Friday, February 29, 2008

Preview: FC United v Bamber Bridge

29/ 2/2008

STRIKER Rory Patterson may not have made the grade as a teenager at Rochdale, but FC United's manager Karl Marginson is convinced the 23-year-old has a future in the professional game.

He hopes that will be with the Rebels, who have already won back-to-back titles with Patterson in their ranks and are chasing a third.

Their hopes of landing the Unibond first division north began to look shaky after a 0-0 draw with rivals Bamber Bridge, which was then followed by a 5-1 defeat at Nantwich in the President's Cup on Monday.

But a 3-0 win over Clitheroe put them back on course ahead of tomorrow's home clash with Brig.

It helps having a striker as prolific as Patterson, who has scored 29 goals in all competitions this season. Those goals have proved crucial in the absence of Stuart Rudd for much of the campaign.

"Anybody who watches us regularly knows Rory is a special talent," said Marginson, whose side are unbeaten in eight matches in the league.

"He creates goals, scores goals, links play well, he's strong, quick, good in the air and has got two good feet.

"I have no doubt that if he wants to, he could play in the League. He was at Rochdale as a junior and was their young player of the year as a 17-year-old, but for some reason they released him.

"After that he was having some problems dealing with life outside football and it has taken a couple of years to get him back on track, but he's been a dream to have in the side.

Tomorrow's game at Gigg Lane will have free admission to under-18s, with the club also promoting healthy eating.

Curzon boss warns Rebels

Tony Glennon

29/ 2/2008

CURZON Ashton boss Gary Lowe has warned FC United that they have a big fight on their hands if they're to capture a third successive league title.

FC are back up to fifth in UniBond Division One North after Wednesday's 3-0 win over Clitheroe and will be seeking to make further headway when they entertain third-placed Bamber Bridge tomorrow.

But Curzon, who trail leaders Skelmersdale only on goal difference, boast a nine-point lead over the Rebels ahead of their home clash with Newcastle Blue Star, in which they'll be looking to post a third victory in eight days.

And, even though FC would go top were they to win the games in hand they have on Curzon and the rest of the teams above them, Lowe believes that's asking a lot of Karl Marginson's men given the fixture glut they now face.

Lowe, whose team tried and failed to catch the Rebels when the roles were reversed in the North West Counties League last term, said: "FC United are a good side, but it's nevertheless going to be tough for them playing catch-up at this stage of the season.

"We know from experience how hard that is and, with respect to the North West Counties, it's a lot more difficult stringing wins together in this division, as FC United are now faced with doing, than it is in that league."


FANS of Goole AFC are being urged to turn out in huge numbers with FC United of Manchester visiting next weekend after a change to the cup draw.

At a UniBond League Cups' Committee hearing last Thursday, Nantwich Town - who Goole were set to play against in the Presidents Cup semi final - have been disqualified for fielding an ineligible player in their quarter final tie against FC United of Manchester.

As a result they will now visit the Victoria Pleasure Grounds on March 8, in what will be one of the biggest attendances seen in Goole for years.

And assistant manager Mick Norbury is calling on the whole of the town to attend the match to support the team.

He said: "They will bring a minimum of 800-1,000 fans and it will an amazing atmosphere with it being a semi final.

"We need all our fans behind us because with the number of fans they bring it will be like a home tie for them.

"But our fans can be fantastic and there was a group of 20-30 away at Sheffield who never shut up singing, even when we went a man down and that is what spurred the lads on to get a result.

"It gives you an extra ten per cent and we need everybody to get behind the lads, because they deserve it."

Spice has also been added to the game with Mick revealing that interviews following the match with fans and players of FC United of Manchester, after they lost to Nantwich, labelled Goole a long ball side.

He explained: "They said they didn't want to come to Goole anyway because we were a side of cloggers.

"That is disrespectful to the players and I think people assume that because me and Nigel Danby are in charge.

"But that is not the case and it gives us even more motivation to beat them and play them off the park."

The winners of the tie will face Ossett Albion or Radcliffe Borough.

Mick added: "It is not about the money and revenue but the opportunity for the lads to play in that kind of atmosphere.

"I remember coming to Goole 20 years ago when Terry Curran was manager and they were in the equivalent of the Conference league.

"We want to bring back the glory days and Goole has been up there so lets have another crack at doing it."

Last Updated: 29 February 2008 10:55 AM

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Crunch week

Tony Howard

28/ 2/2008

FC UNITED hope that home advantage counts as they host two of their main promotion rivals in a week that could shape their season.

The reds face two title showdowns in the space of five days as they take on Bamber Bridge and Curzon Ashton at Gigg Lane.

FC drew 0-0 with Bamber last weekend and will be hoping to go one better with victory on Saturday, March 1, kick-off 3pm. Then they host former league leaders Curzon Ashton on Wednesday, March 5, kick-off 7.45pm, with United confident they can repeat their December win in the reverse fixture.

Manager Karl Marginson said: "Our confidence is high as the recent win over Skelmersdale proved.

"We went to Bamber Bridge and matched them on Saturday, which was a vast improvement from when we got hammered 3-0 there earlier in the season.

"I think, with home advantage, we will definitely be looking to win on Saturday.

"We’ve already beaten Curzon but they’re a good side who will be looking to even things up.

"Both games are vital to our title aspirations and we will have to be at our best."

FC will have more time to concentrate on their promotion push after they crashed out of the UniBond Presidents Cup at Nantwich on Monday night.

The reds were humbled 5-1 on a sand pit of a pitch but won’t be too downhearted as the defeat will ease their fixture pile-up.

The Dabbers took advantage of a poor performance from FC’s stand-in defensive partnership of Micha ‘Sacre’ Bleau and Adam Turner, with three goals coming from set pieces.

Jerome Wright scored a consolation for United. He took advantage of the surface by hitting the ball into the ground, causing wet sand to splatter up into the keeper’s eyes.

Under-18s will get free admission to the Bamber Bridge game on Saturday as part of FC’s Youth United Day. Adult admission costs £7.50.

Firepower is the key to boro success

Edited from The Bolton News

RADCLIFFE Borough are banking on firepower blasting them away from the clutches of relegation.

