Monday, February 26, 2007

Dabbers make a point: Nantwich..1 FC United..1


By Toby Robinson

NANTWICH Town made a point against NWC Division One title-favourites FC United.

Player-manager Steve Davis was a happy man after last Saturday's 1-1 draw at Jackson Avenue.

A post-war record crowd of 1,536 saw a game of two halves as the Dabbers more than matched their now illustrious opponents.

Andy Kinsey delighted the home fans with a thoroughly deserved 26th-minute opener.

Danny Griggs played the perfect through-ball for the striker to latch on to and fire his 23rd goal of the season.

Kinsey saw two further efforts blocked while both Andy Bott and Adam Beasley could have added before the break.

But United took charge in the second half although it took a hotly disputed free-kick to assist Rory Patterson in levelling things up on 76 minutes.

Beasley almost stole it at the death but a point was about right according to Davis.

"I thought it was a fair result," he admitted.

"We had the better of the first half and they had the better in the second.

"I didn't think the referee was strong enough.

"Griggsy took a real battering and if that had been televised, cards would have been given.

"He's got a black eye and bruises all over.

"He's just joined up with the England Futsal squad and they were asking where the hell he'd been.

"But you're not always going to get the right decisions and you've got to get on with it."


Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: Non-League Paper (no online content)

Picture: Steve Allen. Caption: Sing when you're winning: Some of the 2,500 fans who helped lift FC United ot a key midweek victory in the North West Counties title race.

FC UNITED captain Dave Chadwick heaped praise on the Rebels' fans after nearly 2,500 turned up to watch Wednesday night's game of the season with Curzon Ashton, writes DANIEL SCHOFIELD.

The match, which FC won 3-2, had been labelled a title-decider with both teams at the top of the North West Counties League.

The game had to be played in midweek due to Curzon's FA Vase quarter final.

Chadwick admitted the timing of the game may have put some fans off, but sais the players owed their victory to their vociferous fanbase.

"It is a tremendous credit to them that we had 2,500 people on a Wednesday night," he said.

"In some ways it was a shame as if it had been on a weekend we could have easily broken the 3,000 mark.

"But the fans were fantastic. They made so much noise it seemed like 10,000 people.

"They really got behind us when we went behind and acted as our twelfth man."

Those who did make the trip to Gigg Lane saw fifht placed Curzon - who have eight games in hand on leaders Salford - taking a sixth-minute lead through Steven Moore.

Substitute Gary Sampson levelled straight after the break only for Moore to restore the advantage.

Sampson then hit his second of the game before Stuart Rudd struck the winner with 15 minutes remaining to leave the Rebels 11 points better off than their opponents having played two more games.

Rebel Reds back at the summit

Source: Bolton Evening News
By NickJackson

FC United returned to the top of the North West Counties Division One thanks to a 1-1 draw at Nantwich Town.

United fell behind to a goal from Andy Kinsey in the 35th minute, but Rory Patterson squared it for the rebel reds 15 minutes before the final whistle.

FC are now level on points with Salford City, but have a far superior goal difference and five games in hand.

They moved into the box seat as Salford and Curzon Ashton were playing each other in League Challenge Cup quarter finals. It was a game which saw Salford lose at home 2-1.

Atherton Collieries 0-0 at home to Glossop Town in a much improvedperformance, although both sides cancelled each other out.

The visitors had the lion's share of the chances, but the Colls had two gilt edged opportunities of their own.

Neighbours Atherton LR were less fortunate going down 3-2 at Newcastle Town.

Rovers were down to goals from Brown, Miller and John Diskin in the 29th, 38th and 62nd minutes respectively.

They replied through Oliver Babbington on 82 minutes and Scott Swainbank at the death, but it was too little, too late.

There was no luck for Daisy Hill whose home game against Leek was as called off.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Nantwich 1 FC United 1

Source: M.E.N.

Paul Gallagher

RORY Patterson fired FC United to the top of the league with a stunning 20 yard volley.

The Rebels seemed set for a rare defeat at Nantwich, but Patterson's 74th minute strike was enough to save a point.

With league leaders Salford City playing in the Cup, the draw saw FC United edge to the top of the NWCFL Division 1 on goal difference.

Karl Marginson's side have five games in hand over Salford and now look a safe bet for the title.

Marginson was satisfied with the draw in Cheshire which follows his team's 3-2 win over promotion chasing Ashton Curzon in mid-week.

"Everyone in this league knows Nantwich is a tough place to come and play", he said.


"We were a bit disjointed and they did well to stop us playing the way we wanted to, but we have a few players who can pull a special goal out of the bag and Rory is one of them.

A crowd of 1,407 was at Jackson Avenue - a post war record for a league game at the venue.

Nantwich - third in the league and desperate for promotion as they prepare to move to a £3.8m stadium - had the better of the first half.

The breakthrough came after 24 minutes when Andy Kinsey picked up a smart through ball, and slotted past the advancing Sam Ashton in the visitor's goal.

FC United enjoyed more possession as the match wore on, but became increasingly frustrated as their attacks foundered on a well organised defence.

But when the ball broke to Patterson lying outside the penalty box for a free kick, there was no stopping his crashing left-footed volley.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Rebel Reds close in on title

Rebel Reds close in on title
By NickJackson
Source This is Lancashire

FC United travel to Nantwich tomorrow for a game which could settle the North West Counties Division One title.

The Rebel Reds overcame the hurdle of beating form side Curzon Ashton 3-2 at Gigg Lane on Wednesday.

Curzon had won 16 out of their last 17 matches and were the only side with a realistic chance of catching United.

Steven Moore put Curzon ahead on seven minutes only for Gary Sampson to equalise for FC four minutes after the interval.

Moore put Curzon back in front on 61 minutes, but United were level again 60 seconds later when Sampson got his second.

Stuart Rudd grabbed the winner 18 minutes before the final whistle.

Atherton Collieries will be keen to get back in action following the postponement of their home game against Bacup Borough on Monday night. They entertain Glossop at Alder House.

Atherton LR travel to Newcastle Town looking for an improvement in form after losing 3-2 at home to Abbey Hey in a comedy of errors last week.

Daisy Hill, second from bottom of Division Two, have a test on their hands at home to fourth placed Leek. They have also been hit by postponements and will be glad to get the game on.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Silsden-FC United cup tie offers electric atmosphere


By Daryl Ames

More than 1,500 people packed into Cougar Park to provide an electric atmosphere for Silsden AFC's cup tie with FC United.

