Monday, December 31, 2007

Fans Boycott a Storming Success

By Dale Haslam

On a landmark day in the history of FC United - a club whose fans are famed for making a huge racket wherever they go - it was the silence that rang out around the Tameside Stadium that spoke loudest.

In a well organised and brilliantly executed boycott, only 20 or so fans of the Bury-based outfit were visible among the 297 in attendance, with an estimated 1,500 refusing to trek to Ashton for the puzzling 12.45pm kick-off arranged at the whim of an internet television channel and without the approval of both clubs.

A few miles away at the home of Abbey Hey - just as captain Rob Nugent was powering home United's second, building on Simon Carden's first-half tap in - about 500 reds were watching the first-place reserves outfit beat nearest league rivals Club AZ.

It meant that for the first time in the club's short history, as the first-team shirts put on an impressive display on the field, there was no singing, no merriment, no smiling young faces or joy expressed off it.

The mood of the day was reminiscent of the emotional Sunday back in May 2005 when 100 or so Big United' fans dressed in black to mourn the loss of their club to current owner Malcolm Glazer, but those taking part will this time know that, unlike on that dismal Cardiff afternoon, they've won their battle.

The Curzon fans, who have seen their savvy team rise to the top of the table in a promising five months, seemed to have no problem with having the league puppet them about on their Saturday afternoon.

One middle-aged man queuing up for a much-needed steaming cup of coffee at half time seemed to sum up the apathy, or just downright stubbornness, of his fellow Curzon supporters.

"What's the point in staying away? It won't achieve anything. People need to realise it's not the 1960s anymore. You just have to get on with it," he said.

But, according to some of those who do have the power to change the status quo, that doesn't appear to be the case.

The magnitude of the boycott certainly seemed to home with today's grim-faced match commentator John Warrington, head of In Vision, who said he is confident such a situation will not be allowed to take place in future.

Speaking at half-time, he said: "It is hugely disappointing that the attendance is so low for everyone involved, especially Curzon Ashton, who have lost out on a big slice of revenue.

"When the board of FC United announced that they would be in favour of a boycott of this game, I was in Las Vegas and I was disappointed that Andy Walsh was not prepared to wait just one more day until I got back to discuss the issue with me so we could have talked it through."

He added: "As it is, I cannot see any club being shown more than once before the play-offs on a Saturday.

"But when there are concerns of the change of times, we will certainly be prepared to hold discussions with the league in order to find a solution."

Indeed, Mr Warrington admitted he did ask the league if they would move the fixture back to 3pm, with In Vision showing the game in full at 5pm. The league refused.

League secretary Phil Bradley was at today's game, but wasn't too prepared to make himself available for a comment. He left right on the final whistle.

Curzon chairman Harry Galloway said that, while he expected a low attendance, it was still a blow for his club to miss out on an estimated £10,000 windfall from a bumper attendance.

FC United of Manchester general secretary Lindsey Robertson, meanwhile, said she was delighted with the success of the boycott - and that, according to Mr Warrington, it could avoid kick-off times changing in future without agreement of the clubs involved.

She said: "It just shows how strongly the supporters feel about this matter. I know it is hard for them because they want to support the team, especially in such a big game, but it's important we stand up for what we believe in.

"If what has happened today provokes discussion about whether this will happen again, it has been worth it and it will show how essential it is for supporters to have a voice."


Sunday, December 30, 2007


(FC United general manager)

(No on-line content)

TELEVISION and foot­ball makes for a bit­tersweet relation­ship, the vast sums of money that TV companies are willing to pay for broadcasting matches reflects the popularity of the sport.

TV has helped lift the profile and exposure of the game to an all-time high - but there is a down­side, with the match-going sup­porter left guessing on what day and at what time a match is to take place.

The Northern Premier League has struck a deal for showing matches over the Internet with specialist broadcaster lnvision.

The deal has been in place for a couple of years with clubs in the league benefiting from the odd game being shown on the web.

Without any warning or expla­nation, Invision and the league decided that this weekend was the right time to broadcast a live Saturday match.

UEFA rules debar matches being broadcast between 14:45 and 17:15 so a proposal was made to change the kick-off time to 12:45.

The chosen game was FC United of Manchester's away game at Curzon Ashton Both clubs objected to the change but the league imposed the decision regardless.

As new members of the league and aware of problems caused by TV deals elsewhere, FC United met with league officials in July to ask about details of the league's obli­gations to the TV company.

League officials gave assur­ances that games would not be moved for TV without the agreement of the competing clubs.

The league now denies that any assurances were given and have refused to discuss the matter fur­ther.

As a result of these assurances not being maintained and because the league ignored the express wishes of both clubs, the board of FC United reluctantly asked for supporters to attend the reserve fixture instead of going to the first team game.

As a members-owned club it is not surprising that supporters heeded the call, with 467 attend­ing the reserve fixture and just a handful travelling to Curzon Ashton.

The stand taken by FC United's board has been criticised by some for being narrow-minded and interpreted as a failure to embrace the opportunity to gain the expo­sure offered by TV.

Nothing could be further from the truth. We are aware of how important TV is to the game; the publicity it generates and the cash revenues are vital ingredients.

Our objection is that assur­ances we believe we were given have been reneged upon and that the league has failed to explain why it was necessary to inconven­ience supporters.

The evaporation of these assur­ances follows a similar pattern to the broken promises made when the top flight started to have more games televised.

One thousand supporters attending a game at our level will generate in the region of £10,000 through gate revenue, catering, bar spend etc.

This income needs to be pro­tected and built upon not risked in pursuit of an as yet unproven Internet audience.