Director of football Peter Coyne is hoping to sign prolific striker Griff Jones from Bradford Park Avenue in time for tomorrow's visit of Rossendale United.


FC United, meanwhile, have a chance to keep the pressure on the leaders when they face fellow title contenders Bamber Bridge for the second time in eight days.

The Rebels - nine points behind Skelmersdale United but with four games in hand - shared a goalless draw with the third-placed Preston side last weekend.

But victory against Bridge would send out a warning to their rivals on Youth United Day at Gigg Lane, where under-18s will be allowed in for free as part of the family fun day at Gigg Lane.

Spirited display

WARRINGTON Town Reserves put up a spirited display against runaway Cheshire Soccer League leaders FC United Reserves (ed. Saturday 23rd February 2008) despite Anthony Brownbill being harshly sent off in the 30th minute.

Town, who were then 2-0 behind, pulled a goal back before half time when Owen Ellis fired home a fierce drive.

The home side sealed the points with a third goal after an hour.

FC United of Manchester 3, Clitheroe FC 0

AN eighth minute Simon Carden strike accompanied by a Rory Patterson brace, over-shadowed Clitheroe's endeavour at Gigg Lane on Wednesday night.

FC United were as impressive as ever on the counter attack with their sweeping, accurate play, but not three goals better than the Blues who had their own fair share of chances on goal.

Scott Redhead was in impressive form again with balls from the wing, and before the home side took the lead, Gary Jackson had a header tipped away by Aaron Grundy.

But again Clitheroe conceded another poor early goal when a ball over the top wasn't dealt with at more than one opportunity, flicked forward to the byline and then laid across the box for Carden to tuck away and leave the Blues in disarray.

The rest of the first half proved even enough between the two sides. Redhead had successive crosses into the box, one of which saw Joel Pilkington have a chance cleared off the line.

Then after United's Stuart Rudd crossed perfectly for Jerome Wright only for the forward to put wide from six yards out.

And James Mann warmed himself up for a starling second half display by keeping out Chris Baguley at his near post.

Carl Lomax struck a solid volley from the edge of the area that Grundy had to tip out for a corner.

Gary Jackson made way for Danny Toronczak at half-time, the forward suffering from a swollen knee, but it was United striker Patterson who found the net in the 60th minute with a well-driven free kick.

The Gigg Lane leading scorer lamped the ball home from just outside the area with a clear sight of goal, straight past an ineffective wall and a rooted Mann.

FC United continued to be rampant on the break and would have netted more if not for Mann pulling off some fantastic saves.

But the Blues sustained their own period of pressure in the home half and should really have done better when a move involving the fresh legs of substitute John Osborne, Redhead, David Hankin and Lomax resulted in the latter having a shot cleared off the line.

The Blues almost tried to walk the ball into the back of the net in the second half, while United swept forward with inch perfect balls that their pacey strikers thrived on. One, two three passes was all it took to unlock a path on goal as Jonathan Smith, Paul Osborne and Russ Clarke were kept busy.

A fantastic right wing cross from 14 traversed the width of the pitch to find its man, Chris Bauley at the back post, whose shot on goal was blocked out by Mann who then dived across goal to deny Patterson what should have been an easy rebound.

And the Clitheroe keeper almost denied Patterson again for his second goal when another raking move resulted in Wright laying the ball across goal for his strike partner at the back post. Mann got a hand to it but couldn't prevent United's 90th minute third goal.

Clitheroe: Mann, Clarke, Pilkington (Hankin), P. Osborne, Smith, Fisher (J. Osborne), Stopforth, Kozlowski, Lomax, Jackson (Toronczak), Redhead.

Last Updated: 28 February 2008 9:47 AM

Double delight for Patterson

By Liam Chronnell

FC United 3 Clittheroe 0

A RORY Patterson double helped FC United keep the pressure on the UniBond Division One North leaders with a comfortable victory against struggling Clitheroe.

Simon Carden had put the Rebels - nine points behind Skelmersdale United but with four games in hand - in front in the first half at Gigg Lane.

Striker Patterson struck again after the restart and the Reds' top-scorer added his 29th of the season late on to wrap up the points and move Karl Marginson's side into the play-off places.

10:37pm Wednesday 27th February 2008

Rebels look for crucial win

By Neil Bonnar

FC United will aim to put Monday night's horror show at Nantwich behind them when they meet Clitheroe at Gigg Lane tonight.

Karl Marginson's men crashed out of the UniBond League President's Cup with a 5-1 quarter-final mauling.

But they must bounce straight back tonight to put the momentum back into their bid for promotion from the UniBond Division One North.

FC drew 0-0 with fellow promotion hopefuls Bamber Bridge in the league on Saturday to leave them two points adrift of the play-offs with games in hand.

The Rebels will be favourites to beat fourth-bottom Clitheroe at home tonight, but they will have to avoid a repeat of the defensive frailties which saw them crumble after taking the lead at Nantwich.

4:51am Wednesday 27th February 2008

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Rebels look for crucial win

By Neil Bonnar

FC United will aim to put Monday night's horror show at Nantwich behind them when they meet Clitheroe at Gigg Lane tonight.

Karl Marginson's men crashed out of the UniBond League President's Cup with a 5-1 quarter-final mauling.

But they must bounce straight back tonight to put the momentum back into their bid for promotion from the UniBond Division One North.

FC drew 0-0 with fellow promotion hopefuls Bamber Bridge in the league on Saturday to leave them two points adrift of the play-offs with games in hand.

The Rebels will be favourites to beat fourth-bottom Clitheroe at home tonight, but they will have to avoid a repeat of the defensive frailties which saw them crumble after taking the lead at Nantwich.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Nantwich..5 FC United..1
By Toby Robinson

NANTWICH Town reached the semi-finals of the Presidents Cup with an emphatic 5-1 win over FC United last night.

A record crowd of 873 turned up at the Weaver Stadium to see the Dabbers reach the final four in style.

Recalled Adam Beasley was the star of the show as Nantwich totally shocked their UniBond First Divison North opponents.

His 22nd-minute header was quickly cancelled out by Jerome Wright but Nantwich regained the advantage thanks to a neat move.

Nick Farquharson thread the ball through to Beasley who put the ball beyond the keeper.

