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."