Monday, January 29, 2007

Rebel Reds take ample cup revenge

Edited from:

By Liam Chronnell

FC United ensured there was no repeat of last season's cup exit at the hands of Colne as they sealed a comfortable 4-0 third-round victory to book their place in the quarter-finals.

Karl Marginson's side were dumped out of the League Challenge Cup last term after conceding a last-minute winner to their Division One rivals.

But the Rebels avenged that defeat as they showed no signs of rustiness in their first competitive game in three weeks to cruise into the last 16, courtesy of goals from Rob Nugent, Rory Patterson, Stuart Rudd and Dave Brown.

FC will now travel to Silsden, who defeated Atherton LR 4-3 in a thrilling contest in Yorkshire, on Saturday, February 17.

Rams get ready for new turnstiles

By Telegraph newsdesk

Ramsbottom United have nearly completed the erection of their new turnstiles.

Work started a couple of weeks ago and, at a lot of expense and hard work, the club can now proudly announce that the Riverside Ground is gearing itself up for a push for UniBond football.

Also, as the Rams are preparing themselves up for the visit of FC United of Manchester on Easter Saturday, they have been given the go-ahead of the police for the game to be played at the Riverside.

The ground has been graded to allow in 1,750 fans.

FC Utd tickets on sale

By Telegraph newsdesk

Bacup Borough's home game against FC United this Saturday is an all-ticket match.

Supporters can buy tickets through the club web site, or from the club shop every morning between 9.30am and 12.30pm.

There will be no tickets on sale on the day.

For more information contact the club on 01706 878655.

Colne 0 FC United 4

Source: Lancaster Telegraph

By Telegraph newsdesk

FC UNITED progressed to the quarter-finals of the D-Zine League Challenge Cup, but the scoreline did not truly reflect the balance of play.

In fact, Colne could have taken the lead in the first minute, when Anthony Murt's shot was well saved by Sam Ashton who then produced a reflex save to deny James Blackburn from the follow-up.

Colne continued to threaten, but on 24 minutes they were stunned when the FC United centre back Rob Nugent was allowed to turn in the Colne box and rifle home into the right-hand corner.

Undeterred, Colne continued to mount attack after attack with Scott Gizon, Liam Garbutt and Murt all going close.

The 1,500 crowd inside Holt House hoped the home side could come back after the break but on 58 minutes the result was more or less settled, when Ben Howarth was robbed by Rob Patterson, who punished the mistake with a clinical finish to increase the FC United lead.

Then to compound Colne's misery, Jason Heffernan was sent off after being shown a second yellow card and the well-drilled opposition were quick to exploit the home side's woe.

First, Shaun Roscoe broke down the left and his cross was met at the near post by Stuart Rudd to glance home, and in the dying minutes, Dave Brown was allowed the time and space to complete the scoring from close range to send the rebels into the next round.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Judgement Day!


JUDGEMENT Day has arrived, as far as Nigel Coates is concerned.

Colne players will have nowhere to hide when FC United come rolling into town tomorrow.

And the Reds boss has urged his players not to be overawed by the occasion.

The First Division title favourites are the visitors at Holt House in the third round of the D-Zine League Challenge Cup, with a revised kick-off time of 2 p.m.

But Coates is adamant his side are capable of ripping-up the form book.

He said: "It's not like we haven't done it before!

"We are a side who tend to do well in big games, and when the odds are against us.

"That is a trend that will need to continue tomorrow, because they will be favourites without question.

"We couldn't have been handed a more tougher task, apart from being drawn away to them.

"But there isn't a team in this competition that we are not capable of beating.

"All it is is 90 minutes of football, and anything can happen on the day."

And he's right – just ask AFC Wimbledon.

Three years ago, Colne upset massive odds to come away from Kingsmeadow with a victory in the FA Carlsberg Vase.

And Coates added: "We were massive underdogs that day, but we proved that it is only about what happens on the day.

"The atmosphere tomorrow won't be as hostile as it was down there, but I know all the lads will be just as up for it.

