Friday, November 30, 2007

Rocking Rebels vow to stop rot

Stuart Brennan

KARL Marginson has urged FC United fans to rally round the team as they try to halt the worst run of results in the club's short history.

The Rebels boss has called for a `siege mentality' from his players and the support as he looks for a hat-trick of league wins over Rossendale United at Radcliffe's Stainton Park ground.

FC have followed a run of six straight league wins with four defeats in five games which has dented their bid for promotion from the UniBond League first division north, and Marginson has made a strong appeal for togetherness.

"I think it's time we rallied around and adopted the siege mentality we grew to love as United fans," he said. "Rivals criticise our club, which is a disgrace because what we stand for is everything a football club should be."

Marginson is set to be boosted by the return of FC icon Rob Nugent, the only player still at the club who played in the first friendly at Leigh in July 2005.

Rossendale have been beaten twice already, home and away in the league this season, and FC are looking for a much-needed treble in a match switched to Radcliffe due to Bury having an FA Cup tie at Gigg Lane.

Stags change tactics for visit to FC United

DEREK Egan intends to scrap Rossendale United's all-out attack approach at FC United tomorrow in a bid to stop the club's poor run.

The Stags have slumped into the bottom five of UniBond Division One (North) after losing their last three matches and conceding 10 goals.

But United boss Egan said: "We have to approach the game slightly differently than we have done in the last few weeks," he explained.

The Stags will be without striker Phil Eastwood.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Double defeat for FC United


FC UNITED are reeling from a double-whammy of defeats in the UniBond First Division North.

They endured hillside hell on Tuesday night, being reduced to 10 men in a 2-0 reverse at eighth-placed Mossley.

And they conceded four goals to second-placed Bradford Park Avenue for the second time this season three days earlier.

United lost the home game with Bradford 4-3 and they are now 10 points off the championship pace in fourth spot.

The reds never got into their stride on Tuesday night. And after stand-in centre half Adam Turner was dismissed for an alleged elbow before half-time it didn’t take the forecasting skills of Mossley substitute Michael Fish to predict an FC defeat.

Playing against the backdrop of the beautiful peak district hills, the game did not live up to its setting. It was an ugly affair on a dodgy pitch peppered with unreadable undulations.

Rory Patterson and Aaron Burns both fluffed good early chances for FC.

But, spurred on by their vocal supporters with an average age of 12, Mossley looked the better side right from the off and they secured victory with two second half goals – a side footed finish following an almighty goalmouth scramble and a cooly taken penalty.

The result would have been even worse for FC had it not been for the inspired form of goalkeeper Phil Priestly, who was again deputising for the injured Sam Ashton.

And FC fans endured further disappointment during the half-time break when it was revealed that no one had won the raffle. Mossley’s supporters had proudly sold tickets allowing someone the chance to win a ‘colour telly’.

Injury-riddled FC were forced to field a makeshift defence at Mossley and the same was true for Saturday’s home game with Bradford.

The back four included debutant Danny Jarrett and 21-year-old Adam Turner, who was making his first start for the club.

And big spending Bradford had few problems in creating goal scoring opportunities.

They took the lead in the first minute before FC hit back with a Turner header and Chris Baguley’s close range finish.

A dubious penalty decision against Turner then helped Bradford to open up a 4-2 advantage.

Patterson scored a late penalty after Simon Carden had been brought down but the goal proved to be a mere consolation.

The reds can’t be questioned in terms of effort and endeavour but they need some key personnel back, and soon, if they are going to get their promotion challenge back on track.

They play fifth from bottom Rossendale in the league on Saturday, December 1, kick-off 3pm. The fixture list shows it to be a home game but it will be played at Radcliffe Borough’s ground due to Bury being in FA Cup action at Gigg Lane.

Normal admission prices apply and season tickets will be valid.

We can’t win league – Marginson

By Liam Chronnell

FC United v Rossendale

UniBond Division One North

KARL Marginson admits FC United's title dreams are over.

The Rebels are chasing a third successive league glory.

But after slipping to their third defeat on the trot - and their fourth in five games - the Gigg Lane tenants now trail leaders Curzon Ashton by 10 points.

And, with just one team guaranteed automatic promotion, the Reds boss believes his injury-hit side will have to settle for a place in the end-of-season shake up.

"We've got to be looking at the play-offs," said Marginson, whose league ambitions have been decimated by injuries to five key players.

"To reach them now would be an achievement with all the problems we've had. We've lost the backbone of the team and a lot of experience. That's not making excuses, that's just how it is.

"But we've got to get on with it. We've still got a lot of good footballers here and it's important they realise that."

The breakaway club, who are suffering their worst ever run in their short history, were left counting the cost of having defender Adam Turner controversially sent off as they slumped to a 2-0 defeat at Mossley on Tuesday night.

The young defender, making only his second start, was harshly given his marching orders on the stroke of half-time for a professional foul on Gareth Hamlet.

The striker then added insult to injury when he put the hosts in front on 52 minutes - and was heavily involved again as Mossley wrapped up the points with nine minutes to go after he was brought down by stand-in goalkeeper Phil Priestley in the penalty area and Martin Allison slotted home the spot-kick.

The defeat came just three days after the Reds went down 4-3 against promotion rivals Bradford Park Avenue.

They led 2-1 after 16 minutes thanks to goals from Adam Turner and Jamie Baguley, but the visitors hit back in fine style to lead 4-2 with 21 minutes remaining.Rory Patterson 18th goal of the season from the penalty spot in the last minute proved no more than a late consolation for FC.

Fourth-placed United will look to bounce back against Rossendale at Radcliffe Borough's Stainton Park at the weekend.

Marginson, who hopes to boost his flagging squad with two new players ahead Saturday's clash, hopes to have goalkeeper Sam Ashton and defender Rob Nugent back, but will still be without the influential trio of captain Dave Chadwick, last season's top scorer Stuart Rudd and midfielder Josh Howard, who are all long-term absentees.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mossley 2 FC United 0

Source: M.E.N.

Tony Glennon

TEN-man FC United were left counting the cost of rookie defender Adam Turner's controversial dismissal as they suffered another blow to their UniBond First Division North promotion hopes in crashing at Mossley.

Turner, making only his second start for the Rebels senior side, saw red on the stroke of half-time when he was judged to have pulled Gareth Hamlet's shirt to deny the Lilywhites striker a scoring opportunity.

Hamlet proceeded to rub salt in FC's wound by firing Mossley in front from close-range in the 52nd minute.

And he also had a hand in their second goal 10 minutes from time, when he forced keeper Phil Priestley into conceding a penalty, confidently dispatched by Martin Allison to clinch the points for the home side.

FC battled to the finish but were unable to save themselves from their third successive league defeat, and their fourth in their last five games - a sequence they must snap out of quickly if they're to stay in the promotion hunt.

FORMER United man Dion Dublin struck twice as Norwich secured a second straight Championship win by beating Blackpool 3-1 at Bloomfield Road last night.

Dublin had given Norwich a 30th-minute lead against the run of play, before the Seasiders claimed a 38th-minute equaliser through Gary Taylor-Fletcher.

Martin Taylor, put Norwich in front with a 73rd-minute header before Dublin's second sealed it.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Marginson will stick with stand-in battlers

Stuart Brennan

KARL Marginson will be happy to stick by his makeshift back four as his team head to Mossley for a derby match on Tuesday night.

The Rebels' defence, including debutant Danny Jarrett and 21-year-old Adam Turner who made his first start, shipped four goals against a team which is emerging as favourite to clinch the one automatic promotion spot in the UniBond League's first division north.

It was the second time in six weeks that the Yorkshire outfit - reputed to be the division's biggest spenders - had scored four on FC turf, after their surprising 4-1 FA Trophy rout last month.

But Marginson had nothing but praise for his injury-hit team, which was without four of their six contracted players including goalkeeper Sam Ashton and defensive rock Dave Chadwick.

"I was proud of the way we kept going, and thought a draw would have been a fair result," said the manager philosophically.

"Given all the injury problems we had, I thought we played some excellent football, but I'm afraid you don't always get out of a game what you put into it.

"The defence did well considering it was thrown together at training on Thursday night, and only had 45 minutes to work together before coming up against a team as dangerous as Avenue.


"We brought Adam in from the reserves, where he was player-of-the-season last term, and I thought he was possibly man-of-the-match, especially as it was his first start in such a big match.