Paul Taylor's free-kick gave them an instant two-goal cushion after the break and the Dabbers went on to dominate.

Phil Parkinson made it fourth with a firm header on 75 minutes before Alex boss Steve Holland saw Farquharson wrap things up with his fifth in three.


Nantwich 5 FC United 1

26/ 2/2008

FC United crashed out of the President's Cup as the Rebels' defence leaked five goals on a rain-swept night in Nantwich.

Karl Marginson rested first-choice centre-backs David Chadwick and Rob Nugent ahead of Wednesday's league clash with Clitheroe, and the home side took advantage with four goals from set pieces.

Dabbers striker Adam Beasley opened the scoring and although Jerome Wright levelled, Beasley struck again before the break.

Paul Taylor, Phil Parkinson and Nick Farquarason all headed home in the second half, report

FC United crash out of the cup

By Marc Higginson

Nantwich 5 FC United 1

A FIVE-star performance from Nantwich was enough to dump FC United out of the UniBond League President's Cup at the quarter-final stage.

The Rebels Reds took the lead on 27 minutes through Jerome Wright, but Nantwich levelled just eight minutes later when Adam Beasley got on the scoresheet.

Beasley added another, before Paul Taylor struck the killer blow on 46 minutes. The rout was complete when Phil Parkinson and Nick Farquharson also found the back of the net.

Karl Marginson's men will hope to bounce back to form tomorrow night when they take on Clitheroe at Gigg Lane in a crucial league game.

In action tonight will be basement side Radcliffe Borough, who will hope to build on a 5-1 victory on Saturday against Garforth Town.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Bamber Bridge 0 FC United 0

24/ 2/2008

FC UNITED chief Karl Marginson was left frustrated as the Rebels were held by 10-man Bamber Bridge.

Marginson's men dominated for long spells of a tense UniBond First Division North promotion battle.

Yet it was Brig who came closest to snatching an against-the-odds victory after they had been hit by Matt Mahoney's 59th-minute dismissal.

FC's best opportunity fell to Rory Patterson, but his superbly-struck free-kick was brilliantly saved by home keeper Terry McCormick.

"It was a useful point but under the circumstances, we'd have liked all three," Marginson said.

"We just didn't have enough about us to make the extra man count."
The Irongate stalemate keeps FC lurking dangerously in seventh place, while enabling Curzon Ashton to leapfrog Bamber Bridge into second.

Mike Norton and Jorge Diaz scoring in Curzon's 2-1 win over visiting Garforth, who were always off the pace.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Bamber Bridge 0 FC United 0

Source: Leyland Guardian

10-man Brig hold out for point

By Sam Chadderton
It was a stalemate at Irongate as 10-man Brig held firm for a point against FC United in a fractious game.
Matt Mahoney saw red early in the second half for an ugly challenge which sparked a mass brawl.

But Brig's defence, marshalled by the superb Adam Tong, kept a below-par United side at arm's length to claim a valuable point.

In a fairly even first half between the two promotion contenders, the Manchester outfit created the first clear cut chance when Rory Patterson prodded a Jerome Wright cut-back past Brig 'keeper Terry McCormick, only for Ryan Bowen to clear off the line.
Patterson went even closer on 23 minutes when his swerving free kick was pushed on to the crossbar by McCormick.

Brig had openings of their own and leading scorer Ryan Salmon had a header pushed away by FC United's on-loan 'keeper Aaron Grundy on the half hour.
A minute later Stephen Brown whipped in a low cross from the right, Alex Porter swiveled in the corner of the six-yard box and poked a shot towards goal.
It was only half-cleared by the scrambling United defence and Salmon hit a left foot shot which Grundy somehow managed to cling on to on his goal line.

The last chance of the first half fell to United's sharpshooter Patterson. But after latching on to Stuart Rudd's flick on and nutmegging Glenn Steel, his rolled side foot finish went the wrong side of the upright.

At half time Tom Ince came on for Danny Mahoney, with Ryan Bowen moving into midfield, and the jet-heeled Ince slotting in at left back.

However, from the first whistle the football began to fall victim to the increasing number of late challenges and on 57 minutes the game boiled over.

A heavy touch from FC United'
s Wright, as he looked to break out of defence, enticed right back Matt Mahoney into a challenge which was late and over the top of the ball.
Every player bar the two goalkeepers joined in the ruck, with Mahoney seeing red and two FC players yellow once the officials had waded in.

Chances for both sides were at a premium for the remaining half hour with McCormick almost caught out by a quickly taken corner, just about scrambling back into his goal to save.

Then, in injury time, Brig almost stole it, but Porter's dangerous cross was tipped out of the path of the onrushing Dave Eaton by Grundy at full stretch.

A crowd of 1,236 watched the game end goalless, but not without incident, and the two evenly matched sides now have to do it all again at Gigg Lane next Saturday.

McCormick, M Mahoney, Bowen, Steel, Tong, Edmeads, Brown, D Mahoney (Ince 45), Salmon, Eaton, Porter.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Treble chance

21/ 2/2008

FC UNITED manager Karl Marginson is getting treble vision as his side prepare for a crunch clash at title rivals Bamber Bridge.

The reds have made up valuable ground in the UniBond first division north and are in the latter stages of two cups, leading the gaffer to predict a three-way trophy haul come May.

Speaking after FC’s 3-0 demolition of title rivals Skelmersdale on Saturday, Margy said: "We’ve got key players back and were looking good, especially after the way we played against Skem. They gave us a bit of a going over in October but we certainly made up for it.

"We’ve got a lot of young lads, who got thrown in at the deep end when we had injuries earlier in the season. They did very well but we missed having the experienced heads in there. Now we’ve got skipper Dave Chadwick back and striker Stuart Rudd firing again.

"We have a very good chance of winning the treble. I think we can win most of our games. With other clubs falling away above us in the league and us having games in hand with all of the recent postponements, we are very confident."

Margy added: "Bamber are another side up at the top. They showed us up earlier in the season and we want to prove how far we’ve come since then. We hope to put in a similar display to the one we turned in against Skem and it will send another message to the sides around us that we mean business."

The game at Bamber Bridge’s Irongate Ground on Saturday, February 23, will kick-off at 3pm. Admission costs £7 for adults and £4 for concessions.

