Thursday, April 29, 2010

Chester FC: City Fans United Junior Blues members fly flag for ‘Chester FC’

Source: Chester Chronicle

Apr 29 2010

NEARLY 100 Blues supporters flew the flag for their new ‘Chester Football Club’ at FC United of Manchester’s Youth United Day on Saturday.

The City Fans United members, including 30 Junior Blues, were given a warm welcome by the 3,000-crowd at Bury’s Gigg Lane and wished luck in their quest to beat the Danes and gain the lease at the vacant Deva Stadium.

Proud parent Phil Spencer, of Elton, said: “It was very emotional, especially at the end of the game when the FC United fans stopped celebrating their own win to chant ‘Chester, Chester’.”

CFU community officer Mark Howell added: “The fantastic, family-friendly atmosphere would be something that we will be trying extremely hard to emulate should we be granted our wishes by the council.

“It was touching to see the reaction of other supporters to our children – the real spirit of football was there for everyone to see.”

CFU members are reminded that the group’s April meeting takes places at the Home Guard Club, Canal Street, Chester, tonight (8pm).

Rebels boss is ready to ring the changes

Source: Bury Times

6:50am Thursday 29th April 2010

* By Liam Chronnell »

FOOTBALL: Karl Marginson has vowed to wield the axe after FC United’s worst season in their history.

After three promotions in four years, the Gigg Lane tenants have suffered a disastrous campaign by their high standards and finished a disappointing 13th in the UniBond Premier League.

A return of just one win in their last nine games saw their play-offs hopes fizzle out – and the Rebels boss has promised to ring the changes over the summer.

“The players just aren’t good enough. Quite a few will be going,” said Marginson.

“I’m really disappointed with the players and the fight they’ve shown. Maybe that’s been a bit harsh because they might just not be good enough and they haven’t got it in them and that’s something you can’t put into people.

“But I’m fed up with talking to people who are nodding at you but don’t do anything to address it out there.

“Maybe I’ve been too fair with people because it’s not been repaid.

“We’ve got some good players and they’ve just not performed over the last few weeks. Our biggest earners and better players, the ones who influenced games, just haven’t done it.

“It’s been unbearable these past couple of months. I never want to be in this position again.

“We’re working hard to get players lined up for next year and we’ll come back bigger, better and stronger.”

Jerome Wright’s late winner ensured FC at least ended the season on a high as they beat Matlock Town 1-0 at Gigg Lane on Saturday in front of 2,871 supporters.

Defender Rob Nugent, who played in the breakaway club’s first ever game against Leigh RMI in July 2005, retired after the match because of work commitments.

The victory, the first in nine games, came on the back of Wednesday’s 3-2 home defeat against Ashton United. Phil Marsh and Ben Deegan were on target for FC.

Marginson added: “The season just petered out and it killed me.

“Players have left the club and we’ve not been able to replace them with better or even up to the same standard and that’s been shown with the results.”

Monday, April 26, 2010

St Pauli in a world of their own making

Source: The Times

April 26, 2010

A club who reflect the alternative lifestyles of their supporters are closing in on a return to the Bundesliga

Nick Szczepanik

After trekking across northern Europe to watch their team draw 0-0 with Hamburg in the Europa League on Thursday, it is a pity that more Fulham fans did not stay on an extra day to watch the club that offer the most refreshing antidote to Uefa’s corporate football ideal.

St Pauli, based in the German port’s red-light district, beat Koblenz 6-1 on Friday evening and the entertainment did not stop at the touchlines, the fans not so much a backdrop as part of the experience.

The core of the club’s support is left wing, anarchic and hedonistic, including many with “alternative” lifestyles that reflect the area. “We like to feel we are underdogs, fighting against big money,” Uwe, a magazine seller, said. “Antiracist, antifascist and internationalist.”

If a Clash reunion tour were possible, this would be its audience, except that they do all the singing. Often in English, it lasts the full 90 minutes and includes nods to the Beatles, who spent their early years around the corner at the Kaiserkeller and the Star-Club. The choirmasters are four fans with megaphones, perched on the perimeter railings behind the goal in a manner that would give British safety officers heart failure.

Attending a match at the Millerntor is like stepping back 20 or 30 years into a slightly altered, improved football universe: the old Den without the menace. With beer and smoking allowed on the terraces — yes, standing remains part of Germany’s football landscape — it even smells like an old ground. In a good way.

The motto “Non-established since 1910” says everything about the club whose team wear brown and are cheered on by fans waving the skull and crossbones. Its centenary will be celebrated not with a prestige friendly against a mega-club but against FC United of Manchester.

St Pauli could also be celebrating promotion back to the Bundesliga after relegation in 2002 was followed by several years in regional football. One win from two remaining matches will ensure that Bayern Munich and the rest will be visiting the Millerntor again next season.

