Friday, March 30, 2007

FC United look for cup glory

Source: Guardian Unlimited

Manager Marginson says fans demand success in knock-out competitions

Tony Howard
Friday March 30, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

FC United will be hoping to earn a place in their first cup final this weekend. They may have won the league at their first attempt and set the pace in their second, but the team has so far struggled with cup competitions - something they aim to correct in the North West Counties League Challenge Cup semi-final against Congleton Town tomorrow.

The tie is poised at 2-2 from the first leg and the Gigg Lane crowd will be hoping their side can secure that final place and set up a possible league and cup double. Last season FC were knocked out of the League Cup by Colne and that disappointment was followed by their early exit from the FA Vase this term at the hands of Quorn FC, who sneaked the game with the last kick.

It has been business as usual in the North West Counties first division, in which they have a comfortable lead (eight points at the time of writing), but the Reds threw away a two-goal lead in the away leg of the cup semi-final. FC had been 2-0 up but The Bears, a nickname owed to Congleton's past as a town of bear-baiters, clawed their way back into the match and will be going all out to cause an upset.

As Manchester United fans, those Reds who swapped Old Trafford for Gigg Lane have been brought up on a glorious cup tradition and FC manager Karl Marginson is hoping his squad can finally get it right this time. Margy has called it the "biggest game for the club so far" and admits he is still trying to get a grip of how to approach cup matches "We feel that we owe our fans a cup final. One of the few disappointments of the club's history so far has been the lack of cup success. We are learning as we go along and haven't had many cup games, so have maybe been naive in the past.

"Perhaps we should have consolidated a bit more instead of going all out. But that's the Manchester United tradition and we aim to entertain our fans in the way they're used to and that means we need to do well in the cups."

The week after the semi-final those fans will travel to the Reds game at Ramsbottom on a steam train from Bury. The service has been run for many years along the old East Lancashire Railway line and Manchester United fans used the football specials that left Bury as recently as 1968. Over 300 supporters have booked on the Rammy Rattler and it's hoped the unusual method of transport will make for an enjoyable day all round as the team could take a giant leap towards the league title.

In the meantime the fans will be busy designing the club's new home shirt for next season. FC held its general meeting last week and supporters voted to change the club's home shirt for the first time, from the start of next season. The red shirt will once again be unique due to the lack of sponsorship across the chest and a competition has been launched for fans to submit their designs to the club by April 5.

It's certainly a busy time in the history of club as they prepare to celebrate their second anniversary. They'll hope for a happy birthday with the team going full steam ahead to that unique double.

· The second leg of the North West Counties League Challenge Cup semi-final takes place at Gigg Lane on Saturday, March 31; kick-off 3pm. Admission on the turnstiles is £7 adults, £5 over-60s and £2 under-18s.

FC on the cup trail


By Liam Chronnell

FC United will be looking to make history when they attempt to reach their first ever cup final.

The breakaway club take on NWCL Division One rivals Congleton Town at Gigg Lane in the second leg of the League Challenge Cup semi-final tomorrow.

The contest is evenly poised after the non-league giants surrendered a two-goal advantage in the away tie to draw 2-2 - but the Rebels possess two crucial away goals.

Karl Marginson's men, who are red-hot favourites to win back-to-back titles, looked certainties for their first final after goals from Rhodri Giggs and Rory Patterson inside 20 minutes put them in control at Witton Albion's Wincham Park two weeks ago.

But United allowed the Bears, who have lost four of their last five games, to hit back and level matters - and Marginson is demanding a better display from his troops as they bid to set up a showdown with Curzon Ashton or Flixton at the Tameside Stadium on Thursday, May 3.

"Every credit to Congleton for the way they came back in the first leg; they showed a lot of character but we should already have put the game to bed," he said. "We didn't take our chances and the players know that I will be expecting better of them on Saturday."

Atherton LR, buoyed by their midweek success against Newcastle Town, will hope to continue to pull away from the wrong end of the table at Trafford.

In Division Two, Daisy Hill will be looking to seal a third League win in a row when they entertain third-placed Padiham at New Sirs.

Rebels turn eyes to first cup final

Source: Manchester Evening News
Stuart Brennan
29/ 3/2007

FC United bid for a place in their first cup final on Saturday when they host Congleton Town at Gigg Lane in the second leg of the NW Counties Challenge Cup.

The tie is nicely poised after a 2-2 draw in the first leg so manager Karl Marginson will draft in several fringe players for tonight's game against Silsden at Keighley.

The game marks a hectic spell of ten games in the final 30 days of the season, or 11 if they reach the cup final.

The Rebels have chalked up an unbeaten run of 15 games and Marginson says: "It's less than 48 hours before the semi-final so we will rest some of the lads.

"They have been fantastic in that run and some deserve a rest."

Thursday, March 29, 2007

FC United boss in horror smash

Source: Manchester Evening News
Stuart Brennan
29/ 3/2007

THE manager of breakaway football team FC United has escaped a terrifying motorway smash.

