Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Success of a fan-led club

Fan Base

This week FC United fan Vinny Thompson

NonLeague Today 26.10.2008

FC UNITED are very special to all of us involved with the football club. The whole concept is a new way forward in football, a club which is supporter led, and democratically owned by the supporters.

It is a way for the man in the street to gain access into sport, to take decisions within a club and what's more, it has been a success. None of us came into this with any expertise of running a football club.

Living in Tameside, my only involvement in NonLeaque was to go and watch a few games, but since FC United came into existence, everyone had grown with the club.

An important aspect of FC United is the commitment to the community.

In fact our constitution states that FC United must be "accessible and of benefit to all communities of Greater Manchester."

That commitment is demonstrated by us having 300 volunteers working with local groups.

In a couple of week's time I’ll be organising a tournament for kids from care homes from all the North West.

In a scheme being supported by the Co-op, we will be working with refugee groups.

There will also be a tournament for four local mosques who have formed their own teams.

We hold inclusion days when under 18s are allowed into games for free.

This will ensure that kids from areas where they have never seen live sport will be able to watch a game.

People from most areas within our communities would come and support football if only we reached out to them.

As you know we have big support, and they do like to make a lot of noise. We call them the 90/90 fans.

That is 90 per cent of the fans sing for 90 minutes. But we still respect our NonLeague roots and enjoy the great camaraderie among NonLeaque supporters.

When we started off In the North West Counties a few short years ago we took big crowds to other grounds and that has continued as we moved up the Pyramid.

The banter and rapport with opposition fans in clubhouses and local pubs is great. That is something which is special to NonLeague