They will find that the tatty but atmospheric ground is being rebuilt to hold 28,000 rather than the present snug 23,000, but it will never be confused with Hamburg’s Uefa five-star venue. The standing areas are being expanded rather than replaced by seats.

“It was a hard fight to keep standing areas in the 1990s,” Sven Brux, a former fanzine editor, now a club administrator, said. “You gave up too easily. It wasn’t standing that killed people at Hillsborough, it was mistakes by the police. That’s why so many British fans come here. English football is boring.”

This was anything but. For the first 40 minutes after the teams took the field to AC/DC’s Hells Bells promotion jitters were evident as St Pauli missed a penalty and a retake. But the crowd sang on as if they had scored and two goals in as many minutes just after half-time settled the nerves.

After the final whistle, celebrations spilt on to the nearby Reeperbahn, while 500 or so headed for their traditional watering hole, the Jolly Roger pub, to continue drinking and talk about the match and the plans for the rest of Friday night.

What they did not discuss was whether success will change St Pauli. How could it, when Corny Littman, the president, is a theatre and nightclub-owner and one-time performer in gay cabaret? “I’ve been president for seven years but a fan for 30, so I understand what they want,” he said. “I believe in the identity and you have to take care of it.”

“You only have to look around to feel the atmosphere, to understand the flair of St Pauli. I’m not afraid that we’ll lose it, even in the Bundesliga. I don’t really want to talk about it because we’re not there yet. If we are, we may change the atmosphere of the Bundesliga, but it won’t change us.”

Saturday, April 24, 2010

FC United sign off with a win

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

April 24, 2010

FC United rounded off their season in style with a comfortable 1-0 victory over Matlock on Saturday.

Jerome Wright’s superb finish seven minutes from time ended the Rebels’ run of four straight defeats and sent the bumper Gigg Lane crowd of over 2,800 home happy.

FC began the game strongly and almost took the lead on the half hour mark when Wright hit the inside of the post after being played in by Carlos Roca.

The visitors flew out of the traps in the second half and midfielder Liam King forced Sam Ashton into a fine save. However, the Rebels quickly reasserted themselves and deservedly finished the campaign on a high through Wright’s excellent goal.

Meanwhile, Rob Nugent, who made over 170 appearances for FC, has retired from the game due to persistent injuries and work commitments.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Watch FC United take on Matlock ... For free!

Source: Bury Times

1:00pm Thursday 22nd April 2010

YOUNGSTERS from across the borough are being invited to watch a football match for free on Saturday.

At 3pm at Gigg Lane, fans-owned club FC United of Manchester will play Matlock Town in the Unibond Premier League, and under-18s can watch it free.

The club has played home games in Bury since forming in 2005, but recently announced plans to move to Newton Heath in two or three years.

A crowd of more than 2,500 is expected and will include pupils from dozens of local schools. There will be a number of extra activities on offer to children before the match kicks off.

Entry costs £7.50 for adults and £5 for over-65s.

FC United 2 Ashton United 3

Source: The Bolton News

12:34pm Thursday 22nd April 2010

* By Liam Chronnell »

FC United slumped to their fourth defeat in a row as they lost to Ashton United.

Phil Marsh headed the Rebels into the lead in the UniBond Premier League clash at Gigg Lane on Wednesday night.

But Iain Howard equalised from the penalty spot after Ben Morris tripped Marlin Piana.

Liam Dawson put Ashton in front before half time and FC found themselves further behind a minute after the restart through Craig Robinson’s header.

Ben Deegan pulled one back for the hosts but Karl Marginson’s side could not find a leveller and they have now gone eight games without a win.

United take on Matlock Town at home on Saturday in their final match of the season.

FC's losing run continues

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

April 22, 2010

Ashton condemned FC United to their fourth consecutive defeat at Gigg Lane on Wednesday night.

Phil Marsh's header put FC ahead before Iain Howard equalised with a penalty.

Liam Dawson gave the visitors a half-time lead with a stunning strike, before Craig Robinson increased their advantage after the break. Ben Deegan grabbed a late consolation for the Rebels.

Meanwhile, FC will mark their last game of the season at Gigg Lane on Saturday (3pm) by giving youngsters the chance to watch the Rebels for free.

All under 18s can attend ‘Youth United Day’ at the ground for no cost, which includes various activities and free access to the game against Matlock Town.

Former United winger Lee Sharpe and ‘Looking for Eric’ star Steve Evets will be special guests at the event.

“We are committed to providing affordable and accessible live football for all communities in Greater Manchester, not least young people,” said FC general manager Andy Walsh.

“Youth United Day is a celebration of youth participation and achievement and we hope to welcome as many groups and individuals as possible.”

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

FC United homage to history as they prepare for future at Newton Heath

The Guardian Sport 21 Apr 2010

Source: The Guardian

The club, formed in protest at the Glazers' leveraged buy-out of Manchester United, are to build their own ground

While Manchester United supporters were deliriously celebrating Paul Scholes's vintage winner at Eastlands on Saturday some 500 followers of FC United, the club formed in 2005 by fans opposed to the Glazer family's takeover, were singing with customary passion throughout their own fixture – a 4-1 defeat at Boston United.

