Source: Heywood Advertiser
BARCELONA may be home to some of the world’s greatest players, but John and Curtis Howarth would rather watch their football in Bury.
The father and son, who hail from Heywood, are so passionate about FC United that they make a 1,700-mile round trip to Gigg Lane for every home game to watch the North West Counties side.
They have even had shirts specially made which are half Barcelona shirt and half FC United.
One shirt has ‘Ruddaldinho’ on the back of it, in honour of Barcelona’s Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho and FC United’s leading scorer Stuart Rudd.
The other has ‘van Patterson’ on the back in homage to former Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy, who now plays for Real Madrid, and FC United striker Rory Patterson.
Barcelona won the Champions League last season and its line-up includes world class players such as Ronaldinho, Deco, Lionel Messi, and Samuel Eto’o.
But Curtis, 28, formerly of Hopwood Avenue, is more interested in FC United.
He said: “I have been to see a couple of Barcelona games but they don’t really interest me. FC United has some good players who have come down the leagues to play for the club as it has bigger crowds than they would ever play in front of.
“The club has a real family atmosphere and we know the manager and the players.
“FC United could be a massive club and it feels good to have been involved by going to matches since the start.”
John, 51, used to live on Hopwood Avenue and followed Manchester United all over the world. He stopped going to games when the Glazer family took over the Old Trafford club, which sparked the formation of FC United.
The former Heywood St James FC player moved to Barcelona two and half years ago and runs three businesses as an investment adviser. Curtis works on one of them with him.
John said: “We have such a good time going to matches that in the early part of last season we were missing more flights home than we were getting on.
“The camaraderie and atmosphere at games is so great we didn’t wanted to go home. But coming from Heywood we always have somewhere to stay when we didn’t make it back.
“Some people can’t comprehend why we do it, but this is our passion and we are doing something we really want to do.
“We had a great time on the Rammy Rattler the other week – it was like rolling back the years to the 1970s when we went to matches on the train.”
First published by the Heywood Advertiser