The Manchester-based supporters club, who are only in their second season, brought a massive contingent of fans that required loads of preparation for the fixture by Silsden's club members and volunteers.

Silsden chairman Sean McNulty said: "The preparation for the event was excellent. Everything went smoothly."

Committee member Eddie Sessford added: "I was so busy behind the scenes in the background that I didn't see any of the game. But this game was more about hospitality and looking after the sponsors, who we invited free of charge. It's gone well and we've enjoyed the day."

Silsden officials confirmed that the attendance for the game was 1,564, and McNulty said that approximately 1,200 to 1,300 were FC United fans.

And the FC United fans who sat behind the goalmouth were definitely in full voice. In fact, writer for a non-league football magazine referred to it as the "90/90 phenomena" - 90 per cent of the fans singing for 90 minutes.

The FC United "singers" sang popular Manchester United tunes such as "Cantona" but others were less savoury, according to one Silsden fan.

"Although it was good for Silsden to have so many supporters here, some of singing had some bad language that spoiled it for me," said Stewart Howarth of Keighley.

However, McNulty admitted: "Bad language is part of parcel with football supporters."

The FC United supporters in attendance came to support the club in a wide range of ways.

Many had willingly given up their Manchester United season tickets when American businessman Malcolm Glazer and his family took control of the Premiership club. But others were simply Manchester United fans that only went to a handful of live games each year.

One of those was Robin Pye of Sale.

Pye said: "I felt very proud when I went to my first FC United league game. Within a few minutes I felt a strong bond with the team that was definitely that what I felt for Man U.

"I'm an FC United season ticket holder. The atmosphere is better fan for fan because it's much cheaper to take your friends and family. And you can sit together with them in the stands."

Keith Mullineux of Manchester said that one of the main reasons he comes to FC United games is to support his grandson, David Chadwick, who is the team captain.

"We've gone to all the games and been there since the start. FC United have a Manchester United atmosphere because the fans are always singing throughout the game. But in many ways Man U games are not as good."

And while the game featured a pleasantly noisy atmosphere, the result didn't turn out as Silsden would have liked. The Cobbydalers lost 3-0, all on goals scored within a ten-minute period in the first half.

Silsden captain Michael Rosser said: "We competed well but we fell asleep for a ten-minute spell. If you fall asleep for any length of time, especially against a team like FC United, you're going to get beat."

He also said Silsden gave a good account of themselves but needed to finish off their chances.

"You have to put away your chances against opposition of that quality. You've got to be on top of your game when you play them."

He also said that the FC United's vociferous supporters provides the team with a boost.

"Their fans are brilliant. Having them behind has got to add 20 per cent to their game. The noise was unbelievable."

Silsden manager Paul Schofield agreed with Rosser about the noise level.

"It was difficult for our players because they couldn't hear each other out there. Players have got to talk to each other on the pitch."

Although he was disappointed with the result, Schofield said that FC United did against Silsden what they have done to other teams all year long.

"They seem to score their goals in clusters. We conceded one and before we knew it we were 2-0 down. Then they added another a few minutes later.

"They very quick on the break. When we went 3-0 down, we knew it was going to be a long way back."

In fact, Schofield and Rosser said that FC United "shut up shop" in the second half and were happy not to concede a goal.

At the start of the second period, the rested their two strikers in preparation for an important midweek game against promotion hopefuls Curzon Ashton.

Schofield said that although Silsden have no game this weekend, he is ready to get into league action. But he reminded everyone that Silsden will host FC United against in a league on March 29.

Rosser added: "FC United are fantastic for our league. It's a shame that they won't be back next year."

FC United 3 Curzon Ashton 2

Source: M.E.N.

Paul Gallagher

FC UNITED snatched all three points in a thrilling top-of-the-table clash at Gigg Lane thanks to Stuart Rudd's winner.

The Rebels left the pitch to a rousing ovation from the 2,493-strong crowd after twice fighting back from behind to overcome Curzon Ashton.

Karl Marginson's men are now just one point behind North West Counties League leaders Salford City with six games in hand.

Curzon took the lead after six minutes when Steven Moore netted. But FC United clicked into gear after the break. Substitute Gary Sampson struck a sweet equaliser from outside the area in the 49th minute, which prompted Curzon to launch an onslaught on the home side's goal.

Moore restored Curzon's lead with an exquisite lob, only to see Sampson pull United level again two minutes later.

There were chances at both ends after that, before Rudd - FC United's leading scorer - put his side in front in the 71st minute.

The Rebels held onto the lead despite missing a penalty with three minutes to go.

Davis wants Dabbers to go out all guns blazing against United


By Toby Robinson

NANTWICH Town player manager Steve Davis wants his players fired up for this Saturday's big clash with FC United.

Over 1,000 supporters should make it a lucrative day at Jackson Avenue as second meets third in North West Counties Division One.

And Davis sees no reason why his side can't turn over the title favourites.

"Hopefully the lads will roll their sleeves up and be ready to give it their all on Saturday," he said.

"They are a good side, they've set the standard for us all this season and I do think they'll win the league.

"But there is no reason why we can't turn them over on Saturday."

FC United were due in action against promotion rivals Curzon Ashton last night and Davis was set to make the trip to pinpoint any weaknesses.

"I'm going to watch that game," he added.

"It's always a benefit and we'll try and see if there are any areas we can exploit.

"In the League Cup here, I felt we were the better side against them in the first-half but caved in a little when they scored.

"We didn't play so well at their place.

"It could be like last season when we got beat by Cammell Laird twice but then we got the measure of them in the FA Vase and beat them convincingly in the second leg.

"Hopefully it will go the same way."

Davis was delighted to go into the game on the high of a 2-0 victory over Bacup Borough.

After a dodgy start, both Mark Fitton and Andy Kinsey went close before Phil Parkinson saw his back header cleared off the line.

Pressure eventually told when Andy Bott buried a loose ball to make it 21 goals for the season on 34 minutes.

Left-back Paul Taylor doubled the advantage on the verge of the break while Nantwich could have added to their tally in the second-half.

"It was a good result against a busy and hard-working team," continued Davis.

"We didn't do so well in the first 15 minutes but afterwards we started to play some good football.

"The lads played well and looked a lot more solid defensively.

"Paul Taylor got forward a lot more and scored a good goal while Rob Hackney didn't have a lot to do."

Adam Beasley should be back against FC United after serving out his suspension while striker Matt Blake looks likely to miss out through injury.