Such have been the lives of contrasts since the Glazers arrived and loaded United with all that debt, now standing at more than £700m. "Big" United have nevertheless won three Premier League titles and the European Cup, while FC United have grafted through three promotions in the northern non‑leagues, to this challenging season in the Unibond Premier Division.

At Old Trafford, the Manchester United Supporters Trust's (MUST) remarkable green and gold campaign has flowered, an expression of yearning for the founding values of Newton Heath, the original United club, rather than the financial speculation of the Glazers. Now FC United have revealed that they too are planning their own homage to that history, announcing an agreement with Manchester City Council to lease land for a new 5,000 capacity stadium – in Newton Heath.

The site, the Ten Acres Sports Complex, in need of refurbishment in the deprived east Manchester district, is close to where Newton Heath, formed by working men on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway in 1878, played their early, pre-United football in green and gold. Close by, on the other side of the former brickworks, is a small housing estate, its streets named after the Busby Babes who died in the 1958 Munich air crash, including Roger Byrne Close, Duncan Edwards Court, Eddie Colman Close.

"The site is close to Manchester city centre, which is vital to us," explains Andy Walsh, FC United's general manager, "but the historic and emotional tie is important, too. FC United is a different, alternative club for United fans, and we want to be true to the original Newton Heath heritage, part of the community and accessible to the ordinary working people of Manchester."

For a supporter-owned club whose banners at the current home ground, Bury's Gigg Lane, proclaim "punk football", the stadium plans have been meticulously professional. Working with lawyers, planners and accountants, many giving their time for free, FC have produced proposals for a stadium costing £3.5m, a project which will refurbish the sports centre and provide facilities for extensive use by residents living around the ground. The council has agreed a grant in principle, and FC have also applied for funding from the Football Foundation. They aim to raise the rest by issuing community shares to supporters, which will not provide a financial return and be non-voting, so as not to disturb the club's cherished one-member-one-vote democracy.

"The prospectus is being finalised at the moment," says Walsh, the former firebrand opponent of United's plc status, and the Glazer takeover, trying not to smile at his authorship of a share issue. FC United are growing up, developing a club embodying the values the fans felt were being sucked away at Old Trafford, keeping tickets affordable for the average 2,000 regulars, and becoming deeply engaged in community work. The stadium plan will be accompanied with an "asset lock", a legal agreement that the ground will not be separated from the club in the future and sold off.

A reminder of how important such protection is, and the roots of the movement for supporter ownership, arrived last week when Wrexham's former chairman, Mark Guterman, was disqualified from acting as a company director for seven years. For the purpose of agreeing to the disqualification, Guterman did not dispute that in 2002 he "exploited" Wrexham's "property assets" – the club's tenancy at the Racecourse Ground.

The freehold was transferred to a company owned by Guterman's partner, Alex Hamilton, – who is contesting the disqualification proceedings – and the club's lease changed to allow them to be evicted on 12 months' notice. Guterman did not dispute that the "the primary purpose" of the scheme was "for my own personal benefit and that of my business associate, rather than for the benefit of the [club]".

The modern idea for supporter-owned clubs, in fact a reclaiming of most clubs' original status, was born at the Butchers Arms in Northampton in 1992 when Brian Lomax, a Liberal party member and Town fan, was bemoaning the running of the club. Lomax's notion, that supporters should own shares and have a say in the club, led to him and fellow fans forming a democratic trust. That idea impressed the Labour Government's Football Task Force, and led to the establishment in 2000 of Supporters Direct, with Lomax as the managing director, to help fans establish trusts more widely.

They have now been formed at more than 150 clubs in England, Wales and Scotland, and this season, due largely to MUST's green and gold campaign, and this season supporter ownership has become an ideal understood by the mainstream mass of fans. The facts are known more widely than ever before; the football public are aware that Barcelona and Bayern Munich are owned, respectively, by 100% and more than 50% of their supporters. Remarkably, the Labour and Conservative parties' election manifestos both carry plans to extend supporter ownership in Britain.

The efforts being finalised by the "Red Knights" to mount a bid to buy United from the Glazers represent the journey's most significant outpost yet – a selection of multimillionaires preparing to agree that a football club is not for financial exploitation, but should be owned without delivering a large return, with supporters enabled to buy a growing stake. Led by the Goldman Sachs chief economist Jim O'Neill, the Red Knights are understood to be ensuring all the investors are committed to that ethos, before they sign up.

Yet the Red Knights' plans also illustrate the basic stumbling block supporters trusts have met in seeking to establish themselves in the past decade: access to cash. Several have heroically rescued much smaller clubs, including York City and Chesterfield, out of catastrophe, then been forced by financial pressures to hand them over to businessmen. Exeter City are the only Football League club currently still wholly owned by their fans, while significant stakes are held at Lincoln City and Swansea. The handing over of Notts County by its trust to the mirage of Munto Finance stands, though, as an object lesson of what not to do.