Karl Marginson was working in his day job as a fruit and veg delivery man when a wheel came off his company van on the M60 at 6.30 am yesterday.

The vehicle swerved violently across two lanes of the motorway before coming to rest on the hard shoulder close to the junction with the M56 near Wythenshawe.

Shaken but unhurt, Karl helped to transfer his load of milk, bread, fruit and vegetables to another van and continue with his round.

Karl, 36, will also be able to resume his footballing duties when he leads his team out for a league match in Keighley, West Yorkshire, tonight.

"If it had been just half an hour later I am pretty sure I would have ended up in hospital, because the traffic was fairly light at the time it happened," he said.

"I heard a crunching noise from the wheel and the next thing I knew it had sheared off and I was shooting across two lanes. It was very frightening."

The father-of-two was appointed manager of FC United when the club was set up in 2005 by disgruntled fans of Manchester United who could not accept the takeover by American tycoon Malcolm Glazer.

He steered the club to promotion in their first season in the North West Counties Football League Division Two and they will go 11 points clear at the top in Division One if they win tonight.

Full load

Karl was heading to Parrs Wood Technology College in Didsbury for his first call of the day when the accident happened.

He was doing about 60mph and said his van had a full load.

"It all happened very quickly, it's only afterwards you think about what could've happened," he said.

"The weight of the van went straight on to the brake on the side where the wheel had been so if that had come off and the axle had dug in it might have tipped the van over.

"I was standing there waiting for a mechanic and within half an hour the motorway had filled up.

"So if it had happened a bit later the crash could have been a lot worse."

Last year the rebel club's manager was named Manchester's Sports Personality of the Month.

Leading the praise then was his boss, FC general manager Andy Walsh, who said: "No-one foresaw just how big the club was going to get. Lesser men might have buckled."

Fans set to 'steam' their way to Rammy


By Lindsay Southall

IT is full steam ahead for hundreds of FC United of Manchester fans when they arrive in Ramsbottom on Easter Saturday to watch their table-topping side.

A steam train, The Rammy Rattler, is fully booked with more than 300 supporters of the Red Rebels ahead of their game with Ramsbottom United on April 7.

Supporters will board the train at Heywood East Lancashire Railway Station at 11am arriving at Bolton Street station in Bury at 11.20am.

It will then reach Ramsbottom 25 minutes later and continue up to Rawtenstall before returning back to Ramsbottom for 12.30pm.

The fans will then pack into the Riverside Ground for the 3pm kick-off.

The Rammy Rattler has been arranged by the Bury and District Supporters Branch for FC United. Member Mark O'Rourke said: "The idea came from a chat over a pint last season when FC United looked likely to join Ramsbottom United in the North West Counties Football League Division One.

"We thought that, as supporters, we couldn't let this local fixture pass without doing something a bit different to mark it.

"I contacted the people at the East Lancs Railway who at first looked at me as though I was mad and then they could see I was serious in trying to re-enact the days when almost every fan made their way to the game on the train, the infamous Football Special'."

The plan was to fill one carriage with 64 fans but numbers continued to creep up as more heard about the idea until the train ended selling out with 320 supporters.

Ramsbottom United chairman Harry Williams said it would be the biggest attendance in the club's history.

"We have a capacity of 1,750 and entrance will be by ticket only.

"It is a big day for the club, and has taken a lot of planning, but we are really looking forward to it."

He added with a smile: "The bakers will probably have to work a nightshift on the Friday as we hope to sell plenty of pies."

Rebels turn eyes to first cup final

Source: M.E.N.

Stuart Brennan
29/ 3/2007

FC United bid for a place in their first cup final on Saturday when they host Congleton Town at Gigg Lane in the second leg of the NW Counties Challenge Cup.

The tie is nicely poised after a 2-2 draw in the first leg so manager Karl Marginson will draft in several fringe players for tonight's game against Silsden at Keighley.

The game marks a hectic spell of ten games in the final 30 days of the season, or 11 if they reach the cup final.

The Rebels have chalked up an unbeaten run of 15 games and Marginson says: "It's less than 48 hours before the semi-final so we will rest some of the lads.

"They have been fantastic in that run and some deserve a rest."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fan to design Rebels shirt

Source: M.E.N.

Stuart Brennan
27/ 3/2007

NON LEAGUE FC United will change their home shirt next season - and one of their fans will design it.

The club's members voted 89 per cent in favour of ditching the original design after two seasons and bringing in a new kit for next term. Now the club are running a competition to come up with a new one.

Members narrowly voted down a proposal that the training kit should carry a sponsor's logo, in line with the policy that the first-team shirts should also be free of advertising.

But as the club seek to raise funds for their own stadium and to help them progress through the non-league pyramid - they are on course for promotion to the UniBond League - members decided it was time for a new home shirt.

"Unlike most football clubs, FC United are wholly owned by their members, and it is the members who decide on major issues, such as whether the club needs a new kit," said board member Scott Fletcher.

All designs should be sent to the club offices at 221 Ducie House, Ducie Street, Manchester M1 2JW or emailed to: office@fc-utd. by April 5 (5pm).