A league meeting is set to take place this weekend to decide on any possible punishment for FC after their scheduled home game with Woodley was postponed by Bury on Wednesday, February 6.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Rebel Reds aiming to kit out overseas poor

By Staff Reporter

STAFF at Bury-based football club FC United of Manchester are asking kind-hearted soccer fans to do their bit to help poorer people overseas.

The team, who play their home games at Gigg Lane, want fans from all teams to donate their old football kits so they can be sent to children and adults from some of the poorest parts of the world.

Anyone wanting to help has plenty of time to get their kits ready - they will be collected at Gigg Lane between 1pm and 3pm on March 15, before United play Newcastle Blue Star.

Kits are also being collected at the club's office at 5th Floor, Hope Mill, 113 Pollard Street, Ancoats, Manchester, during business hours on the week of the game.

FC's general manager Andy Walsh said: "In 2006, our supporters donated more than 300 shirts to KitAid and we want to do even better this time around. We are appealing to our supporters to clear out their cupboards and donate any clean unwanted football kit, including shirts, shorts and socks to the appeal.

"KitAid is a registered charity, created in 1998, which donates unwanted football shirts to children and adults across Africa, India, Eastern Europe and other developing countries."


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

A Rebel with a cause

By Liam Chronnell

IT is unusual for a footballer to embody what their club stands for quite as much as FC United's Rob Nugent.

The Atherton-born defender has made the second highest number of appearances for the breakaway club, formed in 2005 by disenchanted Manchester United supporters following the takeover by American billionaire Malcolm Glazer.

Nugent was one of those fans who took to the streets to voice their dissatisfaction at the Premiership giants.

From the ashes of those protests rose FC United and, following two title-winning seasons, the UniBond League Division One North outfit are now chasing a third successive promotion.

The 25-year-old centre-back, a former Sheffield United trainee, has played a central role in that success; the only player in the current squad who figured in the Rebels' first ever game - a friendly at Leigh RMI on July 16, 2005 - and one of only two, Rory Patterson being the other, to make more than a century of appearances for the club.

And Nugent, a former Bolton School pupil, is delighted to have played such a significant part in the Reds' short history.

"It's a dream really," he said. "As a young lad growing up you want to play for Manchester United if you are a United fan. This is the next best thing.

"When it was announced the Glazer's were taking over at Old Trafford I was involved in the protests, and I was there from the first meeting when there was talk of FC United being formed.

"I put my name down to be involved in any capacity I could, but it wasn't until one of my friends mentioned I used to play for Sheffield United that (FC manager) Karl Marginson got in contact.

"The whole thing was very close to my heart because I was a big United fan. I was not happy with the way football was going in general, not just at United but at other Premiership clubs with lots of foreign owners coming in and pricing normal fans out of the game.

"At FC it's £7 to get in and £2 for children; obviously it's not the same level of football but it's a better atmosphere."

Nugent, whose father, Steve, used to play for Atherton LR, looked to have a bright future in the game after spending four years at Sheffield United.

But after being released from Bramall Lane at the age of 20, he spent two seasons playing for Ossett Town in the UniBond Premier Division. However, he had little hesitation in making the switch to FC when the chance arose.

He explained: "When the opportunity to play for FC United came, even though it was four levels below what I was playing at, I jumped at the chance.

"I used to play in front of 60 people at Ossett, now it's 2,000 every week. I remember the last game at home in our first season; there was 6,000 there. It was phenomenal."

The Rebels, who play their home games at Bury's Gigg Lane, are eight points behind leaders Bamber Bridge with three games in hand.

Through to the semi-finals and quarter-finals of two cup competitions, United look set for another trophy-laden season - but it wasn't always that way.

Back in November, after an unprecedented four defeats in five games, FC's critics were quick to suggest the club had reached its plateau. After successive promotions, it was suggested the Reds' balloon had finally burst.

Nugent, a trainee accountant at Trafford Borough Council, admitted: "It was the first blip we'd really had but it coincided with us coming into the UniBond.

"The teams are bigger and more physical in this league, but we've got the players to play at this level. A lot of our players have dropped down the leagues to play for FC so there's no reason why we shouldn't do well in this league, or the leagues above.

"This club can go as far as the fans want to take it. We've had two promotions in two seasons; who's to say we can't make that three in three, four in four."

And has Nugent been back to watch his beloved Manchester United? "I've not been this season at all," he said. "I went once or twice last year, but it just wasn't the same buzz as when I used to go when I was growing up. It's the same at a lot of modern-day grounds. I'm from Bolton, and you only need to look at some of the crowds Wanderers are getting at their home games - they should be much bigger with better atmospheres, but they're just not."

A true believer in what FC stands for, Rob Nugent is surely the ultimate clubman.


Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Monday, February 18, 2008

United falling

Feb 18 2008 by Our Correspondent, Liverpool Daily Post

A LETHARGIC looking Skem slipped to their second defeat of the week and dropped into second place in the UniBond League Division One North.

FC United took the lead against the run of play in the 16th minute when Rory Patterson’s 25-yard free kick sneaked in between the keeper and the post.

Skem started the second half brightly and came close to restoring parity in the 58th minute when Georgie Donnelly sneaked through courtesy of Aaron Turner’s through ball, but the keeper pulled off a top drawer save, and Akrigg’s shot was cleared off the line from the resultant corner.

Patterson scored his second in the 63rd minute; having received a long ball from a free kick deep inside FC United’s half, he shook off Steve Akrigg before slotting the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Skem tried their best to get back into the game, but were inevitably caught out at the back when Nick Robinson skipped around last man Shaun Foster before sending a low shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net; hence giving FC United a flattering scoreline.

Rebels march on

18/ 2/2008

FC UNITED manager Karl Marginson challenged his rampant Rebels to secure a third successive title after they'd knocked Skelmersdale off the top of UniBond first division north.

Two Rory Patterson goals followed by a late strike by sub Nick Robinson saw FC step up their championship assault with a resounding 3-0 triumph over the league leaders in front of a Gigg Lane crowd of 2,168.