Supporters of our club travel in numbers; they are embraced by some, viewed with suspicion by others and seen as ripe for exploitation by a few.

When we left the North West Counties League, one league offi­cial, who opposed our acceptance two years previously, explained that he had a change of heart and recognised the benefit our sup­porters had brought to clubs in the league, generating 1250,000 a season for member clubs and the same again for the pubs and take­aways around the region.

In chasing a greater exposure for the Non-League game, our administrators need to be careful not to lose the existing audience with a disruption to kick-offs experienced higher up the Pyramid. Non-League clubs strug­gle to attract enough spectators through the gate so the exposure offered by TV is attractive and the numbers quoted for viewing fig­ures can be seductive, but it is the fan that turns up week in, week out that should be cherished.

The match-going fan generates cash every week. The TV compa­nies hope to raise revenue off the back of their coverage because advertisers wish to expose their Products to these supporters.

We are not burying our heads in the sand and recognise that some disruption to kick-off times is the inevitable price paid for the money given by the TV companies.

But the wishes of match-going fans must be paramount - other­wise what are we here for?

NLP Sunday, 30 December 2007


(No on-line content)

CURZON ASHTON were left counting the cost of FC United fans' decision to boy­cott yesterday's game after just 297 turned up at the Tameside Stadium,

Chairman Harry Galloway believes the UniBond North side could have lost £10,000 after the Red Rebels fans' no-show, following their objec­tion to the 12.45pm kick-off.

"What could we do about it?" said a dejected Galloway, who watched his side slip to a 2-0 defeat against United.

"I think it could have been prevented by the league -there was no need for it to come to this at all.

"Of course we are disap­pointed by the gate because we were expecting at least another 1,000 on top of that.

"There were about 10 to 20 FC United fans in disguise around the ground, but we had budgeted for far more.

"It has cost us about £10k and for a club like Curzon Ashton that is a lot of money."

FC United chiefs had asked fans to boycott the game after it was chosen for UniBond TV - and an early kick-off.

Despite accepting United's reasons, Galloway added: "It's written into their constitution that they are not going to be pushed about by TV compa­nies with regard to kick-offs but I would never support a boycott from our supporters on this issue."

Meanwhile, a record crowd of 467 watched FC United reserves beat Club AZ 3-1 in a home top-of-the-table Cheshire League Division Two clash.

NLP Sunday, 30 December 2007

Friday, December 28, 2007

Marginson rallies Rebels

Tony Glennon

FC United manager Karl Marginson regards Saturday's trip to leaders Curzon Ashton as a chance for his faltering Rebels to blast their way back into the UniBond first division north championship race.

Marginson's men have slipped to sixth after collecting just seven points from their last seven games, the latest of which was a disappointing 1-1 draw at rock-bottom Radcliffe on Boxing Day.

But victory over Curzon in the 12.45pm Tameside Stadium clash would take FC back to within nine points of the summit to reassert their claim for a third successive divisional title as they head into the New Year.

"We've had a difficult few weeks but a win tomorrow would repair a lot of the damage we've sustained at a single stroke," said Marginson.

"We simply have to keep going because a glance at the league table tells you the race for the championship is still wide-open."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Boycott Backing


FC UNITED manager Karl Marginson has backed his fans’ boycott of the team’s visit to Curzon Ashton this Saturday, December 22.

The club’s board requested the action after the UniBond League moved the kick-off time from 3pm to 12.30pm to accommodate their internet live TV coverage.

The move has angered members of the club, which was partly formed with a remit to counter the ills of modern football, including the changing of kick-off times to the detriment of supporters.

Marginson said: "I fully support our fans in this action and I did even consider pulling the team out to show people that you cannot treat football supporters with such disregard as this. We decided that the punishments that would be imposed on the club meant it was advisable to play the match but that doesn’t alter the fact that I support the boycott.

"It will be a good test for our players to play without the vocal backing and a wake up call to some of them who have got used to having 2,000 supporters singing their name.

"Maybe some of our squad will realise again how lucky they are to have the support that they do and that has to be a good thing."

An event will take place the same day at FC’s reserve game against Eagle Sport at Abbey Hey’s Abbey Stadium, kick-off 2pm. For more details visit:

Boro share spoils with Reds

Source: This is Lancashire

By Marc Higginson

BOROUGH remain rooted to the bottom of the Unibond table, without a win to their name.

However, three of their seven draws have now come against sides in the top five and, once again, they were the better side but failed to make their dominance count.

They looked odds-on for that first win when Craig Dawson put his side ahead, but FC United refused to throw in the towel and got their reward when Chris Baguley curled home a 25-yard free-kick five minutes from time.

Steve Howson, Gary Sampson and Michael Murray had all tested Reds keeper Sam Ashton before central defender Dawson rose to head home Sampson's corner after 41 minutes.

Borough couldn't find a second goal and paid the price when, with five minutes left on the clock, United's Baguley was brought down on the edge of the area.

The inspirational midfielder dusted himself down and curled a super free-kick around the wall and into the bottom corner.

In the end it took an assistant referee's flag to save a point for Borough. James Holden tapped the ball in after Lake parried a Baguley shot, only for the goal to be disallowed.

FC fans urged to boycott game

Source: Bury Times

By Marc Higginson

FC United fans have been asked to boycott their game with Curzon Ashton tomorrow.

United's board are urging supporters not to attend after television company In Vision moved the kick-off time from 3pm to 12.45pm for it to be shown live on the internet.

FC, who were founded in 2005, after American businessman Malcolm Glazer took over Manchester United, oppose the idea of games being moved to suit television audiences at the inconvenience of spectators.