Monday, March 26, 2007

FC strengthen grip on title


By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED stretched their lead at the top of the Division One table to eight points with a convincing 4-0 victory against bottom club Stone Dominoes.

Stuart Rudd's 38th goal of the season handed the breakaway club, who have three games in hand on their rivals, the lead in the 17th minute.

Strike partner Rory Patterson added a second on 33 minutes, and the contest was effectively over four minutes later when Jerome Wright bagged the visitors' third.

Patterson's second goal of the afternoon on 57 minutes completed the scoring.

Atherton Collieries' three-game winning run came to an end when they went down 2-1 at home to Colne.

Goals from Neil Harris and Steve Cunningham handed the points to the visitors, while David Rhodes late strike proved no more than a consolation for Colls.

Atherton LR's staged a brilliant fightback but had to settle for a point after conceding an injury-time equaliser in their 3-3 draw at Glossop North End.

Rovers found themselves 2-0 at the break, before goals from Rob Hope, Ian Berry and Stuart Wellstead looked like they had sealed an unlikely win, only for the home side to grab a share of the spoils in injury time.

Daisy Hill moved out of the bottom two for the first time this year as they overcame Castleton Gabriels 3-2.

John Fairhurst was the hero as he struck twice in the last 10 minutes to ensure Tommy Moore's side leapfrogged Castleton, who had a man sent off midway through the second half, in Division Two.

Dominic Shinks was also on target for the New Sirs club.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Stone Dominoes 0 FC United 4

Source: M.E.N.

24/ 3/2007

FC UNITED extended their unbeaten run to a club record of 15 games with 4 - 0 win over bottom placed Stone Dominoes.

Man of the match, Rory Patterson netted twice in a straight forward victory for the Reds at Lyme Valley Stadium.

Karl Marginson's team now have to win 7 of their remaining league games to guarantee the NWCFL Division 1 title.

With United playing against a youthful Dominoes team which has only managed 6 points this season, the 840 strong crowd was expecting an easy run for the rebels. But the hosts made a match of it in the opening period until United took the lead on 18 minutes when Stuart Rudd prodded home a loose ball in the box.

The match became an increasingly one-sided affair when Rory Patterson hit his first on 34 minutes shooting low into the corner.

Jerome Wright added a third four minutes later with hard left foot drive.

Stone Dominoes brought on two subs and rearranged the team at half time, only for Patterson to quickly score the goal of the game, a brilliant strike from the edge of the area.

The frustrations in the home team boiled over a minute later when Wayne Teague was shown a straight red for lashing out at United's Alex Mortimer.

With three points in the bag, United eased the pressure on 10 man Dominoes in the final half hour, while the singing support led by actor Will Mellor, celebrated another success on the road.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Reds boss calls for title push


By Liam Chronnell

MANAGER Karl Marginson has called for a final push as FC United chase their double dream.

Just 12 games stand between the rebel club and League and Cup glory this season.

The Gigg Lane outfit are top of the NWCL League Division One table and in pole position to reach the Challenge Cup final, after drawing the away leg of the semi-final 2-2 with Congleton Town.

And Marginson has urged his players to keep up their outstanding form as FC reach the business-end of the campaign.

"We in a fantastic position and just need to see it home now," said the Reds boss, whose team travel to bottom club Stone Dominoes on Saturday.

"We've been superb for the biggest part of the season. Now we've got to do it when it really matters."

United increased their chances of achieving back-to-back titles with a resounding 5-1 victory at Abbey Hey at the weekend.

The breakaway club, who have four games in hand on their closest rivals, Salford City, were two up inside 17 minutes thanks to goals from Simon Carden and Josh Howard.

The home side pulled one back eight minutes later through Steve Lesters, but Stuart Rudd put paid to Abbey Hey's hopes of a fightback when he grabbed a third a minute after the restart.

Top-scorer Rudd added his second just before the hour mark and Howard sealed a convincing victory when he completed his double with 19 minutes left.

"It was a good result and, more importantly, it was a good performance," said Marginson, who had been unhappy with his players after they threw away a two-goal lead in the semi-final at Congleton two days earlier.

"I was disappointed with how we handled the semi-final; we took our foot off the gas but we were a lot more professional against Abbey Hey."

Three more points seem a certainty on Saturday, as the free-scoring Reds travel to basement club Stone Dominoes, who have the unenviable record of possessing the division's leakiest defence after shipping 112 goals in the league alone.

But Marginson insists he will not be taking anything for granted ahead of United's clash at the Lyme Valley Stadium.

He said: "I think they have just been a little bit naive this season. They are quite a young side but have some talented players.

"But one thing Stone will definitely do is get the ball down and play football, and that will suit us."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Reds on goal charge


By Liam Chronnell

ONE thing is guaranteed when FC United, Division One's top scorers, meet Stone Dominoes, the division's worst defence, tomorrow: Goals.

The prolific breakaway club have smashed 135 goals in all competitions this season, while bottom club Stone have shipped 113 in the League alone.

When the two sides met in November, FC, who have a five-point lead at the top of the table, ran out 7-0 winners.