"He grew in stature as the game went on. We will have to see how Rob Nugent is before picking the team for tomorrow night - he was suspended but has a cartilage problem and his ankle strapped, but this game proved to me that we have more than capable replacements with the two lads who came in."

Avenue hit FC with a sucker punch in the first minute, centre forward Mike Moseley heading in the first goal but the Rebels hit back as Turner headed the equaliser from a corner and Chris Baguley forced the ball home to make it 2-1 on 15 minutes.

But Avenue were level before half-time through Steven Connors and went ahead through Darren Hockenhull's spot-kick on 63 minutes when a dubious penalty was awarded against Turner.

Marginson was furious with the decision.

He said: "The lad just ran across Adam and tripped over - no way was it a penalty."

Avenue made it 4-2 on the counter-attack through Moseley again, but FC replied with a Rory Patterson penalty in the dying seconds after battling Simon Carden had been brought down.

New Avenue for FC?

Tony Howard


FC UNITED manager Karl Marginson is threatening to wield the axe as his squad prepare for a vital UniBond First Division North promotion clash.

The reds take on second-placed Bradford Park Avenue at Gigg Lane this weekend and Margy says the time may have come to shake things up after a woeful showing at Bamber Bridge saw them lose 3-0 on Saturday.

Third-placed United were outclassed at Ironbridge leaving Marginson to question the strength of his players.

Margy said: “I’ve said all along that I will stick by them for as long as we can afford to, but the time may be coming when we may need to look at that.

“We need to be keeping clean sheets, but we just haven’t been good enough at the back for some time now and I want to sort that out as soon as possible. It may mean new faces or at the very least, changes.

“We need to ask, ‘have we got the personnel to do it?

“And at the moment I don’t think we have.”

New boy Colin Bell partnered Rob Nugent at the centre of defence on Saturday, but they simply didn’t gel.

FC had previously beaten Brig 5-0 in the Presidents Cup, but it was a completely different story on Saturday.

Margy said: “They put a totally different team out today and were a lot stronger than the game we won 5-0.

“Individual errors cost us dear once again and we gifted them the first goal thanks to a mistake by Sam Ashton.

“They were a big strong outfit, but we should be addressing that and we should be able to adapt to that kind of opposition.

“We just didn’t manage it and that needs to be looked at.

“We’ve got a lot of good footballers but they’ve got to be prepared to do the dirty work too.”

United were on the receiving end of a 5-0 hammering by Bradford in the FA Trophy earlier in the season after taking the Yorkshire side to a replay.

The reds will be hoping to do what Bamber Bridge did to them by delivering a bit of payback.

Margy said: “We need to come back and show some fight against Bradford.

“Especially as they gave us a hiding in the FA Trophy.

“When things are going against you, you’ve got to go out there and be prepared to get stuck in and show some fight.”

Saturday’s game will give a decent indication of how things will shake up at the end of the season.

One team is promoted up to the UniBond Premier Division and four more must play-off for the other place.

Margy added: “There’s a long way to go and I still think we will be there or there abouts at the end of the season.”

The game against Bradford at Gigg Lane kicks off at 3pm.

Rebel Reds slump to third defeat

By Liam Chronnell

FC United 3 Bradford Park 4

FC United's title ambitions received a major blow as they slipped to their third defeat in four games against promotion rivals Bradford Park Avenue.

The injury-hit Rebels went down at home and now trail UniBond League Division One North leaders Curzon Ashton by 10 points.

Karl Marginson's third-placed side led 2-1 after 16 minutes thanks to goals from Adam Turner and Jamie Baguley.

But the visitors, who inflicted the heaviest ever defeat on the Reds when they beat the breakaway club 4-1 in the FA Trophy last month, hit back in fine style to lead 4-2 with 21 minutes remaining. The game hinged on the third goal, which was a contentious penalty.

Rory Patterson's 18th goal of the season from the penalty spot in the last minute proved no more than a late consolation for FC, who now have a mountain to climb if they hope to record a third successive title success.

8:38pm Sunday 25th November 2007

Fans play part as Avenue dig deep

By Ian Whiting

FC United 3, Bradford Park Avenue 4

Avenue put daylight between themselves and one of their major rivals for promotion from UniBond Division One North with a superb victory in an incident-filled match at Gigg Lane.

The Coca-Cola League Two ground of Bury FC, which will be visited by the other Bradford side on the first Saturday of the new year, was a fitting venue for such a close-fought contest.

"It was a high-scoring game and I would have thought it was a very entertaining one for the big crowd," said Avenue boss Benny Phillips of the clash in front of 2,283 spectators, which equalled FC United's record this season.

"There was fantastic support from our fans, who really made themselves heard and contributed to a great atmosphere in the stadium. It was very enjoyable from my point of view.

"I was disappointed with their third goal because there was a foul on Tom Baker before they broke to get the penalty. It was a foul in the area, I'm not disputing that, but play should already have been stopped.

"We conceded two goals from set-pieces, which is unlike us, but take nothing away from FC United as they are a top-quality side."

Phillips, a former professional with Bury at Gigg Lane, added: "Ben Jones is going through an unfortunate little spell. He had a goal disallowed here and two in the last home game. He is certainly putting the effort in.

"Mike Moseley was fantastic in this game and Steve Connors was awesome but I wouldn't like to single anyone out because it was a real team performance."

Avenue got off to a wonderful start by taking a first-minute lead. Liam Flynn powered through to prevent a wayward pass going out of play and his cross was converted by a Moseley header.

The home side responded in some style and by the 16th minute they were 2-1 in front.

Their first came from a corner, central defender Adam Turner heading in, and Avenue keeper Jon Worsnop then made a fine save only to see Chris Baguley sweep the ball home.

Avenue were back level by the break after skipper Connors curled a low shot from distance into the bottom corner in the 38th minute - and the visitors got their noses back in front just after the hour mark.

Moseley was pushed over in the area by Turner and the referee immediately pointed to the spot, Darren Hockenhull stepping forward and making no mistake.

Just six minutes later Jones collected a Worsnop kick out and crossed for Moseley to add the fourth Avenue goal.

FC United hit back again just into stoppage time when former Avenue player Rory Patterson netted from their own penalty.

A ball into a packed area caused confusion and Avenue defender Matt Daly was singled out as the man who made the foul challenge.

That was just into the second minute of the four that were added and the home side, backed by their huge following from the terraces, ensured the visitors endured a tense ending.

6:07pm Sunday 25th November 2007

Friday, November 23, 2007

Rebels rocked by injuries


FC UNITED have been stunned with news that skipper Dave Chadwick could be out for the season with cruciate ligament damage.

And with goalkeeper Sam Ashton a "serious doubt" and Rob Nugent suspended as well as suffering from injury, the Rebels go into tomorrow's crunch Gigg Lane clash with promotion rivals Bradford Park Avenue with big defence problems.

Manager Karl Marginson has moved to plug one of the gaps by drafting in 6ft 1ins former Southport and Nantwich centre half Danny Jarrett from Northwich Vics.

With last season's 45-goal top scorer Stuart Rudd and influential midfielder Josh Howard also missing until the New Year, Marginson will be without four of his six contracted players .

Phil Priestley is ready to step in for Ashton, who has a knee problem picked up in last week's 3-0 defeat at Bamber Bridge, the heaviest away loss in the club's history.And Avenue inflicted FC's heaviest home defeat, a 4-1 FA Trophy mauling last month.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Avenue face tough Gigg Lane test

By Ian Whiting

Avenue's run of consecutive UniBond Division One North victories will be under severe threat on Saturday when they take on FC United of Manchester.

The promotion contenders briefly swapped second place in the table last week, with Avenue currently occupying the runners-up spot but only on goal difference as the pair trail leaders Curzon Ashton by just three points.

Avenue are hoping most of their core supporters will follow them over the Pennines to Gigg Lane, home of Bradford City's league rivals Bury. FC United have been tenants at the Coca-Cola League Two ground since being formed by disgruntled Manchester United supporters.

They have a huge following for a non-league club and Avenue's three or four hundred loyal fans face being outnumbered by as much as ten to one - but club captain Steve Connors feels the venue will bring the best out of the players in the Bradford squad.

"The lads will be up for it in the first place because it is against one of the teams in and around us in the table," said Connors, who began his career at Bury's neighbours Oldham Athletic.

