Monday, August 31, 2009

Ossett Town fall to last-gasp FC United of Manchester winner

31 August 2009

By Nick Rigg

Ossett Town 1
FC United of Manchester 2

OSSETT Town let a half-time lead slip to fall to a crushing defeat against FC United of Manchester in front of a bumper crowd at Ingfield.

FC United skipper David Chadwick powered home from point blank range in injury time to give the visitors all three points in the UniBond Premier Division, and leave Town stuck with no points to show from their two Bank Holiday weekend fixtures.

It looked good for the hosts in the first-half as Andy Lee capitalised on a mistake by Rob Nugent to run through on goal and slip the ball by the on-rushing Sam Ashton to give Town the lead after just six minutes.

Chances came at both ends in an entertaining game, Aaron Hollindrake forcing Ashton into a fine save, while the counter-attacking of the visitors led to chances for Adam Carden and Phil Marsh.

Town edged the first half and deserved their lead, but the visitors, backed by a huge and vocal following, came flying out of the traps in the second half as they looked to get back in the game.

Ben Deegan twice came close for United before he made it third time lucky by heading in a cross ten minutes after the resumption to level.

The visitors were dominating large spells of the second half but Town's Lee almost saw his deep cross palmed into his own net by Ashton as Town continued to look dangerous in their rare second-half attacks.

Deegan had another chance to double his tally for the afternoon when he lashed a low effort by Liam Sutcliffe in the Town goal.

The chances started to dry up in the last 15 minutes as both sides made changes, but it was skipper Chadwick who was first to a cross inside the Town box and he made no mistake from close range to give the visitors maximum points.

Town: Sutcliffe, Hay, Tonks, Clayton, Dominic Riordan, James Riordan (c), McGuire, Hall, Hollindrake, Lee, Hardaker. Subs: Thornton, Douglas, Kane, Hargreaves, Kerr.

FC United: Ashton, Carden, Garner, Warrender, Chadwick (c), Nugent, Roca, Carden, Deegan, Wright, Marsh.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Marine FC manager Kevin Lynch wants reaction from his players after defeat to FC United of Manchester in the UniBond Premier Division

Aug 29 2009 by Philip Kirkbride, Liverpool Echo

MARINE boss Kevin Lynch is demanding a reaction from his players in the wake of their first defeat of the season.

The Mariners had the chance to top the UniBond Premier Division table but a 3-0 loss at FC United of Manchester on Wednesday keeps them in fourth place.

Lynch believes the scoreline was not a true reflection of the game and says his side had plenty of chances to establish a lead before FC United struck.

But with two league fixtures in the next three days, Lynch is eager to see the character of the players.

“Over the course of a season you are going to have your off days but good teams show how they react from a defeat and that is what we need to be able to do.

“We have got two massively tough games against Kendal today and then at home to Guiseley on Monday and they will be teams who will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.

“If we can come out of the games with points then we can start to judge how the season may go for us.

“I did not think 3-0 against FC United was a fair reflection of the game. I am not taking anything away from them because they are a good side and will be up there, but if we had taken our chances before they went 1-0 up then the game takes on a different complexion.”

Community work nets club award

Source: This is Lancashire

8:10am Saturday 29th August 2009

BURY-based football club FC United has “netted” a top award to mark its commitment to the community.

The club has bagged a coveted Co-operative Excellence Award for its work with schools, its provision of training and its status as an integral part of the town.

It received the award from Co-operativesUK at the Gigg Lane stadium where FC United play their home fixtures.

Ben Reid, chairman of Co-operativesUK, said FC United achieved its aim of being a supporter-run club that works with the community.

He added: “They are worthy of this award for all they have done to forward understanding of co-operation and co-operative values and principles.”

Phil Sheeran, one of the 11 FC United directors elected by the membership, commented: “We are very grateful to Co-operativesUK for recognising the club's work and honouring us with this prestigious award.”

FC United is also working with Co-operativesUK and the Development Trusts Association as part of a programme called Community Shares, to raise finance from its members for a new stadium.

The soccer club will now go forward to the Global Awards for Co-operative Excellence to be held in Switzerland in November.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Gray's Burscough expectations

Friday 28th August 2009, 5:08 pm

BURSCOUGH boss Andy Gray is telling his men what their priorities will be when they line up against FC United at Gigg Lane on Saturday – to avoid defeat and not be intimidated by the big crowd.

Gary has no illusions ahead of this UniBond Premier clash at one of the best supported sides in Non-League football.

He tells the Ormskirk & Skelmersdale Advertiser: “The game plan going to FC United is to not get beat. It is a league ground and we will be playing in front of a big crowd, but you will always get a chance against them.

“We have just got to compete and hope the ref is not influenced by the big crowd.

“The lads should thrive on the size of the crowd because it is where you want to play your football.”

Meanwhile Gray is tipping summer signing Darren Byers to add even more goals to his tally this term.

Byers, a capture from Gray’s former club Prescot Cables, has already netted four in Burscough’s opening games.

“Darren has done really well so far,” says Gray. “The one thing I have always said about him all along is that he will score goals.”

FC United entertain Burscough

Edited from: The Bolton News

FC United entertain Burscough at Gigg Lane tomorrow on the back of their first victory in the UniBond Premier League on Wednesday night. They beat visitors Marine 3-0, their goals coming from Robert Nugent in the seventh minute, Ben Deegan, two minutes after the restart and Jamie Mack.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Retford put four points on board

Source: Retford Today

Retford United 1 FC United of Manchester 1

Published Date: 27 August 2009

A GLORIOUS afternoon for football saw a large crowd enjoy an entertaining game as both sides looked for their first win.
Peter Duffield stuck with the team that drew 1-1 with North Ferriby last week, with striker Mick Godber making his 100th appearance for the Badgers.

FC United struck first – the tricky Carlos Roca firing a shot at James Lindley, who dived low to palm the ball away.

Then Badgers' Paul Ellender had a chance, but the midfielder blazed his shot over the bar.

FC United found the net on eight minutes. Ben Deegan raced through to slot the ball past Lindley, but his celebrations were soon silenced as the flag was raised for offside.

Roca was proving a handful on the right wing, but Dan White had the measure of him, giving the Argentinian winger very little.

Shortly before the break, a flashpoint in the match saw Barwick challenge Warrener, then the FC United player retaliated, causing players from both sides to get involved.

Once calm was restored, the referee cautioned Barwick for his part, and Warrener counted himself lucky as he only saw yellow for the retaliation.

The first half ended with a volley from FC United captain Rob Nugent, saved well by Lindley.

Retford started the second half strongly as Harvey forced one of several saves from Ashton as the Badgers looked to take the advantage.
The goal finally came on 52 minutes. Harvey sent the ball out to Bettney, the winger cut inside the box and fired home across Ashton to give Retford a deserved lead.

Play was stopped for a minute as an FC United fan entered the field of play before being returned to the stand covering his modesty (see page 6), and it was a minute later on 57 minutes when the visitors found themselves back in the game.

Adam Tong rose to meet a cross and his powerful header went over Lindley and into the net. Another draw for Retford, but another fine performance as they find their way in the new division.

Durham City 1 Retford United 4

RETFORD made the long trip to troubled Durham City, buoyed by the news that the Cannon Park pitch had been passed fit for the Bank Holiday game against Kings Lynn.

Badgers started at a high tempo and it took only two minutes for Darryl Thomas to create the first chance, but his chip over the keeper fell wide of the target.

Evann Graham pushed forward for Durham, but his cross was well blocked by Dan White, then Paul Brayson found himself in a good position, only to fire over.

On 22 minutes, Thomas stormed past the defence to beat Rhys Jobling from the edge of his box to give United a deserved lead.

Retford were having much of the possession, and two minutes into stoppage time Mick Godber found the net with a bullet header.

Retford started the second half as they had finished the first, and on 49 minutes Godber scored his second of the evening, stabbing the ball home to make the points safe.

Commendably, Durham continued to fight and pulled a goal back when last season's UniBond League top scorer Paul Brayson fired home an unstoppable free-kick.