And Reds boss Karl Marginson will be looking for a similar outcome at the Lyme Valley Stadium this weekend as his side chase a League and Cup double.

"We're in a fantastic position and just need to see it home now," said Marginson, who insisted United would not be taking anything for granted against the basement club.

In-form Atherton Collieries will be looking to continue their rich vein of form with a fourth straight victory when they entertain Colne.

Phil Brown's team have been in excellent form, with Monday night's superb 4-1 victory against FA Vase holders Nantwich Town being the highlight of a three-game winning streak.

Barry Massey was on target in that victory - and the Colls striker will be looking to hit the back of the net for a fourth match in a row at Alder House tomorrow.

Atherton LR will be hoping to bounce back from their home defeat against Congleton Town on Tuesday night when they travel to midtable Glossop North End. Rovers boss Roy Sweeney has no new injury concerns ahead of the trip.

In Division Two, Daisy Hill could move out of the bottom two for the first time this year if they defeat Castleton Gabriels at home.

Victory would take Tommy Moore's side level on points with the visitors, but the New Sirs outfit's superior goal difference would see them leapfrog Castleton in the table and provide a welcome boost for the campaign run-in.

Formby 1 FC United 3

Source: M.E.N.

ony Howard
22/ 3/2007

FC UNITED extended their lead at the top of the North West Counties First Division to five points thanks to a 3-1 win over Formby.

Goals from Simon Carden, Jerome Wright and Rhodri Giggs saw the Reds edge a feisty affair at Skelmersdale which saw two players sent-off.

After a bright start, FC finally took the lead when a Stuart Rudd shot found its way in via Carden's backside.

However, the expected goal avalanche didn't materialise and the Squirrels equalised through a Paul Wardley lob.

The second-half erupted when FC's Rory Paterson was sent-off after a high challenge on the Formby keeper, with the hosts' Lee Mullen also seeing red after an ensuing melee.

Soon after, Wright netted to restore the Reds' lead before Giggs sealed victory.

Rebels strengthen grip at the top


By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED moved five points clear at the top of the NWCL Division One in an ill-tempered clash at struggling Formby.

Simon Carden grabbed a fortunate opener when Stuart Rudd's shot struck the midfielder to hand the leaders a first-half lead.

Paul Wardley equalised after the break for the Merseysiders before both teams were reduced to 10 men. The Rebels' Rory Patterson was sent off for a lunge at the goalkeeper and, in the ensuing melee, Formby's Lee Mullen also received his marching orders.

Jerome Wright put FC back in front with a fine solo effort before substitute Rhodri Giggs wrapped up the points late on for the breakaway club.

In Division Two, Daisy Hill drew 1-1 with Holker Old Boys at New Sirs.

Danny Williams fired the home side into a 19th-minute lead but Danny Keenan equalised just eight minutes later to ensure honours finished even.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Rebels stay clear after five-goal romp

Source: M.E.N.

Tony Glennon
19/ 3/2007

FC UNITED took another step towards the North West Counties League first division championship as they went nap against Abbey Hey.

But the Rebels have yet to shake off the threat of FA Vase semi-finalists Curzon Ashton.

Simon Carden's ninth minute strike was followed by two goals apiece from Stuart Rudd and Josh Howard as the Rebel Reds eased to a 5-1 victory which keeps them three points clear of Salford City, who had Jamie Baguley on target in a 1-0 win over Formby.

Steve Lester netted Abbey Hey's single reply.

But with Salford having four games more to play than Karl Marginson's men, it's fourth-placed Curzon who pose the only serious threat to FC United claiming their second successive title.

Wayne Cahill's hat-trick helped the Nash come from behind to crush rock- bottom Stone 4-1.

That win certainly keeps them in a strong position to pounce should FC United slip up in the run-in to the season.

Meanwhile, Curzon tonight warm up for Saturday's big Vase showdown with Truro City.

They will stage the first-leg of their League Challenge Cup semi-final against Flixton at Tameside Stadium. The game will kick-off at 7.45pm.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Congleton 2 FC United 2

Source: M.E.N.

Tony Howard
16/ 3/2007

FC UNITED are still on course to make their first final despite letting a two-goal lead slip against Congleton in the North West Counties League Cup.

The Reds had to settle for a draw in Thursday night's semi-final first leg at Witton's Wincham Park after two mistakes from keeper Sam Ashton.

United started positively, with Stuart Rudd going close inside 10 minutes.

Soon after, Nicky Platt broke through and squared for Rhodri Giggs to smash home at the near post.

Minutes later, Rory Patterson hit the bar with a spectacular effort from 30 yards.

Patterson was starting to control the game and scored the second with a cute lob from a Matty Taylor through ball.

Andy Hurst brought Congleton back into the game just before half-time when he took advantage of a rash rush from Ashton to halve the deficit.

And the home side equalised moments after the break, when Hurst capitalised on another Ashton mistake to score his second.