"But I know they are all looking forward to playing in a stadium like Gigg Lane and the playing surface is very good.

"This will be one of the biggest tests of the season but we have won five on the trot, one of those against the league leaders, so we are confident.

"I know we have the quality in the squad to go and get a result against FC United but at the same time we all know how tough this game will be."

The teams have already met twice this season but not for league points. Avenue had home advantage in the FA Trophy preliminary round and although the clash at Horsfall Stadium ended all square, Avenue won the replay 4-1 and Connors was one of the scorers.

Paul Gedman started the rout that night at the beginning of October but Avenue boss Benny Phillips has confirmed his joint top scorer is facing a protracted lay-off following the injury he suffered in the 3-0 home win over Bridlington Town last Saturday.

Phillips said: "Paul's leg is still very swollen. I went to BRI to see him after the game and was pleased to find out that it wasn't a broken bone.

"We haven't seen much of him this week due to the fact that he can't drive because of the swelling and until that goes down the medical staff won't be able to tell how much ligament damage there is.

"If Paul is going to be out for a long time I will look to bring in another striker, either on loan or a short-term deal. He had seven stitches in an open wound so we are looking at a minimum two to three weeks before he gets back into full training."

· Avenue's reserves will be looking to strengthen their top-three place in the Lancashire League when they face Harrogate Town at Horsfall tomorrow night (7.45pm).


Hot-shot Burns is man in form

By Liam Chronnell

FC United v Bradford Park Avenue

UniBond League Division One North

KARL Marginson has warned Robbie Fowler and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink to watch out - Aaron Burns is after you.

The former Manchester United reserve team striker has hit eight goals in as many games since joining the Rebels from Cardiff.

Burns, who is being followed by a host of top-flight clubs, including Blackburn and Everton, cannot play above UniBond League level until the transfer window opens in January.

The Championship club still hold the player's registration - and if Burns carries on his prolific form then Marginson believes the Bluebirds could be ready to give him a second chance.

"Hasselbaink and Fowler better watch out because Cardiff haven't been scoring," said Marginson.

"What is good about Aaron is he keeps going. Even if he misses an easy chance, he keeps going and, through his brightness, takes the next one.

"We don't know if he'll be with us after January because he wants to play professional football at the highest level he can, but we're just going to enjoy him while we can."

The FC manager will be hoping Burns can fire again against title rivals Bradford Park Avenue at Gigg Lane on Saturday.

The inconsistent Reds, who fell six points behind leaders Curzon Ashton at the weekend, are still smarting from last month's 4-1 thrashing by the Yorkshire outfit in the FA Trophy.

And Marginson wants an immediate response from his players following the 3-0 defeat at Bamber Bridge.

He said: "It's a huge game against one of the best teams in the league on Saturday. We've got to bounce back from last weekend's defeat at Bamber Bridge and the lads need to stand up and be counted."

United's Jekyll and Hyde season continued on Saturday as they went down against the Preston club - a side they thumped 5-0 in the President's Cup just over two weeks ago.

Bridge's ex-England schoolboy international, Ryan Salmon, pounced on goalkeeper Sam Ashton's error to open the scoring on 14 minutes.

Striker Dave Eaton, who once partnered Wayne Rooney up front in the Everton reserves, added a fine second on 51 minutes and Salmon's header wrapped up the points just three minutes later to inflict the Rebels' second defeat in three games.

1:18am November 22, 2007

Monday, November 19, 2007

Bamber Bridge 3 FC United 0

By John Hill

Bamber Bridge cruised to a 3-0 victory over league favourites FC United in a record league crowd of 1435 at Irongate.

After losing to the Manchester United breakaway club 5-0 last month, you would have expected Phil Entwistle's men to be in for a tough afternoon but it was far from the case.

Brig were on top all afternoon in all areas of the pitch, out battling United, to send out a clear message to the rest of the division.

It took 11 minutes for the opening goal of the game. Stephen Brown's cross from the right should have been easily caught by Sam Ashton in the FCUM goal but he dropped the ball right into the path of Brig's leading tallies man Ryan Salmon, who was never going to miss from close range.

Bamber Bridge almost doubled their lead just minutes later. Brown's cross found Alex Porter unmarked in the box, his shot was terrifically saved by Ashton in the United goal, to make up for his previous howler.

FC United did respond in the last ten minutes of the opening half and showed a bit of class that you would expect from the side flying high in the division. However, the Brig weathered the storm to hold on to their lead going into the interval.

If the message at half time from manager Phil Entwistle was to kill the game off then they certainly did that in the opening ten minutes of the second half.

Brig came out after the break like a house on fire. They were rewarded with their second of the game after 51 minutes, David Eaton opening his Bamber Bridge account, drilling home from 12-yards.

Then just three minutes later, it was effectively game, set and match. Brown who was terrific all afternoon whipped a free kick in to the box and there was Salmon to flick home comfortably for his second of the game.

In all fairness Bamber Bridge could have had more but with an impressive display and result to go with it, this can now be a catalyst for their season ahead.

9:39am today


Drubbing for FC at Bridge

By Liam Chronnell

BAMBER BRIDGE 3, FC UNITED 0: FC United's Jekyll and Hyde season continued as they were comprehensively beaten.

The Rebels thumped the Preston club 5-0 in the President's Cup just over two weeks ago, but their UniBond League Division One North rivals claimed their revenge in emphatic fashion.

After six straight victories, Karl Marginson's team have now lost two of their last three games as Curzon Ashton stretched their lead at the top of the table six points.

Former England schoolboy international, Ryan Salmon, pounced on goalkeeper Sam Ashton's error to open the scoring on 14 minutes.

Striker Dave Eaton, who once partnered Wayne Rooney up front in the Everton reserves, added a fine second on 51 minutes and Salmon's header wrapped up the points just three minutes later.

9:22am today

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Brig's 3-0 bumper pay day

Published Date: 17 November 2007
Location: Preston

"The last time we had this many through the gate they were all here to see the Hollyoaks lot."

Brig's bumper day against FC United of Manchester - the breakaway club formed by disgruntled fans of Manchester United - ended with three points and a big pay cheque.

Goals by Ryan Salmon, new signing Dave Eaton and a deft header - sadly for FC United in the wrong net - sealed a 3-0 win for Phil Entwistle's rampant side in front of 1,435 fans at Irongate.

The crowd was the biggest for a Bamber Bridge game in years - forgetting a recent charity match.

"We had around 2,000 down for the match the other Sunday when the Hollyoaks cast played," said beaming chairman Terry Gammans. "If I could get Phil to pick one or two of them every week we'd be rolling in it!"

It was Brig's turn to milk the bandwagon cash cow that is FC United of Manchester and their vociferous band of followers, who founded the club in protest at the Malcolm Glazer takeover at Old Trafford.

Even before kick-off, it was obvious this was not going to be any normal Unibond League game.

Traffic cones, PNE stewards, police, 800 programmes instead of the usual 100 printed, a never ending pie stall queue and the best of all...a bar in an old changing room.

"We've got a second bar," said Terry, proudly. "It's in the old changing room at the back. We've called it the Lager and Beer Lounge."

Bemused neighbours whose homes overlook the ground were spotted peering out of their windows, bemused as to what all the racket was about.

Gary Thorpe, 41, was watching the action over his garden fence.

"I normally shut the curtains when they play on a cold Tuesday night, but this is great, set the club up for the season the money they'll make today.

"I had three lads with Manchester accents walk through my garden and jump over the fence and into the ground. Wife was going mad she was."

They probably wish they hadn't bothered coming at all.

Brig dominated the early part of the game and went ahead on 15 minutes, the ever-dangerous Ryan Salmon ramming the ball home from close range.

It could have been more but for FC United's impressive keeper.

Two goals in two second-half minutes sealed the win for Brig and it could have been more.

"Can we play you every week?" was the amusing chant from the hardy band of home fans.

"'We don't play for Sky Sports no more' and 'Let's pretend we're 3-0 up," came the retort.

Brig will net at least £10,000 - plus bar takings - from Saturday's brush with the ultimate fans' club.

And the best thing? The FC United cashpot bandwagon will be back at Irongate in February for another league fixture.

Let the tills roll...