"If one or two don't turn up then we might be in trouble, so it is up to the players not to shy away.

"At the end of the day, it is a cup game, and we want to progress.

"But I've seen them a couple of times recently, and they are no mugs.

"They were a good side when we played them last season, and they have identified where they needed improvement.

"But then again, any side with Stuart Rudd in it is going to be strong.

"He has played at this level for six years, and has scored massive amounts of goals every season.

"He will be the one to watch, as will Rory Patterson, and they have formed a good partnership."

He added: "Despite all that, we know we are more than a match for them.

"People will say we beat them last year, and they are right, but this is a completely different side to then, as are we.

"We can't go into the game dwelling on that result last year, we just have to go out there and give it our all.

"We know that if we play to the levels we know we can, then we are more than capable of a result."

And the Reds should be full of confidence after a 1-1 draw at title-chasing Nantwich last week: "I thought we were a bit suspect in the first half, and gave them a bit too much respect.

"We started okay, but they slowly took a foothold in the game and got their goal.

"We weren't really at it in the opening period, and I don't think we could complain about being behind.

"But in the second half, it was extremely open, and it was a great spectacle.

"We could have had three in the second half, but then again, so could they.

"And to be fair, they probably had the more clear-cut opportunities, because ours were more from long range.

"But we got what we deserved, we were more than good value for a point.

"And it was nice to get something from there because Nantwich have been one of our bogey sides in recent years."

Tickets are still available for tomorrow's clash.

It will be an all-ticket affair, priced at £5 for adults and £2.50 for concessions, with tickets available on the gate.

Stand tickets are available, priced at £6, with these supporters being granted access to the bar area.

Due to the number of spectators expected on the day, the club will be restricting the amount of people into the bar area before and during the game.

The club are also hoping to have arrangements in place with Colne and Nelson Rugby Club, to allow travelling supporters the use of their facilities.

Expect Delay's On Cup Day


MOTORISTS have been warned to expect delays in Colne tomorrow afternoon as crowds flock to and from Holt House.

Colne FC's third round D-Zine League Challenge Cup tie against FC United of Manchester is expected to attract the highest crowd of the season.

Up to 1,600 tickets have been made available for the Reds' clash with the First Division leaders, which will kick off at 2 p.m. The club is hoping to have arrangements in place with Colne and Nelson Rugby Club to allow travelling supporters to use its facilities.

Sgt John Fryer, of Colne police, said: "FC United do have a very good following, considering the level they're at. Most of their supporters tend to travel on coaches, which will help keep disruption to a minimum. But people should expect some minor delays before and after the game. We don't envisage any problems, though."

Tickets will be available on the gate, priced at £5 for adults and £2.50 for concessions. Stand tickets priced at £6 will allow supporters to access the bar area.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Rebel Reds itching for action


By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED'S have revenge on their mind when they take on Colne in the third round of the League Challenge Cup.

The Gigg Lane tenants were dumped out of the competition by the same opponents last season after the Lancashire club grabbed an injury-time winner.

The Reds return to action at the Holt House Stadium on Saturday after a three-week break, and assistant boss Phil Power admits his side are itching to get going.
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FC's clash with title rivals Curzon Ashton was a victim of the weather two weeks ago, and they were without a game last weekend after being knocked out of the FA Vase.

That meant an enforced spell on the sidelines for NWCL Division One high-flyers - and Power predicts Colne will feel the full wrath of his players inactivity.

"The lads can't wait to get back playing again," said Power. "After the disappointment of the FA Vase, we want a good cup run because it will help us take our minds off the league.

"We also want revenge after Colne knocked us out last season, but the most important thing is just to get back playing again."

FC played two friendlies in three days to stay active - a fringe squad going down 2-0 against Radcliffe Borough on Saturday before a full-strength side defeated Trafford 3-0 on Monday night - but their title hopes received an unexpected boost over the weekend.