The second leg will be played on Saturday, March 31.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Die Fans mucken auf

Source: Spiegel Online

Von Edgar Klüsener

Wucher bei den Tickets, Reglementierung im Stadion. Viele britische Fußballfans sind sauer. Einige belassen es nicht bei ihrem Ärger. Sie organisieren sich und gründen sogar eigene Clubs wie etwa in Manchester. Der Dachverband spricht von einem Aufstand der Fans.

Das Stadioncafé ist voll. Neben der Eingangstür hängt ein überdimensionaler Flachbildschirm, es läuft eine Fußball-Übertragung: FC Liverpool gegen Manchester United. Ein Traditionsspiel, eine Spitzenpartie, ein Hassduell. 0:0, Nachspielzeit. John O'Shea, in der 73. Minute eingewechselt, schiebt den Ball doch noch irgendwie ins Liverpooler Tor. Manchester siegt, Jubel. Die Fans grölen Slogans, die nicht immer jugendfrei sind.

Englische Fußballfans: "Sie behandeln uns wie Idioten"

Dabei hätten die Jungs im Café unter der Tribüne des Gigg-Lane-Stadions vom FC Bury guten Grund, ManU alles Schlechte zu wünschen. Sie sind abtrünnige United-Fans. Ihre Liebe gilt jetzt dem FC United of Manchester, der hier am Rande der Stadt in einer halben Stunde gegen Colne ein Heimspiel bestreiten wird. Der FC United of Manchester ist ein Rebellenclub, gegründet 2005 von einigen Tausend enttäuschter ManU-Fans, die sich nicht mit dem US-Amerikaner Malcolm Glazer als neuem Eigentümer Manchester Uniteds abfinden wollten. Verärgerung hatte es unter den Anhängern schon vor Glazers Aktivitäten gegeben.

"Wir fühlten uns vom Club nicht mehr ernst genommen", sagt Jules Spencer, einer der Gründer des FC United. "Die Übernahme durch Glazer war eigentlich nur der auslösende Faktor. Entscheidend war das Gefühl, dass bei Manchester United wie in der gesamten Premier League die Interessen der Fans kaum noch berücksichtigt werden. Und dieses Gefühl teilen wir mit den Fans vieler anderer Clubs." Spencer sieht gar eine Bewegung: "Was im Moment stattfindet, ist ein Aufstand der Fans gegen die Clubs, gegen eine Geschäftsmentalität, die in uns nur noch als eine garantierte Einkommensquelle sieht." Überhöhte Eintrittsgelder, Spielansetzungen Samstagmittag oder Sonntagabends. "Wir werden wie Idioten behandelt", schimpft Spencer.

Die Fan-Organisation "The Football Supporters' Federation" verkündet in einem Manifest, was ihrer Meinung nach faul im britischen Profifußball ist: Alles purer Kommerz, die Interessen der Fans blieben auf der Strecke. Dabei seien sie es doch, die in den Stadien für Atmosphäre sorgten und weite Reisen auf sich nehmen, um ihre Mannschaften zu unterstützen. Ohne die Fans sei Fußball nur noch ein Schattensport, sagen die "Supporters".

In ihrer Organisation haben sich Fans aus allen britischen Ligen zusammengeschlossen. Der umfangreiche Forderungskatalog beinhaltet unter anderem die Gründung eines zentralen Fußballverbandes, der für alle Ligen zuständig ist. Damit soll die bisherige Zersplitterung des britischen Fußballs unterhalb der Profiligen beseitigt werden. Auch wird in Anlehnung an das deutsche Vereinsrecht die Einführung eines Sonderstatus' für die Clubs gefordert. Zudem sollen die Fernsehgelder gerechter verteilt werden.

Fans kaufen sich bei ihren Clubs ein

Die Fans werden sich langsam ihrer potenziellen Macht bewusst, die Clubführungen beobachten die Entwicklung aufmerksam. Bei Manchester City, Bolton Wanderers oder dem FC Rochdale wurden bereits die Eintrittspreise gesenkt. Zur Besänftigung der Fans. Viele Anhänger investieren das Geld bereits, um sich in ihre Clubs einzukaufen. So erwerben sie Stimmrechte und können mitentscheiden. Über 100 so genannte "Fantrusts" gibt es in England, Schottland und Wales, 61 haben mittlerweile Anteile an ihren Clubs erworben. So genannte "Fantrusts" sind Eigentümer von Vereinen wie dem Drittligisten Brentford oder bestimmen beim Topclub FC Arsenal mit.

Fans gründen aber auch Trusts, um Übernahmen ihrer Clubs durch ausländische Investoren abzuwehren. Ein solcher Trust ist der Manchester United Supporters Trust. Der konnte noch verhindern, dass der Medienmogul Rupert Murdoch den Club seinem Firmenimperium einverleibte, musste aber passen, als dann Glazer nach und nach 97 Prozent der ManU-Anteile erwarb.