“Hopefully the lads will roll their sleeves up and be ready to give it their all on Saturday,” Dabbers player boss Steve Davis

Bears land dream semi-final

Edited from:

By Ian Ross

CONGLETON Town have landed their dream semi-final tie against FC United after extra-time success on Saturday.

While The Bears were beating Padiham 3-2 in their League Cup quarter-final FC United swept past Silsden 3-0.

The semi-final draw has earned Congleton a lucrative match with the side they wanted to meet.

The Bears' victory at Booth Street was watched by a crowd of 147, compared with the 1,564 spectators at Silsden.

The two-legged semi-final matches will be played on dates to be fixed.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

FC United v Curzon Ashton

Source: M.E.N.

Paul Gallagher

FC UNITED face a true test of their championship credentials at home tonight against in-form Curzon Ashton.

Unbeaten in the league since November, Karl Marginson's breakaway side appear to be within grasping distance of the North West Counties League title. But Curzon have won 16 of their last 17 matches in an astonishing run of form and are now arguably the strongest challengers to the Rebels for top spot.

A victory for Curzon would put them just five points behind FC United with two games in hand.

Monday, February 19, 2007

FC United 0 Silsden 3

Source: M.E.N.

Paul Gallagher

KARL Marginson was delighted to pass another milestone with FC United as the club reached its first cup semi-final.

The Rebels have struggled to make a mark in knockout competitions but eased past Silsden 3-0 to set up a real chance of a league and cup double.

FC United have been drawn away in every round of the NW Counties League Challenge Cup but the fans may not have far to travel if they can beat Congleton in a two-legged semi for a possible final at Gigg Lane.

The FC United supporters wrote another entry in the record books by swelling the crowd at Keighley's Cougar Park to 1,564 - more than doubling Silsden's previous biggest home attendance.

The Yorkshiremen ran out of programmes before kick-off and ran out of hope by half-time.

Josh Howard, Simon Carden and Rory Patterson netted for the Rebels in an eight-minute purple patch in the first half that left Silsden helpless.

Manager Marginson said: "We were a bit sloppy after half-time but I couldn't believe some of the decisions. I was looking around for the instant replay!

"The pitch didn't help either but that is what you get at this level of football."

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Record crowd witness eight-minute goal blitz

Source: Telegraph and Argus

By Ian Whiting

Silsden 0, FC United 3

Silsden bowed out of the North West Counties League Cup quarter-final in front of a record crowd for a football match at Cougar Park of 1,564.

The goals from the team set up by Manchester United supporters were condensed into an explosive eight-minute first-half spell.

That followed a contentious decision in the fifth minute when the FC keeper was given a yellow card for taking Andy Holden down outside the area.

Josh Howard opened the scoring on the counter-attack with a shot from the corner of the area. Two minutes later Silsden keeper Phil Rishton was beaten again. He did well to parry a shot but Andy Carden followed up.

Once again Silsden were caught on the counter-attack when a swift ball out of defence, an overlapping run that beat the offside trap and an unhurried ball across the area saw Rory Patterson make it 3-0 after just 32 minutes.

"We have seen it before, they score in clusters," said Silsden boss Paul Schofield.

"Once they feel they have got you on the back foot they go for the jugular." "I thought our lads did exceptionally well and I have to compliment the fans of FC United. They are fantastic and behaved impeccably.

"My only regret is that in the league game at their place our keeper got sent off early and here theirs didn't. Don't get me wrong, I didn't think he deserved a red card but its funny how these things don't even themselves out."

Silsden 0 FC United 3

Source: M.E.N.

Paul Gallagher

FC United can finally look forward to their first Cup semi-final after a comfortable win in Yorkshire.

Karl Marginson’s side eased past Silsden with a 3-0 win in the quarter-finals of the Northwest Counties League Challenge Cup.

Three first half goals from Josh Howard, Simon Carden and Rory Patterson were enough to win the match in front of 1,564 fans at Keighley’s Cougar Park Rugby ground.

FC United face a two legged semi-final but could be coming home if they win through.

The Cup Final last year was played at their own Gigg Lane and this year’s venue is still to be decided.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Karl's a Rebel rouser

Source: M.E.N.

Tony Glennon

KARL Marginson is urging FC United to focus fully on continuing their best run in a knockout competition when they visit Silsden in the North West Counties League Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

Although winning the league remains his priority, the boss is also desperate to deliver some cup silverware and regards the trip to Keighley RL club's Cougar Park as crucial.

"We've not exactly covered ourselves in glory in the cups these past 18 months, so the Silsden tie is vital to us," he said.

"The lads warmed up in fine style by beating UniBond League Warrington 5-1 in a friendly on Tuesday and we'll be looking to take that form into tomorrow's game."

Also in quarter-final action will be Oldham Town and Flixton, who meet in a re-run of Wednesday's Manchester Premier Cup semi-final, which the latter won 3-2 to set up a date with Droylsden.

Meanwhile, the day's top first division clashes see fifth-placed Maine Road travelling to Glossop, who are ninth, and Trafford seeking to replace Ramsbottom United in the top six when they visit them at the Riverside Ground.

Boro prepare for Red invasion

Edited from:

IT IS all systems go for Bacup Borough, who expect a Red invasion tomorrow (Sat) when they host FC United at West View.

Borough have received ticket applications from all over the country for their home game against FC United – formed by Manchester United fans disillusioned by Malcolm Glazer’s takeover at Old Trafford.

Bacup’s usual crowd barely exceeds 50 but demand for tickets for this game has been phenomenal and one application for 15 match tickets has been received from Barcelona!

Not surprisingly it has been a busy time for everyone at West View, where capacity for tomorrow’s all-ticket game has been set at 2,025, and the ground should be full.

Bacup boss Brent Peters said: ‘It has not just been a busy week. We have been busy for several weeks.’

Peters explained: ‘I had a one-to-one chat with Michael Carr before we decided to stage the game and I put forward my ideas. Michael has done a lot of the preparation leading up to Saturday and has been doing everything asked of him. He has worked tirelessly to ensure that everybody who wants tickets has got them.’

Borough will bring in 29 Rochdale stewards and extra stewards from Rossendale United will also work around and in the ground.

Peters said: ‘It is exciting for everybody that is involved and we are all looking forward to a full West View. The atmosphere will be terrific and the regulars who come to West View will never have encountered anything like it.

‘I am really looking forward to hosting the match and it will be great for Bacup Borough Football Club and a moment to savour.’