Jerome Wright and Adam Turner return to the United squad after suspension, but top scorer Rory Patterson is still out.

Striker Stuart Rudd has had a setback in his return from a knee injury, and is set to be sidelined for another month.

Skipper Dave Chadwick and Josh Howard should return within a fortnight.

Radcliffe Borough director of football Peter Coyne has some juggling to do with his squad before the home clash with Clitheroe.

Cammell Laird are discussing terms with goalkeeper Sean Lake, Glyn Barker has left the club to go travelling and influential midfielder Lee Connell could be out for up to six weeks with ankle ligament damage picked up in the draw at Bradford.

Lake and Barker have yet to be replaced, but there is plenty of new competition in midfield with 21-year-old Maine Road captain Neil Chappell signing permanently and Bradford Park Avenue's Mark Jones joining on loan for a month.

Accrington Stanley teenagers Andy Smith and Joseph Shelmedine have joined on work experience.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Suffering Boro miss out again

By Marc Higginson
Radcliffe Boro 1 FC United 1,
Unibond League Division One North

EVEN the most pessimistic of scriptwriters would struggle to chronicle the hard luck stories down at Radcliffe Borough this season.

Once again Radcliffe were the better team and, once again, Boro were left with a point when it was three they deserved.

A quick glance at the UniBond table shows that Peter Coyne's men are marooned at the bottom without a single league victory all season.

What it doesn't show is that three of their seven draws have come against teams in the top five -- leaders Curzon Ashton, second-placed Bradford Park Avenue and breakaway club FC United of Manchester.

If ever there was a sign that a team can more than hold their own in this division - that statistic proves it.

However, draws are no good and the hard luck tales will continue without a bit more quality and a touch more ruthlessness.

Boro looked odds on for that elusive first win when Craig Dawson put his side ahead, but FC United refused to throw in the towel and got their reward when Chris Baguley curled home a 25-yard free-kick on 85 minutes.

"We just couldn't get the second goal to give ourselves breathing space," said Boro director of football Coyne.

"But credit to FC United. They showed their quality from the free-kick. We are just gutted we didn't get the three points."

It was Boro's big day, with 1,290 packing into Stainton Park for the inaugural competitive fixture between the two sides - and Glyn Barker almost gave his side the lead when he broke through, but shot over, after just 90 seconds.

The home side were inspired by the large crowd, and Steve Howson, Gary Sampson and Michael Murray all tested Reds keeper Sam Ashton with efforts before Dawson's opener on 41 minutes.

Central defender Dawson, who is being courted by Premiership giants Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers, rose highest to power home Sampson's corner and send his side into the break a goal in front.

Boro made most of the running in the first half, but sat back and invited pressure in the second as Chris Baguley became more and more influential with some dangerous runs from midfield.
Simon Carden brought a fine save from keeper Sean Lake after Boro's defence was split open, before the impressive Matty Taylor made a crucial tackle at the other end by stopping Barker in his tracks.

The equaliser came with just five minutes left on the clock when Baguley was brought down on the edge of the area. The inspirational midfielder dusted himself down and curled a super free-kick around the wall and into the bottom corner.

Boro were devastated, but it could have been much worse on 90 minutes when the visitors had a goal disallowed.

Visibly lifted after restoring parity, FC United were the only side capable of a winner and they thought they had it when James Holden tapped home after Lake could only parry another shot from Baguley.

But the linesman raised his flag and Boro were able to keep a semblance of Christmas cheer from a game they once again impressed in.

Boro: Lake, Murray, Sampson, Kelly, Flynn, Dawson, Jones, Forrest (Chappell), Howson, Barker, Waine. Not used: Manning, Smith.


Monday, December 24, 2007

Bumper crowd expected for big derby

Source: The Bolton News

Bumper crowd expected for big derby
By Marc Higginson

RADCLIFFE Borough will be hoping to capitalise on FC United's lack of match practice when they host their high-flying neighbours this afternoon.

The Rebel Reds have not played throughout December because of the poor weather, while Radcliffe are in confident mood after snatching a draw at the death against promotion favourites Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday.

Boro expect to break their Stainton Park attendance record, with as many as 2,500 fans expected at the game, and Coyne is banking on the occasion bringing the best out in his players.

"Any win is crucial for us at the moment, but to do it against FC United would be amazing," said Coyne. "Everyone wants to beat FC United.

"They know all about us, and I doubt that they will be taking us lightly. They know that we are not playing like a bottom of the league team.

"They might not have played for a while, but they will be ready for it. They have a big enough squad."

The visitors will have top-scorer Rory Patterson, Jerome Wright and Adam Turner missing through suspension while Lee Connell is a doubt for Boro.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bleau set for FC debut


FC UNITED face a double-header of UniBond League Division One North fixtures this week as they look to boost their chances of gaining their third successive promotion.

Fourth-placed FC host lowly Woodley Sports at Gigg Lane on Saturday, December 22, and visit rock bottom Radcliffe Borough on Boxing Day, Wednesday, December 26. Both games will kick-off at 3pm.

New FC signing Micha Bleau is almost certain to make his debut at centre half against Woodley as Adam Turner is suspended following a sending off.

Manager Karl Marginson said: “Micha is a strong lad who has played professionally at Halifax so he’s a good signing for us. With the suspensions we’ve got and his impressive form in training he should get his chance on Saturday.”

Meanwhile, Rory Patterson still has a two-game suspension to serve and Jerome Wright will also be missing on a one-game ban.

FC have not played yet in December due to their scheduled matches with Chorley and Ossett Albion being called off due to the effects of bad weather.