Andy Sykes

Last Updated: 18 November 2007 2:08 AM

Friday, November 16, 2007

Burns fires a warning

Stuart Brennan

ROBBIE Fowler and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink beware - Aaron Burns is after your jobs!
The FC United striker struck a classy hat-trick against Rossendale in midweek, and is aiming for more in the clash with promotion rivals Bamber Bridge.

Watched by Premier League clubs, Blackburn and Everton on Wednesday, as well as Chesterfield and Huddersfield, Burns showed why he was Manchester United Reserves' top goalscorer last season, and why Cardiff moved for him in the summer.

A registration foul-up means Burns can only play at UniBond League level or below until the transfer window re-opens in January, and he is making the most of his time at FC with eight goals in his seven games.

And that form could see a change of heart from Cardiff boss Dave Jones, who allowed Burns to drift away from the club - which still hold his registration - after signing Fowler and Hasselbaink.

FC boss Karl Marginson said: "What Aaron did on Wednesday was the sign of a good forward, because he kept going, even after a bad miss in the first half. Cardiff haven't been scoring too many, so Fowler and Hasselbaink watch out."

FC are again tucked in behind leaders Curzon Ashton, but Bamber Bridge are a tough proposition at home.

Fans divided over FC United


AN AWFUL lot of people seem to be getting their knickers in a twist about non-league football these days.

Some fans in Manchester, who once saved their wrath for the likes of ‘lucky' Liverpool, ‘dirty’ Leeds and ‘boring, boring’ Arsenal, now prefer to target their angst at a side in third place in the Unibond First Division North.

We’re talking, of course, about the breakaway side FC United.

Time, it seems, has done little to heal the wounds caused by the painful split when some United fans decided to form their own club in the wake of Malcolm Glazer’s take-over at Old Trafford in 2005.

There is a vocal minority among United fans who come to see the self-styled Rebels as the enemy with some even going so far as to print stickers bearing the slogan: ‘Love United, Hate FC: Judas Scum’. Even Sir Alex Ferguson has had a pop, labelling FC fans as self-publicists.

The views of many FC detractors were neatly summed up in the letters page of last week’s Reporter by Terry Medford of Withington.

Mr Medford accuses FC of being a club born out of ‘spite and bitterness’ and accused its fans of revelling in knocking up cricket scores against teams with comparatively tiny resources.

As a season-ticket holder at Old Trafford, I had my own reservations about FC. A breakaway club was always going to divide fans whose strength had always come from being…well, united.

But curiosity soon got the better of me and I went along to my first FC game.

It was really quite something to be stood there that day shoulder-to-shoulder with thousands of people all sharing a deep passion for something that hadn’t existed just a few weeks earlier - something they had worked together to build from nothing.

And nor had they forgotten what brought them together in the first place - their love for Manchester United.

Among the newly-created FC anthems ringing around the stands that day were old Stretford End favourites celebrating a love for United that was and remains undiminished.

Since that day, I’ve tried to go to FC as often as I can while at the same time still holding on to my season ticket for ‘Big United’.

There are two main charges critics often level at FC fans: they are ‘splitters’ who turned their backs on their team during a time of adversity and that they are the ‘Chelsea’ of non-league football with resources and attendances dwarfing those of their rivals.

Well, yes, FC do have larger crowds (around 2,500 for a home game) and consequently more money and greater player-pull, but why should they apologise for that? Their record - after last weekend - of eight wins, one draw and four defeats, hardly suggests an all-mighty force crushing all before it.

The labelling of FC fans as glory hunters seems to me the most ludicrous charge of the lot.

It is a strange kind of glory when you find yourself sat in the stands on a freezing ‘pea soup’ winter’s evening, as I did last year, watching FC battle their way to victory over Atherton Collieries in a bog in Leigh - especially for fans more familiar with watching European giants such as Juventus, Barcelona and Bayern Munich on their visits to the Theatre of Dreams.

From day one, FC has been a broad church. Some fans see it as a way of protesting against Glazer rule, others as a way of enjoying football the way they used to before the terraces were replaced by sanitised all-seater stadiums.

But what all FC fans have found is a way of remaining as United fans in an age of soaring ticket prices and the relentless commercialisation.

Moving to another club was never an option. Supporting a team involves more than just watching football. It involves buying into an identity, a history, a brotherhood and a way of seeing the world.

Following a Premier League team is an expensive business these days, especially if you have children. But when the day comes that I am finally priced out of Old Trafford or forced to look elsewhere for regular football, I know I’ll have somewhere to go, somewhere where I belong.

Not all fans curdle with resentment at the thought of FC. The club has forged close links with the breakaway AFC Wimbledon, formed when their mother club moved from south-west London to Milton Keynes, and even groups such as Red Action opposing an attempted buy-out at Arsenal.

It took a Leeds fan to bring home to me what had been achieved at FC. After spotting my FC United away shirt during a recent five-a-side game, he told me that he had been hoping his club would do something similar following a summer of boardroom turmoil, but concluded: “We haven’t got the nous.”

In his letter, Mr Medford rightly warns that the future of football will depend on ‘true supporters’. But if he thinks fans are doing the game any favours by blindly shelling out for astronomically priced tickets or merchandise, he is wrong.

The creation of FC has sent out a message that there is another way. One that doesn’t mean giving up who you are.

And in the process they have struck a blow for football fans everywhere. It’s just that not everyone can see it yet.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Rudd hands FC a fitness boost

By Liam Chronnell
Bamber Bridge v FC United

UniBond League Division One North

STUART Rudd has handed FC United a major boost.

The Rebels feared last season's top-scorer would be ruled out for the rest of the campaign after suffering a knee injury last month.

But the talismanic striker is now expected to be back in five weeks after scans revealed the problem is not a bad as first thought.

And manager Karl Marginson believes the return of Rudd, who struck 45 goals in 49 games last term and has partially torn his cruciate ligament, will provide a welcome lift to the title-chasing Reds.

"It's good news," said the United boss. "He's going to get back in the gym and, hopefully, if everything goes all right, he will be playing again in five weeks."

The timely boost comes on the back of a disappointing weekend for the breakaway club, who suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at struggling Clitheroe. Chasing a seventh straight victory, FC were expected to keep the pressure on leaders Curzon Ashton at Shawbridge.

But goals from Joel Byrom and Paul Fildes handed the hosts the advantage and, although Chris Baguley's free-kick reduced the deficit on 65 minutes, the Rebels could not find the equaliser and left empty-handed.

"It was a bad day at the office," admitted Marginson, whose side entertained Rossendale at Gigg Lane last night. "They defended really well and shut it down, but we still created chances and should've come away with something."

FC will have the opportunity to keep the pressure on Curzon when they travel to Bamber Bridge on Saturday.

The Rebels thumped the Preston side 5-0 in the President's Cup two weeks ago, but Marginson believes his side can expect a far tougher test this time around.

He added: "That result will be fresh in their minds and they will make it much harder. They had a few players missing in the cup but they will be a lot stronger this time."

Meanwhile, FC have been invited to take part in the Hong Kong Soccer Sevens tournament at the end of the season.

The Reds board are considering the invitation to the seven-a-side competition, which this year involved Arsenal, PSV Eindhoven, Spurs, Celtic, Aston Villa, and some of Asia's best-known clubs.

A spokesman said: "The invitation offers our players a tremendous opportunity to play in such a prestigious tournament and end-of-season trips such as this and our earlier trip to Lokomotiv Leipzig help with our player recruitment and retention."

In other off-field matters, reserves boss Tony Cullen has been made first-team coach in a backroom staff reshuffle. Youth team chief Loz Greenhalgh takes his place.

4:28pm Wednesday 14th November 2007

Scouting for 'Lyons'

Tony Howard

FC UNITED are setting up a scouting team to trawl the north west for talent – with a defender first on the wanted list.

The reds’ boss Karl Marginson has been disappointed with his team’s defensive frailties in recent weeks, culminating in FC’s six-match winning streak coming to an end at Clitheroe on Saturday. And he admits it may be time to strengthen that department.

Despite brilliant performances from his strikers Aaron Burns and Rory Patterson plus winger Jerome Wright, which saw United cruise to some impressive victories over the likes of this Saturday’s opponents Bamber Bridge, Margy is less impressed with his back line.

FC are in the play-off places in the UniBond North with Bamber Bridge waiting to strike below them. They have games in hand and are smarting from a 5-0 defeat to FC in the President’s Cup two weeks ago.

