Thursday, May 31, 2007

Safe standing

Free Image HostingSource; edited from FSF's report on safe standing. The report in full is available for download from their site.

5.16 The dissatisfaction of some Manchester United supporters had become so extreme that they formed their own breakaway club called FC United of Manchester (FCUM) in 2005/6. Whilst the formation of FCUM has been controversial (some Manchester United supporters accusing FCUM followers of ‘desertion’) the breakaway is an example of the disaffection and alienation bubbling under the surface at many clubs, particularly the bigger ones. One of the many issues driving the formation of FCUM is the lack of choice to sit or stand at Old Trafford.

5.17 One FSF member who has attended three FCUM games as a neutral said of his visits, ‘I’d encourage every fan in the country to get along to an FC United game if they can. It’s a real eye-opener. Just how an afternoon out at a professional football match should be. I’ve never heard three thousand fans make so much noise. The passion and wit of the FC United supporters is really something very special. The club board, elected by the fans, is working flat out to encourage a new generation of young supporters into the ground. It has worked very hard to ensure that the stewarding of fans is sensitive and appropriate. Tickets only cost £7(€9.94) for adults and £2 (€2.84) for concessions. You won’t find a better value day out anywhere in the country. The whole sense of the ground on match days is one of empowerment, passion and fun.’

5.18 A medium term objective of the FCUM members and board is to develop its own stadium. Commenting on this, FCUM general manager Andy Walsh says, ‘Many of our supporters prefer to stand and this is an issue that the club is keen to pursue. We’d want safe standing areas as part of any new ground we build.’ The anecdotal evidence of FCUM is supported by recent research conducted by Professor Mike Weed of Canterbury Christ Church University. Professor Weed’s research was not directly related to the issue of standing at football stadia. It was connected with the growth of the culture of watching the game live on television in pubs and bars..

It’ll be even tougher for Crewe FC


CREWE FC boss Ian O'Reilly believes the club could face an even tougher battle to win promotion next season.

With big resources in the non-league game, FC United are likely to run a reserve side in Mid Cheshire League Division Two.

The rouge Red Devils have been super successful since their inception due to the Glazier takeover at Old Trafford, winning successive promotions with huge support.

And it's likely they'll be looking to do similar things with their second string.

"I think they've been voted in and the league will see it as a big boost," explained O'Reilly.

"They'll probably be the team to beat.

"They'll have a lot of players to keep happy and I'm sure some will filter down to the second team."

Bigger clubs already have a proven track record of progress in Division Two.
“We’ll be looking to compete next season and we’ll give it everything we’ve got.”
Crewe FC Ian O'Reilly

Both Curzon Ashton and Stalybridge Celtic saw their reserve sides claim the top two spots and promotion last season.

In fact they finished with identical records, right down to goal difference that forced a play-off for the title.

Stalybridge took it on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

"FC United will be another side with a big first team," added O'Reilly.

"It's more difficult for the likes of us, Whitchurch and Lostock who are the first team.

"They have players up to UniBond League standard.

"You only have to look at last season.

"The two teams with senior sides both went up."

But O'Reilly isn't complaining, relishing the challenge to improve on last season's sole triumph of another Crewe FA Cup.

"I quite like it that way," he continued.

"It means better teams and makes it more competitive.

"That's why you play on a Saturday at this level.

"It's a better standard against better players at good grounds.

"It's all about the challenge.

"Curzon had about seven or eight who had played in their first team when we played them.

"We got a draw there and at Stalybridge but lost both at home.

"We'll be looking to compete next season and we'll give it everything we've got."

Leading scorer Dave Hanson could keep the armband despite approaching veteran status.

"It was his birthday at the weekend," said O'Reilly.

"He'll be getting his bus pass before long but he can still put the ball away."

Friday, May 25, 2007

FC United should be big pull says Yates


KIDDERMINSTER Harriers boss Mark Yates believes the intriguing friendly with FC United could be the biggest pull of their pre-season programme.

As well as hosting League One outfits Cheltenham and Walsall, Harriers face the side formed by breakaway fans of Manchester United.

Yates will also send a side to Bewdley Town to help the ambitious West Midlands League club open their new main stand.

The Kidderminster manager said: "The FC United one is a coup for us really because I think out of all the three teams coming to Aggborough they will bring the most support.

