he is making the most of his time at FC with eight goals in his seven games.

And that form could see a change of heart from Cardiff boss Dave Jones, who allowed Burns to drift away from the club - which still hold his registration - after signing Fowler and Hasselbaink.

FC boss Karl Marginson said: "What Aaron did on Wednesday was the sign of a good forward, because he kept going, even after a bad miss in the first half. Cardiff haven't been scoring too many, so Fowler and Hasselbaink watch out."

FC are again tucked in behind leaders Curzon Ashton, but Bamber Bridge are a tough proposition at home.

Fans divided over FC United


AN AWFUL lot of people seem to be getting their knickers in a twist about non-league football these days.

Some fans in Manchester, who once saved their wrath for the likes of ‘lucky' Liverpool, ‘dirty’ Leeds and ‘boring, boring’ Arsenal, now prefer to target their angst at a side in third place in the Unibond First Division North.

We’re talking, of course, about the breakaway side FC United.

Time, it seems, has done little to heal the wounds caused by the painful split when some United fans decided to form their own club in the wake of Malcolm Glazer’s take-over at Old Trafford in 2005.

There is a vocal minority among United fans who come to see the self-styled Rebels as the enemy with some even going so far as to print stickers bearing the slogan: ‘Love United, Hate FC: Judas Scum’. Even Sir Alex Ferguson has had a pop, labelling FC fans as self-publicists.

The views of many FC detractors were neatly summed up in the letters page of last week’s Reporter by Terry Medford of Withington.

Mr Medford accuses FC of being a club born out of ‘spite and bitterness’ and accused its fans of revelling in knocking up cricket scores against teams with comparatively tiny resources.

As a season-ticket holder at Old Trafford, I had my own reservations about FC. A breakaway club was always going to divide fans whose strength had always come from being…well, united.

But curiosity soon got the better of me and I went along to my first FC game.

It was really quite something to be stood there that day shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of people all sharing a deep passion for something that hadn’t existed just a few weeks earlier - something they had worked together to build from nothing.

And nor had they forgotten what brought them together in the first place - their love for Manchester United.

Among the newly-created FC anthems ringing around the stands that day were old Stretford End favourites celebrating a love for United that was and remains undiminished.

Since that day, I’ve tried to go to FC as often as I can while at the same time still holding on to my season ticket for ‘Big United’.

There are two main charges critics often level at FC fans: they are ‘splitters’ who turned their backs on their team during a time of adversity and that they are the ‘Chelsea’ of non-league football with resources and attendances dwarfing those of their rivals.

Well, yes, FC do have larger crowds (around 2,500 for a home game) and consequently more money and greater player-pull, but why should they apologise for that? Their record - after last weekend - of eight wins, one draw and four defeats, hardly suggests an all-mighty force crushing all before it.

The labelling of FC fans as glory hunters seems to me the most ludicrous charge of the lot.

It is a strange kind of glory when you find yourself sat in the stands on a freezing ‘pea soup’ winter’s evening, as I did last year, watching FC battle their way to victory over Atherton Collieries in a bog in Leigh - especially for fans more familiar with watching European giants such as Juventus, Barcelona and Bayern Munich on their visits to the Theatre of Dreams.

From day one, FC has been a broad church. Some fans see it as a way of protesting against Glazer rule, others as a way of enjoying football the way they used to before the terraces were replaced by sanitised all-seater stadiums.

But what all FC fans have found is a way of remaining as United fans in an age of soaring ticket prices and the relentless commercialisation.

Moving to another club was never an option. Supporting a team involves more than just watching football. It involves buying into an identity, a history, a brotherhood and a way of seeing the world.

Following a Premier League team is an expensive business these days, especially if you have children. But when the day comes that I am finally priced out of Old Trafford or forced to look elsewhere for regular football, I know I’ll have somewhere to go, somewhere where I belong.

Not all fans curdle with resentment at the thought of FC. The club has forged close links with the breakaway AFC Wimbledon, formed when their mother club moved from south-west London to Milton Keynes, and even groups such as Red Action opposing an attempted buy-out at Arsenal.

It took a Leeds fan to bring home to me what had been achieved at FC. After spotting my FC United away shirt during a recent five-a-side game, he told me that he had been hoping his club would do something similar following a summer of boardroom turmoil, but concluded: “We haven’t got the nous.”

In his letter, Mr Medford rightly warns that the future of football will depend on ‘true supporters’. But if he thinks fans are doing the game any favours by blindly shelling out for astronomically priced tickets or merchandise, he is wrong.

The creation of FC has sent out a message that there is another way. One that doesn’t mean giving up who you are.