Margy said: “I think the front three or four have got us out of trouble recently and if they have an off day, like at Clitheroe last weekend, we need the defence to step up and be counted.

“I think we have been a bit lax at the back in recent games and we may be need to address that in terms of personnel. We have missed captain Dave Chadwick through injury and I may think about playing new boy Colin Bell in the middle of defence to see if that helps.

“We have struggled with injuries and when we’ve gone to people, who we thought were our friends in the game, we’ve been let down and no one has wanted to help us by loaning players.

“We need to do something about that so first team coach Darren Lyons is going to oversee a scouting network with help from my assistant Phil Power. Daz hopes to get his own team in place to watch sides at our level and younger players with a view to bringing them to the club.

“Tony Cullen, who was the reserve team manager, has been brought into the first team set-up as a coach and he has already made an impact with his excellent coaching methods and his ability to raise the team spirit and get the banter flying in the dressing room.”

United were beaten 2-1 at Clitheroe on Saturday in a stormy encounter. The home side went 1-0 up in the first half and added a second from a disputed penalty in the second.

Chris Baguley scored another great free kick to give the reds hope but they ran out of time.

Following a 5-1 defeat of Rossendale United on Wednesday night, Bamber Bridge now lie in wait for United – and they will have revenge on their minds.

Margy added: “They will be fired up and ready to prove that the last result wasn’t a true reflection on them.

“Apparently, they rested a few players last time so those that missed that game will be chomping at the bit to get at us.

“We have to rise to it because Bamber Bridge are one of our promotion rivals and this game could have an impact later in the season.”

The match on Saturday, November 17, kicks off at 3pm at Brig’s Irongate ground and ticket information is available by calling: 0870 626 0295.

FC United 5 Rossendale 1

HAT-TRICK man Aaron Burns turned up the heat on leaders Curzon Ashton after tantalising supporters with a hint that he may stay beyond January.

The former United reserve ace is meant to be at the club until the transfer window, when his registration - held by Cardiff - can be transferred and he is expected to be picked up by a league club.

Until then he cannot play above UniBond League level under FA rules, and has now bagged eight goals in seven games for the first division north promotion chasers.

But he tantalised the FC fans by saying in the match programme: "You can never rule out the idea of me staying here. I'm enjoying my football and that counts for a lot."

The Rebels hit five goals in the space of 23 second half minutes, after trailing at half time to Phil Eastwood's gift goal after a mistake by Rob Nugent.

Six minutes into the second half Nugent redeemed himself by setting up Patterson for the equaliser, his 17th goal in 16 games this season.

Then Burns took control, with a little help from returning right back Matty Taylor. Cult hero Taylor, missing for six weeks with personal problems, set off on a run which drew in defenders and then slipped a pass to the unmarked Burns, who thrashed it past Rigby.

Within a minute Burns had another, a solo run through the heart of the Rossendale defence ending with a precise finish and he put FC back into second place on goal difference with a flying header from Patterson's gorgeous cross on 72 minutes.

Patterson charged through again two minutes later and when the keeper bravely saved at his feet the ball span loose for Chris Baguley to slam into the empty net.

Burns hat-trick keeps Rebels on the up

By Liam Chronnell

AARON Burns struck a 12-minute hat-trick as FC United blew Rossendale United away after the break to move up to second in the Unibond League Division One North table.

The former Manchester United reserve striker hit a stunning treble as FC scored five times in 23 second-half minutes to cut the gap behind leaders Curzon Ashton to three points at Gigg Lane.

Karl Marginson's team suffered a disastrous start when defender Rob Nugent was caught in possession and Ben Lloyd squared for Phil Eastwood to tap home in the second minute.

After squandering several chances, the Rebels equalised six minutes after the restart when the division's top scorer, Rory Patterson, hit his 17th goal of the season. Then Burns took over with two goals inside a minute.

His first, on the hour, put FC in front and he effectively wrapped up the points with a magnificent solo effort less than 60 seconds later.

The United hit man completed his hat-trick with a fine header on 72 minutes - his eighth goal in seven games - and Chris Baguley added a fifth two minutes later to seal the breakaway club's seventh win in eight games.


Stags travel to FC United

1:49 pm
Wednesday 14th November 2007

Rossendale United tonight travel to FC United of Manchester hoping to maintain their good run of form in UniBond Division One North, kick-off 7.45pm.

The Stags head to Bury's Gigg Lane on the back of a three-game unbeaten run in all competitions, in which they have racked up 10 goals.

Rebel Reds aim to win again

By Liam Chronnell

Wednesday 14th November 2007

FC UNITED will be desperate to return to winning ways when they take on Rossendale United at Gigg Lane tonight.

The Rebels' six-game winning run came to an end at the weekend when they suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of struggling Clitheroe.

But Karl Marginson will be hoping his side can bounce back from that defeat as they look to close the gap on UniBond League Division One North leaders Curzon Ashton to three points.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

FC boss Karl tips a fight to the finish

Stuart Brennan

KARL Marginson is predicting a thrilling finish to the UniBond first division north title race as his side gear up for Rossendale United's visit to Gigg Lane tonight (7.45pm).

Leaders Curzon Ashton suffered their first league defeat of the season on Monday night, falling to a late goal at home to Bradford Park Avenue, who moved to within three points of the top in second place.

FC lie third after losing at Clitheroe but victory over Rossendale, who were beaten on their own pitch in August, would take them level with Park Avenue and a three-goal margin would see them reclaim second place.

With only one automatic promotion spot, and another decided by the next four teams playing off, there is little margin for error.

"It could be a really tight, thrilling finish to the season," predicted Marginson. "We have lost four games, and can't afford many more if we are going to be thereabouts.

"Whoever puts a really good run together will get that top spot and I feel we have a squad capable of that, especially when we start getting players like Dave Chadwick, Stuart Rudd and Josh Howard fit again and once Peter Thomson has a few more games under his belt."

One player back in the fold is popular right-back Matty Taylor.

He will step in to help shore up a defence which received some criticism from Marginson after the Clitheroe defeat while Dave Brown is likely to make way for Colin Bell.

"Matty is the best full-back in this division as far as I am concerned and it is great to have him back," says Marginson.

"Colin gets another chance because he played two games, and we kept two clean sheets, so he was a little unlucky to lose his place."

Rudd, last season's leading scorer who has only managed four appearances this term, has been diagnosed with a partial tear of his posterior cruciate ligament and could be back playing after six weeks of rehabilitation.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Rebels get wake-up call

Source: Manchester Evening News

FC UNITED boss Karl Marginson is considering making changes for Wednesday's home clash with in-form Rossendale following a shock 2-1 defeat at Clitheroe which he described as "a wake-up call."

Chris Baguley's superbly-executed free-kick failed to save the off-key Rebels as they fell to lowly opponents who had previously won just two from nine in UniBond division one north.

FC had a stroke of bad luck when keeper Sam Ashton was harshly adjudged to have conceded a penalty and, though he then saved it, Joel Byron followed up to score.

Paul Fildes seized on a defensive mix-up to double Clitheroe's lead on the hour and, although FC pushed hard for an equaliser after Baguley had reduced the arrears, their efforts came to nothing.

Marginson said: "Defensively, we were poor and I'll be looking at a few things before naming my team to face Rossendale.

"We struggled to adapt to the difficult conditions, but I'm sure our younger players in particular will learn from this defeat and, hopefully, we can bounce straight back on Wednesday night."

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Stunned Rebels suffer a setback

Source: Bury Times

By Liam Chronnell

Clitheroe 2 FC United 1

FC United suffered a shock defeat at struggling Clitheroe.

Chasing a seventh straight victory, the breakaway club were expected to keep the pressure on UniBond League Division One North leaders Curzon Ashton.

But goals from Joel Byrom and Paul Fildes after the break handed the hosts the advantage and, although Chris Baguley's free-kick reduced the deficit on 65 minutes, the Rebels could not find the equaliser and left empty-handed.

On a miserable day for the FC, there was at least some good news after they discovered Stuart Rudd's knee injury is not as bad as first thought.

There were fears last season's top-scorer would not play again this term but he is now expected back within four to six weeks.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Clitheroe FC 2, FC United 1

A JOEL Byrom penalty and a second from the head of Paul Fildes, marked a tremendous league victory for Clitheroe over FC United on Saturday.