Reds boycott

By Staff Sports Reporter

A WAR of words has broken out between an internet broadcaster and FC United, whose board is urging its fans to boycott a crunch match.

The breakaway club travel to UniBond League Division One North leaders Curzon Ashton on December 29.

But United's board is urging supporters not to attend after television firm In Vision moved the kick-off time from 3pm to 12.45 so it could be shown live on the internet.

FC, who were founded in 2005, after American businessman Malcolm Glazer took over Manchester United, oppose the idea of games being moved to suit television audiences at the inconvenience of spectators.

In a statement, the board claimed In Vision had given assurances no kick-off time would change for live screenings without the agreement of both clubs.

It said: "As a result of these assurances not being maintained and that the league management committee have gone against the expressed wishes of both clubs, the board of FC United and club officials will not be present at the fixture.

"In line with that position, the board requests that supporters exercise their power to influence decisions, by also not attending.

"For those who do not and seek an alternative it is hoped an event' at our reserve fixture against Eagle Sports at Abbey Hey on the same day at 2pm will be held."

Curzon Ashton stand to lose about £10,000 in lost revenue from the boycott, which has been heavily backed by United fans who have signed a petition against the kick-off alteration.

Curzon chairman Harry Galloway said they would prefer the game to start at 3pm and were disappointed to be losing a cash injection, but they plan to fulfil the fixture to abide by club rules.

Reacting to FC United's statement, In Vision said: "The board of In Vision would like to categorically state that at no time were any promises made in respect of changing kick-off times on a Saturday. Therefore, the key point put forward by the board of FCUM against moving kick-off times and broken promises is invalid simply because no promises were ever made."

FC will return to action for the first time in two weeks when they face Woodley Sports at Gigg Lane on Saturday - and at Radcliffe Borough four days later.

Their previous two games, including last Saturday's trip to Ossett Albion, were postponed due to the weather.


Wednesday 19th December 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

FC Carl Zeiss spielt in Riesa in Gruppe B

Source: Thüringische Landeszeitung

Riesa/Jena. (dpa/tlz) Fußball-Bundesligist MSV Duisburg ersetzt Lech Posen beim Hallenmasters am 5. Januar in Riesa und komplettiert damit das Starterfeld. In der Vorrundengruppe B kommt es damit zum Familienduell zwischen Duisburgs Torhüter Tom Starke und seinem Bruder Manuel, der beim Landesligisten 1. FC Lok Leipzig spielt. Außerdem treffen beide Teams auf den Zweitligisten FC Carl Zeiss Jena.

In der Gruppe A spielen FC Energie Cottbus, FC Erzgebirge Aue und die britische Kultmannschaft FC United of Manchester. Das Turnier wird vom Deutschen Sport-Fernsehen (DSF) live übertragen. Der Sieger erhält ein Preisgeld von 5000 Euro.

Google Translation
Riesa / Jena. (Dpa / tlz) MSV Duisburg's team replaced Lech Poznan at the indoor Masters on 5 January in Riesa, and thus completes the starting grid. In the preliminary round group B is thus to the family duel between Duisburg goalkeeper Tom Starke and his brother Manuel, when Landesligisten 1st FC Lok Leipzig plays. Both teams also meet in the second division FC Carl Zeiss Jena.

In Group A play FC Energie Cottbus, FC Erzgebirge Aue and the British cult team FC United of Manchester. The tournament is organized by the German sports television (DSF) live. The winner receives a cash prize of 5000 euros.

Friday, December 14, 2007

FC United fans in boycott over TV kick-off switch

Source: The Chorley Citizen

Fans of UniBond Division One side FC United of Manchester look set to boycott a match in a protest at the kick-off time being shifted to suit television schedules.

FC United's clash with Curzon Ashton was due to kick off at 3pm on Saturday, December 29, but will now kick off at 12.45pm to allow the game to be shown live on the League's own internet TV channel In-Vision.

Both clubs had informed Unibond League officials that they were opposed to the switch, and the league had previously assured clubs that Saturday games would not be televised live.

Club officials of FC United say they will not attend the fixture - and have requested that supporters also boycot the match.

A statement from the FC United board on the club's website said: "TV exposure and the revenue it generates are important to football. There are times when moving a fixture is unavoidable and you only have to look at Harrogate Railway's recent televised FA Cup game to see that in some cases it is even desirable.

"But to renege on previous assurances, seek the views of clubs about a change to the kick off time and then disregard the views of the competing clubs and its supporters in this manner is unacceptable."

"The board of FC United is asking supporters to show their opposition to the League's decision by not going to the game against Curzon.

"It is regrettable that Curzon Ashton may suffer financially from the consequence of this change to the kick off time, especially given their support in opposing the switch. However the board feel that it is important that a message is sent to the League that the views of the match-going fan must take precedence and those fans should not be inconvenienced in favour of a potential Internet audience"

"All supporters are free to make up their own mind as to whether they support the call not to attend but the board of FC United believes that this particular issue is intrinsically linked to the disillusionment with top-flight football shared by many fans, that led to the formation of our club and as such a strong message needs to be communicated to the League."

Rebels boss hails boy Bleau

Source: This is Lancashire

By Liam Chronnell

FC UNITED boss Karl Marginson has tipped new boy Micah Bleau for a bright future.

The former Halifax Town centre-back will make his debut for the breakaway club at UniBond Division One North play-off rivals Ossett Albion tomorrow.

"He looks a good prospect," said Marginson, of the 19-year-old defender. "He is strong, athletic and enthusiastic - and deserves his chance."