If the political parties are genuine about extending fan ownership and representation in clubs valued at many millions, they will have to flesh out detail of how, practically, it can be done. In the age of billionaire owners, ordinary fans, however committed to the mutual ideal, have struggled to find resources.

In the meantime FC United are showing what can be achieved when starting from the beginning, with loyalty, defiance, and a backbone of work.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Boston United close to winning UniBond League Premier Division title


Monday, April 19, 2010, 07:00

Boston United have one hand on the UniBond League Premier Division title after their thumping 4-1 win against FC United at a packed York Street on Saturday.

The Pilgrims know a win at Marine in their final game of the season next Saturday will be enough to win the championship such is their superior goal difference.

In front of a crowd of more than 2,500, the Pilgrims came from a goal down to batter FC United, scoring four goals in the last 20 minutes – Lee Canoville, Anthony Church, Spencer Weir-Daley and Danny Davidson on target.

Meanwhile, as the champagne was being put on ice at York Street, second-placed Guiseley were losing 2-0 at home to Marine and third-placed Bradford Park Avenue were drawing 2-2 at Frickley.

Both teams have a game in hand on Boston, but joint-manager Rob Scott said the pressure would be on United's rivals as he praised his own players.

"A few harsh words were said at the break, because every time we have done that this season, they have responded positively," said Scott.

"It was constructive criticism and we produced that bit of quality.

"I don't want to throw too many plaudits at the players, because we have not won anything yet.

"But Guiseley and Bradford have to win their games in hand this week, otherwise it could be over before Saturday."

For more reaction plus a full report on the win over FC United of Manchester, see today's Lincolnshire Echo.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

UniBond League round-up

Source: The Bolton News

9:14pm Sunday 18th April 2010

* By Staff Sports Reporter »

LEIGH Genesis kept alive their hopes of a place in the UniBond League Division One North play-offs with a point at Woodley Sports thanks to Matt Jansen’s equaliser with 20 minutes remaining.

Although Genesis ran out 2-0 victors when the two sides met at the Leigh Sports Village Stadium last month, Leigh’s last visit to Lambeth Grove resulted in a 2-1 defeat in the UniBond League President’s Cup first round last October.

Dale Whitham, Leigh’s main attacking threat, was unlucky when his header from a corner was headed off the line on 18 minutes.

Leigh went behind on the hour when goalkeeper Steven Drench misjudged a cross that allowed Danny Queeley to nip in and loop a header into the empty net.

They hit back when Tom Ince delivered a perfect cross from the right that substitute Jansen hooked into the net.

In the same division, Radcliffe Borough squandered a two-goal lead in an eventful first half at Prescot Cables where they drew 3-3. James Mullineux put Boro ahead on 14 minutes and Alistair Brown added the second 17 minutes later.

But a Karl Brown double in the 39th and 44th minute – the first from the penalty spot – put the home side right back in it.

Ben Wharton restored Boro’s advantage two minutes after the restart, but Phil Cooney levelled again nine minutes later.

Boro entertain Lancaster City tomorrow night, kick off 7.45pm, in their penultimate match of the season.

In the Premier Division, FC United looked to be on course for a shock victory at leaders Boston United until a late goal blitz saw them go down 4-1 in front of a crowd of 2,533.

Jerome Wright gave the Rebels the lead in the fourth minute which they held until Boston equalised on 70 minutes. The home side went ahead on 77 minutes, scored again two minutes later and got a fourth two minutes from time.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Boston United 4 FC United 1


Saturday, April 17, 2010, 19:43

​ An irresistible second half display from Boston United saw the Pilgrims strengthen their grip on the UniBond League Premier Division title with a 4-1 thumping of FC United.

Josh Wright gave the visitors a shock first half lead with a superb free kick, but second half goals from Lee Canoville, Anthony Church, Spencer Weir-Daley and Danny Davidson wrapped up a vital three points for the hosts.

With second-place Guiseley losing 2-0 and third-placed Bradford Park Avenue drawing 2-2, the Pilgrims are three points clear of second and a point clear of third.

Boston have one game to go, their nearest rivals, two.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Boston United set for massive FC United clash


Friday, April 16, 2010, 07:00

With York Street set to welcome more than 2,000 fans tomorrow and with the advent of modern technology, joint-manager Paul Hurst's desire not to know the scores of Boston United's title rivals may fall on deaf ears.

The Pilgrims shot to the top of the UniBond League Premier Division table on Wednesday night, with a thumping 5-1 win at Worksop Town, and entertain the other big guns of the division, FC United tomorrow.

United are level on points with second-placed Guiseley, with Bradford Park Avenue in third a further two points back, but crucially both sides have a game in hand.