Badgers finished the job in the final minute when Paul Ellender, on as substitute, scored the fourth when he ran into the box to slot the ball past Jobling.

A great win for Retford as they pick up their first three points of the campaign. They now face a busy weekend with a trip to Buxton FC on Saturday followed by a home game, at Cannon Park, against Kings Lynn on Bank Holiday Monday (3pm).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wednesday night's action

Wednesday 26th August 2009

FC UNITED’s season finally kicked into life as they picked up their first UniBond Premier win of the campaign.

Almost 1,900 fans packed into Gigg Lane to see the Rebels take on high flying Marine. Games between Manchester and Merseyside clubs are always tense affairs, and with FC United seeking to lift themselves out of the bottom two this game was no different.

Rob Nugent put the Rebels into the lead with an early goal. Ben Deegan doubled the advantage two minutes into the second half and Jamie Mack made it 3-0 to United at the death.

The victory sees the Rebels leap up to mid table.

In the Zamaretto Premier, Truro City gave hosts Swindon Supermarine a 4-0 hiding. The victory sees newly promoted Truro move up to 4th spot, while Supermarine tumble to 5th from bottom.

Farnborough move into pole position after Bradley Bubb’s first half goal earned the Hampshire side a 1-0 victory against visitors Didcot.

Two dropped points saw Cambridge City slip to 3rd as they could only muster a point in a 1-1 draw at Halesowen Town.

In the Zamaretto South & West, Thatcham won 3-1 at Frome Town. And East Thurrock won 3-0 at Ilford in a Ryman North encounter.

Hornets fund raising minithon

Date published: 26/08/2009

Rochdale Hornets have announced a joint fundraising event, a 'minithon', with FC United and Mediquip4kids, a charity which provides medial equipment for sick children.

The minithon is a run, walk, crawl or stagger of 5.8k (3 miles) around Chorlton Water Park.

Fancy dress is optional as is pet participation – the FC United dog has already raised over £200 pounds in sponsorship!

Following the minithon there will be a prize giving at Chorlton Catholic Club.

FC Utd ready for Marine test

August 26, 2009

FC United will not press the panic button despite their worst ever start to a season.

The Rebels lost their opening two games against Boston and Bradford and had to come from behind to rescue a point against Retford at the weekend.

But ahead of the clash with against Marine tonight, general manager Andy Walsh insisted the results do not tell the full story.

He said: "It has been our worst start - ironically, when we've got the strongest squad - but that's football.

"We've had a tough start - Boston and Bradford will be there fighting for the title. Nobody is panicking."

FC beat Marine 3-2 twice last term and Walsh expects another tough game at Gigg Lane.

"Any battle between a team from Merseyside and a team from Manchester has an extra edge to it."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Looking For Eric, directed by Ken Loach


Genre-bending postmodern agitprop, or hamfisted hackneyed magic realism? Tom Jennings reckons responses to Looking For Eric depend on how generous you’re feeling

Team Spiritualism. Film review – Tom Jennings
Wayward 1990s footballing genius Eric Cantona pitches a story of friendship between sports legend and fan: veteran director Ken Loach and regular writer Paul Laverty decline. But, attracted by the Frenchman’s renowned refusal to suffer fools – especially those in authority – as well as cheek, artistry, genuine gut socialism and working-class pride, they offer instead a barbed tribute which also requires Cantona to lampoon his own star persona. The result is Looking For Eric, easily Loach’s most light-hearted film despite tackling salient sombre social issues around family and community breakdown and the parallel erosion of the cultural commons. It’s also the first film I’ve seen for some considerable time to receive a sustained round of delighted applause afterwards from a full arthouse crowd. Most in attendance, I’m sure, weren’t Manchester United supporters or even particularly interested in football – though anyone who’s either will enjoy a rare treat – but were simply impressed by an unexpected match of grit and fantasy which, while far clumsier than its celebrity draw ever was, is equally winningly entertaining.
Eric Bishop (Steve Evets) is a Manchester postman whose worship of his Gallic namesake is the sole constant in a life falling apart. A second ex-wife has left behind out-of-control teenage stepsons after he abandoned the first with their newborn twenty years ago, and now guilt and depression are escalating panic attacks into suicidal urges. Loyal workmates led by Meatballs (John Henshaw) rally round with one-liner barrages and ersatz morale-boosting, culminating in a hilarious self-help session evoking a superhero dream-team (or central committee from hell?) of Mandela, Castro, Gandhi, Sinatra and Cantona – but to no avail in Little Eric pulling himself together. Sneaking a spliff for relief, he hallucinates his idol combining gnomic homilies with good sense, but also sincere humility – as in the challenge: “You think my friends are better than yours?” Better yet, his prime motivation was the desire to offer “gifts”, citing his favourite moment as not a goal, but an improvised chipped assist, adding, “You must trust your team-mates. Always”. Thus deriving useful advice from his own subconscious (conveniently undercutting the risk of patronisation), Bishop eventually resolves his libidinal impasse to win back his first love and – helped by massed ranks of posties with bravado-bolstering Cantona masks in a glorious finale – repels the mortal danger posed by neighbourhood psychos his lads were embroiled with.
Excellent committed naturalistic performances carry the film through narrative implausibilities and oversimplifications arising from the awkward juxtaposition of rom-com, urban melodrama and knockabout farce which increasingly threatens to trivialise the baleful situations so carefully contrived. Still, the underlying theme of lost private and public dignity effectively connects alienation, work and pleasure, redirecting humiliation and ridicule away from otherwise abject separate selves now able to resist exploitation, drawing on the social glue of heartfelt joint endeavour. The football metaphor focuses the attention surprisingly well – with a comic interlude deploring its corporate colonisation and namechecking Manchester’s grassroots FC United – if less subtly and satisfyingly than in Walter Salles’ recent allegory of the beautiful game in Linha de Passe (reviewed in Freedom, 8th November 2008). And though the choice of generic formulae may appear strange for a director usually implacably opposed to fanciful whimsy, this too is intelligible in the context of the general failure of post-Thatcher British social realism to avoid backward-looking laments or empty victories disguising defeatism.
The 1990s cinema of working-class uplift encouraged its characters’ surrender to the social forces assailing them – whether Brassed Off’s heritage triumphalism, The Full Monty’s self-commodification, or Billy Elliott’s traditional self-hatred. Recent underclass escapisms like Mischief Night or Shameless[/i] exploit a more soap-operatic open-endedness, leavening gamuts of grim problematics for which individual answers won’t wash with perfectly serious surreal flourishes. Then, crowd-pleasing plot gymnastics furnishing provisional happy endings represent explicit artifice colluding with audience fantasies. In such cases what’s pivotal is the plausibility, coherence and utility of developments among protagonists which make even minor advances conceivable at all. Conversely, Looking For Eric’s wish-fulfilments make it much too easy for Bishop to escape depression, repair his family romance, and overcome the gangsters. Nevertheless the tactics used ring true in all three narrative strands, which themselves only mesh thanks to the overarching daftness of seeking one’s hero within who turns out to be a clown ... But immensely artful with it – which is probably why the final mobilisation of grass-roots forces humiliating the enemy’s narcissism (also nicely foregrounding the dark side of celebrity charisma as well as its achilles heel) is so irresistibly funny.
Loach’s work always has the knack of capturing the benevolence of male working-class culture in hard times – especially in the banter and camaraderie of Riff Raff (1991) and The Navigators (2001) – but the wit often downplays the negativity, isolated instead in flawed individuals in Raining Stones (1993) and My Name Is Joe (1998) or evil outsiders in Sweet Sixteen (2002) and this film. Here too the healing power of friendship is overstated, marginalising women as props for masculinity’s vicissitudes and framing vulnerability and weakness as problems needing abolition rather than basic ingredients of shared solutions. But despite sentimental nostalgia for idealised manifestations of proletarian conviviality, which was always more complex and ambiguous – functioning for regulation and catharsis as well as solidarity and synthesis – the film’s trust in ordinary working folk still retains valuable political valency against the grain of mainstream complacency. On that score, a planned subplot referencing the current Royal Mail privatisation offensive was dropped since it couldn’t be done justice. So celebrating fictional autonomous rank-and-file power outwitting local criminal thugs will have to serve as sly cheerleading for today’s postal-workers in their continuing fight against the official managerial variety. Let’s hope all those applauding this film support that struggle too.
Review first published in Freedom, Vol. 70, No. 15, August 2009.