"They're a well-run, well-supported football club and it will be nice to have them here."

Yates is also delighted to welcome his former club, Cheltenham, where he was a midfielder, and this season's League Two champions Walsall.

Pre-season fixtures, Saturday, July 15: Rushall Olympic (a) 3pm; Sunday, July 16: Bewdley (a) 3pm; Saturday, July 21: FC United (h) 3pm; Tuesday, July 24: Cheltenham Town (h) 7.45pm; Saturday, July 28: AFC Telford (a) 3pm; Tuesday, July 31: Walsall (h) 7.45pm; Saturday, August 4: Hinckley United (a) 3pm.

Meanwhile, Harriers are introducing a new away strip, featuring yellow shirts, blue shorts and blue socks, which is likely to debut in the game with FC United. The previous blue and white kit will just be used as back-up.

Yates added: "The home kit will stay the same as it was, except that we'll be wearing white shorts rather than the black."

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

United we stand

Free Image HostingSource: The Guardian (Letters, no online content)

David Conn's article (FC United rise and shine on sense of community, May 9) was the best I have read. It takes a lot to stay away from the club you've loved since you were a child and I hope one day Manchester United will come back to us, but FC United fills the void. Not with the same standard of football (although it is better than I expected), but with a club that is all it should be and more. There is so much more to a club than winning trophies. I always knew that but it took Glazer to remind me. I was brought up believing Mancunians stood up for what is right, however painful, and I am grateful to those who worked so hard to get the club up and running and proud to be a founder member. FC United is raw, passionate, untainted fun. Best of all, it's ours.

Julie Shorney Manchester

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Harriers to tackle Man Utd fan team

Source: Worcester News
KIDDERMINSTER Harriers will take on the fans' team of Manchester United in a pre-season friendly ahead of the 2007/08 Blue Square Premier season.

Harriers host FC United, created by supporters of the Red Devils who have achieved promotion to the Northern Premier League Division One, on Saturday, July 21. Mark Yates' men also face Football League opponents at Aggborough in the form of Cheltenham Town and Walsall.

The playing squad report back following their summer break in the first week of July and the first pre-season games will come soon after.

They start with a weekend double-header at Rushall Olympic and Bewdley Town.

Old foes Cheltenham consolidated superbly in League One, finishing in 17th place, while Walsall clinched the League Two championship.

The programme is wrapped up with a trip to Conference North play-off finalists Hinckley United. The Blue Square Premier season kicks-off on Saturday, August 11.

Fixtures, Saturday, July 15: Rushall Olympic (a) 3pm; Sunday, July 16: Bewdley Town (a) 3pm; Saturday, July 21: FC United (h) 3pm; Tuesday, July 24: Cheltenham Town (h) 7.45pm; Saturday, July 28: AFC Telford (a) 3pm; Tuesday, July 31: Walsall (h) 7.45pm; Saturday, August 4: Hinckley United (a) 3pm.

Rhodri Giggs in brawl quiz

Rhodri Giggs was arrested after a fight at a hotel near BirminghamSource: M.E.N.

Seb Ramsay
22/ 5/2007

THE brother of football star Ryan Giggs was arrested after a fight broke out at a charity event organised by the Manchester United player.

Rhodri Giggs was quizzed by police and released on bail after the fracas at the De Vere Belfry Hotel, near Birmingham.

A 33-year-old Londoner suffered injuries to his nose in the brawl but didn't need to go to hospital.

Police were called in the early hours of yesterday and Rhodri, 30, who plays for breakaway club FC United, was arrested.

The black-tie fundraiser raised nearly £200,000 for the £1m Five Stars scanner appeal for the New Manchester Children's Hospital and was organised by Ryan and Hotel Babylon actor Max Beesley.

Stars at the £200-a-head black-tie dinner included Wayne Rooney and Coleen McLoughlin.

They were not involved in the alleged incident.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Red Issue

Free Image HostingSource: The Observer Letters (no online content)

So Schalke ('145,000 see "German Newcastle" blow it', last week) are a club who have fans' interests at their heart, work closely with the community, price their tickets at an affordable level, refuse to pay the exorbitant amounts demanded by today's footballers and they still manage to compete at the top level in one of Europe's best leagues. Your piece followed nicely from the article the week before on how the greed and short-sightedness of the money-grabbing Premiership elite is damaging English football. Both should be photocopied and sent to every Glazer, Abramovich, Gillett, Lerner and Kroenke.