Guiseley host Marine and Bradford travel to Frickley at the weekend and Hurst is hoping to avoid any news filtering through to his players, via mobile phones and the Internet, in what will be a pressure cooker atmosphere.

"The lads realise how close they are to the prize. It's in our hands one way or another, whether it's automatic promotion or the play-offs," said Hurst, who should have a full-strength team to pick from, following the return from injury of Mark Camm (hernia) and Liam Parker (rib).

"We're not bothered what's going on in the other games, but I'm sure if something happens, it will filter through.

"With mobile phones and the Internet, there's not a lot you can do about that. The only thing we can do is ask our stadium announcer not to reveal the other teams' scores."

For the full story, read today's Lincolnshire Echo.

Rebels without a cause

Source: Bury Times

1:00pm Thursday 15th April 2010

* By Liam Chronnell »

FC United continue to limp towards the finish line as they suffered a 1-0 defeat at Burscough.

The one-time play-off hopefuls have now dropped to 13th in the UniBond Premier League table after a six-game winless run.

The Rebels’ cause on Saturday was not helped by Carlos Roca’s missed first-half penalty. And Burscough made the visitors pay when Craig Mahon looped a header over debut goalkeeper Grant Shenton for a 26th-minute winner.

FC travel to third-placed Boston United on Saturday before taking on Ashton United at Gigg Lane in their penultimate game of the season on Wednesday.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Rebels playing for pride

Source: Manchester Evening News

April 15, 2010

Karl Marginson has called on his FC United players to play for pride at title-chasing Boston on Saturday (3pm).

The Rebels have now gone six games without a win and face an in-form Pilgrims side with everything to play for, but Marginson believes his side can get back to winning ways at York Street.

“The players have to focus on their personal pride now,” said the manager.

“Confidence is low but they’re still good players and if they give 100 per cent we can’t ask any more of them.

“They’re going to an ex-Football League club and there will be 2,000 fans there - these are the games they should want to play in and we’ll give them a good game.”

Burscough beat FC United of Manchester to retain their place in the UniBond League Premier Division for 2010-11

Source: Ormskirk and Skelmersdale Advertiser

Apr 15 2010 by Our Correspondent, Ormskirk Advertiser

Burscough 1

FC United of Manchester0

UNITED’S first-ever visit to Victoria Park, on a sunny Grand National day, saw the Linnets in no mood to make it an easy one.

From the start, United played the better football but they were nevertheless guilty of giving the ball away and they put little pressure on the Burscough backline.

The hosts then began to put the Manchester side under pressure themselves and with Dominic Morley dominating the midfield it was no surprise when his free-kick was forced home by Craig Mahon just before the half-hour.

It looked like a move straight from the training ground and it was to ultimately decide the destiny of the points.

Mahon was through again minutes later only to see his shot turned over the bar by full-back James Holden.

Then, a weaving run in the 38th minute by United winger Carlos Roca took him into the box.

Full-back Shaun Holden was adjudged to have brought him down and a penalty was awarded. Roca took the kick himself sending keeper Richard Whiteside the wrong way – but the ball went past the right hand upright and the Linnets still held their lead.

Just before the break a shot by Dave Roberts from fully 30 yards just cleared the bar as Burscough pressed for a second goal.

From the start of the second period Burscough continued to advance forward.

In the 55th minute a 25-yard shot from Morley produced another save by Grant Shenton in the United goal.

Soon after, Gary McEvatt wriggled his way through the United defence, crossed to Peter Moore who did the impossible when he scooped the ball over the bar from inside the six yard box.

The home side continued to create the best of the goalscoring chances with McEvatt, Mahon, Holden and Roberts all missing out as the visitors rode their An 84th minute shot by Moore was tipped over for a corner before Mahon saw two more attempts stopped by Shenton.

To their great credit, United’s supporters sang their hearts out all afternoon, but they must have known after the miss from 12 yards it was not going to be their afternoon.

This victory, and other results on Saturday, confirmed the Linnets will still be playing UniBond League Premier Division football in 2010-11.

There’s no doubt Linnets manager Andy Gray and his players must be congratulated for what they have achieved in what has been a stressful season at Victoria Park.

BURSCOUGH: Whiteside, Field, Holden S, Morley, Bayliss, Riley, Mahon (Taylor T 90), Roberts, Moore, McEvatt (Wilson 81), Brookfield.

Subs (not used): Taylor A, Barlow, Christopher.

FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER: Shenton, Holden J, Quisten, Tsiaklis (Krou 58), Chadwick, Jacobs, Roca, Carden, Mack (Ovington 46), Wright, Yoffe (Cheetham 58).

Subs (not used): Marsh, Morris.

Referee: Mr N Davies

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Burscough 1 FC United 0

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

April 11, 2010

A lacklustre performance from FC United saw them lose 1-0 at Burscough on Saturday.

With both teams having little to play for, the home side shaded a typical end-of-season match to claim the three points. FC have now gone six games without a win and travel to title-chasing Boston next week.