Peters will savour the occasion even more if Bacup can pull off a victory.

The Borough boss said: ‘On our day we are capable of beating anybody. When we played them at Gigg Lane we did not have our big players like Matt Cross and Tony Carroll. We will have a game plan and everybody will be up for it. FC United will not relish playing at West View and who knows? They have an abundance of quality players and have the backing. But we have experienced big game players who will keep us going and if we can be focused and concentrate for 90 minutes we will get a result.’

Ian Barker sat out the midweek match at Silsden but should be fit to return.

The match is all-ticket and parking facilities will be available at various locations in the town.

Surprisingly, the match will not produce Bacup Borough’s record attendance because Borough’s 1947 derby game with Nelson was watched by a huge crowd of 4,980.

Rebel Reds aim for cup glory run

Source: Leigh Journal

FC UNITED face the biggest cup game of their short history tomorrow when they visit Silsden AFC in the quarter-final of the North West Counties League Challenge Cup.

United failed to make this stage of any knockout competition during their inaugural season last term, so are determined to extend a cup run which has already included convincing away wins at Nantwich and Colne.

Silsden currently lie 11 places and 31 points behind United in North West Counties League Division One, but put up a good display when losing 4-2 at Gigg Lane earlier this season, having had to play the last hour with 10 men. With a bumper home crowd expected in West Yorkshire, United do not expect an easy passage to the semi-finals.

Atherton LR are hosts to Abbey Hey, who are a place and four points above them in Division One, but the Crilly Park outfit have four games in hand on their rivals.

They will be aiming to avenge the 3-1 defeat when they visited Abbey Hey earlier in the season. Extra spice is added by the return of Hey boss Mike Lester, who walked out on Atherton LR this time last year, taking most of the players with him.

Rovers will be counting on veteran striker and new arrival Chris Bermingham to continue his fine form after scoring on his debut in their 2-1 win at home to Colne.

Division Two side Daisy Hill have not played since January 27. They take on Holker Old Boys who are a place above them.

Atherton Collieries must overcome the disappointment of their semi final exit in the Goldline Trophy when they take on Bacup Borough at home on Monday night.

Silsden geared up for cup thriller against FC United

Source: Keighley News

By Daryl Ames

All those associated with Silsden AFC are eagerly awaiting this weekend's cup clash with FC United, the first of two money-spinning home matches against the well-supported club from Manchester.

Silsden manager Paul Schofield said: "We have a home league match against FC United on Thursday, March 29. But this cup tie is an added bonus.

FC United have been taking about 1,000 fans to away games, so when the draw was made recently everyone at the club has had to pitch in to get ready for the eagerly anticipated fixture.

"There hasn't been very much time to organise," said Schofield. "Everyone, even those behind the scenes, have had to work hard to prepare for this."

Silsden chairman Sean McNulty said: "We're all on over-drive now. This is a totally new thing for us.

"We've had to have talks with the police because of the potential for the amount of people who will be there.

"We steward all of the other games ourselves, but for this one we need more stewards, a safety officer, a doctor, four first-aiders and four on security."

Silsden, who average about 100 fans per home game, are expecting 1,500 fans for this cup tie.

Tickets prices for the 3pm, Saturday kick-off, at Cougar Park, are £3 for children and concessions and £7 for adults.

While Schofield said that £5 was the normal price for a Silsden home match, teams across the league charged £7 for FC United fixtures.

McNulty anticipates gate receipts of at least £8,000. After figuring in expenses and a 10 per cent cut for the league, the two clubs will then split the difference as the match is a cup tie.

After all that, the amount of revenue which Silsden will still be able to generate was described by McNulty as a "massive bonus to the club."

"When we knew that we had advanced into the quarter-finals, I was praying for the draw."

However, it almost didn't happen for the Cobbydalers in the previous round.

Silsden were 4-1 and cruising to a win against Atherton LR when they let in two more goals and had to settle for a 4-3 victory that had the manager and chairman biting their nails.

In the end, McNulty got his wish and will now get to host the club that he praised as being very professional.

"When we played them at Gigg Lane early in the season, their professionalism was second to none. They are a well-run club. I would say they are Football League standard.

"We can only try to emulate them and run our club just as well."

When Silsden played FC United, at Gigg Lane, the Manchester club had their biggest gate of the season - 3,300.

In that match, Silsden acquitted themselves quite well losing 4-2 after going down to ten men early on when keeper Martin Foulger was sent off.

Ironically, Foulger will also miss Saturday's match as he serves the second of a three-game suspension for a recent sending off.

Schofield said that Foulger was just about the only player on the team who was disappointed to miss the match.

Two other youngsters who have figured for Silsden this season, Shaun Airey and Thomas Dibb, will also miss the match as they will represent the West Riding County FA U-18s in the semi-final of the FA County Youth Cup against Leicestershire, at Holmes Park, Leicester, on Saturday (kick-off 2pm).

Schofield said that Cougar Park would not be an easy place for FC United to come and play.

He also said that they were short of matches (having played three less than Silsden in the league) and hastily arranged a mid-week friendly with UniBond side Warrington to shake off any rustiness.

Schofield said that even though FC United lay second in the table (and Silsden in 12th), he and his chairman believed they were beatable.

"We fancy our chances," said McNulty. "There is an opportunity for a cup upset."

Schofield added: "Teams realise that they can beat these guys. It's a one-off cup match, so it's there for the taking.

"We've strengthened the squad and have had key players come back after injury. We've hit a non-losing streak of four games on the bounce."

Schofield said his players would be up for the occasion but he didn't expect them to have stars in their eyes.

"They really will take it as it comes. They'll get on with it," he said.

However, he said that the atmosphere generated by the game at Cougar Park would be exciting for fans.

"Local people should come out and test the water. This is our biggest advert of the season.

"The North West Counties League is a good standard. It would be nice to have a few more regulars to see us each week."

With seven games in hand on league leaders Salford City and only four points separating the two teams, Schofield expects FC United to win the league and even continue their promotion success up to the Conference and maybe even beyond.

"It will be interesting to see how far they can go. They've been a breath of fresh air for teams in our league."

Saturday's match between Silsden and FC United will kick off at 3pm, at Cougar Park.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Call for fans to pack out Cougar Park

Source: Telegraph and Argus

Silsden host the well supported FC United of Manchester on Saturday in the North West Counties League Cup quarter-finals and manager Paul Schofield is urging the locals to pack Cougar Park.