NAKED FAN: Streaker at soccer match

Source: The Star

Bare face cheek at Retford v FC United of Manchester game

Published Date: 25 August 2009
By Bob Westerdale

RED FACED stewards at a non-league game may have some explaining to do after "turning the other cheek" when this streaker invaded the pitch.
The drink-fuelled travelling fan in his 30s stripped off in the Retford v FC United of Manchester game last Saturday and paraded himself in the penalty box.

Rather than being chucked out, he was returned to terracing behind the goal by stewards.

But the interruption not surprisingly unnerved Retford, who were leading 1-0 at that stage. FC United prompotly equalised - and the stripper returned for a second bash.

This time there was some naked aggression as he was flattened by a combination of a steward and a clearly angry Retford touch-line staff member.

*FC fans were involved in a brief punch-up with some locals in a corner of the ground at the game, played at Lincoln. One supporter in a wheelchair was caught up in the rumpus.

Rebels abseil towards new stadium

Monday 24th August 2009, 12:30 pm

FC UNITED’s plans for a move from Football League outfit Bury’s Gigg Lane ground to a stadium of their own is set to receive a boost as the UniBond Premier club takes part in a charity abseil with the proceeds shared between their own development fund and the Opal Foundation.

The Rebels’ official website reports that this year, Opal Foundation’s main fundraising event is a Charity Abseil, which will take place on 27th September, in Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds. The abseil events are hoped to raise £40,000 to work with AMREF (African Medical Research Foundation), in order to provide a borehole to deliver clean water for pastoralist communities of South Omo, one of the most remote parts of Ethiopia.

For non-FC United people, the abseil will be a perfect opportunity for anyone who has an ethical conscience, who wants to conquer their fear of heights, or just wants an adrenalin rush. As well as that, for United fans it’s another chance to raise much needed cash for the club as well as helping the Opal Foundation. All monies raised by FC supporting entrants will be split between the two causes with the exact details still to be agreed.

The invitation has come from FC United fan and Opal Foundation Director Barbara McLoughlin who said of the abseil: “We do hope FC United supporters are able to support our cause and help us progress that one step further in achieving our goal of providing clean water for communities in South Omo. And if we can raise money for the club at the same time then I’ll be delighted!”.

The Charity Abseil will be a fun day out, with food and drink available, and dancers and musicians providing entertainment and light relief for nervous participants.

Another draw for the Badgers

Monday, August 24, 2009, 14:40

A large crowd at Ashby Avenue saw Retford United claim a 1-1 draw against FC United of Manchester in the UniBond League Premier Division on Saturday.

The visitors had the ball in the net on eight minutes, Ben Deegan racing through to slot past James Lindley. But his celebrations, and those of the vociferous travelling support, were soon silenced as the flag was raised for offside.

Shortly before the break, a flashpoint in the match saw Terry Barwick challenge Danny Warrener, then the FC United player retaliated causing players from both sides to get involved.

Once calm was restored, the referee cautioned Barwick for his part, and Warrener counted himself lucky as he only saw yellow for the retaliation.

Retford opened the scoring on 52 minutes when good work from Neil Harvey sent the ball out to Chris Bettney, the winger cutting inside into the box and firing home.

However, the visitors were back on level terms five minutes later, Adam Tong rising to meet a cross and power a header into the net.

The result was the Badgers' second 1-1 draw of the season, having had the same scoreline in their opening match against North Ferriby United in mid-week.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Retford United 1 FC United 1

9:38pm Sunday 23rd August 2009

By Staff Sports Reporter

FC United got their first point of the season thanks to an Adam Tonge equaliser on 57 minutes.

Chris Bettney had put the UniBond Premier League hosts in front five minutes earlier.

The rebel club’s next outing is on Wednesday at Gigg Lane when they host early pace-setters Marine, kick off 7.45pm.

Draw for Retford United

Published Date: 24 August 2009

A GLORIOUS afternoon for football saw a large crowd enjoy an entertaining game as both sides looked for their first win.

Peter Duffield stuck with the team that drew 1-1 with North Ferriby last week with striker Mick Godber making his 100th appearance for the Badgers.

FC United struck first - the tricky Carlos Roca firing a shot at James Lindley, who dived low to palm the ball away.

Then Paul Ellender had a chance, but the midfielder blazed his shot over the bar.

FC United found the net on eight minutes. Ben Deegan raced through to slot the ball past Lindley, but his celebrations, and those of the vociferous travelling support, were soon silenced as the flag was raised for offside.

Chris Bettney then made a deep run into FC United territory, but a superb challenge by Danny Warrener stopped him in his tracks.

Retford kept up the pressure, Terry Barwick and Paul Grimes combined, with Grimes sending a ball across the face of goal, but Harvey was unable to make contact.

Warrener managed to thwart Retford again as he cleared Godber's goal-bound header.

Roca was proving a handful on the right wing, but Dan White had the measure of him, giving the Argentinian winger very little.

Shortly before the break, a flashpoint in the match saw Barwick challenge Warrener, then the FC United player retaliated, causing players from both sides to get involved.

Once calm was restored, the referee cautioned Barwick for his part, and Warrener counted himself lucky as he only saw yellow for the retaliation.

The first half ended with a volley from FC United captain Rob Nugent saved well by Lindley.

Retford started the second half strongly as Harvey forced one of several saves from Ashton as the Badgers looked to take the advantage.

The goal finally came on 52 minutes. Good work from Harvey sent the ball out to Bettney, the winger cut inside into the box and fired home across Ashton to give Retford a deserved lead.

Play was stopped for a minute as an FC United fan entered the field of play before being returned to the stand covering his modesty, and it was a minute later on 57 minutes when the visitors found themselves back in the game. Adam Tong rose to meet a cross and his powerful header went over Lindley and into the net.

The visitors then had a shout for a penalty as Roca was brought down in the box, but the referee waved away the appeals immediately.

As the minutes ticked down, Ford played through Colin Marrison who took the ball in his stride, but his effort went wide. Then Dan White almost won it at the death, but his header from a corner went the wrong side of the post.

Another draw for Retford, but another fine performance as they find their way in the new division.

The Badgers travel to troubled club Durham City on Tuesday evening before another away fixture at Buxton on Saturday. Bank Holiday Monday should see a return to Cannon Park as Kings Lynn are the visitors.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Two FC defeats

Source: Prestwich Advertiser

August 20, 2009

FC UNITED kicked off their new UniBond Premier League campaign with a double-whammy of single goal defeats.

They went down 3-2 at Bradford Park Avenue on Monday night and lost their home league opener with Boston United 2-1 two days earlier.

Both games saw FC come close to recording draws following spirited comebacks.

Simon Carden scored a brace of second half goals against Bradford while Adam Tonge bagged what turned out to be an 80th minute consolation goal against Boston.

FC have another two league games this coming week. They visit Retford United on Saturday, August 22, kick-off 3pm, and host Marine at Gigg Lane on Wednesday, August 22, kick-off 7.45pm.

Victory against title rivals a welcome lift for Sinnott men

Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus

1:00pm Thursday 20th August 2009

By Ian Whiting

Four points from their opening two UniBond League fixtures have given BRADFORD PARK AVENUE an unbeaten start to the Premier Division season and they will endeavour to continue that form on Saturday.

Their latest visitors are Hucknall Town, who have won one and lost one from their early games.

Avenue will be buoyant after beating FC United of Manchester at Horsfall Stadium on Monday and boss Lee Sinnott said: “I was delighted with that result and pleased with our first-half performance.

“There are still certain areas in which we can improve but overall it has been a steady start.”

Avenue and FC United met on the last day of the previous campaign and the resulting draw prevented either club making the play-offs. After two games this term, the Manchester outfit have yet to register a point but Sinnott expects them to mount a challenge.