“Both teams played like was like a pre-season or training game,” said Rebels boss Karl Marginson.

“We haven’t achieved our targets this season and it’s difficult to instil endeavour into the players when they’re disappointed with themselves.”

The Rebels almost took an early lead through skipper David Chadwick, but Burscough went ahead 26 minutes in with a header from a well-worked free kick.

Carlos Roca spurned a golden opportunity to equalise moments later when he put a penalty wide, and FC were fortunate to keep the score at 1-0 in the second half as Burscough missed a host of chances to increase their lead.

Brian Viner: The fans who chose Kendal over Bayern

Source: The Independent

The Last Word

Saturday, 10 April 2010

For footballing neutrals, the journey to Manchester on Wednesday was well worth the bother.

I was sorry to see United undone at home, but there were five goals to savour, and it's always fun to watch rapturous away fans bouncing up and down. For United supporters, however, it was a grim night. And the euphoria of those Kendal Town fans made it even harder to bear.

Kendal Town? Not Bayern Munich? No, because this was FC United of Manchester of the Unibond Premier League, the club set up as a counterblast to the Glazer family's takeover of Manchester United, and cherished by its fiercely loyal fans as an antidote to all that is rapacious and sick about top-level football. Most of those fans still adore Man United – "I'll always be red to the core," one of them told me – but wild horses wouldn't drag them to Old Trafford to fill the Glazer coffers. True, Wednesday's crowd was a little thinner than usual on account of the live ITV coverage of a certain Champions League quarter-final, but there were still 1,500 of the FC United faithful there, more interested in the fortunes of their new beloved than the travails of their old love. To reach for some alternative imagery, these are not the stone-throwing protesters, as represented by those in the Stretford End wearing the old green-and-gold colours of Newton Heath; these are your full-blown, hardcore jihadis.

Still, as jihadis go, they could scarcely have been more welcoming to an outsider, even an outsider who once incurred their terrible wrath. In May 2007, in this space, I dared to assert that with another league title won and £50m lined up to spend on new players, maybe those who had burnt effigies of the Glazers should offer an apology. Abuse rained down on me in the form of hundreds of e-mails, the more temperate of them explaining, without calling me a #*@#ing ignorant #*@#!, that the Americans had constructed their new empire on quicksand. The following week I gorged myself on humble pie, and a nice man called David French wrote to tell me all about the ethos behind FC United, who are owned by their members and have a board but no chairman. Last year, in response to the credit crunch, they even asked people to pay what they could afford for season tickets. If Karl Marx were alive today, he'd be an FC United fan.

Anyway, David invited me to see a game some time, and on Wednesday I finally took up his offer, intrigued by the clash with Manchester United's most important game of the season. So in the city centre, as hordes of Man United and Bayern fans made their way to Old Trafford, I got on a bus heading in the opposite direction, to Bury.

FC United play their home games at Gigg Lane, paying Bury FC handsomely for the privilege. But last month the council gave them the green (and gold) light to build their own ground in, of all symbolic neighbourhoods, Newton Heath. For this project they need to raise £3.5m and I have no doubt that they will do so; a genuine passion inflames them, and they are inspired, rather than offended, by the dismissal of them by some at Old Trafford as "a bunch of dicks". Sir Alex Ferguson put it slightly more politely. "That mob," he called them. But it is the former description that proudly graces a banner, defiantly raised at all home games.

The association with Manchester United will always energise them – they wear the same colours, and have even had a Giggs in the team, Ryan's brother Rhodri – but it no longer defines them. Even were the Glazers to sell up to a consortium headed by Sir Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and Paddy Crerand, FC United would march on towards what appears to be the summit of their realistic ambition, a place in the Blue Square Premier, the top-tier of non-league football. They're two divisions away, but their short history augurs well, for they have already been promoted twice.

On the pitch, however, this has been a disappointing season, and the 4-1 walloping by Kendal Town didn't help. Off the pitch, they're thriving. And from first whistle to last on Wednesday there resounded a repertoire of booming chants that would put the fans at most Premier League grounds, not least Old Trafford, to shame. David French had been a Manchester United season-ticket holder for more than 30 of his 42 years when he gave up, or rather realigned, the faith. It wasn't an easy thing to do. But then Old Trafford wasn't what it had once been. "I can't believe that so many people can make such little noise," he told me. At FC United, it's the other way round.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Kendal in mint form to down Rebels

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

April 08, 2010

A superb display from play-off contenders Kendal saw them ease to a 4-1 victory over FC United at Gigg Lane.

The Rebels have now gone five games without a win and were no match for the impressive Cumbrians.

After a cagey start from both sides, Peter Wright opened the scoring for the visitors with a smart finish after 27 minutes.

Kendal then doubled their advantage seconds later when Kieran Walmsley converted a contentious penalty.

And for the second consecutive game, FC conceded a quick fire double just after half time before substitute striker Jamie Mack grabbed a late consolation for the home side.