"There has been a lot of interest from Keighley and Silsden and some of the Cougars' own fans have been talking about having a look but I sill think we will be outnumbered," said Schofield.

United sit second in the NWC Division One at the moment but have seven games in hand on leaders Salford City and are only four points adrift.

Silsden keeper Martin Foulger misses out through suspension while Sean Airey and Thomas Dibb are on duty with the West Riding County FA youth side.

Town defeated in friendly

Source: Warrington Guardian

Warrington Town 1 FC United 5.

WARRINGTON Town received their second successive five-goal beating on Tuesday night.

Ian Street arranged the friendly so that he could have a look at trialists, youngsters and reserves against good-class opposition.

Althought the result was disappointing, Street was pleased that a number of players were able to experience a higher level of football.

Phil Howard scored Town's only goal with a well-struck free kick, while Graeme Mitchell missed a couple of other chances.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Silsden set for bumper crowd

Source: Telegraph and Argus

By Ian Whiting

Cougar Park is set for an influx of Mancunians on Saturday - but it will not be a Salford City Reds versus Keighley rugby league clash.

It will be tenants Silsden hosting FC United of Manchester and it could be the biggest attendance at Cougar Park for a soccer match.

The teams are North West Counties top tier rivals but it is a League Cup quarter-final that brings them together.

FC United were created by disgruntled fans of Premier-ship giants Manchester United in the aftermath of the takeover by Malcolm Glazer.

With huge support and the monetary benefits that brings, FC United are breezing through the levels of the non-league game. This is likely to be the only season they spend as Silsden's rivals.

The Manchester club, who rent Bury FC's Gigg Lane for their home games because of the numbers they attract, will surely be playing their football in the UniBond League next season.

Many of Silsden's counterparts have been forced to move their home games against FC United to their nearest Football League or Conference ground.

Cougar Park is one of the few venues in the division that can cope with the crowd. However, Silsden thought they had missed their big pay day because the league meeting has been postponed twice and is now scheduled for a midweek.

The draw for the last eight of the League Cup came as a bonus as it could provide a potentially bigger attendance.

"There has been a lot of interest in the game from the town. We hope to get a lot coming along for the first time," said Silsden chief Paul Schofield.

The manager is hoping his fans are not outnumbered by the opposition. It already appears that they will be outnumbered in the players' bar after the game.

"We have put tickets on sale for a hospitality package, a seat in the main stand and a guaranteed place in the bar with a buffet laid on but that is limited to 90 odd people and I think we could have sold more.

"They have been going well but, unfortunately from our point of view, they have been selling better to people from FC United.

"We are a welcoming club and we have had very positive feedback from other visiting clubs but it would be nice to be represented by our own.

"Tickets are only £7 for adults but it is not all-ticket so we may have a good few turning up on the day.

"The Cougars have been brilliant. They are helping us out with stewards by providing people who do their games.

"Magnet have also offered the use of their car park which is appreciated because the police have told us they will be placing restrictions on parking on the roads around the ground.

"We may have to put a small charge on the parking because it isn't our land but we hope that won't put anyone off."

Saturday, February 10, 2007

United hold the aces

Source: Rosendale Free Press
Bacup Borough 1
FC United 2

IT IS a long time since West View was bulging at the seams.

And the new phenomenon that is FC United ensured 1,504 spectators crammed into the ground to watch their side enhance their championship push with a narrow victory.

But the home side just didnot have the cutting edge to turn possession into a real threat in front of goal.

United, on the other hand, had several players who proved a menace all afternoon and gave the Bacup rearguard a testing time.

Reds trio Jerome Wright, Rory Patterson and Stuart Rudd carried most of their attacking threat and in the end were the difference between the teams.

There were plenty of sparks from the man-marking of Rudd by Bacup’s Lee Anderson.

Both battled gamely for supremacy but took their knocks and bruises and got on with the game.

Neither sought the other out for a handshake at the end but they will have earned their counterpart’s respect.

Rudd had a golden opportunity to open the scoring for the visitors in the 24th minute.

Rory Patterson was played into the area and knocked the ball past keeper Carrington before being upended on the right hand side of the area.

But Carrington redeemed himself by saving Rudd’s poor spot kick

Bacup made a tactical switch by removing Shaun Cryer and putting on Carl Rezia.

And promptly went straight up to the other end and earned a penalty for a push on Lee Oldham.

Stuart Shepherd made no mistake from the spot and placed the ball low to the keeper’s right to put Bacup in front.

‘We’re gonna kill your cows,’ was the aggrieved chant from one section of United supporters.

However the travelling supporters were soon back in celebratory mood when Patterson produced a piece of magic on the edge of the area by flicking the ball up and spinning to volley into the top corner.

‘Premiership-standard goals at non-league prices,’ laughed one United supporter.

And FC United then got their noses in front just before the interval when Jerome Wright engineered some space and delivered for Rudd to turn the ball past Carrington from close range.

Chances were few and far between in the second half as United seemed content to settle for what they had.

Bacup created little in attack and their skipper Matt Cross consistently mopped up anything threatening at the other end.

But Anderson and Borg picked up needless late bookings as Wright’s trickery and their frustration got the better of them in the latter stages as the points slipped away.

Borough boss Brent Peters was disappointed his side did not take anything from the match.

He said: ‘It took a top quality goal to beat us and we were well worthy of a point. I was disappointed to concede the goals so late in the first half and if we had gone in at 1-1, I would have been delighted.

‘I told the players at full time that the difference was that FC United were alive all over the pitch and if there was a mistake then they were on it. Our players were not alive. We took breathers and rests in vital areas when we should have been getting into attacking positions.’

He added: ‘But overall I am pleased the way that we played. It was a great day and a brilliant atmosphere. But regardless of how big the day was it is my job to get points on the board and I am disappointed we did not do that. We deserved a point.’

The victory leaves FC United a point behind Salford City with six games in hand and the next stage of the football pyramid is beckoning.

Clearly the exploits of this large group of disenfranchised Manchester United fans has a long way to go yet.

One United fan had ‘Ruddaldinho’ on the back of his shirt. It summed up a somewhat surreal afternoon at West View.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Visiting soccer fan attacked

Source: Rosendale Free Press
A FOOTBALL fan suffered a head wound after he was attacked following Bacup Borough’s league game defeat against FC United of Manchester.

Paramedics were called to the Grasmere Terrace/Cooper Street area of town, not far from Borough’s home ground at West View, at 5.05pm last Saturday.