So what should fans do if they're fed up with clubs bleeding supporters dry? As Schalke's club secretary says, football 'isn't like a jeans shop where people can go somewhere else'. Fortunately I'm one of the lucky ones – I do have somewhere else to go: FC United of Manchester in the Unibond First.

Mike Birtwistle, via email

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Brothers United In Triumph

Source: Edited from The Independent on Sunday

Ryan isn't the only Giggs to play on the wing for United and win a title this season; his younger brother Rhodri turns out on the right (and sometimes as a striker) for FC United of Manchester, the club set up by fans opposed to the Glazers' takeover at Old Trafford. This season they are First Division champions of the North West Counties League, having won the Second Division last year.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

FC United rise and shine on a sense of community

Source: The Guardian

While Manchester United have been slaying the Premiership, rebel offshoot FC United have been setting their own records.
David Conn
May 9, 2007 12:24 AM

FC United of Manchester, formed by fans opposed to Malcolm Glazer's takeover at Old Trafford, have travelled a joyfully long way from mere rebellion. At Gigg Lane, a week before "Big" United were confirmed as Premiership champions, FC fans stood and sang throughout a 5-0 demolition of Formby, completing their own second season of record-breaking, championship-winning promotion.

In gorgeous weather surely never previously witnessed in April in Bury, in the raucous section of the Main Stand and the packed Manchester Road End, the fans belted out Sloop John B, customised as their season's anthem: "I wanna go home/I wanna go ho-o-ome/This is the worst trip/I've ever been on."

There is a depth to this commitment which quite unexpectedly caught me by the throat, got me in the eyes. FC United may have started in protest at the heart-sinking economics which devoured Manchester United but it is powered by the fans' heartfelt attachment to football and the collective belonging they feel it represents. The relationship with "Big" United is complex; most FC fans still support the club - packing the pubs and Gigg Lane social club to roar United on to the 4-2 win at Everton before FC's game last week - but they grew alienated, over time, from the business which is Manchester United.

Mike Turton, 44, an electricians' supervisor, who was at the Formby match with his daughter Danielle and sons, Ryan and Thomas, is a typical FC founding father. An Old Trafford regular for 31 years, he packed in on May 12 2005 - they can all recite the date - when the Glazers, from their Florida base, finally acquired United with their £810m hedge fund-leveraged deal.

"I didn't leave because of the takeover," he said. "That was just the final push I needed to get out. It started in the Nineties; winning trophies was very nice but I didn't support United to win trophies. I'd stopped enjoying it. The prices were rising and I started wondering why I was forking out to fund the players' ridiculous wages.

"I love what we've built here, I'm really proud of it. I like to think it's in the best Manchester tradition of protest, along the lines of the suffragettes and the Trades Union movement, which have their roots here."

You hear this Manc pride a lot as well as bemusement that fans of other clubs have not protested against their takeovers - "Not even Liverpool," the FC fans all murmur. Here they have moved on, to building their own club according to the principles they argued for when campaigning: supporter-ownership, with members (2,500 of them) voting for the board and policies; ticket prices affordable at £7 for adults, £2 for under...#8209;16s, and an agreement with stewards that supporters can stand. The club has established a youth policy which seeks to work with junior clubs who often feel exploited by the way professional clubs' academies trawl for the best players. FCUM have also made partnerships with social welfare and community organisations, seeking to welcome marginalised groups and introduce football as a good presence in their lives.

Andy Walsh, the former Militant firebrand and leader of the United fans' anti...#8209;Murdoch and anti-Glazer campaigns, has been reinvented here into FC United's general manager, all trim in a blue check suit and club tie, directing details on his walkie-talkie - stewards, tickets, match day volunteers.

"Most people here still love United," Walsh said, "but they love their feeling for United, which grew from following the club for years, not the big business which came to exploit that loyalty. We're aiming to show a football club can be run by and for supporters, open to all sections of society."

The Formby match was designated a youth day, with under-16s allowed in free and young people before the game taking part in drama, banner-making and working with the Touch of Class rap collective, which promotes an anti-gun message. Thomas Cullen, a coach at Trafford Athletic Club, brought a group; he said he believed one lad had just been saved from being excluded by his school. "His teacher is here and she saw a different side of him," he said. "This is great for them. They're mostly black lads from Hulme and Moss Side but not one has ever been to a match at Old Trafford because they can't afford it."