He said: “As I see it, on Monday we took points off one of our promotion rivals. It was a win and that brings confidence and momentum at any time of the season.

“It is early doors and ridiculous to look at the table but the three points puts us in the pack, which is where you want to be. Even as early as it is in the campaign you don’t want to fall too far behind the pacesetters.

“Another plus is that everyone came through Monday’s game. There are no new injury concerns and everybody who missed all, or part of, the pre-season schedule has now had minutes on the pitch, so we are working towards a stronger squad.”

Avenue are already playing catch-up with neighbouring rivals GUISELEY, who are one of a handful of clubs to have enjoyed a maximum start.

The Lions head to Ashton United for their third match of the season and are on top form.

All of the squad came through the 2-1 win at Whitby Town on Wednesday and close-season signing Liam Needham was in the starting line-up to make his competitive debut.

Midfielder Steve Burton was rested in midweek as he underwent a double hernia operation towards the end of last season and is being reintroduced gently.

New signing Martin McIntosh also missed the trip to Whitby because his wife was ill but he is also expected to be back in contention.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Avenue edge home after stunning start

Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus

10:40pm Monday 17th August 2009

By Ian Whiting

Park Avenue 3, FC United of Manchester 2

Avenue won their first home game of the season to give themselves four points from two games but they struggled to hold on after racing into a big lead.

They were excellent in their approach and execution in the first half and led 3-0 at the break.

As good as they were in the first period, FC matched that in the second half and came close to earning a point from the clash of the two promotion hopefuls in front of a bumper crowd of 1,150.

The home side got their noses in front on the quarter-hour when James Knowles headed home from a corner.

Midway through the half, Aiden Savory doubled their advantage when his pace and power took him into the area before he slotted home.

Striker Chris Hall netted just after the half-hour following a second wave of attack after the FC United defence had half-cleared a corner.

As Bradford headed into the interval, it seemed they were on course for an easy win.

The second half proved anything but an easy ride, although they did hold out until the 68th minute before conceding.

Visiting striker Simon Carden got the goal and nerves were really jangling when he added their second with four minutes remaining.

Avenue director Kevin Hainsworth said: “It certainly did nothing for the blood pressure. We played ever so well in the first half but full credit to FC United, they made it very difficult for us.

“It is a strange feeling because even though we won, there is no euphoria. It’s more a case of relief that we held out.”

Badgers to play in Lincoln

Source: This is Retford

Tuesday, August 18, 2009, 13:35

Retford United will play the first two matches of their UniBond League Premier Division campaign in Lincoln.

With the Cannon Park pitch deemed unsafe by the league after the work carried out in the summer, the Badgers have arranged to play their home games against North Ferriby United tonight and FC United of Manchester on Saturday at Lincoln United's Ashby Avenue ground.

The club will be putting on a free coach service to the games for supporters wanting to make the journey.

A club statement said: "The club understand everyone's frustrations around the whole matter, and can confirm that remedial action is being taken to bring the pitch up to the required standards.

"However, we are unable to comment on the current state as the club awaits legal advice on the situation."

Non-league round-up

Source: Manchester Evening News

August 18, 2009
HYDE United produced a stunning late comeback to reach the Blue Square North summit with victory over visiting Gainsborough.

Trailing 2-0 with just 19 minutes left, the Tigers hit back to win 3-2 with David McNiven (2) and Ashley Eastham on target.

Droylsden wrecked Northwich's unbeaten start by thrashing them 5-1.

Tony Gray (26 mins) and Shaun Whalley (31) struck to give the Bloods a 2-0 interval lead.

Jonny Allan (51) pulled one back, but Whalley then added his second before Steve Beck and Paul Brown completed the rout.

FC United crashed 3-2 at Bradford Park Avenue to remain pointless in the UniBond premier division.

Simon Carden hit both the rebel Reds' goals.

OK Computer game

Edited from: The Guardian

We may have them to thank for reams of nonsense from music journalists but Radiohead are at least having a positive influence on football. Since rocking the music industry by offering In Rainbows as a "pay what you can" download, the business model has proliferated. Earlier this year renegade non-league club FC United employed the tactic to shift season tickets. General manager Andy Walsh told Digger it had been a success, with the club reaching its £125,000 target ahead of schedule and passing the 1,000 sales mark earlier than last season. Now, the makers of Championship Manager are following the same publicity generating route, offering the computer game with a reputation for ruining marriages for anything from 1p (plus a £2.50 admin fee) up between today and 11 September, when it will be sold at full price.

Monday, August 17, 2009

FC United 1 Boston United 2

(No on-line content)

Pilgrims stumble over the finish line

By Wayne Clark

Boston barely clung on to all three points after seeming in near complete control of a match they were leading by two goals on the hour mark.

This eagerly anticipated curtain-raiser to the new season took a while to spark into life with both sides looking lack-lustre in the early stages but it pulsated during a frenetic second half of end-to-end football.

The first quarter of the match saw neither side able to assert any authority with chances few and far between. The Pilgrims gradually settled, though, maintaining possession and asking questions of the home defence. Captain Lee Canoville forced a corner on 27 minutes as Sam Ashton had to move smartly to push a low left-footed effort around the foot of his right post.

Danny Davidson sent Jamie Clarke raiding down the Boston left a few minutes later, and, when his cross was only half-cleared to Danny Sleath at the edge of the area Ashton again kept the effort out. It looked as though it was just a matter of time before the visitors edged ahead, and on 36 minutes it was Davidson who cleverly converted a Liam Parker flick from a James Cullingworth free-kick from back in the Boston half. Parker rose well and Davidson hooked the ball around the corner and into the bottom of the net from eight yards out.

Boston doubled their lead with a goal of stunning simplicity but great skill nonetheless. Again Cullingworth pinged a Iong diagonal ball from left back which picked out Marc Newsham as he ghosted into the right side of the penalty area. Newsham calmly drew Ashton before pulling an inviting ball for Davidson to side-foot home.

There seemed to be no way back for FC United but Boston grew increasingly lax, inviting the home side to take the initiative. Tom Evans was forced into a good double save as efforts from Carl Lomax and Adam Carden rained in.

Rebels' sub Carlos Roca then lifted a ball over the bar from close range after good work from Simon Carden. With almost incessant pressure it seemed certain that the home side would get a goal back and so it proved on 80 minutes when Adam Tong rifled home from the most acute of angles to set up a grandstand finish.

Evans saved the points for Boston with a superb close range stop from Simon Carden during six minutes of stoppage time.

Even then the home side still carved out one final chance as the clock ticked down but Tong's header was comfortably saved.

Star Man: Cullingworth (Boston)

Marginson warning for FC United

August 17, 2009

FC UNITED boss Karl Marginson is contemplating changes for tonight's trip to old foes Bradford Park Avenue after seeing the Rebels make a losing start to their second UniBond premier campaign.

FC finally got their act together after trailing visiting Boston 2-0 inside an hour, but the Pilgrims held on for their third Gigg Lane victory in less than a year despite Adam Tong pulling a goal back with 10 minutes left.


"It's not the start we wanted and one or two players might need a kick up the backside if I'm to get the response I'll be looking for at Bradford," said a determined Marginson.

There was delight for FC's top-tier rivals Ashton United as they kicked-off with a 1-0 victory at newly-promoted Durham with Ben Smith (46 mins) scoring.

Trafford's new manager Garry Vaughan got off to the best possible start by opening their first division north season with a 5-1 rout of neighbours Salford City.

Curzon Ashton, Mossley and Leigh Genesis also all started with wins, while Radcliffe and Woodley each made their point with draws at AFC Fylde and Skemersdale.

Davidson double earns Boston United opening day win

FCUM 1 Boston United 2

Published Date: 17 August 2009

Monday, 8am - DANNY Davidson admittted he made a 'dream start' to his Pilgrims career after netting a double at FC United of Manchester.

He struck in each half to grant Boston United a curtain-raising victory at Gigg Lane.

His first was a 34th-minute overhead kick.

On the hour he finished off a fine move involving James Cullingworth and Marc Newsham, firing into an open goal.