That enabled Bamber Bridge to replace Skem at the summit with a 2-1 victory over fellow title hopefuls Bradford Park Avenue which means Marginson's men can now overtake all of the six teams ahead of them.

"It's a tall order because we have a massive fixture backlog, but I firmly believe we can do it," said the Rebels chief, whose on-song side visit Nantwich in the UniBond President's Cup quarter-finals tonight at 7.45pm.

Meanwhile, Curzon Ashton's hopes of returning to pole position were thwarted when their derby date at relegation-haunted Radcliffe was postponed.

It was a miserable day for Vodkat League title contenders Salford City, who crashed out of the League Cup, beaten 2-0 at Winsford, and were also replaced at the top by Newcastle, thumping 10-1 winners over hapless Nelson.

Rebels send out title warning

By Andrew Mosley

FC United 3 Skelmersdale United 0

TWO goals from top-scorer Rory Patterson helped FC United topple league leaders Skelmersdale in an end-to-end clash at Gigg Lane.

After a three-week lay-off, the UniBond Division One North side started slowly, but gained control in the 16th minute when Patterson converted a Nicky Platt free-kick.

On-loan Bury keeper Aaron Grundy, making his debut for United, pulled off a superb one-handed save before Patterson out-paced two defenders to slot home his second on 62 minutes.

Sub Nick Robinson fired in from outside the area in injury time to wrap up the points for FC, who travel to Nantwich in the quarter-finals of the President's Cup tonight.

Radcliffe Borough's home game with Curzon Ashton was postponed because of a frozen pitch.


Sunday 17th February 2008

Grundy makes Rebels switch

By Marc Iles

THE Shakers have handed an olive branch to tenants FC United in the form of Bolton-born keeper Aaron Grundy.

The two clubs, who groundshare at Gigg Lane, have enjoyed frosty relations of late after a bitter dispute over a postponed game.

But after Rebels keeper Sam Ashton suffered a serious hand injury in training during the week, Bury offered youngster Grundy on loan as an emergency replacement before FC's home game against Skelmersdale United today.

Grundy, aged 20, has a handful of appearances for the first team but has fallen behind Jim Provett and Darren Randolph in recent weeks.

Friday 15th February 2008

Thursday, February 14, 2008

FC face fixture pile-up

14/ 2/2008

FC UNITED are facing a gruelling fixture pile-up with six games in two weeks.

FC have suffered at the hands of the weather and landlords Bury with a spate of postponements preventing them from playing a game of football since January 26.

The reds take on league leaders Skelmersdale United in the UniBond First Division North at Gigg Lane on Saturday, February 16, kick-off 3pm, needing a win to keep tabs on the top of the table. Skelmersdale are 10 points ahead of sixth-placed FC but have played three games more.

FC then play at Nantwich in the Presidents Cup on Monday, February 18, kick-off 7.45pm, Chorley at Gigg Lane in the league two days later on Wednesday, February 20, kick-off 7.45pm, Bamber Bridge away on Saturday, February 23, kick-off 3pm, Woodley Sports at home on Wednesday, February 27, kick-off 7.45pm, and Bamber Bridge (again) at home on Saturday, March 1, kick-off 3pm.

To gain valuable match fitness, FC arranged a friendly at Flixton, which was scheduled to be played after the Advertiser went to press last night, Wednesday, February 13.

Meanwhile, FC have been in talks with Bury and the UniBond League over the postponement of the match against Woodley, which was scheduled for the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster on Wednesday, February 6.

The referee passed the Gigg Lane pitch fit to play on but Bury unilaterally called the game off over concerns that the surface needed to recover from their game against Stockport the night before.

Admission for the Skelmersdale game costs £7.50 for adults, £5 for over-60s and £2 for under-18s.

Rudd and Chadwick boost rebels

James Robson

KARL Marginson reckons FC United are right on course for a third successive title thanks to the return of Stuart Rudd and David Chadwick.

Both players have recovered from cruciate ligament injuries which kept them out for more than three months.

Last season's top scorer Rudd and club captain Chadwick are both in line to face league leaders Skelmersdale on Saturday - a game that could prove crucial to the Rebels' promotion hopes.

Marginson said: "Stuart got 48 goals for us last year and has been a big miss. Having him back is like a big money signing.

"The lads who came in for him and Dave have been amazing, but one thing we lost with those two was experience.

"A lot of young lads came in and had to learn what this club was all about."

United are 10 points behind Skelmersdale, but have four games in hand on the UniBond First Division North leaders, who slipped to a 1-0 defeat at Giant Axe on Tuesday.

After seeing their last three matches postponed, Marginson says his players are desperate to resume their title challenge.

"It's been frustrating but hopefully they will have that added hunger," he said.

"You can see in training how much they want to get back out there because they know they've got a chance of winning the league.

"One of the bonuses about not playing is the fact that no one has stretched too far clear of us.

"We can go above both Skelmersdale and Curzon Ashton if we win our games in hand. The only team we can't go above is Bradford Park - but we've still got them to play.

"We've been in great form and if we keep on going the way we are, I'm confident we can mount another title challenge."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Shakers and FC in talks over dispute

By Marc Iles

BURY and FC United would appear to have found some common ground in their contract row at Gigg Lane.

The landlord and tenant have been at odds over the last seven days, following the Shakers' decision to call off the Rebel Reds' game against Woodley Sports on February 6 - an act they claim ruined their opportunity to remember those who died in the Munich Disaster.

But following a meeting on Monday, the UniBond League outfit have cooled their claim that Bury were in breach of contract.

An email, sent to FC United on January 22 to inform them that the fixture was to be cancelled, has been acknowledged by the club. That leaves the way clear for the UniBond League to investigate whether they can answer charges of failing to fulfil the fixture, an offence which could carry a fine or points deduction. Further clear-the-air talks will take place next Wednesday to address The Rebels' concerns.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Sunday, February 10, 2008

If that's the 'best of the Premier League' then god help us all

Today's ultra-negative Chelsea v Liverpool game summed up all that is wrong with modern football

Scott Murray

February 10, 2008 6:02 PM

So there go another 90 minutes of our lives we're never going to see again.