But the Rebels have been hit by a triple blow with top-scorer Rory Patterson, Jerome Wright and Adam Turner missing through suspension.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Nuge boost

Tony Howard


FC UNITED’S influential centre half Rob Nugent has been passed fit for the promotion six-pointer at Ossett Albion on Saturday, December 15.

The cancellation of last weekend’s game against Chorley has given Nugent an extra week to recover from an on-going injury and he will replace the suspended Adam Turner at the heart of United’s defence as they travel to Yorkshire in the UniBond First Division North.

Nugent’s inclusion is a welcome boost as the reds will be without top scorer Rory Patterson up front and in-form winger Jerome Wright. They will both serve suspensions for amassing five bookings.

Ossett are on equal points with FC in the last two play-off places and go into the clash on the back of an impressive 4-1 drubbing of Garforth Town, who defeated United 1-0 in the league back in August.

Manager Karl Marginson said: “Nuge coming back is a huge boost for us and the Chorley match being called off is a rare stroke of luck in that respect.

“However, we were gutted by the cancellation because we were coming through a bad patch and wanted to carry on with that.

“Ossett are a good side and they showed that by beating Garforth, who impressed us earlier in the season at Gigg Lane.

“Nugent will add strength to our defence with Adam Turner missing through suspension.

“Adam has taken his chance this season and done himself a lot of favours. It’s a shame he has to serve a suspension for a red card that was unjustly awarded.

“We’ll obviously miss Rory up front so big Peter Thomson will get his chance to impress. He’s shown already that he’s a good player with a great first touch for such a big man and I can assure the fans that there’s more to come from him as he gets his match fitness.

“We are looking forward to getting back into action and it’s a big game in terms of the promotion places so it’ll be a cracker.”

The game will take place at Ossett’s Queen’s Terrace ground. On the gate admission is free for children and costs £6 for adults.

The match will kick-off at 3pm.

FC striker won't need an operation


SUPER striker Stuart Rudd has given FC United an early Christmas present with the news that he will not need surgery on a troublesome knee injury.

The big number nine has been missing for most of the season with the cruciate ligament complaint and it was feared that he would need to be operated on, ruling him out for the rest of the campaign.

But a visit to a specialist on Monday morning resulted in the Wiganer getting the all clear.

The news could not have come at a better time for FC as they face losing current forward Aaron Burns in January. He will leave to join a league club when his contract with Cardiff City expires.

Burns has spent the last two months at United due to league rules stipulating that he is not allowed to play above UniBond level and now Rudd looks set for a February return to the side.

Manager Karl Marginson said: “It’s great news for Ruddy and for us as he has had a really frustrating season.

“Aaron has come to us and done an amazing job but he won’t be here forever so the news that Stuart will play again this season couldn’t have come at a better time for us.

“It’s not just his quality up front that we have missed but his presence too.

“It’s been a really tough season for us with many disruptions and that began with Ruddy getting injured in pre-season. He came back and got injured again, which sums up how it’s gone for us. Getting him back would give us a real lift.”

Rebels look for slice of luck

By Liam Chronnell


Ossett Albion v FC United

FC UNITED boss Karl Marginson is praying for a change of fortune.

The Rebels manager's problems continue to grow ahead of their trip to play-off rivals Ossett Albion.

Missing several key personnel to long-term injuries, Marginson has been hit by a triple blow with top-scorer Rory Patterson, Jerome Wright and Adam Turner all suspended for Saturday's clash in Yorkshire.

And the United chief admits it could not have come at a worse time.

"It's another blow," he said. "We're short on numbers at the moment but we've just got to get on with it.

"Ossett are right up there in the play-offs with ourselves and will be a tough nut to crack.

"But if we can keep it solid at the back I always fancy our chances because we are good going forwards. The game is all about scoring goals - and we can do that."

Despite have three players banned, Marginson is adamant his side have no problem with indiscipline.

He added: "I've had a bit of a word with the players but I'm not too concerned because some of the bookings have been a joke.

"Anyone who comes to watch us knows we're not a dirty team. Unfortunately, it's just one of those things that we've got to come to terms with at the moment."

The Reds' UniBond League Division North game against Chorley at Gigg Lane was the victim of a waterlogged pitch on Saturday - another setback, according to Marginson.

"We really wanted to play after ending our losing run - we wanted to keep it going," he said after FC secured a first win in four games on their last outing against Rossendale.

The United boss, meanwhile, has tipped new boy Micah Bleau for a bright future.

The former Halifax Town centre-back will make his debut for the breakaway club at Ossett at the weekend.

"He looks a good prospect," said Marginson, of the 19-year-old defender.

"He is strong, athletic and enthusiastic. He's been training with us for three weeks and he deserves his chance."

Rebels kick off boycott


FC United have urged their supporters to boycott the crunch promotion clash at Curzon Ashton on December 29 after a row with the UniBond League.

The league's management committee has insisted that the fixture between the teams currently top and fifth in the first division north, be switched to a 12.45pm kick-off.

The move is to enable the transmitting of the match by the league's own broadband television broadcaster NPLTV, which claims an average of 15,000 viewers globally a week.

Both clubs opposed the idea of the kick-off time being switched but the league says that the commercial advantages of the £100,000 paid for TV rights by Invision outweigh the concerns of the two clubs involved.

FC claim that the switch is against one of the founding principles of the club, which is that TV companies should not be allowed to dictate kick-off times.

The upshot is that a festive fixture which might reasonably have drawn a crowd of over 2,000 will probably now only get a three-figure attendance.

A statement put out by the club said: "The board of FC United is asking supporters to show their opposition to the league's decision by not going to the game against Curzon.