Bill Evans, manager of Rochdale Children's Rights and Advocacy Services, brought 30 children, all in local authority care, saying it was a "positive way for them to feel included". Maxine Seager of the Tameside Youth Service, a disaffected "Big" United fan herself, came with 70 kids - "Two coach loads," she said, grinning and rolling her eyes.

"They're loving it, buzzing. They get so much out of this and we work our programmes, on anti-racism and social cohesion, around coming to the game."

The youth day events were organised by Vinny Thompson, who seemed staggered by his own football conversion: "To go from parading on terraces all over Europe to being a lentil-eating social worker in two years is pretty bloody amazing."

The thirty- and fortysomething Stretford End veterans who formed FC United are painfully aware that Premiership ticket hikes have largely priced out the next generation of fans, so are replenishing their own ranks with the regular £2 entry price and this youth day. The place was teeming with kids, a sight long disappeared from top-flight football. One group of eight, aged 11 to 14, marching along with classic red, white and black scarves around their necks and not an adult in sight, seemed like a Life On Mars throwback to the 1970s. One eloquently explained why they come: "The atmosphere's mint."

The 3,847 who made it to the Formby game may not represent the dent in the Glazers' business plan some hoped for but it is many more than Bury had at their last home game, a phenomenon at the base of football's pyramid. The five goals strolled in took FC's total this season to 157 and a finish on 112 points; both are records. After the game the North West Counties League title was presented to Dave Chadwick, FC's mountainous captain, Walsh discreetly handing out the champagne. Beaming, bowing to shake hands with crowds of kids at the Manchester Road End, the players looked disbelieving, that tough semi-pro careers have turned out this glorious.

Karl Marginson, the former Rother-ham United and non-league striker who has proved the perfect manager, said he has understood FC's philosophy more with time. "It's a very special thing to be part of. I try to instil its importance in the players, that this is the fans' club."

In the celebrating stands they were mixing fond player ditties, anti-Glazer chants and pro-FC compositions. To the tune of Anarchy in the UK they roared: "I am an FC fan/I am Mancunian."

This is a football club they have fashioned for themselves out of belief and conviction. While Big United chase the Double at Wembley, they are off to the UniBond Northern Premier League next season. It seems like the best trip they have ever been on.

Manchester's proud tradition of protest


The army's slaughter of 11 people attending a mass rally for parliamentary reform in 1819 accelerated popular pressure for democracy

Marx and Engels

Karl Marx's political ally, Friedrich Engels, lived in Manchester and based his 1844 classic, The Condition of the Working Class in England, on the city's inequalities

Trades Union Congress

Formed in 1868 at the Mechanics Institute in Manchester


The Women's Social and Political Union, that lobbied for the vote, was formed by Emmeline Pankhurst at her home in Manchester in 1903

Right to roam

The campaign for access to the countryside was boosted by the 1932 Kinder Trespass, led by the Manchester activist Benny Rothman

Punk rock

A Sex Pistols gig at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in 1976 is often heralded as the birth of punk and inspired a generation of Manchester music

FC United of Manchester

Formed in 2005 by Manchester United fans protesting at the Glazer takeover

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Man Utd’s Title: A Triumphant Franchise

Edited From:

And there is one tiny, but not inconspicuous, fly in the ointment. In the wake of the takeover by the Glazer family a number of disgruntled United fans formed a breakaway club called FC United. They took their place in the lowest levels of the football hierarchy but two seasons on they have won consecutive promotions and this season managed a cup and league double. Record attendances for that level of football and tons of goals have made FC United a real draw for the divisions in which they have played. They’ve brought a number of disillusioned United fans back to an old, almost-forgotten way of football with affordable prices, fathers taking children, and supporters welcome because they support the team not because they will financially utilize a significant number of items of merchandise inventory during the fiscal period.