Ashton United 2 FC United 2

Source: Manchester Evening News

April 08, 2010

If ever there actually was a game of two halves, then this was it. The visitors started the match in impressive style and could have secured the points inside the opening 20 minutes after storming into a two-goal lead with 11 minutes gone.

However, the home side weathered the storm and came out after the break in inspired form.

The scores were level after 58 minutes and Ashton had chances to secure all three points, although in the end they had to settle for a draw.

Chris Ovington forced Ashton keeper Terry Smith into an early save after getting clear of the Robins’ defence.

Three minutes later, full-back Ludovic Quistin rampaged forward, before being tripped inside the penalty area. Carlos Roca converted the spot kick with aplomb.

The winger has tormented Ashton in previous encounters and he soon doubled the advantage with a brilliant finish, chipping the ball over Smith.

The Ashton goalkeeper was also called into action to save from Jerome Wright and Ovington.

Adam Morning came close for the home side with a firm shot that Sam Ashton pushed away for a corner and Iain Howard had two efforts deflected behind.

After the break Roca chipped the ball just over the crossbar, while Angelos Tsiaklis struck a shot that Smith tipped over for a corner.

However, the home side soon struck back; Gareth Richards’ shot was parried by Sam Ashton, but O’Neill seized on the loose ball and rolled it into the net.

Morning then produced a sublime finish to chip the ball into the top corner from just inside the penalty area and level the scores.

Ian Bennett was denied by Ashton after getting clear of the visitors’ defence and Richards had a diving header saved.

Substitute, Osebi Abadaki almost caught Ashton out with a low shot that the keeper saved at his near post and Howard was also denied to ensure a draw.

Attendance 707

Marine 1-1 FC United

Source: Crosby Herald

Apr 8 2010 by Our Correspondent, Crosby Herald

A SCRAMBLED goal from Liam Rushton deep into stoppage time rescued a deserved point for Marine in a tense encounter at the Arriva Stadium.

Marine were looking to extend their unbeaten to ten matches in front of a bumper Bank Holiday crowd but this was a poor performance from Kevin Lynch’s men who failed to raise their game against the self appointed rebels of Manchester United.

Lynch was careful not to make excuses after their game but agreed that his side may have been a little overawed by both the occasion and hostile United fans.

He said: “We are a young team but you should never get stage fright if you want to be a footballer. It’s why you play the game, to play football in occasions like this and you should want to play at a higher level. Sometimes you’ve just got to grow a pair of you-know-what’s and today I thought we were a bit caught in the headlights.”

Both teams struggled with awful conditions throughout the opening as torrential rain swept across the pitch, but it was United who settled the better, as they slowly took control of the game with their patient and attractive football.

Sadly the same admiration could not extend to United’s fans and amid some unsavory chanting from both sets of supporters, police and stewards were forced to eject a number of people from the ground

It took until the last minute of the half for their possession to pay off when a deep corner from Carlos Roca saw a far post header from captain, David Chadwick cross the line after a fumble from keeper, Tim Dittmer and a poor attempted clearance from the defender on the line.

The second half saw Marine improve but chances for Jonathan Goulding and Thomas Moore came and went while Roca went close with a fine curling effort for United.

The team in red, who were set up by fans disenchanted with the Old Trafford side’s takeover by the American Glazer family, were satisfied with looking for the breakaway goal, content to play one up front and leaving the superb Cypriot, Angelos Tsiaklis to control midfield.

Marine though are made of strong stuff as their recent record of late goals has shown and with ten minutes remaining, the Whites’ pressure was incessant, Moore wasting their best chance after rounding the keeper, his goal bound effort cleared off the line by defender James Holden.

Steve Hussey was next to go close, his right footed placement prompting a fine finger tip save from the flying Sam Ashton. From the resultant corner Moore headed back across goal to Rainford who stumbled over the ball from five yards. Two further corners saw headers scrambled away by the United defence.

With only minutes on the clock, United paid the price for their time wasting tactics as the referee added extra time on following some painfully slow substitutions.

A minimum of three minutes injury time turned into five, and the Marine goal finally came when a long range shot was turned in from close range by teenager Liam Rushton, ensuring the points were shared.

Marine: Tim Dittmer, Shaun Callacher, Ian Latham (Liam Rushton), Michael Jackson ©, John Shaw, Steven Hussey, Jamie Rainford, Joe Fowler (Jonathan Goulding), Thomas Moore, Lloyd Ellams (Stephen Brown), Sean Doherty.

Subs not used; Joe McMahon, Peter Cumiskey.

FC United of Manchester: Sam Ashton, James Holden, Ludovic Quistin, Angelos Tsiaklis, David Chadwick ©, Nick Swirad, Chris Ovington (Gage Eme), Cedric Krou, Phil Marsh, Jerome Wright (Ben Morris), Carlos Roca (Joe Yoffe).