And in the process they have struck a blow for football fans everywhere. It’s just that not everyone can see it yet.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rudd hands FC a fitness boost

By Liam Chronnell
Bamber Bridge v FC United

UniBond League Division One North

STUART Rudd has handed FC United a major boost.

The Rebels feared last season's top-scorer would be ruled out for the rest of the campaign after suffering a knee injury last month.

But the talismanic striker is now expected to be back in five weeks after scans revealed the problem is not a bad as first thought.

And manager Karl Marginson believes the return of Rudd, who struck 45 goals in 49 games last term and has partially torn his cruciate ligament, will provide a welcome lift to the title-chasing Reds.

"It's good news," said the United boss. "He's going to get back in the gym and, hopefully, if everything goes all right, he will be playing again in five weeks."

The timely boost comes on the back of a disappointing weekend for the breakaway club, who suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at struggling Clitheroe. Chasing a seventh straight victory, FC were expected to keep the pressure on leaders Curzon Ashton at Shawbridge.

But goals from Joel Byrom and Paul Fildes handed the hosts the advantage and, although Chris Baguley's free-kick reduced the deficit on 65 minutes, the Rebels could not find the equaliser and left empty-handed.

"It was a bad day at the office," admitted Marginson, whose side entertained Rossendale at Gigg Lane last night. "They defended really well and shut it down, but we still created chances and should've come away with something."

FC will have the opportunity to keep the pressure on Curzon when they travel to Bamber Bridge on Saturday.

The Rebels thumped the Preston side 5-0 in the President's Cup two weeks ago, but Marginson believes his side can expect a far tougher test this time around.

He added: "That result will be fresh in their minds and they will make it much harder. They had a few players missing in the cup but they will be a lot stronger this time."

Meanwhile, FC have been invited to take part in the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens tournament at the end of the season.

The Reds board are considering the invitation to the seven-a-side competition, which this year involved Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, Spurs, Celtic, Aston Villa, and some of Asia's best-known clubs.

A spokesman said: "The invitation offers our players a tremendous opportunity to play in such a prestigious tournament and end-of-season trips such as this and our earlier trip to Lokomotiv Leipzig help with our player recruitment and retention."

In other off-field matters, reserves boss Tony Cullen has been made first-team coach in a backroom staff reshuffle. Youth team chief Loz Greenhalgh takes his place.

4:28pm Wednesday 14th November 2007

Scouting for 'Lyons'

Tony Howard

FC UNITED are setting up a scouting team to trawl the north west for talent – with a defender first on the wanted list.

The reds’ boss Karl Marginson has been disappointed with his team’s defensive frailties in recent weeks, culminating in FC’s six-match winning streak coming to an end at Clitheroe on Saturday. And he admits it may be time to strengthen that department.

Despite brilliant performances from his strikers Aaron Burns and Rory Patterson plus winger Jerome Wright, which saw United cruise to some impressive victories over the likes of this Saturday’s opponents Bamber Bridge, Margy is less impressed with his back line.

FC are in the play-off places in the UniBond North with Bamber Bridge waiting to strike below them. They have games in hand and are smarting from a 5-0 defeat to FC in the President’s Cup two weeks ago.

Margy said: “I think the front three or four have got us out of trouble recently and if they have an off day, like at Clitheroe last weekend, we need the defence to step up and be counted.

“I think we have been a bit lax at the back in recent games and we may be need to address that in terms of personnel. We have missed captain Dave Chadwick through injury and I may think about playing new boy Colin Bell in the middle of defence to see if that helps.

“We have struggled with injuries and when we’ve gone to people, who we thought were our friends in the game, we’ve been let down and no one has wanted to help us by loaning players.

“We need to do something about that so first team coach Darren Lyons is going to oversee a scouting network with help from my assistant Phil Power. Daz hopes to get his own team in place to watch sides at our level and younger players with a view to bringing them to the club.

“Tony Cullen, who was the reserve team manager, has been brought into the first team set-up as a coach and he has already made an impact with his excellent coaching methods and his ability to raise the team spirit and get the banter flying in the dressing room.”

United were beaten 2-1 at Clitheroe on Saturday in a stormy encounter. The home side went 1-0 up in the first half and added a second from a disputed penalty in the second.

Chris Baguley scored another great free kick to give the reds hope but they ran out of time.

Following a 5-1 defeat of Rossendale United on Wednesday night, Bamber Bridge now lie in wait for United – and they will have revenge on their minds.

Margy added: “They will be fired up and ready to prove that the last result wasn’t a true reflection on them.

“Apparently, they rested a few players last time so those that missed that game will be chomping at the bit to get at us.

“We have to rise to it because Bamber Bridge are one of our promotion rivals and this game could have an impact later in the season.”

The match on Saturday, November 17, kicks off at 3pm at Brig’s Irongate ground and ticket information is available by calling: 0870 626 0295.