Salford City had a chance to stretch their lead at the top of the table to six points but slipped to a shock 1-0 home defeat against Glossop North End - leaving United just three points behind with six games in hand.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Rebels fixture pile-up

Source: M.E.N.

Stuart Brennan

KARL Marginson is desperate to take FC United on a decent cup run - even if it means a fixture pile-up at the end of the season.

The Rebels travel to play Colne on Saturday (2pm) in the League Challenge Cup, and that means they will have gone four weeks without a league game when they return to Lancashire the following week to take on Bacup.

Bad weather forced postponement of the recent Curzon Ashton game and last weekend was left clear for possible involvement in the FA Vase.

All that inactivity has allowed title rivals Salford City to take over the top.

The Ammies slipped up at the weekend, losing at home to Glossop, which means FC are three points behind them with five games in hand. But the growing backlog holds no fears for Marginson, whose first team had a friendly workout against Trafford last night.

"We are buzzing and as long as the postponements don't get ridiculous I am happy. That's why we have a big squad," said Marginson. "A cup run is important."

Friday, January 12, 2007

Rebels in crunch clash with rivals

Edited from

By NickJackson

FC UNITED take on fellow title contenders Curzon Ashton at Gigg Lane in the glamour fixture of the day.

Curzon are on an amazing run of form that has seen them win 11 out of their last 12 games and remain unbeaten in all competitions since October 23, making it one of United's biggest games of the season.

Fourth-placed Curzon have the two highest-scoring players in the league in their ranks in Michael Norton and Steven Moore. The prolific front pair have scored 67 goals this season between them and United assistant manager Phil Power knows his defence will have to be on their toes for the confrontation.

"We know their front pair will be a real threat, and it could be a high-scoring game," he said.

"But, we will just try and score more than them. We beat them 3-1 earlier in the season, but their form has picked up since then and they are playing quite well.

"They are up there in the table, and we would like to beat them. We look like we have got over our little hiccup now, and we played very well at the weekend."

Two goals from Dave Swarbrick and one from Stuart Rudd beat Atherton Colls 3-0 away last Saturday and put to bed a ghost from earlier in the season when Colls beat Karl Marginson's side 3-0.

Colls would have become the first team to do the double over FC, but victory means United evaded that scenario - and went back to the top of the table.


Monday, January 08, 2007

Marginson salutes rebels

Source: M.E.N.

FC UNITED manager Karl Marginson saluted his red-hot Rebels after they'd dug deep to return to the top of the NWCL first division with a 3-0 revenge win over Atherton Collieries.

Two long-range strikes by Dave Swarbrick followed by Stuart Rudd's 31st goal of the season saw FC avenge their only home league defeat of the season in resounding fashion.

Swarbrick opened the scoring with a 25-yard drive just after the half-hour mark and then promptly repeated the feat with an even more sweetly-struck effort to give Marginson's men a 2-0 interval lead.

Rudd then reacted instinctively to round off a win which takes FC back to the top on goal difference ahead of Salford City.

Said Marginson: " All credit to the boys for how they've responded to our recent hiccup with three successive victories."

FC United put Colls in their place


By Liam Chronnell

A DAVE Swarbrick double helped FC United prevent Atherton Colls becoming the first team ever to complete a league double over the breakaway club.

The midfielder struck twice in the first half, and Stuart Rudd added a late third as the Rebel Reds ran out 3-0 winners - the same scoreline by which Colls defeated United in November.

Nicky Platt had already headed against the cross bar when Swarbrick skidded a 20-yard drive past Gavin Bates on 35 minutes at Leigh RMI's Hilton Park ground.

If the goalkeeper was disappointed with the manner of the first goal, there was little he could do about the second goal three minutes before the break when Swarbrick added a spectacular second.

Andy Harvey should have pulled a goal back immediately after the re-start but the Colls winger saw his shot smothered by keeper Sam Ashton.

And, the prolific Rudd wrapped up the contest when he headed home Rory Patterson's mis-directed shot to complete a crucial victory for the Gigg Lane outfit.