"It was a dream start for me and for the team," Davidson said.

But the hosts bombarded the Boston goal for the final half hour and were rewarded with Adam Tong's goal with 10 minutes remaining.

However, United held on - thanks to some heroics from keeper Tom Evans - for the memorable win, dampened by Matt Austin being stretchered off following a late challenge by Simon Carden.

Pilgrims roar to fine opening day win

Monday, August 17, 2009, 06:30

Beating the highly-tipped FC United of Manchester 2-1 in front of a packed Gigg Lane crowd of 2,482 could not have provided Boston United midfielder Mark Camm with a better start to the new campaign.

The new-look Pilgrims saw off the Rebels thanks to a Danny Davidson brace, before Adam Tong struck a late consolation for the hosts.

And Camm, one of the 14 players brought in by management duo Rob Scott and Paul Hurst during the summer, was delighted with the great start.

"You couldn't ask for a much better start to the season," beamed the former King's Lynn midfielder.

"When I saw it was the opening game, when the fixture list was announced, I was really excited.

"You couldn't ask for a bigger game. The start of the season always draws a big crowd, full of anticipation.

"There was a buzz around FC United during the summer, they are expected to do big things, so to go there and beat them on the opening day was a great start."

PILGRIMS: Evans, Wood, Canoville, Parker, Cullingworth, Austin (Pearson 78), Camm, Sleath, Newsham, Davidson (Kennedy 81), Clarke (Suarez 65). Subs not used: Jackson, Butcher.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

FC United 1 Boston United 2

8:04pm Sunday 16th August 2009

By Liam Chronnell

FC United slumped to defeat on the opening day of the UniBond Premier League season.

Defender Adam Tong pulled one back with 10 minutes left to set up a grandstand finish at Gigg Lane, but Boston held on for the point courtesy of Danny Davidson’s double.

The Rebels are back in action tonight at Bradford Park Avenue.

Friday, August 14, 2009

FC United plot Boston revenge

Source: Manchester Evening News

August 14, 2009

FC United boss Karl Marginson is hoping his Rebels start this season as they finished the last against Boston in the big UniBond Premier kick-off.

FC finished just outside the play-off spots last year as their march up the league pyramid was halted - but Marginson is confident his side can be champions this time around.

He said: "Although last season was a disappointment we still made good progress. If we can carry on our form from the end of last season we'll be up there.

"Boston are probably the biggest club in the league alongside us with their fans and tradition. They beat us twice last season at Gigg Lane so we need to address that."

Wilson rewarded for FC heroics

Source: Prestwich Advertiser

August 13, 2009

KYLE Wilson has been rewarded for his sensational goal scoring exploits with FC United last season by picking up the Greater Manchester non-league player of the year award plus a £500 cheque and a bottle of champagne.

Wilson netted 24 goals in just 32 appearances before signing for League Two side Macclesfield Town in the close season.

The 23-year-old said: "I’m delighted to have won the award and so grateful to FC United for giving me a leg up back into the League. FC are a great club and I enjoyed my time with them so much but I’ve wanted to return to the pro game ever since leaving Crewe."

FC manager Karl Marginson said: "I shudder to think how many goals Kyle would have finished up with for us had his season not been cut short (by injury).

"But let’s not forget that his general play was also outstanding, making him a worthy winner of the prestigious award.

"It came as no surprise when Macc came in for Kyle and, as much as we’re sorry to lose him, I’m sure that he will be a big success there."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Margy: FC will gain promotion

Source: Prestwich Advertiser
August 13, 2009

FC UNITED manager Karl Marginson believes that his squad has what it takes to bury last season’s disappointment by clinching promotion.

The reds narrowly missed out on a play-off spot last term but, as he prepared his side for their league opener against Boston United at Gigg Lane this Saturday, August 15, kick-off 3pm, Margy insisted that they will not miss out again.

He said: "We’ve made a few signings but the majority of the squad have stayed from last season, which is great news.

"We were very unlucky not to go up and, if we’d had the team that finished the season for the whole campaign then things may have been different.

"We have also promoted some graduates from our very successful youth team. I think we can go one better than last season and get promoted.

"Striker Ben Deegan has joined from Ashton United, full back Ben Morris was previously playing for Manchester City reserves, defensive midfielder Danny Stott has experience with Bolton Wanderers’ academy and youngster Jake Cottrell has moved from North West Counties side Oldham Town.

"Forward Abdi Ibrahim has recently been released by Manchester City’s youth academy and we are waiting for international clearance and home office checks.

"Goalkeeper Grant Shenton, midfielder John Buckley and striker Jamie Mack are the players who have made the step up from the youth team."

Rebel Reds target championship

Source: Bury Times

1:40pm Thursday 13th August 2009

By Liam Chronnell

MANAGER Karl Marginson believes there is only one way for FC United to avenge last season’s disappointment — by winning the title.

The Rebels failed to be promoted for the first time in their four-year history after missing out on the play-offs by a single goal.

Now, on the eve of the new UniBond League Premier Division campaign, the players are targeting league glory.
“I think the vast majority of the lads want to put right what went wrong last season and they want to go up as champions this time around,” said Marginson.

“They’re hungrier than ever.”

The Gigg Lane tennants, who kick-off their campaign at home to Boston United on Saturday followed by a trip to Bradford Park Avenue two days later, will have to do it without last season’s top-scorer Kyle Wilson who has joined Macclesfield Town.

Marginson will now be hoping new hitman Ben Deegan can fire United’s title charge after signing him from Ashton United.

Former Manchester City trainees Ben Morris and Abdi Ibrahim, ex-Bolton academy midfielder Danny Stott and youngster Jake Cottrell, from Oldham Town, are also summer acquisitions, while Grant Shenton, John Buckley and Jamie Mack have made the step up from the treble-winning youth team.

The Baguley brothers, Chris and Jamie, have moved to Leigh, and Papis Dieyte and Shaun Williams have also left the club.

Meanwhile, FC’s “pay however much you can afford for your season ticket” campaign has hit its £125,000 target by passing 1,000 sales — more than the club sold at the same point last year.

Rebels spokesman Julian Spencer said: “A lot of people said we were brave and ambitious to introduce such a scheme, some questioned whether we were being foolish, but we said right from the start that we trusted supporters. Why shouldn’t we? It’s their club after all.”

Boston United ready for season opener

Source: Boston Standard

Published Date: 13 August 2009

Thursday, 3pm

LIAM Parker hopes he is heading for a repeat success at FC United of Manchester.

Boston United kick off their UniBond Premier season at Gigg Lane on Saturday – with the Pilgrims utility man aiming to once again score the goals which can outdo their north-west rivals.

Boston recorded two victories at FC United last campaign. After Ollie Ryan gave the amber and blacks a 1-0 league victory, Parker powered home two headers as Boston earned a 3-1 FA Trophy win.

"I scored twice in a game there last season and I'd love to get two more on Saturday and help us get off to a good start," he told The Standard.

"Pre-season's gone well for us but the aim is to kick on in the league and get a good result as quickly as possible."

Parker believes that competition for places will spur him on to improve as a player this season, but he also believes new managers Paul Hurst and Rob Scott have instilled a 'winning mentality' into the squad.

He added: "They've been working us hard in training. It's been a lot tougher than last season.

"They've made us want to win everything, every single game in training. Now I want to start well, start in the team and keep my place."

And if anyone doubted the drive behind the management – who took Ilkeston Town to UniBond Premier promotion last season – Scott moved quickly to stop those fears.

The Pilgrims enjoyed an unbeaten pre-season and Scott hopes that run continues, saying: "I've heard people suggest teams that do well in pre-season don't do well in league matches. But that's rubbish.

"If it's a league game or a friendly it's the same, I want to win, and it's the same for Paul. There seems to be a mentality in this country that it's OK to just perform well.

"But if you're involved in sport you should always want to win. I'm like that, whether it's football or tiddlywinks, and the players realise that."

Scott and Hurst were both Robins players when Ilkeston lost 3-1 at FC United last campaign. After that experience, Scott has warned his players what to expect.