FC United are no threat to the Glazers nor to their far-flung franchise but it would be interesting to project some years into the future and see where the relative empires will be. For now the Glazers are safe. Tolerated if not loved, but they will be on trial for years into the future especially if United go into temporary decline once Fergie has had enough.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Giggs MkII guides United to double

Source: Edited from Independent

Giggs MkII guides United to double

By Ian Herbert

For followers of Sir Alex Ferguson's side, the prospect of Giggs & Co sealing a league and cup double by twice disposing of their main rivals remains an aspiration. But it happened on Thursday when Rhodri Giggs, an elegant left-winger in the mould of his older brother Ryan, helped FC United of Manchester to victory against Curzon Ashton in the North West Counties League Cup final.

FC, set up two years ago as an antidote to Malcolm Glazer's takeover at Old Trafford, had already amassed 112 points in taking the North West Counties League title, 13 more than runners-up Ashton and with a goal difference of 121.

And on Thursday FC, watched by 3,200, came from behind to win 2-1 at Ashton's own ground, on a surface that was more sand than grass. A Nicky Platt penalty and a solo effort by Josh Howard gave FC victory.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Just champion!

Source: Bury Times

By Dale Haslam

ALMOST 4,000 revellers made it a day to remember at Gigg Lane last Saturday when fans' team FC United of Manchester threw open its doors to youngsters.

In an action-packed day of fun in the sun, football lovers - many watching the North West Counties League Division One side play for the first time - flocked to Bury to watch the Reds beat Formby 5-0.

Before the game, dozens of youngsters took part in dance, theatre and art sessions organised by FC United at Holy Cross College in Manchester Road.

They then joined the party inside Gigg Lane for a memorable day of entertainment, with under-18s getting free entry.

FC United was formed almost two years ago by Manchester United supporters unhappy with Malcolm Glazer's takeover of the club, ticket price increases and other perceived negative influences on the game.

Since then, on the pitch, the team has won the championship twice and will next year play in the Unibond League Division One North - seven promotions away from the Premiership.

Off the pitch, its small team of staff and a whole host of volunteers have raised cash for local, national and international charities and also worked alongside a number of community groups, including several from Bury.

Before Easter, supporters held a football memorabilia auction and sold limited-edition club pin badges in memory of Manchester United legend George Best, who died in 2006.

In all, they raised £3,007 for the George Best Foundation, which funds research into liver disease and alcoholism, George's sister, Barbara McNarry, travelled from Northern Ireland for the game to accept the cheque on behalf of the foundation.

Afterwards, she said: "I hadn't expected the fans to raise anywhere near as much as they did considering they had such a short space of time to do it in.

"The atmosphere was absolutely amazing. The noise that came from the stands was staggering when I went down on the pitch and I must say, I did get a bit emotional when I saw children all huddled at the front singing George's name. What a tremendous day it was."

Supporter Mike Sherrard, who handed over the cheque, said: "Those supporters in the stands were applauding Barbara and singing George Best songs and it was fantastic. It was them who donated the money to the foundation and I cannot thank them enough for their support."

After the game, team captain Dave Chadwick lifted the championship trophy before fans staged a celebration rock music concert outside the stadium.

Meanwhile, supporters snapped up 1,000 bottles of FC United beer that was specially brewed for the occasion. All proceeds went to the club's development fund.

Red Army marching into Barrow


HORDES of FC United fans will invade Barrow for a second time tomorrow when their football team play Holker Old Boys in an end-of-season friendly at Rakesmoor Lane (4pm kick off).

With their side having clinched a league and cup double, the FC United supporters - famed for their highly vocal backing - will no doubt be in high spirits when they arrive.

A crowd of over 2,300 watched at Craven Park when FC United played Holker in the 2005/2006 season.

Around 500 of the Red Rebel contingent are expected to make the trip this time, with one well-known Barrow hotel set to act as their base.

Among the FC United players on show should be Rhodri Giggs - brother of Premiership star Ryan - and ex-Holker ace Dave Swarbrick who remains the only player to have scored for and against the Manchester club.

Tickets are obtainable on the gate.

Review of local NWCL clubs' season

Source: This is Lancashire

By Liam Chronnell

Division One

FC United
Position: Champions
Manager: Karl Marginson
High: Winning the double.

Low: In a season when little went wrong for the Gigg Lane tenants, being knocked out of the FA Vase by Quorn with a possible Wembley final appearance up for grabs was a massive disappointment.

Star man: Stuart Rudd struck 45 goals in a prolific season for the Reds hitman.