Doch der Trust gibt sich nicht geschlagen. Das neue Ziel ist die Beschaffung von ausreichend Kapital für den Erwerb eines stimmberechtigten Anteils an Manchester United. Auch die Fans des Stadtrivalen Manchester City haben seit Anfang März ihren eigenen Trust. Aber bringt das noch etwas, wenn der hoch verschuldete Club durch Investoren übernommen wird? Zuletzt verleibten sich kapitalstarke Unternehmen den FC Liverpool und den Londoner Club West Ham United ein.

Immerhin kann sich der FC United of Manchester über große Unterstützung freuen. In der neuntklassigen North West Counties Football League Division I kommen im Schnitt 3000 Fans zu den Heimspielen, bei Spitzenpartien ist auch der doppelt so große Zuspruch drin. Der Aufstieg in die höchste Spielklasse, die Premier League, ist das Fernziel. Gegen Colne wurde der nächste Schritt nach oben getan: Der FC United of Manchester siegte 6:2. Es war sogar eine Delegation aus Dortmund dabei. Nachhilfeunterricht in Sachen Aufstand. Es lebe die Revolution!

Edgar Klüsener ist Nahosthistoriker und freier Journalist. Er lebt seit neun Jahren in Manchester. Klüseners deutsche Lieblingsvereine sind Borussia Dortmund und der Hasper SV. In England hat der 51- Jährige in einem Akt von Selbstkasteiung sein Herz an Manchester City vergeben.

Rebels boss takes no chances

Source: M.E.N.

Paul Gallagher
15/ 3/2007

FC United face one of the biggest games in the club's brief history tonight as they bid to reach their first cup final.

The Rebels take on Congleton in the first match of a two-legged semi-final in the NWCFL Challenge Cup at the Britannia Carpets Stadium in Northwich.

With the Division One title on the cards, manager Karl Marginson is aiming to round off the club's second season with a league and cup double.

"I've made it clear to the players how important this is to the fans," he said. "And the players all want to get to a cup final. It is a special occasion and it is a little distraction from the league games we have coming up."

Marginson's team have been drawn away from home in every round of the cup so far but have reached the semis without conceding a goal, brushing aside Nantwich, Colne and Silsden.


They will not have home advantage if they can overcome Congleton either, as league officials have announced the final has been moved from its traditional venue of Gigg Lane.

The showpiece match on Thursday, May 3, will be played instead at the 4,000-capacity Tameside Stadium, home of Curzon Ashton who play either Flixton or Oldham in the other semi.

The £3.5m Tameside Stadium opened in July 2005 and has already proved a happy hunting ground for FC United this season, with the club notching league victories over Curzon in September and Squires Gate last Saturday.

Promotion into the Unibond league will mean the club may have to look at securing a similar purpose-built stadium for themselves in the coming years if they continue to climb up the football ladder.

FC United are three points clear at the top of NWCFL Division One with 12 matches to play, and have four games in hand over second-placed Salford City.

Kick-off is 7.45pm and admission is £6 (adults), £4 (OAPs/under-16s), and £2 (under-12s). Seating is available for £1 extra.

The second leg weill be at Gigg Lane on Saturday, March 31 (3pm).

Monday, March 12, 2007

Squires Gate 0 FC United 1

Source: M.E.N.

12/ 3/2007

KARL Marginson's side mimicked the other United with a less than convincing display in a 1-0 win over Squires Gate at Tameside Stadium, but still went three points clear at the top of the table.

The Rebels had to rely on a second half penalty by Nicky Platt for the win.

Manager Marginson said: "If you are going to win the league, sometimes you have to win when you are not playing well.

"We saw it with United against Liverpool last week."

Playing against a team they hammered 8-0 in October, FC United were always in control but found it heavy going from the start on what was a sandy pitch.

"I think they brought the beach with them," added Marginson. "We were a bit lethargic and they have brought in a lot of big players since October."

FC United struggled to make any impact in the first half and played their brightest football in the 15 minutes after the interval. Rhodri Giggs hit the bar and Rory Patterson created a couple of half chances.

It was Patterson who was fouled in the box for the penalty on 57 minutes as he tried to wriggle through the Squires Gate defence. On Thursday, FC United face Congleton in the Challenge Cup semi-final at Witton Albion.

Squires Gate 0 FC United 1


QUIDS-IN Squires Gate couldn't lose on Saturday, but money-spinning opponents FC United of Manchester didn't win a friend in Gate manager Jed Starkey.
While the School Road club is £7,000-£8,000 richer after being watched by 1,650 in their 'home' match at Curzon Ashton, Starkey reckons United rank poorly in the popularity stakes.
Proud of his players after they pushed the North-West Counties League leaders to relying on a penalty for their 25th win in 30 matches, Starkey claims the Unibond-bound club is only too ready to belittle the opposition.
"I would like them to show more respect to small teams like ourselves, whose budget for the whole squad is less than what one particular United player gets," said Starkey, who was also riled by reports of rough-house tactics by his men.
"We got more respect from their supporters than I did from their management team. I had to go to them at the end to shake hands."
Starkey also frowned on the fact that his star man Rob Lloyd, who gave away the 57th minute penalty, was whisked off on the final whistle to do a video interview for United's website.
"Not asking me, the manager, was a total lack of respect. If I had a suspicious mind, I might think they were tapping Rob up.
Lloyd, yellow-carded in the first half together with co-centre half Tom Benfield for fouling striker Rory Patterson, clumsily upended the Irishman to leave Nicky Platt sending keeper Ryan Yeomans the wrong way from the spot.
"The fact that United couldn't score in open play showed our commitment and effort," added Starkey.
"United gave as good as we gave them physically. The game was hard and challenging but not dirty. I don't play a kicking game but I wanted to be sure my lads didn't get steamrollered.
"We knew we would have limited chances and would be under pressure for long periods. However, we had an attacking formation and went at them in the second half."
Tom Phillips man-marked Ryan Giggs's brother Rhodri out of the game, but wasted the chance to be a hero when firing wide in the first half in a one-on-one with the keeper created by Dave Hankin's pass.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Squires Gate 0 FC United 1