A crowd of 1245 attended the game at Shawbridge thanks to the numerous traveling support, 300 up on the Tuesday game last month, but unlike that night the Blues were solid throughout and creative to the end.

There was plenty of action at either end and the visitors were first to challenge on goal when Liam Foster sent Rory Patterson through with a 40-yard pass to call Paul Horridge in to action.

Clitheroe were soon challenging at the other end as Joel Byrom, Paul Fildes and new loan signing Mickey Saunders, had FC United on the back foot, calling for more than one goal-line clearance from Shaun Roscoe.

Horridge was again called on to stop Aaron Burns when the United striker was put through, but the former Manchester United player was kept quiet by the Blues back line.

But on the stroke of half-time another surging run forward in numbers by the Blues saw United's defence pulled this way and that, calling for goalkeeper Sam Aston to take down Byrom in the box and deny the attacking midfielder sight of goal.

The former Blackburn Rovers and Accrington Stanley man saw his initial spot kick saved, but to the jeers of the away support behind the goal, he made no mistake with the rebound.

In the second half, new Blues centre back Ian Flannery slid in to rob Patterson of the ball when close to goal to maintain the lead.

Before Byrom set up Clitheroe's second strike, by placing an impressive 40-yard free kick on to the head of Fildes for the former Padiham man to nod home at the back post.

United pulled a goal back with an outstanding free kick from Chris Baguley that saw Horridge at full stretch but unable to claw out from the top corner.

Time was added on to settle down the visiting support behind the goal, but it was the Blues who were boosted by the break and could have grabbed a third through the pace of Fildes, Saunders, and later substitute Gary Jackson.

Shots flew over United's cross bar as a result, while the visitors had a good effort to level near the end but substitute Peter Thompson was closed out and shot wide.

Clitheroe: Horridge, Kozlowski, J. Osborne, Flannery, P. Osborne (Overson), Fisher, Stopforth, Reynolds (Dempsey), Saunders (Jackson), Byrom, Fildes.

Last Updated: 10 November 2007 7:44 PM

Friday, November 09, 2007

Clitheroe aiming to get rid of the Blues

CLITHEROE must try to shake off the controversy surrounding their FA Trophy troubles as they face FC United at Shawbridge for the third time this season.

The Blues were kicked out of the FA Trophy for allegedly playing an ineligible player, although the club are appealing against the FA's decision.

In the meantime, they are preparing for a huge game and chairman Carl Garner admits everybody is pumped up. He said: "With what is going on at the moment, there is an extra incentive for us. We can either roll over and die, or we can go out there and respond positively."

Clitheroe's first league outing with FC United was abandoned due to floodlight failure, and they were beaten 3-0 in the re-match.

The Blues have bolstered their attacking options with the loan signing of Fleetwood Town striker Mickey Saunders.

5:04pm today

Let your hair down and give us a smile!

Stuart Brennan

RORY Patterson has been given some odd advice by his FC United boss Karl Marginson: "Grow your hair and smile a bit more!"

The Rebels' leading scorer - with 16 in 15 games this season - is also top of their bookings chart, with eight yellows, just two short of a two-match ban.

Patterson has already missed four games through suspension this season, three for a red card in a pre-season friendly and one for totting up five bookings.

And Marginson believes that body language may be the key for the 23-year-old Ulsterman, who is leading the chase to be the first player to rack up 100 games for the club - he is currently on 95, three ahead of defender Rob Nugent.

"I have had a chat about the way referees will perceive him," said Marginson, whose side will go top of the UniBond League first division north if they win at Clitheroe tomorrow.

"Body language is something he can address. He can still have aggression and a will to win without being so demonstrative towards the officials.

"A lad I used to play with in the youth ranks at Manchester United called Gary Vaughan used to wear his hair really long, and whenever he had it shaved off, he would pick up more bookings, so appearance plays a big part in it.

"Also when you see Rory running up to refs, shoulders back, arms pumping, it influences whether they reach for a card or not. A little smile, a word and a handshake for the opponent, can go a long way."

Vice-captain Patterson, who is 23, has been donning the captain's armband in the absence of the injured Dave Chadwick, another ploy by Marginson to calm him down.

Bridlington 0 FC United 3

Tony Howard

FC UNITED mopped up 3-0 at Bridlington to give themselves a chance of hitting top spot in the UniBond Division One North this weekend.

The ease of the reds’ victory was such that the only object to bleach the FC defence and find its way into Sam Ashton’s net was a mysteriously placed mop.

Goals from Aaron Burns, Jerome Wright and Rory Patterson kept United in second place and if they win at Clitheroe on Saturday, November 10, they could end up top of the league on goal difference ahead of Curzon Ashton.

FC played some cutting, incisive football as they wiped the floor with the home side to make it six successive victories.

The in-form Wright dazzled with his direct runs, much to the delight of the 1,000 travelling reds who had taken Sir Alex Ferguson’s advice to ‘go and watch that mop United FC’.

Burns got the scoring underway with his fifth goal in as many games to give United a 1-0 half-time lead.

Shortly after the break, FC’s bright spark Wright got the goal that his performance warranted to make it two.

But, unable to allow anyone else to claim the limelight, the league’s top scorer Patterson netted the goal of the game with a great lob to round things off nicely.

At the other end, Ashton kept a clean sweep and he was so determined to maintain his defence’s impenetrability that he was truly alarmed to see the mop enter his net in place of his trusty towel.

He need not have worried as, far from being a bleach of the peace, it transpired that a local janitor had merely misplaced one of his tools of the trade.

Manager Karl Marginson is now looking forward to the possibility of claiming top spot from rivals Curzon.

He said: “We haven’t played them yet but they have done really well so far and are still unbeaten in the league.

“I saw them play Bamber Bridge recently and I honestly think they were lucky to get a result. We have already been through our form blip and it will be interesting to see how they cope with theirs when it comes.

“They also have three of our former players in Rhodri Giggs, Alex Mortimer and Joz Mitten, which adds spice to the rivalry.”

United travel to Clitheroe on Saturday, November 10, kick-off 3pm. On the gate admission costs £6 for adults and £2 for juniors.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Town boosted by United visit

Town boosted by United visit

By Staff Copy

DESPITE losing 3-0 to FC United of Manchester, Bridlington Town had a day to remember as a crowd of over 1,000 was recorded at Queensgate.

The revenue that went Town’s way will help keep them going for some time, while the town as a whole benefited from the hundred of fans that travelled across the Pennines, with many vowing to comeback for another stay.

And while the football club’s coffers were boosted, many businesses in the town will have noticed a big difference in what is usually a quite time of year.

Many hotels and guest houses were booked up with fans making the most of the game on the east Coast making it a weekend break, while shops, restaurants and many others will also have had a peak in trade.

Bridlington Town chairman Peter Smurthwaite said: “I trust many local hotels, boarding houses, restaurants, cafes, shops and taxis benefited from the visiting fans over the weekend which shows the value of this football club to the town.

“It would be nice if some of these businesses could help the football club with much needed sponsorship to raise their own profile, especially with highlights from the game also being shown on the UniBond League TV channel, which can still be accessed on this week.”

The chairman was also pleased with how the club coped with such a spectator boom, with the gate up around 600% on usual weeks. “I would like to thank my committee and staff who did a marvellous job to make sure the day was a success, I also thank our own fans, East Riding of Yorkshire Council, Insp Steve Jackson at Bridlington Police and the Free Press for their help and support.

“Any businesses that may be interested in sponsoring a game, taking an advertising board, an advert in the match day programme or on the club website, can contact myself, the Free Press or the club website for further information.”

Here are just some of the views the Free Press received from visiting fans, with many leaving comments on our website –

“Thanks to everyone at Bridlington for their hospitality. Also a big thanks to the Beaconsfield Arms who made us very welcome.”

“A great weekend all round. Many thanks to Lyndsey, Simon and the staff at the Beaconsfield Arms, Patsy, Adie and staff at Ye Old Star Inn, Sue and the Staff at The Expanse and to all at Bridlington Town FC for their tremendous efforts.”

“Thanks Bridlington. We had a superb weekend both before the match at the Greyhound pub, during the match and after match party at Ye Olde Star Inn. Also big thanks to Trevor and Christine at the Ivanhoe Guest House who were friendly and welcoming hosts. We even had breakfast with the Brid Town manager and some of the players. We hope to be back and wish you all the best for the rest of the season. Anyone fancy a weekend way then Brid is the place to go.”