Review: The Rebels romped to a second successive title in style, topping the table by 13 points after smashing a record 157 goals in 42 league matches, before completing the double with victory over Curzon Ashton in the League Challenge Cup last night.

Atherton Collieries
Position: 7th
Manager: Phil Brown
High: A brilliant 3-0 victory against FC United on their own turf was the shock result of the season.

Low: Colls suffered from after the Lord Mayor's Show' syndrome when they failed to win in 10 games following their triumph against FC.

Star man: Teenage striker Anthony Pilkington struck 12 times in 19 games, including a hat-trick against FC United, before being snapped up by Stockport County in December.

Review: The Alder House club enjoyed their best-ever season in this league. Never before have Colls finished higher than 12th, but Phil Brown took the side to seventh in the table - 16 points better off than their previous highest points haul - and finished the season on a real high, winning seven out of eight games in April.

Atherton LR
Position: 16th
Manager: Roy Sweeney
High: A 5-4 extra-time victory against UniBond Premier League side Radcliffe Borough in the Lancashire Trophy.

Low: A 9-1 defeat against Ramsbottom United on December 23 summed up a wretched run of form which saw Rovers flirt with relegation.

Star man: Rob Hope has been a rock in a turbulent season, though Ian Berry proved a revelation with 12 goals in 13 games after arriving under Sweeney.

Review: Rovers underwent a remarkable transformation under new boss Roy Sweeney. The former assistant took over Mark Cox's relegation-threatened side in March and led them away from danger, the turnaround highlighted best by the fact the Crilly Park outfit took 21 points from their last 13 games, the same number as they gained from their first 29.

Division Two

Daisy Hill
Position: 15th
Manager: Tommy Moore
High: A fantastic 3-2 victory against high-flying Padiham on the final day of the season was an indication of how much potential the young team have.

Low: The 7-1 away defeat to New Mills.

Star man: 19-year-old left winger Danny Williams has a bright future in the game.

Review: The young side suffered a difficult season. With the nucleus of the squad aged under 20, they found it tough going in a physical league. But they showed plenty of heart, character and skill to move out of the bottom two, where they were stuck for long periods, and provide encouragement for a more prosperous campaign next year.

Howard's way wins Rebels the cup

Source: M.E.N.

FC United 2 Curzon Ashton 1
4/ 5/2007

FORMER Manchester United youth-team skipper Josh Howard secured a league and cup double for FC United and sparked a virtual beach party at sand-strewn Tameside Stadium.

The Rebels midfielder won his side a penalty and then produced a magical solo winner 10 minutes from time after a Chris Worsley goal had threatened to upset the FC apple cart in the North West Counties League Challenge Cup final.

And that brought words of praise from his manager Karl Marginson, who said: "I was in Spain on Sunday night watching Barcelona play, and if one of their players had scored a goal like that it would have been beamed around the world time and time again.

"It was fantastic skill at any level of football, especially on such a hard, bumpy pitch, but we know Josh is a special player."

That goal was the highlight of a hard-fought game which was spoilt by a sandy pitch, but Marginson had sent his players out with a special message.

He said: "I told them that there would be 3,000 hard-done-to Reds out there, still hurting from the night before and what happened in Milan, and that they couldn't let them down.


"It's been a great season for us and it was also important to finish on a high."

It was a shame that Tameside Stadium was the only venue available, because the pitch was a shocker.

For the conspiracy theorists, it could have been the film lot when Nasa faked the moon landing in 1969.

What could have been a great final between two teams who have been the best in the North West Counties League this season turned into a battle of scuffers and scrappers, players who were prepared to wait for the breaks.

Curzon had the better of the first half chances, three times beating the linesman's flag as Steven Moore, Worsley and Mike Norton all broke clear of the defence, but could not beat FC goalkeeper Sam Ashton.

But Curzon went ahead on 67 minutes, just as FC seemed to be taking control, and it was a belter. Worsley cut in from the left wing and smashed a right-footed shot across Ashton into the far corner.

Curzon had barely had time to celebrate before the Rebels were level.

Howard went down in the box and Nicky Platt, only just back on the pitch after having stitches in a head wound, calmly slotted home the spot kick.