The victory took United back to the top of the league - on goal difference.

Atherton LR's clash with Nelson was abandoned due to a waterlogged pitch, as was Daisy Hill's clash at Leek CSOB.

Friday, January 05, 2007

In-form Colls aim to do a historic double

By Liam Chronnell
Source: Bolton News

ATHERTON Collieries have the chance to make history when they take on FC United.

Phil Brown's side could be become the first team ever to complete a league double over the breakaway club when the two meet tomorrow.

Colls, enjoying their best ever season in NWCL Division One, produced the shock result of the campaign when they defeated FC 3-0 at Gigg Lane six weeks ago.

And Brown will be hoping for a similar outcome against the non-league giants in front of a bumper crowd at Leigh RMI's Hilton Park ground, though he admits it will be a tall order.

"It was hard to win one game against them but to win two is extremely difficult," said the 37-year-old, who is in his first full season in charge at Alder House.

"But we'll play like we did last time; we'll be organised and disciplined and just see what happens."

Such has been the success this season at Atherton, no one would count against the mid-table side upsetting FC United for second time.

Since Brown took over on a permanent basis at Colls, the club has undergone a renaissance.

After dicing with relegation last term, Colls have already amassed 33 points - three more than they managed in the whole of last season - and take on Charnock Richard in the semi-final of the Goldline Trophy on January 22, with the final to be played at the Reebok Stadium.

The main reason behind the Lancashire club's upturn in fortunes is the close links forged with Myerscough College, where Brown is head of football development.

The Colls boss has taken some of the best young talent on the college circuit and combined it with an experienced nucleus of players.

"To have got more points at this stage than the whole of last campaign is great," said Brown, who lists Leigh RMI, Lancaster City, Kendal Town and Bamber Bridge among his former clubs.

"Our goal at the beginning of the season was to finish halfway and give an opportunity to the young players to develop - we've done both of those.

"Ten students, aged between 16 and 19, have played for us during this season, and we normally have six playing each week.

"The key has been getting the blend right between youth and experience."

The most visible example of bringing through the Myerscough students has to be Anthony Pilkington, the 18-year-old striker who joined Stockport County last month.

The teenage hit man, who scored a hat-trick in Colls' victory against the FC at Gigg Lane, has struck three times in four games for the League Two club. Brown admits they have struggled without the prolific Pilkington, but still has high hopes for the rest of the season.

"Our aims have changed now; we're looking for a top-eight finish," said the Preston-based manager. "But the main thing is the wheels don't fall off now.

We've been a bit up and down and that's been disappointing. It's been a bit like after the Lord Mayor's show since we beat FC United, so we need to get back on track."Rebels boss Karl Marginson has his own problems going into the game as his side look to return to the top of the table.

Alex Mortimer and Matty Taylor will undergo late fitness tests, while fellow defender Liam Coyne is still suspended. Midfielder Josh Howard returns after a one-match ban.

Atherton LR face a massive game in their bid to pull away from the danger zone when they travel to 19th place Nelson - one spot and three points below Rovers while Division Two basement club Daisy Hill visit promotion-chasing Leek CSOB.

Wright ready for Colls clash

Source: M.E.N.

FC UNITED will hand Jerome Wright a debut when they go seeking revenge over Atherton Collieries at Hilton Park (3pm).

The former Maine Road winger signed for the Rebels before Christmas, but his first appearance has been delayed by a three-match suspension.

"I am excited about seeing him play," says manager Karl Marginson, who also welcomes back Josh Howard after suspension but will be without left-back Alex Mortimer (hamstring) and has doubts over Garey Sampson and Matty Taylor.

"Jerome was on Oldham's books and was out for 18 months with a bad injury. But he has everything - he is quick, has a good left peg and is brave."

Salford City snatched back top spot in the North West Counties League with a 6-2 win at St Helens Town on Wednesday.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

How those fans came to be United

Source: M.E.N.