"It is regrettable that Curzon may suffer financially from the consequence of this change to the kick-off time, especially given their support in opposing the switch.

"However, the board feels that it is important that a message is sent to the league that the views of the match-going fan must take precedence and those fans should not be inconvenienced in favour of a potential internet audience.

"Curzon secretary Graham Shuttleworth said: "We were asked our views on a 12.45 kick -off and our response was that we wished to stay at three o'clock.

"We are opposed to it but are also mindful that within the UniBond League there is NPLTV, and that the league's management committee has the right to vary times and dates of fixtures.

"FC insist that they were given assurances that no fixtures would be switched for TV purposes without the agreement of both clubs, and that only midweek games would be shown live, with Saturday games being shown in a highlights package.

The league say this is the first Saturday game to be televised live this season.

Assistant league secretary Alan Allcock stated: "The only assurance given was that we would never change the date of a fixture to accommodate televising of a game."

FC United boycott threat


Matt Scott
Thursday December 13, 2007
The Guardian

FC United boycott threat

The Unibond League club Curzon Ashton could lose £10,000 in gate and catering revenue if a planned boycott by fans of FC United, the club formed by disaffected Manchester United supporters, goes ahead. FC United's board has urged fans not to travel to Curzon on December 29 after the league switched kick off to 12.45pm to accommodate an internet broadcast deal. One of FC United's founding principles was the protest at shifting kick-off times and both clubs have asked the league to reconsider. "We did oppose it but it is in the rules," added Curzon's Graham Shuttleworth. Curzon will receive £400 in facility fees for the broadcast but could lose thousands if the expected 1,200 travelling FC United fans do not attend.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Football coach's nightclub attack

Source: Rochdale Observer


PROFESSIONAL soccer coach Colin Bell ‘lost his cool’ on a dance-floor and left a man nursing a bloody nose.

Magistrates in Manchester heard that the FC United defender followed Paul Holt around the Manchester's Ritz nightclub before headbutting him in the face.

“It was a moment of madness which he deeply regrets,” his lawyer told the bench.

Bell, who coaches youngsters at Rochdale AFC, escaped a prison sentence and was given the maximum of 300 hours unpaid work for assaulting Mr Holt and causing him bodily harm.

The 24-year-old was also given a community order and ordered to pay £100 compensation to his victim, plus £60 costs.

Passing sentence the court told him: “We hope this has been a salutory lesson and the message is don't get drunk and start trouble with people”.

Prosecutor Norman Wilcock said Bell, of Bury Old Road, Heywood, had tried to goad Mr Holt into a fight.

At one stage he slapped him on the back and when confronted by door staff denied doing anything wrong. Minutes later he poked the victim several times with a rolled up poster and then attacked him.

John Kennerley, defending said Bell had acted ‘completely out of character’ due to the amount of alcohol he had consumed.

The men had been bumping into each other on the dance-floor “but he deeply regrets his behaviour and is full of remorse”, added Mr Kennerley.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The way we were

Source: IC Burton

Disenfranchised, alienated and angry, I turned my back on Villa Park on November 3 and headed north to get back in touch with football the way it used to be.

A Derby fan among the thousands of FC United who descended on Bridlington Town's Queensgate ground, my head was full of questions.

Fundamentally, they all boiled down to: "Is the football club, spawned from the bitterness at the Glazer brothers' take-over of Manchester United, taking on a life of its own?"

The sheer numbers turning up on the Yorkshire coast from Manchester (and they did all seem to be from that area - none of your Cockney Reds here) gave the first clue. Bridlington fans were outnumbered ten-to-one, as the FCUM fans spread out to all corners of the little ground.

Slogans on banners, such as "Together," "Rebels," "This is how it feels" indicated pride in the enterprise and a common feeling. But was the common feeling a love of Manchester United, of bitterness and resentment or was it a belief that FC United is a model for the future?

There is no doubt that the parent club still loom large in fans' minds but that is to be expected - after all, it's only two years or so since these people were helping to pack Old Trafford.

The songs won me over in the end. Players had their own songs and some of them were corkers. What about a version of the Sex Pistols "Anarchy in the UK" which has the line: "I know what I want and I know how to get it - destroy Glazer and Sky". That's something I can relate to.

Most poignantly, to my ears, was a straight version of "Sloop John B." In this context it seemed like a lament for a football club stolen from its supporters. With a lump in my throat, I found myself joining in.

FC United won 3-0.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Karl rallies his troops


FC UNITED boss Karl Marginson is urging the Rebels to seize the chance to get their faltering UniBond first division promotion bid firmly back on track when they entertain struggling Chorley tomorrow.

Marginson's men ended their worst-ever run of form with a 2-1 victory over Rossendale last weekend and the visit of the ailing Magpies, whose one and only league win this season was way back in August, presents them with an ideal opportunity to build on that much-needed success to get back to winning ways.

"Having ended our losing streak, it's vital we now endeavour to put a winning run together," said Marginson, whose FC side were in danger of slipping out of the play-off places prior to beating Dale, having lost four of their previous five games.

"But we must take nothing for granted against Chorley," he warned.

"They've been going through a bad time and haven't won in 14 league games, but that could make them tricky opponents because they'll be desperate to end that sequence against us."

FC United 2 Rossendale United 1

Joe Boyle


PUNCHES thrown in a tussle in the tunnel threatened to overshadow the on-field action in this battle of attrition.

The off-field problems started after Rossie manager Derek Egan and a member of the FC United backroom staff were told to leave the technical area after a heated disagreement.

Egan left the touchline and continued to watch the game from the entrance of the ‘caged tunnel’ to the changing rooms.