Today's game between Chelsea and Liverpool was billed by Sky Sports with the trail "the best of the Premier League". Now, we all know how over-excited that particular marketing department gets, but then again there are pundits and players a-plenty queuing up to repeatedly inform everyone that England boasts the "best league in the world".

If that's the case, then God help us all.

In this match - one which summed up all that is wrong with modern football - there were more holding midfielders on the pitch than central strikers. Javier Mascherano, Lucas and Claude Makelele negated each other in the centre of the park, Nicolas Anelka and Peter Crouch stood and watched. Both teams had clearly set themselves up first and foremost not to get beaten; if either nicked a goal, then all good and well.

Avram Grant and Rafael Benitez's tactical plans obviously worked: there was one shot on target in the entire match. Well done, Avram! Well done, Rafa! But there is a reason televised chess never took off. When sport becomes this tedious, something has gone horribly wrong somewhere down the line.

Liverpool, for example, may care to consider the attitudes of holding players of yore: Graeme Souness scored roughly one goal in six. Steve McMahon roughly one in seven. Mascherano has never scored a club goal in his career; two goals for Argentina, and that's it. Though whether this is Mascherano's fault is moot: you can bet your bottom dollar Souness and McMahon didn't have to suppress any attacking instinct to the whims of a tactical "genius" moving their pawns around from the bench.

This defence-at-all-costs attitude is ruining everything. Shall we compare and contrast the "best of the Premier League" with the African Cup of Nations, where midfielders pushed on, teams fielded at least two up front, and the wingbacks pressed forward? Actually let's not. It's far too depressing. Players were beating men and taking shots, for goodness sake.

There have always been terrible games. But it didn't matter when fans could get in for a fiver, stand up, sing and enjoy the banter. As scales fall from eyes across the country, surely the popularity of splinter clubs such as AFC Wimbledon and FC United will become ever greater.

Let's not be totally negative, though; some good can come of this. A couple more seasons of matches cut from this cloth, and fans in Bangkok, Bangalore or Beijing will rather chew tin foil than want any of our teams coming over and stinking the place out. So perhaps the integrity of our league will be saved after all. Shame the action isn't likely to get better any time soon.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

League could investigate FC row

By Marc Iles

FC United could face a points deduction, or even expulsion from the league, in the midst of a bitter row with landlords Bury.

The Rebel Reds are likely to face an enquiry from the UniBond League to assess whether they failed to fulfil their midweek game against Woodley Sports.

League chiefs will meet on Sunday to look into the matter, which has already descended into a potentially repairable war of words between the two clubs.

FC United allege that Bury were in breach of contract after postponing Wednesday night's fixture - scheduled just 24 hours after the Shakers' League Two clash with Stockport County - at the last minute.

Bury director Iain Mills claimed his club sent confirmation that the game would be called off 15 days earlier, because of the need to reorganise their own tie with Stockport, and that the decision was completely within the realms of their original agreement.

His words, issued in an official club statement, prompted an acidic response from the Rebels, who branded his claim "categorically untrue." They also asked that the story be removed from the official website.

Bury stuck to their guns, and are now understood to have provided official correspondence to the UniBond League to help with their enquiry.

League secretary Phil Bradley said: "We will review the situation on Sunday. If we find that FC United have failed to fulfil a fixture, then there are several options available to us.

"The worst case, though extremely unlikely, would be expulsion. We could also, if found guilty, impose a fine or points deduction."

Mills defended the decision not to allow the fixture to be played, claiming the pitch could not stand up to two games in 48 hours at this time of year.

He said: "The damage at this time of year takes a lot longer to repair. We saw last year what a mess the pitch got when a game was allowed against Barnet on December 30 and that was to the detriment of both clubs.

"We know the pitch better than anyone. We are the custodians of that ground and it is up to us to make sure it is playable all year round.

"I sincerely hope FC United can sort this situation out, but we will not be blamed in this matter."

The Shakers have added Stoke City striker Adam Rooney and Charlton keeper Darren Randolph to their ranks for this afternoon's visit to Bradford City.

Friday 8th February 2008

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Rebels fury at Bury's call-off

Trevor Baxter

7/ 2/2008

FC United fans were denied a chance to remember the Munich dead after their Unibond League game against Woodley Sports at Gigg Lane was postponed.

The Rebels believe landlords Bury breached the ground-share agreement between the two clubs.

But Shakers director Iain Mills defended the League Two side's decision to call off the fixture.

FC United officials attempted to move the Division One North clash to Woodley.

But this proved impossible because of lack of time.

The non leaguers issued a statement last night that said: "The referee declared the pitch fit to play and the match was due to go ahead as scheduled.

"However, a director of Bury FC unilaterally took the decision that he would call off the game.

"FC United believe this to be a breach of our ground-share agreement and we will be seeking further advice.

"A minute's silence for the 23 people who perished in the Munich tragedy had been planned."

The club was also denied an opportunity to collect their Unibond club-of-the-month award for their four straight wins in January.

Board member Jules Spencer told M.E.N. Sport: "It was annoying enough that a Bury director took a unilateral decision to postpone the game after the pitch had been passed fit.

"But it was exacerbated by the fact that it was February 6 and supporters had been looking forward to paying their own tributes.

"We know Bury's games take precedent and Tuesday night's match had been re-scheduled.

"But we'd been given assurances the club could turn things round within 24 hours and get the ground ready.

"We have a good relationship with the majority of Bury officials who have been helpful to us in the past. But we feel this could have been avoided."

Bury director Mills insisted the decision was taken for the benefit of both clubs.

Mills said: "It was unrealistic to play three games in five days on the pitch at this time of year.

"At the end of the day, we are the landlords and that gives us the right to cancel games.

"It was taken in the best interests of Bury Football Club and, hopefully, in the best interests of FC United. We have good relations with FC United and I sincerely hope this hasn't soured them."

Let's get it on

By Toby Robinson

NANTWICH Town boss Steve Davis vowed the club will do all it can to make sure Friday night's huge clash against FC United goes ahead.

It's been a frustrating start to 2008 with a combination of the weather and pitch problems forcing nine postponements at the Weaver Stadium.

The Dabbers hope that run doesn't extend to double figures with a crowd of 1,500 expected for their Presidents Cup quarter-final meeting with the rogue Red Devils.