Emma Unsworth

OVER the course of history, Manchester has developed a reputation for not taking any nonsense, especially from the big boys.

It's a fighting spirit that writer, football fan and Mancunian Robert Brady was keen to express when he decided to produce a book on the formation and first season of Football Club United of Manchester, or FC United as it's better known.

Entitled An Undividable Glow, it tells the story of the club formed in July 2005 ("on Oldham Street," Robert says, proudly) after Malcolm Glazer's controversial takeover of Manchester United.

It's a very funny, very personal journey, full of the daft things that football fans get up to - as well as the heartbreak so many suffered when they felt forced, as a matter of principle, to break away from the Premiership club they'd supported for so long.

"It's a story about love and loss - no more than that," says Robert. "It's my take on what happened.

"I wasn't frightened. There was only one chance to make sure it wasn't lost to history."

Robert, who was a member of the steering committee of 15 ("the dirty half-30") who set up FC United in July 2005, was also the longest-standing writer for Manchester United fanzines United We Stand and Red Issue. After the loss of his father last February, he found he had the reflective time to write the book, which took nine months.

From the sadness of loss, to the highs of creating and owning a club, the book reveals Robert's emotions - as well as the club's successes and defeats.

"What we've got is a democratic model," Robert explains. "FC United is a not-for-profit organisation set up with a `one member-one vote' system in order for all members to have control. Manchester United had 34,000 shareholders, but they had no control.

Priced out

"Eighteen-year-olds can get into our matches for £2 instead of being priced out. We saw this starting to happen: no standing at matches, rubbish beer.

"We saw where the premiership club was going and that we had a chance to change. We voted on the name, the badge, the new, accountable club board. It's such a lovely thing to not have sponsorship on our shirts.

"I'm a trade unionist, and the most important things to me are things like family, love and home. Your football club is not a brand - it's something you have stamped on your birth certificate almost."

Robert is proud of the fact that the book was written, printed and published in Manchester.

"It would have been cheaper to produce the book abroad or in London, but I chose to have it printed in Ancoats," he says, adding: "Manchester United were formed in Newton Heath in 1878. Perhaps one ideal is that we'll end up as a feeder club for United, but it's up to the members to decide. For now, we're playing a part in keeping community football alive."

History and the common heritage of the two clubs, along with the "United" of their names, is something Robert is constantly keen to flag up.

"My book would only be considered successful to me if the 40,000-plus United fans who stood up and sang United Not For Sale read it. It's a unity offensive, aiming to bring people together."

Then, immediately after the seriousness, comes the irreverent humour.

"The level we're watching isn't Rooney or Ronaldo, but it is inspiring, raucous and accessible, and Reds who are going are loving it. One of our players is a plumber - which means he might have 6,000 people shouting his name one day, and his hand down a toilet the next."

Monday, January 01, 2007

Rudd steers FC United back to the top


By Liam Chronnell

STUART Rudd fired FC United back to the top of the table in a 5-1 demolition of struggling Newcastle Town.

The Reds hitman struck a 26-minute hat-trick as the prolific breakaway club passed 100 goals for the season in front of 2,368 supporters at Gigg Lane.

And with title rivals Salford City slipping to a 3-1 defeat at Flixton, United once again went to the Division One summit.

United fell behind to Richard Minor's 12th-minute opener but were level a minute later when Rudd opened his account. The striker added a spectacular second and completed his hat-trick on 39 minutes, though not before Rory Patterson had grabbed the hosts third - their 100th goal of the season.

Rhodri Giggs' header completed the scoring with 17 minutes left.

Atherton LR recovered from an early set back to earn a point in a 2-2 draw with Squires Gate.

Rovers found themselves a goal down in the first minute but second-half goals from Kayed Copphill and Scott Barlow put the visitors in front before Gate equalised to leave both sides happy with the draw.

Atherton Collieries' home clash with Nantwich Town and Daisy Hill's game against Bootle at New Sirs in Division Two were both victims of the weather.