But shortly after Egan was sent off, FC United skipper Rory Patterson was substituted sporting a swollen eye from an incident on the field.

And as he passed Egan at the entrance to the tunnel, a scuffle started.

Several spectators then intervened before stewards stepped in to quell the fracas.

A rumbling discontent among spectators continued in the tunnel area as the match reached a conclusion.

But the home faithful’s simmering discontent was relieved when FC United snatched a late winner.

It was a cruel blow to Rossie, who had defended resolutely and deserved to take something from the contest.

But they were undone by Jerome Wright, who lobbed the ball into the net after picking up Kyle Ingham’s off-the-line headed clearance.

The Rossie defender again made a gallant attempt to prevent the ball going into the net but could not get high enough and the points went to United.

Derek Egan said both he and the FC United official were sent off for swearing but would not confirm if he was assaulted in the tunnel.

He said: ‘The ref sent us both off for swearing at each other. At the time we had four or five of their people in our technical area being threatening and abusive to our bench.

‘I would challenge anyone not to swear in those circumstances but the ref has taken the easy option because there was a lot of other stuff going on.’

Egan refused to expand on the tunnel incident and prefered to focus on his team.

He added: ‘The lads have done ever so well but it can be a cruel game sometimes. We deserved something out of the game but I have been saying that for a while.

‘We are more likely to concede when we have been going foward but we have done a lot of work. One or two players only think about going forward and do not think that if someone else is going then they need to stay.

‘I am pleased at the way they hung in there. They had to be disciplined and they hung in there and got a deserved equaliser.

‘But unfortunately they got another goal in the last few minutes. That is football.’

FC United general manager Andy Walsh said he did not see the incident in the tunnel and was happy with the stewarding of the game.

He said: ‘It is how you respond and it was over in a couple of minutes. At the end of the game we made sure that the players and officials left the pitch without further incident.’

The match was played at Radcliffe Borough, with Gigg Lane hosting an FA Cup tie.

And Rossendale started with the advantage of the slope and were first to create a chance when Watson headed into the side netting from Cook’s corner.

However straight from the resulting goal kick, Simon Carden’s through ball picked out Patterson – the league’s leading scorer – and he scampered clear and beat Rigby from close range.

The second half was only 11 minutes old when Egan was sent off but this seemed to motivate the visitors.

And Rossie equalised in the 76th minute when Mario Daniels wriggled free on the right and crossed for Tom Williams to net from six yards.

But with thee minutes left Wright popped up to net the winner.

Rossendale United: Lloyd Rigby, James Heywood (Steve Everett), Kyle Ingham, Joe Booth, Kevin Brown, Andrew Watson, Tom Williams (matt Edgington), John Turner, Mario Daniel, Ben Lloyd, Adam Cook (Ben Stanford).

FC United 2 Rossendale 1

Tony Howard


POACHER Jerome Wright shot down the Rossendale Stags to keep FC United in play-off contention.

Playing a ‘home’ game at Radcliffe due to Bury’s FA Cup commitments, FC responded to manager Margy’s pre-match calls for his side to adopt a siege mentality with a fittingly dogged performance.

The game was marred by the sending off of Stag’s boss Derek Egan in the second half, after he got his antlers in a twist during an altercation with reds striker Rory Patterson.

Patterson had been targeted from the start by the Rossendale back line, ably stewarded by Johnny Metgod-a-like Kevin Brown and the visitors took great delight in hoofing United’s Irish star at every opportunity.

But FC’s top poacher managed to evade the Stag’s defence for long enough to score the opener with just 11 minutes gone. Strike partner Aaron Burns turned beautifully on the edge of the box to feed Patterson, who emphatically netted his 17th of the season.

The game exploded in the second half as a melee ensued on the touchline. Egan was sent from the bench but he struggled to find his way to the dressing rooms.

Dale took advantage of the situation best and England youth international Tom Williams scored a tap in to restore parity, after good work from the odd-booted striker Mario Daniels.

Then Wright became a hunter possessed as he chased down the Stags.

He lobbed the ball into the night sky and after an eternity the snow-covered ball landed under the cross bar off the head of a defender. The win ended a three-game losing streak for FC.

The reds face Chorley at Gigg Lane on Saturday, without starman Rory Patterson, who is suspended for two games. All under-18s getting in free. Kick-off is at 3pm.

Patterson blow for Rebels boss

By Liam Chronnell

FC United v Chorley

UniBond League Division One North

KARL Marginson has been hit with more selection problems ahead of FC United's home clash with struggling Chorley.

Already without long-term absentees Stuart Rudd, Josh Howard and captain Dave Chadwick through injury, the Rebels boss must now cope with the loss of top-scorer Rory Patterson to suspension.

The Reds' 18-goal hitman has picked up a two match ban after collecting his 10th yellow card of the season.

And Marginson admits it could not have come at a worse time as the title-chasing Gigg Lane outfit prepare for a busy festive period.

"It's a big blow," said the United boss. "Any team would miss a player of Rory's ability but with the injuries we have at the moment - it's a nightmare."

Striker Peter Thomson is set to be handed his first league start since joining from Barrow - and Marginson has backed him to fill Patterson's prolific boots.

He added: "Thomo's a big lad and more of a target man in the Stuart Rudd mould. He's now got a chance to impress and give me a selection headache when Rory is available again."

The FC manager was also delighted to see his team end the worst run in the breakaway club's history.

Jerome Wright grabbed an 87th-minute winner to secure the Reds' first victory in four games after they defeated Rossendale 2-1 at Stainton Park.