"We just can't seem to get a game on," explained Davis.

"The pitch hasn't helped but the weather has also been terrible.

"It's been frustrating.

"Water is still on the surface and we've got to wait until it improves.

"There's nothing else we can really do at the moment.

"But we've got to remain positive.

"We've got to try and get Friday's game on, for the revenue and we've got home advantage.

"We're doing everything we can and we've got people working around the clock to sort it out."

12:17pm Wednesday 6th February 2008

Rebels move nearer ground target

By Liam Chronnell

FC United of Manchester have moved a step closer to getting their own ground after the club reached a landmark target five months early.

The Unibond League Division One North outfit are aiming to raise £500,000 to build a new stadium in Greater Manchester. And more than 300 supporters have helped the Rebels hit the £30,000 target.

FC, whose game last night against Woodley at Gigg Lane was postponed, visit Nantwich Town in the Presidents Cup quarter-final on Friday night.

4:48pm Wednesday 6th February 2008

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Shakers and reds in postponement row

By Dale Haslam

A ROW has broken out between Bury FC and tenants FC United of Manchester after United's match against Woodley, scheduled for tonight, was postponed.

In a website statement, FC United said a referee allowed the game to go ahead after a pitch inspection, but then a Bury FC director decided to call the game off.

United said the "unilateral" decision was a breach of the groundshare agreement terms and would be seeking further advice.

A Shakers' spokesman confirmed the director was Iain Mills and said they did not discuss their arrangements with the media.

But the spokesman later claimed Mr Mills was not the man responsible, but rather the person speaking to the press on behalf of the club.

An explanation on the official website of the Unibond League, in which FC United play, said the match could not go ahead because of ground unavailability.

4:21 pm
Wednesday 6th February 2008

FC United to pay respect in style

Tony Glennon 6/ 2/2008

FC UNITED will join England in marking the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster at tonight's Gigg Lane clash with Woodley Sports (7.45pm kick-off).

Woodley's players will wear black armbands, while there will also be a minute's silence before the match.

The Rebels will be seeking to step up their UniBond first division north title challenge at the expense of their struggling Stockport neighbours - but general manager Andy Walsh says the victims of Munich won't be far from the players' minds.

"This is our chance to pay our respects to all those who perished in 1958," he said.

While the mood before kick-off will inevitably be sombre, boss Karl Marginson will demand his players remain focused on the job of adding to their four straight wins in January - a record which has earned FC their first UniBond club-of-the-month award.

They'll be presented with their prize of six bottles of champagne and a certificate during the interval, by which time Marginson hopes FC will be well on the way to making it 16 points from the last 18 on offer.

FC's unbeaten run in the league, which stretches back to November 27, has kept them firmly in the promotion picture.

They currently lie just outside the play-off places in sixth, but would move to within a point of current top two Skelmersdale and Curzon Ashton were they to win their three games in hand.Woodley are determined to halt FC's charge and are boosted by the knowledge that they held Marginson's men to a 1-1 draw in September, since when their scorer that day, Nick Robinson, has joined the Rebels.

Marginson said: "We've done well to keep winning considering the number of postponements we've suffered of late, but we'd be wrong to expect an easy ride against Woodley.

"This game marks the start of a hectic period for us and it's important we pick up where we left off in our last game against Rossendale 11 days ago."

Fit-again striker Stuart Rudd, who has scored in each of FC's last two games after being introduced as a substitute, is pushing for a place in Marginson's starting line-up as the United chief chooses from a full-strength squad.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Printed in the Southern League South and West match v Farnborough Tuesday 5th February 2008. We lost 3-2 to a last minute goal with our best performance of the season. Best crowd of the season as well 279.

You’ve got to hand it to Sir Alex, when it comes to moaning the bloke is Premiership class. This time he’s having a go at his teams own supporters, bemoaning the fact that 75,000 people could be so quiet at a recent game against Birmingham. Well what do you bloody expect when you call the place Theatre of Dreams? What do you expect when you get thrown out by stewards for standing up and singing, with season ticket holders having their cards confiscated if they are ejected? What do you expect when a significant proportion of any United home crowd does not speak English as a first language and is visiting the ground for the first time, filling their faces with prawn sandwiches and merchandise from the licence-to-print-money megastore.

The same week Ferguson was complaining, breakaway club FC United of Manchester were boycotting their league game away to Curzon Athletic because it had been moved to a 12.30 kick-off. While both clubs were against the move, the league and a small internet company insisted, and so instead of a bumper crowd and pay day Curzon got a paltry £400 from the company – and of course the joy that you could watch some crappy images on a computer screen.

While the kick-off switch might seem a minor inconvenience it was a matter of principle for supporters of FC United. Although the takeover by Glazier led to the breakaway club being set up, it was rising ticket prices, over zealous stewarding, all seater stadium and the fact that a 3pm kick off was a rarity that had been stoking the fuels of discontent for years.

Since there formation just 3 seasons ago, FCUM have risen up the pyramid, breaking attendance records wherever they have gone, and done much to promote themselves as a community club helping attracting thousands of new converts to non league footie. But the FC united board felt the moving of the kick off time was the thin end of the wedge – and rightly so. Go back five years and people would have said you were insane if you had predicted regular Conference games live on the TV. Of course the Blue Square Premier and Setanta have hailed its success, although frankly watching Woking v Kidderminster on a Thursday night doesn’t really do it for me. But look at what’s already happened. Setanta have been busy mucking around with the football schedules. I’m sure Torquay fans were overjoyed of having a round trip of over 600 miles to watch their game against York which Setanta had moved from a Saturday to a Tuesday before finally deciding 7pm on a Sunday night would be just perfect.

Infact TV schedules are controlling the game to such an extent that kick-off times are barely recognisable anymore – and now this is filtering down to the non league game.

I’m not saying we should be dogmatic about all this, but really it’s not exactly the level of footballing skill that attracts us to non league is it? Being on the terraces, having a drink, meeting friends is part and parcel of the match day experience. I think Friday night games in the lead up to Christmas would be good, and an eye on the Champions league to try to avoid clashing with those dates might help shore up support. But 7pm Sunday night – do me a favour.