That set up Howard for a grand finale, and when he picked up the ball on the left, he jinked past three players before crashing the ball gleefully home.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Rebels seal magnificent double

Source: This is Lancashire

By Liam Chronnell

A MAGNIFICENT solo effort from Josh Howard helped FC United complete a superb a league and cup double.

The former Manchester United trainee struck with just nine minutes remaining to help the Rebels overcome Curzon Ashton in the League Challenge Cup Final at the Tameside Stadium.

Nicky Allen fired Curzon in front on 66 minutes but Nicky Platt equalised from the penalty spot just a minute later in the battle of the North West Counties League's top two clubs.

But on 81 minutes Howard, who had been toppled in the area for the champions' spot kick, jinked past four defenders before crashing home an unstoppable shot from six yards.

In a tense first half, Chris Worsley wasted a glorious chance to put the hosts in front on 33 minutes when he shot tamely at Sam Ashton after being one-on-one with the goalkeeper.

After the break United's Simon Carden volleyed straight at David Carnell before the game exploded into life on 66 minutes.

First, Allen's 20-yard strike bobbled over Ashton's outstretched arms to give the FA Vase semi-finalists the lead.

But their joy was short-lived as the lead lasted for less than 60 seconds.

The Rebels stormed straight to the other end of the field and Howard was upended in the area by full-back Stuart Ball and the referee pointed to the spot.

Platt stepped up to coolly slot home and spark an increase in the volume from the FC fans who formed the vast majority of the estimated 4,000 crowd.

Karl Marginson's side were then indebted to a wonderful save from former Bolton Wanderers' keeper Ashton before breaking down the other end for Howard to etch his name in FC's folklore by grabbing the winning goal in the breakaway club's first ever cup final - extending their unbeaten run to 26 games and capping a truly memorable season in the process.

Goal kings gunning for Rebels

Source: M.E.N.

Stuart Brennan
3/ 5/2007

THERE are 101 reasons why FC United may not clinch the double when they face Curzon Ashton at Tameside Stadium tonight.

Curzon's strike force of Mike Norton and Steven Moore have stolen some of the Rebels' thunder this season by taking the top two spots in the goal-scoring charts, with 51 and 50 goals respectively in all competitions.

And with FC's 45-goal top scorer Stuart Rudd suspended for the League Challenge Cup final following a red card, Curzon boss Gary Lowe is hoping that his deadly duo will out-gun Rory Patterson - who has emerged as favourite to be named the league champions' player of the season.

"For both lads to top 50 goals is an unbelievable achievement," said Lowe, whose side lost both league games to FC, but has finished runners-up and will join them in the UniBond League's first division next season.

"It's hard enough scoring 50 goals in Sunday football so to do it at this level is terrific. They are both very different. Steven is very low-key, and sometimes appears as if he is hardly moving, but he is technically very good.

"Mike is a real workhorse who puts teams under pressure, is good in the air for his size and a good finisher.

"I have nothing but respect for FC and their manager Karl Marginson.

"But I think it could all come down to whether Patterson can take the chances they create, and whether our two lads can take theirs."

Formby end campaign in front of 4,000

Source: Formby Times
May 3 2007

by Terry Owen, Formby Times

FORMBY played their final North West Counties Division One game of this term in front of 3,847 spectators, their opponents FC United’s largest home gate of the season.

The Bury based club, who play their home games at Gigg Lane, are a very slick, professional outfit, perhaps too much so for this level of non-league football. Having been crowned champions a few games ago they will take their bandwagon into the Unibond League where even there they may well be a big fish in a small pond.

On the field this was a real David and Goliath affair, but this time David’s stone was far too small to penetrate the home side’s resistance.

Opportunities opened up for both sides early on, firstly for FC United as Nicky Platt’s shot went just wide, then Rhodri Giggs effort followed suit.

Formby responded with a well worked move between Tom Warton and Rob Dutton that the keeper smothered and a through ball from Jordan Homes that Mattie Taylor nicked off the toe of Warton.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Fun in the sun at FC United's special day

Source: This is Lancashire

ALMOST 4,000 revellers made it a day to remember at Gigg Lane when fans' team FC United of Manchester threw open its doors to youngsters.

In an action-packed day of fun in the sun on Saturday, football lovers - many watching the North West Counties League Division One side play for the first time - flocked to Bury to watch the reds beat Formby FC 5-0.

Full report and pictures in Thursday's Bury Times.