They found a 39-year-old man from Prestwich had received a blow to the face. He was taken to Burnley General Hospital and released the same night.

Sergeant Gordon McGeechan, of Bacup Police, said: ‘After the game some supporters from Manchester were attacked by local youths and an older man with pieces of fencing.

‘One FC United supporter was struck around the face.’

He said the attackers – who were not thought to have been at the game – had ‘let the town down’ and described them as ‘irresponsible and thuggish’.

He urged anyone who had witnessed the attack to contact community beat manager Pc Richie Hall.

Two local teenagers and a 23-year-old man were arrested on suspicion of assault and public order offences and released on police bail pending further inquiries.

In an earlier incident, at 2.40pm before the match started, police arrested three FC United supporters following a scuffle in the Burnley Road area. They all missed the match; one was issued with a fixed penalty notice for being drunk and disorderly and the other two received cautions for obstructing a police officer.

Sgt McGeechan said, although the vast majority of fans were well behaved, a crowd had built up outside the Irwell Inn and it was spilling out on to the busy main road. For health and safety reasons, officers had blocked them in with their van.

Irwell Inn landlady Josie Hanley said: ‘There was a good atmosphere in the pub and there was good banter between the regulars and the supporters. We had no problems until the police arrived.’

Some town centre pubs were asked to close by the police after the match.

Rebels clash called off

Source: Manchester Evening News
Stuart Brennan

FC United's clash with Atherton LR has been postponed because of a frozen pitch.

The Rebels have not played a home game in 2007 and boss Karl Marginson was keen to push on and start playing some of the six games in hand they have over North West Counties League leaders Salford City.

FC have allowed Liam Coyne to return to Leigh RMI for the rest of the season, with the 19-year-old centre back only making 12 appearances for the club this season.

Town rearrange FC United game to solve injury woes

Source: Crewe Guardian
WARRINGTON Town have rearranged their home friendly with FC United for Tuesday night after it was postponed this week because of a frozen pitch.

Town boss Ian Street has arranged the match, which will be free for spectators and kicks off at 7.30pm at Cantilever Park, to look at a number of trialists and fringe players in the wake of the Yellows' crippling injury crisis.

He said: "I had selected three or four reserves, a similar amount of trialists and some first team players for the postponed game on Tuesday so I expect it will be similar next week.

"We've lost a lot with injuries and the other day I wrote down about 11 Warrington players and thought that would make quite a good team, but none of them are available. But I'm not making excuses."

Street takes his side to Clitheroe in the UniBond First Division on Saturday and, although Dave Tickle (groin) may not quite be ready to return, he hopes to have more signings on board.

The Yellows are waiting for clearance to sign Newcastle Town's Carl Nesbitt, with fellow midfielders Darrell Avery and Jordan King also targets.

Town skipper Dougie Pitts will undergo a knee operation tomorrow, Friday, and could be back before the end of the season.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Rebels paint the town red

Rebels paint the town red
By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED warmed up for their title run in with some shooting practice of a different kind.

The prolific Reds, who now trail NWCL Division One leaders Salford City by just one point with six games in hand after Saturday's 2-1 win at Bacup Borough, enjoyed a day paintballing.

Karl Marginson's boys have had no trouble hitting the target this season after blasting 108 goals in all competitions.

But the breakaway club still headed off to the Cheshire countryside for a teaml bonding session ahead of this weekend's home clash with struggling Atherton LR.

"It was a bit of fun and the lads loved it." said Marginson. "We just went to a large forest in Holmes Chapel. It was a nice change to what we normally do."

Saturday's game will be FC's first at Gigg Lane in 2007 - and Marginson believes home form will be crucial to Rebels claiming back-to-back promotions.

"It is very important," said the Reds boss, whose side returned to league action after a four-week break.

"We've slipped up in a couple of games at home this season and we can't afford to do that in the run in.

"We were excellent on Saturday after a long lay-off. It can be frustrating for the players but they've been superb in training and they proved that with the result."

Marginson would love a repeat of FC's 7-0 demolition of Rovers, who possess the second worst defence in the division, at Chorley's Victory Park back in August, though the United manager feels that was an unfair reflection of the game.

He added: "It's important we go into the match with the right approach because the last time we played them it was a strange game.

"We were 3-0 up after five minutes and the game was over. But if it doesn't go our way we have the players who can handle it. We're all just looking forward to the run in."

United had to come from behind to take the points at Bacup last weekend after Stuart Shepherd had given the home side the lead from the penalty spot on the half hour.

Rory Patterson levelled matters three minutes later and Stuart Rudd's 33rd goal of the season two minutes before the interval proved decisive.

And the victory was all the more satisfying after title rivals Salford were held to a 2-2 draw at Maine Road.

Marginson will have his full-strength squad to pick from on Saturday, with defender Rob Nugent available despite suffering a broken nose.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Pub landlady defends football fans

Source: Lancashire Telegraph
Free Image Hosting at
By Sally Henfield

Four arrested but fight claims denied

A LANDLADY has defended the behaviour of football fans arrested for allegedly fighting outside her pub and said she would welcome them back to the bar.

Four men were arrested outside the Irwell Inn, Bacup, on Saturday, ahead of the game between Bacup Borough and FC United of Manchester.

Police said the men were restrained after a fight broke out among supporters outside the Burnley Road pub.

But fans and staff said they saw no fighting.

And one of the fans given a fixed penalty notice for disorder has vowed to contest the decision in court.

Landlady Josephine Hanley said: "I couldn't have wished for a better set of suppoerters in the pub. They were all very polite, there was no arguing and certainly no fighting.

"All they wanted was to have a good time and to watch the football."

Mrs Hanley said a number of fans were standing outside the pub.

She added: "The place was heaving so some of the fans had spilled outside, but they were all behind the wall of the pub. One of the police vans pulled up.

"That's when people started to get arrested. These were genuine fans and many had their families with them. They are welcome back to the pub at any time they like."

FC United fans have been posting complaints about their treatment, along with video footage, on the internet.

Daniel Larkin, a pub landlord from Sale, was one of those arrested. He denied there was fighting.

Mr Larkin, 39, said: "It was a really friendly atmosphere in the pub and everyone was getting along great.

"It was very busy so we went outside. There were a few fans on the road but they moved when they were asked to by police.

"I don't know why they handcuffed me because I wasn't causing any trouble. I was gutted I missed the match."

Mr Larkin said he refused to accept a caution for obstructing a police officer and would contest the charge in court. He said: "I have never been in any trouble in my life and I won't just take this lying down."