“We had a fabulous time this weekend. Comfortable stay at Radcliffe House. Good atmosphere at the game and in the social before, and yes the staff worked very hard. Cheap beer in the Old Town before the FC party.

Even managed a walk round the lighthouse at Flamborough to blow away the cobwebs. We shall definitely return.”

Last Updated: 06 November 2007 2:11 PM

Resurgent Rebels eye top spot

By Liam Chronnell

FC United v Clitheroe
UniBond League Division One North

FC UNITED could hit top spot for the first time this season when they take on struggling Clitheroe.

The breakaway club, chasing a third successive title, suffered a stuttering start to the new campaign.

But the Rebels are now back to their best after moving up to second after a sixth straight victory.

And the Gigg Lane tenants could move ahead of leaders Curzon Ashton on goal difference if they win at Clitheroe on Saturday, with the Tameside table-toppers in FA Cup action.

"It would be a great psychological boost if we can achieve it," said FC boss Karl Marginson, whose team thrashed Bamber Bridge 5-0 in the President's Cup last Wednesday to complete a fine four days. "The lads have responded well to the little blip and in the last two games they have been excellent."

United cut the gap at the top of the table to three points with a 3-0 victory at Bridlington Town.

Former Manchester United striker Aaron Burns led the way with his fifth goal in five games since joining the club, before a fine solo effort from Jerome Wright and captain Rory Patterson's 16th of the season completed the rout.

And Marginson hailed his in-form strike duo of Burns and Patterson as one of the reasons behind the Reds resurgence. He added: "Aaron came at the right time for us and gave everybody a lift at the club, while I can't remember the last time Rory didn't score.

"The two have formed a really good partnership. Apart from the goals, their movement is superb and they are an absolute nightmare for defenders."

Marginson, though, is waiting anxiously on the fate of last season's top-scorer, Stuart Rudd, who will discover whether he will play again this term.

The striker suffered a knee injury last month, but the severity of the problem will not be known until he receives the results of his scan tomorrow. If, as the club fear, it is a cruciate problem, then Rudd could be sidelined for up to a year.

2:58pm today

Mossley miss windfall

Source: Oldham Chronicle


MOSSLEY will lose thousands of pounds after their lucrative home league fixture against FC United was rescheduled for a night when Manchester United are in action.

The Lilywhites play hosts to the breakaway team in UniBond League first division north on Tuesday, November 27, the night the Reds face Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League at Old Trafford.

Attempts to put the fixture back 24 hours to avoid a clash have been rejected by league officials.

Mossley will be fortunate to get a crowd of 1,000 whereas had it been a Saturday it would probably have been double that figure which could have netted them as much as £14,000.

The match was originally scheduled for Tuesday, October 23, the night United played at Dynamo Kiev, but was postponed because Mossley’s Manchester Premier Cup tie at Chadderton took preference.

Tameside Council are happy for the game to go ahead at Seel Park, which they own, providing a number of minor improvements are made to the ground.

The game is not all ticket but, to ease congestion at the turnstile, Mossley ask fans to buy tickets in advance. They went on sale last Saturday priced £7 for adults and £4 children. A limited number of stand seats are available at the same price on a first come, first-served basis.

Mossley reserves have a friendly against Huddersfield & District League side Diggle tonight at Seel Park (7.30) when manager Gerry Quinn will be giving a run out to new signing Brighton Mugadza.

The 21-year-old Zimbabwe-born winger has been captured from West Riding League side Bay Athletic.

In last week’s reserve-team match against Marsden, Mossley’s midfield player Leevan Brown had the misfortune of becoming the second Lilywhites player this season to break his leg.

Jason Beckford, who quit as Mossley manager in the summer, is scouting for Coca-Cola Championship club Plymouth Argyle.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Bridlington 0 FC United 3

Stuart Brennan

FC UNITED have top spot in their sights after racking up a sixth successive win and pulling off their first league double of the season.

The Rebels can edge ahead of leaders Curzon Ashton on goal difference if they win at Clitheroe next week, as the Tameside outfit are involved in the FA Cup.

And FC manager Karl Marginson says there is a healthy rivalry growing with Curzon, who were promoted with his team last season and lost a tense League Challenge Cup final as the Rebels did the double.

"We haven't played them yet, but they have done really well so far and are still unbeaten in the league. But I saw them at Bamber Bridge recently when they were lucky to get a result," he said.

"We have already had a form blip, and it will be interesting to see how they cope when their comes. They also have three of our old players in Rhodri Giggs, Alex Mortimer and Joz Mitten, so that all adds a bit of spice to the rivalry." Against Bridlington, who were hammered 6-0 at Gigg Lane in August, Aaron Burns made it five goals in five games since he joined FC on a temporary basis to set them on their way to another victory, and Jerome Wright added a second shortly after the interval.

That set the stage for the Rebels' own showman Rory Patterson, who confirmed himself as top scorer in the UniBond League first division north with his 16th of the season, a classy lob over the keeper with the outside of his foot.

"That was typical Rory," said Marginson. "He had his back to goal, and just sneaked a little look over his shoulder, saw the keeper off his line and came up with a great finish. He comes up with unexpected goals like that all the time."

Now FC are sweating on the results of the scan on last season's top scorer Stuart Rudd, who damaged knee ligaments a fortnight ago and may be out for the season.

The scan had to be delayed until the swelling on the knee reduced, and there has been a further delay in waiting for the specialist's report, but Rudd is expecting a result later today.

FC United take the points at Queensgate

A fabulous atmosphere at the Lane Rental Queensgate Stadium as the travelling hordes of FC United fans saw Town able to claim the 11th-highest gate outside of the Football League.


The 1006-strong attendance fell short of the hoped for 1500, but six coachloads heading east that would have made the difference were thwarted by an accident that closed the M62 and turned back to Manchester.

With Town eager to avenge a 6-0 hiding handed out at Gigg lane back in August, Ash Berry's young side shot out of the blocks and went close through leading scorer Neil Towler after only two minutes.

It then went horribly wrong for Town after just nine minutes however, as FC launched their first serious raid of the game. Chris Baguley chipped over the top, and Carl Giblin looked to have a fairly simple task of nodding heading back to his 'keeper Mike Price, but left his header yards short, and Aaron Burns nipped in to guide the ball round price and into an empty net.

The noise levels from the throng that had virtually taken over the main stand went off the dial, and Town had to dig deep for the next few minutes to quieten the expectant crowd. They did this splendidly, and could have been back on terms on 12 minutes, with Dean Lackie offering a good chance for Towler on the edge of the 18-yard box, but his shot fizzed inches wide.

The supply line was reversed in Town's next attack, with Towler turning provider to Lackie, who looked to have got clear on goal only for Rob Nugent to slide in with a brilliantly timed tackle. Luke Smith then sent a 25-yard free-kick whistling over 'keeper Sam Ashton's bar as Town desperately tried to get on terms.

It was a far cry from the one-sided affair back in August, with Town now clearly giving as good as they got, and after Nugent had sent a header over the Town bar on 36 minutes, Town again went straight back on the attack with Harrison setting up Joe Brown for a shot which warmed Ashton's hands.

The game hinged on one pivotal moment just minutes after the break, as a superb through ball from Peter Naylor sent Towler scampering free of a static FC defence. The usually prolific hitman bore down on goal, but elected to take the ball around Ashton instead of shooting, and the 'keeper forced him too wide for a sight on goal. He laid the ball back to Lackie, who drove high over the bar and a golden opportunity was gone.

United showed no such profligacy as they roared straight to the other end and Jerome Wright shrugged off two limp challenges to stride into the era and fire home.

The league's top scorer Rory Patterson had been well shackled by the Town defence as the hour mark approached, but a player of such quality was not going to give in easily, and only needed a sniff of the ball inside the box on 56 minutes to send an opportunist chip over Price for FC's third.

The goal knocked the stuffing out of Town, who had given everything up until that moment and had never looked second best at any point, and manager Ash Berry immediately began substitutions with another crowded week of cup football approaching.

Adam Smith was the pick of the replacements with another solid 25 minutes, and set up Brown for a good late chance which Ashton did well to beat out, but FC never looked likely to relinquish their lead as the clock ticked down.