Source: M.E.N.

Paul Gallagher
10/ 3/2007

FC UNITED extended their lead at the top of the league with a scrappy win over Squires Gate.

Taking on a team they'd beaten 8-0 in October, the Rebels could only manage a single goal - a second half Nicky Platt penalty.

It was announced this week that the Rebels' TV show attracts a weekly audience of 48,000, but this match will make uncomfortable viewing for Karl Marginson and his team.

While the breakaway Reds were always in control of the match, they rarely threatened the Squires Gate goal during a disjointed first half.

Manager Marginson appeared visibly riled as he went to the dressing room at half-time and sent out his players five minutes early for the second half.

His team stepped up their play with striker Rory Patterson and winger Rhodri Giggs both going close.

But the Rebels attacking moves were all too often breaking down without creating clear cut chances.


It was Patterson who was fouled in the box for the penalty on 55 minutes and Platt calmly stepped up to send the opposing goalkeeper the wrong way.

Although Squires Gate - 17 in the NWCFL Division One – were the 'home' side, FC United were denied a trip to Blackpool.

Gate, who have an average crowd of 50 and had played in front of 22 spectators on Tuesday night, were told by the police that a match in Blackpool would have to be moved forward to midday and include a police presence costing up to £10,000.

So the match was played instead at the Tameside Stadium in front of 1,650 fans - home to FC United's only genuine rival to the Division One title, Curzon Ashton.

Ironically, the Reds had managed a memorable 3-1 victory when they played Curzon last September, but their second league match at the stadium this season is one they'll want to forget.

Attendance: 1,650.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Rebel Reds backed by armchair army

Source: M.E.N.

paul gallagher
9/ 3/2007

FC United have an armchair army of 48,000 fans backing the club every week, according to new TV ratings figures.

The Rebels - who are breaking all crowd records in the amateur league - are also winning over a large following in Greater Manchester's living rooms.

Official ratings figures have shown an impressive audience for the FCUM TV show - which features match highlights and interviews with manager Karl Marginson and his players.

The programme is watched by 48,000 people each week on Channel M, making it the station's fourth-most popular show.

A team of producers and cameramen follows FC United at home and away matches to make the programme and also broadcast live commentary on the internet.

FC United are leading the NWCFL Division One and will play against 16th-placed Squires Gate from Blackpool tomorrow It is an away fixture for FC but the match has been moved to the Tameside Stadium, home of Curzon Ashton.

The breakaway Reds scored their biggest win of the season when the two sides met at Gigg Lane in October, with Rory Patterson scoring four and Stuart Rudd hitting a hat-trick in an 8-0 victory.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

FC United 6 Colne 2

Source: M.E.N.

Paul Gallagher
3/ 3/2007

RHODRI GIGGS nodded home FC United's 100th league goal of the season as the Rebels crushed Colne.

Giggs, returning from a bout of 'flu, put in a man of the match performance and netted the landmark goal on 34 minutes.

Karl Marginson's team, who lead the NWCFL Div 1, average three and half goals a game and the 2,456 crowd at Gigg Lane revelled in another display full of attacking verve.

The home side started briskly and had two goals disallowed in the first 11 minutes as they created a host of chances.

Rory Patterson, in menacing form at the heart of United's attack, broke the deadlock when he controlled a long pass on his chest in the penalty box, spun round on the spot and hooked the ball home off the far post.

Colne responded well to the set back and equalised three minutes later when Liam Garbutt thumped home a left foot volley from 25 yards.

The visitors should have taken the lead as they benefited from some scrappy defending but FC United recovered their composure and hit back with three goals in five minutes.

A superb cross by Patterson gave Jerome Wright a tap-in at the far post on 31 minutes. Then it was Giggs, making his first start in five games, who scored the club's 100th League goal with his glancing header.

Wright made it 101 with his second of the match, again benefiting from the vision of Patterson who had nodded on a long ball to play him through on goal.

The tempo slowed in the second half but the Rebels' captain David Chadwick was rewarded for a strong performance all over the pitch when he headed home unchallenged at a corner to make it 5-1.

And the exhausted Colne defence had melted away by the time substitute Phil Power took down a long ball on the edge of the six yard box to score FC United's sixth.