Police previously said Burnley Road had been temporarily closed during the incident and that four men were arrested for fighting but released with £80 fixed penalty notices. Officers were unavailable for comment on the claims of Mrs Hanley and Mr Larkin.

Monday, February 05, 2007

FC United kept the heat on leaders

Edited from:

By Liam Chronnell
FC United kept the heat on leaders Salford City when they ran out 2-1 winners at Bacup Borough. But, the breakaway club had to come from behind to take the points after Andy Shepherd had given the home side the lead from the penalty spot on the half hour.

Rory Patterson levelled matters three minutes later and Stuart Rudd's 33rd goal of the season two minutes before the interval proved decisive.

Rebels in control

Source: M.E.N.

GOAL twins Rory Patterson and Stuart Rudd struck to give FC United a 2-1 comeback win at Bacup Borough which keeps them on course for the NWCL first division title.

The Rebels seized on leaders Salford City's latest slip, a 2-2 draw at Maine Road, to move to within a point of them at the summit with six games in hand on their Moor Lane rivals.

But Karl Marginson's men did it the hard way, trailing to a Stuart Shepherd penalty after Rudd had failed from the spot before he and Patterson again showed off their goalscoring prowess in front of a crowd of 1,504.

Salford were pegged back by Road's Martin Turner and Paul Wadsworth after John Robinson and Kenny Tudor had put them two-up.

That leaves third-placed Curzon Ashton, who beat Trafford 2-0, as the biggest threat to FC's second successive title hopes.

Four arrested in football violence

Source: Lancashire Telegraph newsdesk

Four men were arrested after a fight broke out near a pub before a football match.

Violence flared outside the Irwell Inn, Burnley Road, Bacup, at about 2.40pm on Saturday just before Bacup Borough's game against FC United of Manchester.

The road was closed for a short while as police restored order.

Four men, all FC United supporters, were arrested for public order offences, police said.

They were later given £80 fixed penalty notices.

Bacup Borough 1 FC United 2

By Lancashire Telegraph newsdesk

BACUP came so close to taking something from the rebels at a sun-kissed Westview at the weekend.

Karl Marginson's visitors were awarded an early penalty when the referee adjudged that Bacup keeper Billy Carrington had brought Shaun Roscoe down in the area.

Carrington escaped punishment and made a great save from a weak Stuart Rudd penalty.

But it was Bacup who took the lead when Brent Peters' side were awarded a penalty of their own.

And Borough striker Stuart Shepherd made no mistake from the spot to give the home side the lead in front of over 1,500 people at the Brian Boys Stadium.

A physical first half saw Rob Nugent replaced after a nasty head injury and from the resulting free kick United found an equaliser.

With his back to goal, Rory Patterson flicked the ball up, turned and hit a left-footed shot into the top corner from all of 30 yards.

United then took the lead with just a minute left in the first-half.

The impressive Jerome Wright beat his marker down the left to fire a wicked cross into the box and allow Rudd to steer the ball home.

Bacup's defence stood strong in the second-half as the Reds looked to increase their lead.

But the home side failed to find a cutting edge of their own and in the end the one goal advantage was more than enough for United.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Warrington Town set up FC United friendly


Exclusive By Chris Flanagan

WARRINGTON Town will face FC United of Manchester in a friendly at Cantilever Park on Tuesday (ed: February 6th) at 7.30pm.

Admission will be free for the match, which has been arranged to allow Town boss Ian Street to run the rule over a number of trialists.

First-team players and some reserves will also be involved in the match against North West Counties Division One side FC United, who were formed by Manchester United fans disillusioned by the Malcolm Glazer takeover at Old Trafford and usually have a large travelling army of supporters.

Town beat the same opponents 3-2 in a pre-season friendly in August.

Schofield's delight over FC United dates


By Ian Whiting

The Cobbydalers are looking at two visits from the Red Army of FC United of Manchester following last weekend's North West Counties League Cup quarter-final draw.

The club spawned by supporters of the Old Trafford outfit of a similar name, who voted with their feet when it was sold to the American businessman Malcolm Glazer, have a huge following for this level of football.

That should give Silsden two money-spinning games at Cougar Park. The pair meet in the last eight of the cup a fortnight tomorrow.

The league clash should also have been on a Saturday but has been shelved twice due to FC's involvement in the FA Vase.

It has now been set for March 29, which is a Thursday, but that midweek night has been planned, as Silsden manager Paul Schofield explained.

"That is an international week and England are in Andorra on the Wednesday, which is our normal midweek night. We had to avoid staging a game when the national side has an important qualifier that will be televised.

"We asked the Cougars if we could switch and, to be fair to FC United, they also agreed with the scheduling. That left everyone happy so we could have two big gates.

"The money for the cup-tie will probably have to be shared between the clubs, but at least it gives our supporters a chance to see them at our place on a Saturday. The league game would have been better financially at a weekend.

"I'm glad we got home advantage in the cup, even though it could have brought more money in, with the split gate, if we had played at their ground.

"They play at Bury's Gigg Lane stadium, and it is very nice for the lads to play there. But it's not all about the lads. The club's lifeblood are our supporters and I'm delighted that they can look forward to two big games.

"They won't be easy because FC are chasing the league title and this will be their only opportunity to win the League Cup. They will definitely be in the UniBond League next term."

Safe Hands Award Is Little Comfort After Heavy Defeat


Colne 0
FC United 4

THE aftermath of Saturday's game saw a presentation take place.

Colne goalkeeper Mark Crossley was handed the North West Counties League Safe Hands award for December.

Three clean sheets from seven handed him his second such prize of the season.

But that will have been of little comfort to him after this display.

The former Burnley stopper conceded three second half goals, condemning them to their joint heaviest home defeat in almost six years.

Along with a similar home reverse to Trafford back in April, it was also the heaviest home loss under Nigel Coates' management.

And it was a 15 minute spell at the start of the second half that was the major factor in all that.

Having been booked in the first half, Ben Howarth went into a challenge with Rory Patterson.

But he survived being given his marching orders by the referee, who inexplicably picked out the wrong man – booking Jason Heffernan instead.

Within minutes, a gut-wrenching error by Howarth, who might not have even been on the pitch at that point, saw him robbed of possession by Patterson, who subsequently bore down on goal and slotted the ball home.

Howarth was visibly angry with himself, but it got worse for Colne five minutes later.

