Thursday, October 21, 2010

FC United boss issues challenge to Barrow AFC fans

 Source: North West Evening Mail

 KARL Marginson has challenged Barrow AFC’s rowdy away-day supporters to try and match the noise made by their FC United counterparts this weekend.

Former Bluebirds midfielder Marginson knows all about AFC’s noisy travelling support, and as FC United boss he also knows how loud the Manchester club’s fans can be – so he is expecting a vocal battle on the terraces during Sunday’s FA Cup fourth qualifying round clash.

“I wanted an away draw, but if it’s going to be anybody as a home draw then Barrow, with the fantastic support they’ve got, is great for us,” said Marginson.

“Having played up at Holker Street and knowing the fans up there, it will be interesting to see the contest off the pitch between the supporters, in terms of how loud they are.

“I’m sure people up there have heard about FC United fans and their constant singing, so it will be a challenge for Barrow fans to see if they can come up with something and set down a marker with their support as well. It should be a great atmosphere, that’s for sure.”

Marginson played 78 games for Barrow during a three-season spell in the late 1990s, the highlights being a Northern Premier League title winners’ medal in 1997-8, and the FA Trophy quarter-final epic against Dover that same season.

The first Dover game ended in a 1-1 draw, with Barrow losing the replay at Holker Street, but Marginson remembers the occasion as much for the massive army of AFC fans who made the long journey to the south coast, than for the actual result.

And the 39-year-old Mancunian is hoping another exodus from Furness will help fill the Gigg Lane stands on Sunday, and in doing so help swell the FC United coffers.

The Evostick Premier Division side – formed five years ago following American businessman Malcolm Glazer’s controversial takeover at Old Trafford – are hoping to raise millions of pounds to pay for the building of their own 5,000-capacity ground in Newton Heath, the original home of Manchester United.

“Playing at Gigg Lane costs us a few quid so hopefully the fact that Barrow are coming down with a big travelling support will go some way to paying for that kind of stuff,” he said.

“I was telling the lads down here about the game at Dover away.

“I remember the overhead kick by Coatesy (Marc Coates) and there must have been 1,000 to 1,500 Barrow fans there, which, when you think about it, is absolutely unbelievable – and that’s similar to the sort of support FC United bring to away games. I’m excited about it, I can’t wait.”

He added: “We’re trying to get the money together to build our own ground, but we need £3.5m, so our dream would be to get to the third round and draw a big club, but that’s a long way away.

“But even getting to the first round would be a major achievement for us, the media interest it would create and everything else would be something special.”

Marginson is hoping the FA Cup’s historic reputation for producing shock results will prove itself again and see his side dump out Barrow, who lie two leagues above them, and progress to the first round.

“From a footballing point of view it’s going to be a very tough ask for us, but you never know, cup football and all the cliches that go with it, and it’s definitely one for us to look forward to and go in with no pressure on us really,” he said.

“It’s just a case of going into it with the attitude of – enjoy the day, enjoy the occasion and give a good account of ourselves.

“Obviously you go into any game with thoughts of winning the football match, and that will be no different against Barrow.

“They are the highest-placed team we have faced so it would be a major achievement if we could beat them. If we could pull it off. But it’s 90 minutes or 180 minutes of hard slog and toil before it’s settled.”

First published at 13:07, Wednesday, 20 October 2010
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