Colne pulled one back with a 76th minute penalty by substitute James Blackburn but the game had been long lost.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Source: Derry Journal

EVER heard the one about the Strabane striker currently topping the goal-scoring charts at the club some football fans call the 'real Manchester United'?

Michael Wilson reports

Didn't think so but, then again, Rory Patterson's career has not exactly followed the traditional football trail since he left his Ballycolman home in search of soccer stardom.

A graduate of the now disbanded Derry youth side, Moorfield, Rory was one of many promising youngsters that club sent for trials with clubs throughout England and Scotland before he eventually found himself at the fledgling 'F.C. United', the club formed by thousands of disgruntled Manchester United supporters after American billionaire Malcolm Glazer's unceremonious Old Trafford takeover back in 2005.

"I started out playing with Moorfield because - although I was from Strabane - most of my mates were from Derry," explained the 22 year-old last week.

"I think I was about ten years old when I started, it was with my mates from school and friends from the city. I grew up with boys like Neil McCafferty and Kevin Deery (now contracted to Derry City) so most of my early football was played in Derry.

"Everyone at Moorfield knew we were lucky to be playing for them because they were a great club and seemed to win everything we played in, including competitions in England and Spain," claimed the player.

Rory left the Derry club after finishing school at St. Colman's in Strabane to turn professional with English side Rochdale, where he was joined by friend and current Derry City star, Paddy McCourt.

"Most Moorfield players were sent for trials at Peterborough and I was no different although I eventually signed a professional contract with Rochdale. I arrived the year before Paddy and I learned a lot there.

"I think (former Carlisle United boss) Paul Simpson, up to now at least, is the best manager I've played under. We had a great FA Cup run in 2003 when we knocked out Preston and Coventry before losing to Wolves in the fifth round."

The FA Cup run was the highlight of a frustrating finale to his Rochdale career which saw Patterson's appearances restricted through injury before he was eventually released at the end of the 2004 season.

Moving on from the setback of losing his professional status, Patterson picked himself up and moved to amateur side, Radcliffe Borough, where he found life less than fulfilling

"It was a big shock. I was lucky to be able to find a job as a paint sprayer, which I was grateful for, but it was so tough playing a game during the day and then doing night work. It wasn't the best of times at Radcliffe," he maintained.

Top scorer

While playing at Radcliffe, Rory got a call from current FC United boss Karl Marginson - who he had played with a season earlier - and things seemed to get better from that point the Strabane man who is now a firm favourite with the Manchester fans having topped the scoring charts for two consecutive seasons in the North West Counties Football League.

He went on: "We are playing in front of crowds of 3,000 and 4,000 and the club has really taken off. The standard is excellent as we have a lot of ex-professionals from Manchester City and United. We were promoted last year and are in with a shout of the title again this season."

Patterson is now well settled in Manchester where he and long-tem girlfriend, Stacey, are expecting their first baby in July, but Rory admits he still harbours dreams or returning to full-time football and keeps a close eye on events at the Brandywell.

"There was a bit of a rumour circulating last year that Stephen Kenny was interested in bringing me to the Brandywell but, to be perfectly honest, I didn't hear much more than that. I still follow Derry closely, especially with so many friends at the club.

"That said, I am really enjoying things at United and the club is growing all the time but if someone like Derry came in then, of course, I would be interested. I don't get to watch them as often as I would like. When I get back home, it's usually on a Saturday so I miss their games, but was great to see them doing so well last season.

"I kept a close eye on their European run and it was fantastic. Many of my mates travelled to Paris with the club and stopped off in Manchester on the way home to see one of my games which, thankfully, we won."

While Patterson, who is known as 'Mr. Mystery' to the club's legion of fans - because of how little was known about him when he signed - maintains his strong links to the North West and he is the first to admit his owes a debt of gratitude to the club which has given him a second chance at football in England.

"The club itself is massive and that surprised me when I joined. I took the opportunity to join FC United because it was the chance to start afresh and to give football another go. I believe the club can go as far as the fans want it to."

Such is the profile of Manchester's 'other' United, that the club and Patterson have regularly featured on Sky's 'Channel M' (Sky Channel 203) where many of Rory's friends in Ireland can keep up-to-date with his goal-scoring exploits at Gigg Lane, including one audacious effort against Silsden last year - from the half-way line - which can be viewed on internet site 'YouTube,' (

"That one was a bit special,' admitted the Strabane man, "I really enjoyed it, but you don't score too many like that!"

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Elvin moves on

By Mark Higginson
Source: The Bolton News

Kevin Elvin has been released by FC United and has joined sixth-placed Trafford.

Kevin has been hampered by injury recently and has not figured this season for FC United's first team. He now aims to help Trafford in their push for a promotion spot.

The 27-year-old defender, described by manager Karl Marginson as a "model professional", made 22 appearances during the Reds' inaugural campaign and was "instrumental" to the club's successful first year.

His last appearance for the club was the extra time defeat to Nelson in the Division Two Trophy last season.

10:52am Thursday 1st March 2007