"We've got to be physically strong," he said.

"Some players may not have played in front of such a big crowd before, so we need to start strong and work our way in to the match more.

"I think outside of the Football League this will be one of the biggest matches."

Boston defender Lee Canoville is an injury doubt while Adam Millson and Shaun Pearson are still returning from injury.

Anthony Church misses the game through suspension, but Gainsborough Trinity midfielder Matt Austin has joined on an initial month's loan as cover.

FC United versus Boston United kicks off at Gigg Lane at 3pm

It pays to be a good sport

Source: Manchester Confidential

FC United's ‘pay what you can afford’ season ticket campaign pays off

FC United has always tried to do things differently. Since forming in 2005, the Red Rebels have fought to maintain a club lead purely by its supporters and the sport, rather than sponsors and the boardroom execs.

It's to that end that the Unibond Premier Division team took the unprecedented and dutiful decision of allowing fans to pay however much they could afford for their season ticket. The campaign was introduced to take account of the current recession in the knowledge that some supporters will be finding it more difficult to make ends meet.

Now, on the eve of the new season FC United have announced that their good will has paid off. They have hit their £125,000 cash target and by passing 1000 sales, have sold more season tickets than at the same point last year.

On behalf of FC United, Jules Spencer said: “A lot of people said we were brave and ambitious to introduce such a scheme, some questioned whether we were being foolish, but we said right from the start that we trusted supporters. Why shouldn’t we? It’s their club after all.

“It’s very pleasing to hit our cash target, but the success of the campaign cannot be measured in purely monetary terms. The success of the campaign is measured by the fact that we have fulfilled our commitment to providing affordable and accessible football. And it is measured by the fact supporters have been empowered to be able to influence the future of their club.

“It has worked exactly as we’d hoped it would. Some supporters who could afford to pay a bit more than they did last year, have done. But importantly those who could not afford to pay as much as the season before have been able to renew their tickets, by paying less. We were the first to introduce such a scheme and it’ll be interesting to see if any other clubs follow suit.”

FC United will begin their Unibond Premier Division campaign at home to Boston United on Saturday 15 August.

The Che Guevara of Stretford & the non-league gypsy

Source: FourFourTwo

Andy Mitten

Wednesday 12 August 2009 12:00

August is no month for holidays when you write about football for a living.

I’ve done several interviews with players for a variety of publications, finished my next book and completed the first United We Stand of the season.

With the help of others, the new UWS website is also ready to launch after the Rivals/Sky debacle.

Two people who made their name as football fan activists were separately in Barcelona last weekend.

Kev Miles, who now runs the Football Supporters Federation called, but we couldn’t meet. I did see Andy Walsh for a beer though. He’s the full time chairman at FC United of Manchester, a role which is part chairman, part community social worker because he’s a good listener.

Walsh’s job is 24/7 and he’s lucky to have a supportive family behind him.

Walsh and Miles serve the interests of football fans far better than, say, an American family who own Manchester United and now oversee a club whose season tickets are as expensive as those at Stamford Bridge.

People have mixed Walsh and I up for years. A typically angry radio phone-in fool once rang 606 and slaughtered me. Except the caller meant Walsh.

Walsh, the Che Guevara of Stretford, confirmed that people still take him to task… for articles that I’ve written.

I wonder if the golfer Colin Montgomery gets questioned about his role in Alamein or the D-Day landings?

Walsh has been working hard to make sure that FC United have their own ground within the City of Manchester, and while it’s been a hard slog, they’re getting there and hope to move in a couple of years.

FC are currently paying Bury around £80,000 a year to use Gigg Lane, and while the rebel club are not everyone’s cup of tea, they’ve proved detractors wrong who thought that they wouldn’t last and average home crowds of 2,000.

Their away following is significant and they regularly take 6-700 – about the same as Preston North End.

FC will start this season in the Unibond Premier League, the same as last year after three successive promotions before that.

I’m going to watch my first competitive game of the season in the Unibond League this Saturday – Lancaster City vs Prescot Cables.

My brother Jonathan, aka the 'non-league gypsy' after playing for just about every club in Greater Manchester, has now moved to Merseyside based Prescot Cables.

A big centre-forward and semi-pro veteran at 32, he’s started all seven pre-season games in a team of shaven headed young Scousers.

He’s enjoyed it and the fans like him. It’s been interesting watching their reaction to him because, by his own admission, his languid approach divides fans in a Dimitar Berbatov style.

But some have really taken to him and are raising money to sponsor him. He’s got himself fitter than he’s been for years and has lost a stone and half in the last month.

He called last night to say that he’s shaving his hair off. I assumed that it was to fit in with the Scouse scallies he’ll play alongside.

“Nah, it’s the start of the season. I always shave my hair.”

Still, he knows it will be a struggle. Prescot, from a town of 11,000 eight miles east of Liverpool, were relegated last season and money is tight.

Their squad has been assembled from scratch over the summer, but they appear to have a good team spirit, are getting stronger and have enjoyed some encouraging pre-season results.

On Sunday I’ll watch Manchester United vs Birmingham at Old Trafford, then the Spanish Super Cup first leg between Barca and Athletic Bilbao.

I’m the Spanish football correspondent for The National, which is based in Abu Dhabi. It’s a great paper and their appetite for football is voracious - they want four pieces a week from me this season.

After that, I’ll take another game, hopefully to see my mate Arnau Riera at his new club. A man called Sven Goran Eriksson has been trying to sign him.

On Wednesday, it’s Burnley vs United and Wigan vs United next Saturday before I fly straight back to Barcelona to make the kick-off for the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup.

With games in Spain kicking off at 10pm, at least I’ll have time to make kick-off...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Colwyn Bay hold FC United in final friendly

Source: Daily Post

Aug 10 2009 by Tim Channon, Daily Post

COLWYN Bay drew 1-1 with Unibond Premier Division side FC United of Manchester in front of a healthy crowd of 780 at Llanelian Road in their final pre-season run out.

Phil Marsh put the Manchester side in front after 24 minutes when he latched onto a half-blocked back pass to Farai Jackson, but Kevin Holsgrove equalised on 72 minutes after an excellent jinking run and low cross by Eddie Jebb.

The Bay had the best of the opening stages with Ian Sheridan missing the target with a couple of early chances.

But substitute keeper Chris Sanna rescued Bay with four saves in the last five minutes to deny FC United a late winner.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Fans pay price as game flaunts its wealth in age of 'football capitalism'

Source: The Observer

* Jamie Doward
* The Observer, Sunday 9 August 2009

With top clubs and players seemingly immune to economic reality and ever more riches pouring in, has the sport lost touch with its roots?

Billy Connolly had this joke. "I used to support Partick Thistle," he would tell audiences. "That's Partick Thistle, FC. I say FC, in fact because for a long time I thought it was Partick Thistle, nil."

The same cruel jibes may soon befall another beleaguered Scottish football club that once boasted Thistle in its title – Ferranti Thistle, a works team from West Lothian, formed during the second world war. Over the subsequent decades, Ferranti flexed its footballing muscles and metamorphosed into Livingston FC, which in 2004 completed its coruscating arc of success by winning the Scottish League Cup. It was all downhill from there.

Last month, as what some believe is the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression sweeps the country, debt-laden Livingston breached insolvency rules, a transgression that under Scottish Football League rules triggered its demotion to the Third Division. Incensed by its punishment, Livingston yesterday refused to play its first fixture of the season, triggering chaos in the Scottish football calendar that has come to symbolise a wider malaise in the game.

For these appear to be difficult times for football clubs. With big-name sponsors including behemoths such as Manchester United's former backer, the insurer AIG, pulling out of lucrative deals, and bombed-out television companies such as Setanta unable to pay to screen matches, a chill wind is blowing across Britain's terraces.

Fans are also feeling the pinch. As unemployment queues lengthen and uncertainty about when the economy will bounce back continues, many are being forced, reluctantly, to turn their back on the beautiful game. Research suggests that 30% of regular matchgoers have resolved to go to fewer live games this season, scared off by soaring costs compared with 26% last year. Significantly, this shift in sentiment applies to top football clubs: a third of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United fans say they will go to fewer games this season.