Subs not used; Jamie Mack, Mark Ayres.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Rebels held at Ashton

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

April 05, 2010

FC United squandered a two-goal lead as they were pegged back to 2-2 at Ashton on Easter Monday.

The Rebels went in two goals to the good at half time following a superb first half display, but the home side fought back after the break to claim a draw.

Carlos Roca opened the scoring in the ninth minute with a cool penalty, and FC looked to have sealed the win soon after when the winger netted his second of the game with a brilliant strike.

However, goals from Ashton’s Matty O’Neill and Adam Morning in the opening seven minutes of the second half meant that Karl Marginson’s side had to settle for a point.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Shops fear loss in trade as FC United plan move

Source: Bury Times

10:10am Thursday 1st April 2010

A POPULAR football club is set to “up goalposts” and leave Bury.

Nearby traders say they will be hit hard following an announcement that semi-professional side, FC United of Manchester, plan to build a stadium of their own in Newton Heath in the next two or three years.

Since the club formed in July 2005, it has played most home games at Gigg Lane, regularly attracting more than 2,000 supporters.

Neighbouring businesses have since experienced a hike in trade and some are already concerned about what will happen when FC United go.

“Things are already bad enough in this economic climate as it is and this something else for us to contend with,” said Jenny Osbourne, barmaid at the Swan and Cemetery pub in Manchester Road.

She added: “When FC first started up, we were packed out every home game and we still get quite a few in.

“At least we have a few more years to enjoy.”

Albert Pugh, licensee of the Staff of Life pub in Manchester Road, said: “They are an absolutely wonderful set of fans and we enjoy having them here every week.

“I have never had one ounce of trouble from their fans and I have made some very good friends. It will have a massive effect on our trade when they go. It will hit our takings hard.”

Bosses of neighbouring takeaways said they also expected their trade to drop off.

A spokesman for Ziady's burger bar in Parkhills Road said they were particular busy for evening games when supporters grab a pizza or a burger after work and before the match.

Margaret Freeman, licensee at the Waterloo pub in Manchester Road, added: “At the moment it is good because you have Bury playing one Saturday and FC United playing another. Any fall in custom is bad.”

Marine FC boss urges players to keep calm heads

Source: Crosby Herald

Apr 1 2010 by Philip Kirkbride

‘KEEP YOUR COOL’ is the message from boss Kevin Lynch ahead of Marine’s clash with FC United of Manchester tomorrow.

Unbeaten in nine matches, the Mariners welcome the breakaway Manchester club to the Arriva Stadium in a fixture last season which attracted over 1400 supporters.

Manager Lynch is urging his in-form players to resist letting their Merseyside pride take over in a battle against the Mancunian outfit and instead repeat the “professional” approach seen in last weekend’s 2-0 win over Whitby Town.

Marine were scheduled to face second bottom Ossett Town on Tuesday night but a waterlogged pitch put paid to the fixture and now rescheduled for Wednesday, the Whites face a jam-packed week ahead.

Lynch said: “People see this match as Liverpool versus Manchester United but it is not and the lads have got to get any notion of this out of their minds. We are just playing a normal team and if you go into the game thinking about this rivalry then you are already beaten; it is just 11 versus 11.

FC United have found this level hard after coming up from the First Division talking about winning the league and the going on to the Conference North and then National. But the best teams in this league have been around for some time and we are finding that out for ourselves.

“We have a clean bill of health and everyone wants to play in the FC match but obviously I can only pick a 16 man squad. It is leaving me with selection headache.

Take nothing away from FC, they are a good footballing side but they are beatable and give you chances.

“These games are great occasions and have really good atmospheres, the type everyone wants to play in.

“You want to showcase your talents in front of a big stage.

“I thought the Whitby Town performance was a professional one. They came to spoil the game and rough us up but the lads didn’t rise to it. Earlier in the season this was the type of match where we would have had someone sent off but they just got on with the job and scored two excellent goals. They deservedly had a man sent off.”

Lynch expressed concerns the Arriva Stadium pitch, currently waterlogged, may not be passed fit for Friday’s match and said the club were exploring the possibility of playing the game on Saturday.

But at the time of going to press the game was still going ahead tomorrow.

For all the latest news on the game visit

FC downed by March madness

Source: Bury Times

9:20am Thursday 1st April 2010

* By Liam Chronnell »

FC United slipped to a sixth defeat in seven games as their season continues to fizzle out.

The Rebels looked to be play-off certainties after taking 16 points from a possible 18, but a terrible March has seen their charge falter badly.

After their 5-1 midweek thrashing at the hands of leaders Bradford Park Avenue, Karl Marginson’s side dropped to 13th in the UniBond Premier League when they suffered a second successive home defeat against title-chasing Guiseley on Saturday.

FC, however, have plenty of opportunity to return to winning ways with three games in six days. They travel to Marine tomorrow and Ashton United on Easter Monday, before taking on Kendal Town at Gigg Lane on Wednesday.