As one FC United fan put it “It is a worry that if we climb the pyramid we will be increasingly made to jump through commercial hoops, comply with TV deals etc. And this is the crux of the problem with the Curzon game. We are trying not to make the same mistakes again. If back in the early nineties we had organised ourselves and bought shares in the Man Utd flotation then Glazer would never have stood a chance. If, as TV deals began to have more and more influence over the fixture list, fans had stood up and rebelled, then Saturdays may have remained the chosen day for Premiership football. We turned our back on this rubbish... and here we are again... the first Saturday game to be moved for Northern Premier League TV and it’s a FCUM match. Coincidence? Ironic? Inevitable? You choose.”

Of course just like AFC Wimbledon, FCUM have their detractors. But what would you do? We all like a moan and cry into our beer, but at least their fans decided enough was enough and fought back. Call me old fashioned but the core principle is that footballing matters ought to be decided by footballing organizations for the principal benefit of the clubs and their supporters - with sponsors and TV companies having to work with them rather than dictate.

As their board statement put it “FC United came into existence in direct response to the disregard shown for football supporters by those who put profit before the fans who support the game week in week out.”

The speed at which the media revolution is happening, how long before 12 men and a dog watching Slough are replaced by 12 men and a goldfish watching us slug it out on a computer? That might sound ridiculous now, but with ever increasing channels and they need to fill them how long before the British Gas South and West Divison Match of the Day. I can’t bloody wait.

posted by brighton rebel at 9:48 AM

Friday, February 01, 2008

FC United 2 Rossendale United 1

1/ 2/2008

A BATTLING performance brought no reward for Rossie in this President’s Cup match at Gigg Lane.

For much of the encounter, Rossie were a match for the hosts but they were ultimately undone by two moments of skill by home skipper Rory Patterson.

The talented winger struck to open the scoring in the 55th minute when Andy Watson misjudged a ball over the top of Rossie’s defence and Patterson raced through to lob Lee Bracey as he came out.

The goal was a rare black mark against Watson, who has been a tower of strength since he joined the club.

However, Rossie tried hard to get back in the contest with Watson moving forward to provide a threat in the air.

But nine minutes from time FC United doubled their lead when Patterson broke free on the left and set up their second goal with Rossie’s defenders appealing for offside.

Patterson raced away after Rossie lost possession when Danny Finch attempted to head the ball but was beaten to it by a dangerously high boot.

Patterson then raced clear on the right and delivered an inviting cross to the far post where sub Stuart Rudd was attacking the space and converted with the minimum of fuss.

It should have been a dagger to the visitors’ heart but, as they have shown on numerous occasions in recent weeks, they can never be written off.

And they bounced back with the goal of the game four minutes later when substitute David Eatock broke down the left wing and pulled the ball back for Matt Edgington to fire an unstoppable shot into the top left-hand corner of the net from 18 yards.

But Rossie were not finished and went within a whisker of snatching a draw in injury time when Watson headed down for Eatock, who fired agonisingly past the post.

In the first half, Rossie created a lot of problems for themselves by conceding possession too easily.

Perhaps it was partly down to the occasion with a boisterous 1,554 crowd providing a noisy backdrop to the cup tie.

FC United had the better of the early exchanges but then Rossie had a golden chance to open the scoring when Baguley tried to pass back to his keeper but presented the ball to Edgington on the edge of the box.

But the winger’s first touch took him away from goal and the chance was gone as he was smothered by defenders.

It was to be as good as it got for Rossie in the first half with neither side able to break the deadlock before the interval.

Rossie boss Derek Egan said: ‘We restricted each other in the first half and there was not many chances at either end and it was a scrappy game. In the second half we made a couple of defensive errors and that allowed them to take advantage.

‘To be fair, I thought they were better than us on the day and we did not deserve anything out of the game.’

Rossendale United: Bracey, Ross, Ingham, Finch, Whital-Williams, Watson, Edgington, Booth (Fairhurst), Turner (Henson), Eastwood (Eatock), Lloyd.

Rail' gear up for the United rebels

By Staff Copy

FC UNITED and potentially 900 travelling fans will flood Station View tomorrow, with chairman Rob Northfield predicting a miserable trip back to Manchester for the visiting hoards (3pm kick-off).

Despite their lowly position Northfield envisions a 2-1 win for Vinnie Brockie’s side and a passionate performance by Rail’ to avenge their 2-0 defeat at Gigg Lane earlier this season.

Northfield is in bullish mood as is manager Brockie after Rail’s 3-1 County Cup quarter-final victory over NCE Premier outfit Thackley on Wednesday night.

Carl Fox, Richard Marshall and Byron Littlefair’s last minute strike set-up a mouth-watering semi-final against arch rivals Harrogate Town at Wetherby Road in March.

Neil Aspin’s men will enter the contest desperate to set the record straight after their 1-0 defeat in the FA Cup ‘Battle of Harrogate’ last October.

First for Rail’ though is the anticipated visit of United with Northfield expecting a monster gate packed with passionate home and Mancunian support.

United have been in dominant form this season particularly in front of their partisan home crowd.

The rebel side, formed in the aftermath of Malcom Glazer’s takeover at Manchester United, are eyeing their third straight promotion despite only forming in 2005.

Karl Marginson’s men are in scintillating form and in 25-goal hit man Rory Patterson boast one of the most fe ared strikers in the division.

“It’s a big game for the club and I had a meeting this week with Vinnie, Dave Morgan and the rest of the management team about it and we’re all positive,” said Northfield.

“We’ve heard loads of different reports on how many fans they’re going to bring but I think there will be a crowd of about 1,200 here with about 200 to 300 of our fans who are interested in the game.

“They look to be bringing in the region of 900 which will make for a great atmosphere but I’m sure our players will rise to the occasion.

“They have some good players and Rory Patterson is one but I’m sure Vinnie has someone in mind to cope with him.

“But we’re all confident and I think the players will be able to up their game. I think we will win the game 2-1.

“The one disadvantage they have is they’re used to playing in front of big crowds every week but our team is not.

I think our players will be more up for the game playing in front of a big crowd than them and I am sure we can use it to our advantage.”

The full article contains 422 words and appears in Harrogate Advertiser newspaper.

Last Updated: 31 January 2008 11:13 AM