Virgin Money's Football Fans' Inflation Index indicates that, this season, prices for diligently following a team have risen 15.1% year-on-year. The index, which factors in rail fares, drink, food, shirt and ticket prices and pay-per-view costs, suggests "football inflation" has increased by 29.6% since October 2006, when it was launched

"It is very worrying that 'football inflation' continues at a level way above standard inflation," said Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters Federation. "Fans are you, me and the bloke next door, not a different race, and with people losing their jobs and being worried about the future it's not surprising that going to the match – a leisure activity – might suffer."

Part of the shift is as much cultural as it is socio-economic. Last week it was reported that the Chelsea players spent £120,000 on a surprise 24th birthday party for their team mate Salomon Kalou at Mayfair's Whisky Mist nightclub.

It was a sign that, while the fans might be feeling it in the pocket, their heroes suffer no such problems. "In the middle of all this, fans see huge sums of money being paid in transfer fees and even a club talking of paying a player a million pounds a month, which many regard as obscene," Clarke said. "A little bit of prudence – and a little humility – from those at the top of our game would not come amiss in the current climate."

At first glance the clubs seemed to have anticipated this. The annual review of football finances produced by consultancy firm Deloitte reveals many Premier League clubs froze ticket prices a couple of years back, aware there was a danger the game was about to eat itself alive. But Deloitte found the Premier League produced record operating profits of £204m in 2007/08, allowing it to wrestle its claim to be the world's most profitable league back from the Bundesliga.

Deloitte estimates that Premier League clubs' revenues in 2008/09 will be shown to have exceeded £2bn, with modest growth to come this season. And even the 72 League clubs, football's Cinderellas, seem to be in relatively robust health. Deloitte found in 2007/08, as the economic downturn started to bite, their combined revenues managed to exceed £500m for the first time.

True, net debt of clubs has soared – in the case of the Premier League from £2.7bn to £3.1bn in 2007/08 – but, as Deloitte notes, "the fundamentals underpinning the development of the football business in England remain strong".

Indeed, counter to popular perception, the industry is largely resistant to economic doom and gloom, and this has profound implications for its fans. As Stefan Szymanski, Professor of Economics at Cass Business School and a world authority on the game's finances, has found, "football capitalism" is an "incredibly stable economic system".

He points out that in 1923 there were 88 teams in four divisions of the English football league. Today 85 of them still exist and 48 are still in the same division. Compare that with a study of the top 100 companies conducted in 1912. Today 80% no longer exist; some have merged, some have been broken up, some have disappeared. "You had the Great Depression, the second world war, economic crises, two oil shocks, a succession of housing boom and busts, and football clubs have remained largely intact," Szymanski told a recent conference.

This is not to say clubs exist in an economic vacuum – experts suggest that as many as a dozen will follow Livingston into insolvency this season – but they are astonishingly adept at surviving, even in lean times. In fact until the mid-1980s, football was what economists termed an "inferior good" – the wealthier the nation became, the less people went to matches. "The richer we got, the less we wanted it, because it was considered second-rate; there was no investment, it was underdeveloped, it was hooliganised, it was horrible," Szymanski said.

But recent economic modelling suggests this is no longer the case. Since the mid-1980s (and as the threat of football violence waned) attendance has closely tracked national wealth: for every 1% increase in consumer expenditure there has been a 1% increase in crowds at league matches.

The corollary suggests that in the short term, most clubs will not be immune to the crunch. But because practically anyone can own a British football club, there is no shortage of millionaires, billionaires, oligarchs, oil sheikhs and financial consortia willing to prop them up. This may be just as well. As Szymanski notes wryly: "The one problem with 'football capitalism' is that it's almost impossible to make money."

As a result, clubs that are subsidised by wealthy owners are resistant to the laws of supply and demand that would normally determine prices. True, many have trimmed their season ticket prices this year, but only fractionally, and most pundits expect them to rise considerably when the good times return. Indeed, sales of season tickets at most clubs are said to be holding up well.

But clubs should not assume their fans will remain blindly loyal. Angered by the game's increasing "embourgeoisment", the perception that it is becoming a leisure pursuit open only to the middle class, some are walking away while others transfer their loyalties to rugby's union and league. Another segment of the fan base is lowering its sights. The Virgin Money survey found one in five disaffected fans intends to turn to lower league football for a less expensive fix of live football this season.

There are already notable beneficiaries of this trend. Yesterday AFC Wimbledon, a semi-professional club formed only in 2002 from the shell of Wimbledon FC, played its first game in the Blue Square Premier league – the old Conference division, one below the football league. To have come so far up the amateur leagues in such a short time is little short of astonishing and testimony to the support from Wimbledon's fans, who regularly turn up in their thousands to watch the team play. "When we get back into the league," club president Dickie Guy said, "they'll make a film of it."

More subversive is the trend among supporters to turn the clock back to a time when clubs were owned by their local community. The model here is Ferranti Thistle, not Livingston. FC United of Manchester, a one member, one vote club, formed by disillusioned Old Trafford fans in the wake of their club's controversial takeover by the American Glazer family, is developing a loyal, fanatical following. This season it asked supporters to decide how much they wanted to pay for their season ticket, based on what they can afford.

The club has already hit its target to raise £125,000, exceeding last season's sales. So far almost 1,200 tickets have been sold. "People said we were being foolhardy," acknowledged Jules Spencer, one of the club's board. "But why shouldn't a club trust its supporters?"

Spencer acknowledged it was "ironic" that the amateur club was formed at the height of Manchester United's success, when a new breed of wealthy supporters appeared on the terraces. But as the economic crisis festers and many fans can't or won't pay to follow their clubs and their lavishly rewarded players, more FC Uniteds could spring up.

"We don't claim we have the moral high ground," Spencer said. "We say we offer an alternative to top-flight football. But it might be nice to see a few more clubs like us."

Then and now


Johnny Haynes became the first £100-a-week player in 1961, while in 1960 a Manchester United programme cost 5d (2p).

In 1968 , Italy's Pietro Anastasi transferred from Varese to Juventus for £500,000, a world record.

In 1969, a season ticket to Manchester United cost between £10 and £15.

In his last year as England boss, Alf Ramsey's salary was £7,200.


A 2006 survey showed the average basic salary of a footballer in the Premiership was £676,000 a year.

Cristiano Ronaldo's transfer fee from Manchester United to Real Madrid was a record £80m.

A season ticket to watch Arsenal's matches will set you back up to £4,000.

England manager Fabio Capello's starting salary was £4.8m.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Colwyn Bay boss cautious ahead of FC United clash

Source: Daily Post

Aug 8 2009 by Tim Channon, Daily Post

COLWYN BAY complete their pre-season programme with a home game against FC United of Manchester today.

Manager Neil Young says the clash will be another good test of his squad.

“They are a good footballing side who like to pass the ball around and it should be a very interesting game,” he said.

Full-back Gary Scott is away on holiday, while Kevin Holsgrove (blisters) and Lee Hammond (flu) will require late fitness checks and will not be risked if there is any doubt.

“We’ve got two very important training sessions next Tuesday and Thursday to prepare for our first league game against FC Halifax and we want to have everybody fit to take part in those if we can,” added the manager.

He is hoping to add another central defender to the squad early next week, but former Liverpool youth team player Adriano Rigoglioso will not now be joining the Seagulls.

He was offered terms, but has accepted an offer from Conference side Grays Athletic instead.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Italians are coming to town for showdown

Source: Bury Times

12:33pm Friday 7th August 2009

A SHOWDOWN between football teams representing England and Italy will take place on Sunday — in Radcliffe.

Supporters from Bury-based FC United of Manchester will play a team of fans representing Torino FC at Radcliffe Borough’s Stainton Park ground at 2pm on August 9.

In May, 12 FC United fans made the 2,000-mile round trip to Turin and beat the Torino fans 3-1.

The Italians are returning the favour this weekend and their hosts are hoping for a repeat performance.