In a game switched to Radcliffe Borough's ground due to Bury's FA Cup tie at Gigg Lane, the winger pounced on a goalkeeping error to seal the points.

Patterson's opened the scoring on 11 minutes, before the fiery Irishman was involved in the match's main talking point seven minutes after the break when, following his substitution, he became involved in a touchline altercation with Rossendale manager Derek Egan, who was subsequently sent off. The pair clashed again on the way to the dressing room.

Rossendale hit back through Tom Williams on 76 minutes but, with just three minutes remaining, Wright punished some woeful defending to grab a vital win, despite eight minutes of injury time.

l All under-18s will be able to attend Saturday's home clash with Chorley for free.

Thursday 6th December 2007

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

FC clash all-ticket sell-out

Source: This is Lancashire

By Marc Higginson

RADCLIFFE Boro's Boxing Day local derby clash against high flying FC United at Stainton is expected to be an all-ticket sellout. On the instruction of the police, capacity has been set at 2,500 - and there will be no segregation.

It will be the first meeting between the sides in a competitive game.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

FC United 2 Rossendale United 1

ROSSENDALE were forced to play much of the second half with just 10 men, but they were unlucky to go down to a late goal from FC United.

Rossendale started the game with the advantage of the slope and were the first to create a chance when, from Cook's corner, Watson put his header into the side netting.

However, straight from the resulting goal kick Simon Carden's through ball to the league's leading scorer Rory Patterson put him in the clear and he made no mistake from close range.

Both sides then tested the opposing defences but didn't create any clear chances and the half-time score remained 1-0 to the home side.

The second half was only 11 minutes old when Rossendale manager Derek Egan was sent off, but this only seemed to spur Rossendale on as they took control of the game and were rewarded in the 76th minute when Tom Williams levelled the scores as he neatly finished off a cross from Mario Daniel.

It looked as if this would be good enough to earn Rossendale a well deserved point, but with three minutes left on the clock, Kyle Ingham's goal-line clearance was lobbed back into the box by Jerome Wright and, despite frantic efforts to clear the ball, it fell into the back of the net.

10:55am Monday 3rd December 2007

Monday, December 03, 2007

FC back to winning ways

Source: M.E.N.

tony glennon

FC United stay fourth despite ending a run of three successive defeats with a 2-1 home victory over Rossendale.

Rory Patterson fired the Rebels into an 11th minute lead after latching onto Aaron Burns's clever pass.

Tom Williams equalised, but Jerome Wright then lobbed in a winner three minutes from time to give FC a much-needed boost.

Meanwhile, Hyde United manager Steve Waywell saluted his savage Tigers after they'd stepped up their Blue Square North title assault with a 5-2 mauling of ten-man Hinckley.

Waywell's men never looked back after Gareth Seddon and Matthew Tipton had put them two-up inside 12 minutes.

The visitors then contributed to their own downfall when Colin Morrison was sent off for arguing.

And, though Hyde didn't have it all their own way after that, two goals from sub Chris Simm and another Seddon strike completed a thumping victory which keeps them riding high in the table in second, just a point behind leaders Harrogate.

"We got off to a great start and that made it a lot easier for us than it might have been," said Waywell, whose free-scoring side have now bagged 47 goals in 19 games.

Elsewhere, Stalybridge, too, hit the goal trail with Ashley Winn (2), James Dean and Chris Hall on target in a rousing 4-0 win at Solihull.

But Leigh RMI remain rooted at the bottom after crashing 2-0 at Tamworth.

UniBond premier pacesetters Witton Albion made it nine home wins out of win with Adam Warlow's hat-trick helping them sink North Ferriby 4-2 to maintain their seven-point lead. And a last-gasp Iain Howard equaliser earned Ashton United a precious point from their trip to fellow strugglers Kendal, which finished 2-2.

Curzon Ashton remain four points clear at the top of division one north thanks to a 3-1 win at Ossett Albion.

Trafford seized on Salford's 1-0 home defeat by Newcastle to replace them at the Vodkat League summit.

But they needed an injury-time equaliser by Chris McKay to salvage the 1-1 draw with Atherton Collieries which has taken them to the top.

Wright ends FC losing run

Source: The Bolton News

By Liam Chronnell

Jerome Wright grabbed an 87th-minute winner to end FC United's run of three straight defeats in a stormy 2-1 win over Rosendale at Stainton Park.

In a game switched to Radcliffe Borough's ground due to Bury's FA Cup tie at Gigg Lane, the winger pounced on a goalkeeping error to seal a much-needed victory.

But Rory Patterson's 18th goal of the season on 11 minutes put FC on course for a first victory in four attempts.

The fiery Reds hitman was involved in the match's main talking point seven minutes after the break when, following his substitution, he became involved in a touchline altercation with Rossendale manager Derek Egan, who was subsequently sent off, and the pair, allegedly, clashed again on the way to the dressing room.

United were then hit by a sucker punch when Tom Williams equalised on 76 minutes.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

United probe Russian slur

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSource: The Sunday Mirror (no online content)

MANCHESTER UNITED have launched an investigation into remarks alleged to have been made by Ryan Giggs which suggested the Welsh winger wants to play for FC United, the non-league club founded by fans in protest at Malcolm Glazer's takeover.

Russian mag Total Football reported Giggs (right) saying: “I can't imagine playing for another club. But I can name one – FC United.

“This club is very close to me, as many of the supporters who formed it have supported me throughout my career. My brother plays there. If fate calls me to leave Man United, I would only play for this team.”

When United officials were told about the interview, they asked Giggs for an explanation. He insisted he had not done the interview and the club are looking into the matter.