Heffernan innocuously brought down Rhodri Giggs, and the referee was left with no choice but to send him off for a second caution.

All that contributed to virtually killing off this D-Zine Challenge Cup tie as a contest, after Colne had made a bright start to the second period.

After going in at the break trailing, they were denied what looked a clear penalty when Liam Garbutt had his legs taken from behind him.

But within 10 minutes of that incident, any hopes they had of a comeback were dead in the water.

And all that despite Colne coming out of the blocks the quicker of the two sides.

Anthony Murt may have put the home side ahead just three minutes in only to be denied by Sam Ashton, and when the same player crossed for James Blackburn, Ashton produced another wonderful save to tip the header wide.

The first hint of FC United's class came midway through the half, as a neat move involving Shaun Roscoe and Giggs ended with Patterson forcing a fine low save from Crossley.

But within minutes they were in front, as Giggs held the ball up before laying it back for Rob Nugent to slam home from the edge of the area.

At the other end, Kieron Roberts sent a header just over, before Steve Cunningham's fierce corner had to be flicked to safety by Ashton.

And they were almost level when Garbutt's lungbursting run and cross evaded Blackburn, only for Murt to shoot wide on the stretch.

The high tempo start to the second half could have yielded an equaliser, but once it went 2-0, you feared the worst.

United cashed in on their extra man advantage following Heffernan's dismissal, and produced a fine goal eight minutes from time.

Ashton's long goal kick sent Roscoe clear on the right, and he crossed for the prolific Stuart Rudd to tap home.

Substitute Jamie Phoenix somehow managed to shoot straight at Crossley when in a similar position to Rudd, but Colne's misery was complete three minutes from the end.

A neat move ended with fellow substitute Dave Brown taking the ball down on his knee, before turning and firing past Crossley.

The end result was harsh on Colne, but nonetheless, it brought to an end their hopes of silverware for another season.

Colne: Crossley, Walker (Whittaker 77), Heffernan, Roberts, Howarth, Wright, Cunningham, Gizon, Murt, Blackburn (Cruz, 71), Garbutt (Cockett 84).

Fitness doubts over Bacup strikers


By Telegraph newsdesk

BACUP boss Brent Peters is sweating on the fitness of his two leading scorers ahead of the visit of FC United.

Peters is hoping Ian Barker and Lee Oldham recover for one of the biggest games at West View in recent years.

He said: "No team can survive without their two leading scorers and that has been the case with us in recent weeks.

"Both Ian and Lee will undergo late fitness tests ahead of the game so hopefully they can make it."

Peters is already without experienced striker Tony Carroll who injured himself at the gym this week.

Peters added: "If I could put out my strongest side then I think we could push FC United all the way.

"However, that is not the case. But if the players who come in can't raise themselves for a big game like this then there is something wrong.

"These are the games I love to get my teeth in to.

"We're expecting a crowd of more than 1500 so it will be an occasion to cherish and savour and hopefully the lads can get a results."

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Going underground

Source: Guardian Unlimited

The success of FC United shows that, for those who feel lost in the consumer swamp of the Premiership, there is a genuine alternative, says Tony Howard

Friday February 2, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

When FC United were formed in the summer of 2005, many felt that a return to form for Manchester United would lead to fans returning to Old Trafford in their droves. But despite the form shown by Cristiano Ronaldo, Paul Scholes, Wayne Rooney et al, FC United of Manchester continue to pack them in.

Thousands of fans have no regrets about walking away from the Premiership and all it entails. They are enjoying the freedom, affordability and the surprisingly good standard of football that the lower leagues have to offer.

They are even involved in a title race of their own: FC United are in a five-way battle for the North West Counties Division One crown with Salford City, Curzon Ashton, Nantwich Town and Maine Road FC, the club formed by Manchester City fans in 1955.

In a modern-day football world in which those in silk ties take precedence over those in scarves, the mini-versions of Manchester's reds and blues offer a bright vision of a possible football future.

Wouldn't it be great if all those fans who have uttered the words "modern football is rubbish" would turn their backs on it and effectively start from scratch, as Manchester United fans have done, by creating models of how their clubs should be run? We can but hope.

Admittedly, Maine Road were formed in a different era, as a supporters' club to give fans something to do on Sundays, but why can't City fans forget their boycotts and pyjama protests (as they did to highlight the ridiculously early kick-off against Everton last season) and drive down the Mancunian Way to their own fan-run version?

In recent weeks Blackburn chairman John Williams bleating about attendances, many City fans boycotting the match at Bolton and most of their home games, and the remaining Manchester United fans complaining about Fulham's £45 tickets - which seemingly includes a stealth tax for being Manchester United - for the forthcoming Premiership contest. The United fans will still be there at Craven Cottage, but they won't be eating all the pies.

There have also been misgivings from supporters of Liverpool and Everton about their potential ground moves, which will take them further away from their proud histories and traditions. But those at the top of our national game will carry on hitting supporters in the pocket as long as the fans continue to attend.

In truth, all the protestations from supporters' groups and fan representatives ring a bit hollow - many whinge, but seldom do they follow through their threats or do anything to alter their situations. They allow the powers that be to exploit their loyalty. Until they realise that fans are the true owners of football, nothing will change.

"We can't walk away" is a common cry. Why not? If they treat you like a customer, why not act like one? Not going to Premiership matches (or the increasingly pricey football league grounds) does not mean you have to be lost to live football forever. There is an alternative, as AFC Wimbledon and FC United of Manchester have successfully shown.

One of the saddest consequences of football's big-business rebranding is the fact that very few supporters can now say they follow their team, week in week out, due to price rises and difficulties in procuring those valuable match tickets.

But the club formed by Manchester United supporters have enabled thousands of reds to carry on that tradition. Giving up the Premiership was not easy, but FCUM supporters have managed to keep the momentum going in their second season, with average home crowds hovering around 3,000 and a consistent away following of 1,500-2,000.

They are thoroughly enjoying themselves and the football ain't bad either. They currently lie second behind Salford with six games in hand, having already scored 91 league goals - thanks in part to their own Giggs on the wing: Ryan's younger brother Rhodri.

What's more, they are also putting something back into the community of Greater Manchester with coaching sessions in schools, and they recently held an anti-racism day at their home ground, Gigg Lane.

There's a model for others to follow in place. The message coming out of Manchester is clear. To those supporters who feel isolated in the consumer swamp of the Premiership, borrow a slogan from one of football's richest and most influential companies: 'Just do it.' Go your own way. You won't regret it.