Exclusive by Richard Rattan
(No on-line content)
FC United's live web radio service FCUM TV have become football's latest millionaires.
While the station's commentators haven't joined the stars at Old Trafford or the City of Manchester Stadium in receiving bumper pay packets, the group of Rebels-mad volunteers, who run the service on a shoestring, logged their millionth minute listening time during last week's tight 1-1 draw in the FA Cup at Nantwich.
NonLeague's own broadcasting show heroes were back at Gigg Lane on Wednesday night for the replay, broadcasting live to a worldwide audience as FC United went down 4-3 in a seven-goal thriller.
While FCUM TV director avid Rebels supporter Mike Kerwin felt "gutted" by the defeat, he takes great pride in what the three-year-old broadcasting service has achieved so far.
Kerwin, who masterminds the operation from the headquarters of "Box", his computer graphics and post-production company in Manchester city centre, said: "People can listen to all our games live whether we are playing home or away. They can also watch video highlights of all our home games on our website.
"We have people listening to our commentaries on their computers and laptops all round the world. I can't even tell you the number of countries where our broadcasts are picked up.
"The reason why we started this is because we were all Manchester United fans and were used to first-class media coverage. There are 14 of us involved. We're multi-disciplined and we'd love to see other clubs in Non- League try and develop a service like ours. If anyone wants to contact us we'd be delighted to them how to broadcast.
"We've even been pacesetters in online broadcasting. It was us who introduced the chatroom during live commentaries. The BBC brought in live texts during games six months later."
Kerwin admitted that the FCUM TV commentators, which include Keith "Keg" Johnson, Brian "Seamus" Hancock and Steve "Swampy" Bennett, avoid the kind of pre-rehearsed phraseology and pomposity which has listeners and viewers of the main stream channels reaching for the off button.