Despite the outcome, Berry was not too downcast, saying "Their crowd can be worth a point in a league like this, when players are used to playing in front of 200 at the most, and I think it certainly distracted our lads at times.

"We looked the better side for a lot of the game, and only two mistakes really made the difference. Anyone who was at the game back in August can see the progress and the way the team is going."

A fantastic afternoon for everybody connected with the club despite the result, with deserved plaudits for the overworked bar staff, who had a non-stop shift of some seven hours, with the FC fans affording nothing but praise for the Queensgate set-up.

Town: Price, Rouse (Parker 50), L.Smith, Giblin, Naylor, Lackie, Dexter A.Smith 65), Harratt, Brown, Towler (Carter 60), Harrison.

Van Monster man of the match: Dean Lackie.

Last Updated: 05 November 2007 10:14 AM

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Diary of a groundhopper


Saturday September 15 2007

Fleetwood Town 2 FC United of Manchester 1

Rod Allsworth, the PA announcer at Fleetwood, has been inviting me up to his club for over a year and today’s FA Cup first qualifying round tie seems a good time to oblige him. He reserves me a ticket for this all-ticket clash and assures me of a friendly welcome. This seems like a challenge, so off I trot!

I was at FCUM’s first ever match and was highly critical of their fans. The NLP received two psychopathic rants about me (males) and two perfectly reasoned pleas for me to give them a second chance (females). This afternoon was to be that second chance, with over a thousand away fans travelling to the north-west coast today.

I arrive at Highbury very early to ensure I get a parking space. The people manning the ticket collection table are extremely helpful and the boy who sells me a programme (£1.50) is politeness personified. All the stewards and community police officers are good-natured and helpful. A striking first impression.

Rod gives me a guided tour of the ground, pointing out which parts are to be refurbished and explains his chairman’s plans for the future. This involves a huge investment in local youngsters’ teams.

It is a typical northern stadium, with a small, raised stand opposite the main entrance with a smaller stand next to it. There is a new covered terrace behind one goal and an old-fashioned terrace behind the other. I am particularly impressed with the waitress service in the clubhouse that saves the usual crush to get one’s pint.

Kick-off is delayed for ten minutes due to queues at the turnstiles. Why can’t people get here on time to avoid inconveniencing those of us who plan our day properly?

Seconds before the start, United’s goalkeeper is felled by a bottle of water from the Town fans. He receives treatment but is soon on the floor again after being hit by another missile. The referee takes the players off. The morons are situated in the Percy Ronson stand, named after the holder of Fleetwood’s record appearances. What a disgraceful way to celebrate his achievements.

When the match gets under way, the crowd of over 3,000 creates a feverish atmosphere. Fleetwood take the lead but FCUM deservedly equalise before the break.

At half time, I survey the banners. There is a hand-painted ‘‘In 77 it was Docherty’’ on an old sheet and a more professional offering ‘‘2 Utds 1 soul’’. A big cheer goes up when Man Utd’s win against Everton is announced. I thought this new club was formed to cut all ties with the old one?

The second half isn’t a classic. Town have a man sent off but still have enough strength and know how to fend off a side that looks to have reached its level.

As for Fleetwood, the people are exceptionally friendly. It’s just a pity their hard work was spoiled by a few idiots.

Rebels gear up for Bridlington


KARL Marginson has warned his FC United players that they cannot afford any complacency as they travel to face lowly Bridlington Town.

The Rebels smashed six unanswered goals past the Yorkshire outfit at Gigg Lane in August and go into the game in top form after five straight wins.

A win would take second-placed FC to within three points of Unibond League first division north leaders Curzon Ashton.

"Bridlington have brought in five or six new players since we beat them, and they drew at Ossett, one of the best sides in the division, last week despite going down to nine men," Marginson said.

FC's run of form continued with a 5-0 midweek mauling of Bamber Bridge in the President's Cup.

Defender Rob Nugent faces a fitness test and Cayne Hanley may return in place of Jamie Baguley, but the midfield will remain the same.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Reds’ boost in bid to find their own home


MANCHESTER City Council has thrown its considerable weight behind FC United’s plans to move from Gigg Lane and find their own permanent home.

Council leader Richard Leese says he shares the club’s vision to provide community facilities within the city and he will help them in their search.

Leese is reported as telling a Supporters Direct meeting in Manchester that the council is ‘really convinced by the vision FC United set out’.

The reds hope to be in their new home within five years but around £5 million to £8 million is needed to turn the dream into reality and the purchase of suitable land is the biggest stumbling block.

The council’s backing is therefore invaluable.

This news and further plans were revealed to members at the club’s annual general meeting at the weekend.

The club’s biggest financial outlay is the rent money they pay to Bury to hire Gigg Lane for matches.

A spokesman for FC said: "We only rent the ground on match days and therefore don’t have a base from which to work and our income is going out to other organisations, such as Bury Football Club. Getting our own ground is essential to the future of the club and it also needs to be part of the community."

Plans showing concept designs of what any new stadium could look like were revealed to members and a development fund has been set up for people to donate towards the dream.

Rebels go goal-happy


GOAL-happy FC United gave Bamber Bridge the Hallowe'en horrors as they ended their cup hoodoo with a 5-0 victory at Radcliffe last night.

Young midfielders Chris Baguley and Jerome Wright led the rout, giving Bamber a torrid time in a scintillating first-half of the UniBond League's President's Cup clash.

They were both hauled off by manager Karl Marginson, in an almost sympathetic substitution early in the second-half after helping the Rebels open up a five-goal lead.

FC went into the game on the back of four straight wins and hoped to put down a marker for the league clash with fellow promotion contenders Bridge in just over a fortnight.

Bamber lie two points behind FC in the league with a game in hand and have the best defensive record in the division but that statistic was made to look sickly as Marginson's side ripped into them from the off.

Chief tormentor was Wright, who made his intentions known in the second minute when he scored with an emphatic drive.


Eight minutes later, Wright was at it again as he fed off raking passes from Chris Baguley, himself in imperious form, alongside brother Jamie, making his first start for the club.

This time Wright left Telford for dead and weighed up the options before squaring it for Chris Baguley to stroke in the second.

The younger of the two Baguley brothers curled in a trademark free-kick on 20 minutes to virtually wrap the tie up.

It was four by half-time as Jamie Baguley got in on the act, slipping a smart pass through for another midfielder, Nicky Platt, to steal through and smash his shot past hapless keeper Graham Bennett.

Strikers Peter Thomson and Aaron Burns played a full part in the first-half rout without scoring, but former United reserve Burns made it four goals in four appearances with a thumping far post header from a corner.

Rebel Reds announce £40,000 loss

By Liam Chronnell

NON-LEAGUE giants FC United lost £40,000 in the last financial year.

The UniBond League Division One North outfit announced the deficit at Sunday's annual meeting.

Falling attendances, the cost of ground-sharing with Bury, and the introduction of reserve and youth teams, as well as a club development officer, all contributed to a fall in income, though Reds officials remain upbeat.

FC general manager Andy Walsh said: "In our first year we had a surplus and decided we would employ a club development officer as we needed to show community funders that we were serious. We also wanted to set up reserve and youth teams and all those things cost us £75,000 which, with grant funding, came down to about £60,000.

"A significant part of our outgoings are matchday operating costs which are far in excess of those faced by other clubs at our level because we play at such a large ground and need to employ 40 staff. But we still expect to hit something like break even for the current year."

The financial loss has reinforced the desire of the breakaway club to surge ahead with plans for their own ground.

The Gigg Lane tenants, who are looking to move to a 5,000-capacity stadium in five years, were given a major boost this week after a meeting with Manchester City Council.

The Rebels were praised for their "vision" by leader of the council, Sir Richard Leese, who said the council would aid the club in their search for a suitable site for a new ground.

Back on the pitch, Karl Marginson's team as they continued their impressive form when they secured a fourth successive victory against Ossett Albion.

The Reds received an early fright when Shane Kelsey put the visitors in front after just 35 seconds. But goals either side of half-time from Rory Patterson, including the prolific hitman's 15th goal of the season, put United in control - and Peter Thomson completed the 3-1 win.

United, who took on Bamber Bridge in last night's President's Cup, travel to Bridlington on Saturday.

1 November 2007
5:34am today