Organiser Adrian Roebuck said: “The fans came together when Torino fans got in touch with us via the internet to say how much they loved videos online showing the atmosphere at FC games.

“Since then, a real friendship between the two sets of fans has grown and to be able to play out in Italy was brilliant. We just want to beat them again now!”

As well as a common love for a good sing song at the match, Torino and FC United supporters have a more poignant common bond.

FC United fans are all too familiar with the Munich Air Disaster which, in 1958 killed eight players of FC’s sister club, Manchester United.

Nine years earlier, 18 Torino players, including former United half back Leslie Lievesley, died in a plane crash.

Entry for Sunday’s game is free and the Community Shield match between Manchester United and Chelsea will be shown in the ground’s social club.

Hand it to Kyle

Souce: Manchester Evening News

Tony Glennon

August 07, 2009

KYLE Wilson has double cause for celebration as he prepares to re-launch his Coca-Cola League career with Macclesfield.

The FC United skipper's sensational goalscoring exploits with the rebel Reds last term, which led to him being snapped up by Macc in May, have now landed him MEN Sport's coveted Greater Manchester non-League player-of-the- season award in association with Bargain Booze.

The one-time Crewe starlet's remarkable record of 24 goals in just 32 FC appearances made him the unanimous choice of our judging panel featuring M.E.N. Sport editor Pete Spencer and non-League soccer writer Tony Glennon.

He'll now receive £500, plus a bottle of champagne, after beating off strong competition from Salford City's Steve Foster and Glossop North End's Jason Gorton to secure the award won 12 months ago by Altrincham's veteran front man Colin Little.

And one lucky MEN reader, Peter Shaw, of Greenfield, Oldham, will join Kyle in cracking open the bubbly after his selection was chosen by our judges from among the hundreds backing the 23-year-old Wirral-based ace, son of former Stalybridge Celtic boss Phil Wilson, to top our 12-strong shortlist of candidates published in June.

Peter, who also gets a VIP trip to an FC United game, where he will team up with Bargain Booze's head of marketing, Mat Leach, to present Wilson with his prize, wrote: "My vote is firmly with Kyle. His performances for FC United were a superb mix of individual skill and willingness to contribute to the team.

"Had he not missed the last three months of the season through injury, he would have easily been the UniBond premier division's top scorer by a bigger margin.

"His efforts attracted the attention of a number of League clubs, resulting in him joining Macclesfield.

"All the very best, Kyle - I'm sure you'll be a big hit at Moss Rose."

Wilson's joy at scooping the award is matched by his determination to make his mark with Macc.

He said: "I'm delighted to have earned the recognition of the MEN and its readers and so grateful to FC United for giving me a leg-up back into the League.

"FC are a great club and I enjoyed my time with them so much, but I've wanted to return to the pro game ever since leaving Crewe.

"As a player, you always want to test yourself against the best opposition, so joining Macclesfield was an opportunity I simply couldn't pass up.

"I'm indebted to Macc's manager, Keith Alexander, for giving me a second chance to prove myself in the League. I had no hesitation signing for him when I heard he was interested in me."

Wilson, now back to full fitness after recovering from knee surgery, insists he's setting himself no targets other than to force himself into Macc's League Two starting line-up.

He added: "All I want is a chance to get into the Macc side, get playing well from the start and see what happens."

Silkmen boss Alexander has no doubts about Wilson's potential, saying: "I saw him play several times last season and believe he has the ability to make the step-up to our level.

"He is desperate to show he can hold his own in the League and, as scoring goals was our problem last season, Kyle has a chance to make his mark."

FC United manager Karl Marginson, himself a former Macclesfield player, is also backing Wilson to shine.

He said: "I shudder to think how many goals Kyle would have finished up with for us had his season not been cut short.

"But let's not forget his general play was also outstanding, making him a worthy winner of the MEN's prestigious non-League player-of-the-season award.

"It came as no surprise when Macc came in for Kyle and, much as we're sorry to lose him, I'm sure he'll be a big success there."

Thursday, August 06, 2009

FC United’s derby loss takes shine off previous Hyding

Source: Prestwich Advertiser

August 06, 2009

FC UNITED suffered a defeat at the hands of their cross-city blue rivals as preseason preparations hot up.

The reds were beaten 2-1 by Manchester City fans’ club Maine Road at Brantingham Road on Tuesday night.

Simon Carden rounded off a lovely move involving Adam Carden and Ben Deegan on the right wing, to put the reds 1-0 up.

But that was cancelled out just five minutes later when former FC midfielder Neil Chappell smartly finished.

The home side then took the lead in controversial circumstances on 62 minutes. A penalty was awarded after a Dave Chadwick trip and the resultant spot kick was excellently saved by youth keeper Grant Shenton.

However, the ball rebounded to the taker, who rounded Shenton before sending it goalwards.

Chadwick appeared to clear the ball away, but the assistant referee decided it had crossed the line and a goal was awarded.

Jerome Wright, playing against his former teammates, hit the bar late on, but it wasn’t to be.

The derby loss followed a tremendous result at Hyde United on Saturday, August 1. Unibond side FC beat the Conference North side 3-1, with goals coming from Phil Marsh, Danny Williams and an own goal.

FC play at Colwyn Bay on Saturday, August 8. Admission on the gate is £6 for adults, £3 for concessions and just £1 for under-14s.

On being a good sport

Source: New Statesman

Dan Hancox

Published 06 August 2009

"Aaaaare you Braintree in disguise?! Are you Braintree in disguise?" Even in the rarefied world of non-League football, this is an odd thing to hear another human being say - let alone to hear several hundred people sing in full-throated unison. But such enthusiastic localism is something I've heard a lot of as an AFC Wimbledon fan - in this case, as a sarcastic reference to one of our less impressive opponents from Essex

This past week I made my regular trip to glamorous Norbiton to watch my team play FC United of Manchester in a pre-season showpiece called the Supporters Direct Cup, for a trophy engraved with the words "Football without fans is nothing". AFC Wimbledon and their Mancunian comrades are both fan-owned co-operatives, in defiance of the hyper-capitalist imperatives that stole their old clubs from under their noses.

For Wimbledon fans, this meant that their club was uprooted from SW19 and moved to Milton Keynes in 2003 to become the "franchise club" MK Dons. For FC United fans, the straw that broke the camel's back was the Glazer family's £790m takeover of Manchester United in 2005. But the "rebel club" is a response to a much wider malaise, an embourgeoisement that continues to alienate so many fans of top-flight football.

Walking to the ground, I got chatting to Neil, a lifelong Manchester United fan who has made the switch to FC United. "We get a better atmosphere with 2,000 fans at FC than they get with 72,000 at Old Trafford - though that probably says as much about Old Trafford as it does about us: it's all tourists and casual, rich fans. Premiership football is just prohibitively expensive for me now, though in an ideal world I'd like to take James to both," he says, gesturing at his six-year-old, who is bouncing along Kingston Road in a Manchester United replica shirt. "But you like going to FC games, don't you, James?" He does.

Hit the Manchester United homepage, and you learn that this is "the world's most popular team": layered over Mercator's projection are prominent links to the Arabic, Korean, Japanese and Chinese-language versions of the site. But there is another, countervailing force in English football. Now Liverpool fans are plotting an ambitious, £250m bid to buy the club outright from the owners, who, they worry, will “do a Glazers" and land the club in multimillion-pound debt.

Back in south-west London, AFC are winning a light-hearted contest 2-0, and the 1,776 fans present all look tremendously happy. Yet the football Establishment told both sets of fans that their efforts would be in vain. "It won't last till Christmas," reads one FC United fan's T-shirt, with the club's three titles listed underneath. The FA commission that broke every precedent in football to green-light Wimbledon's move to Milton Keynes infamously told the fans that "resurrecting the club from its ashes as, say, 'Wimbledon Town' is . . . not in the wider interests of football".

In seven seasons, AFC Wimbledon have been promoted four times. On 8 August they kick off their first season in the Conference Premier in front of a predicted crowd of 4,600. You can try telling us on Saturday that this incredible adventure is not in the wider interests of football, but you probably won't be able to make yourself heard above the din.