Thursday, October 14, 2010

Still standing United as one

 Source: North West Evening Mail

 By David Pickthall

 BARROW AFC’s FA Cup fourth qualifying opponents, FC United of Manchester, visited Barrow in 2005 to play Holker Old Boys, in what was then the Moore and Co Construction Solicitors North West Counties Division Two.

Their travelling army of fans sang “follow, follow, follow, because United are going to Barrow” (to the popular football chant melody from the Felix Cat Food advert).

A trip to Furness was another anticipated journey into the unknown for a bunch of supporters disillusioned by the American ownership at Premier League Manchester United.

Away days at small grounds (it was actually Barrow RL’s Craven Park that day, with 2,300 in attendance) signalled a breath of fresh air at the opposite end of the football pyramid, away from the dollars and everything they had come to hate about the new regime at Old Trafford.

FC United overtook Holker and countless others and today play their football in The Evostick Premier Division, alongside clubs such as Kendal Town and Northwich Victoria.

Their rapid progress has levelled-off somewhat since then (they are 16th in the Evostick Prem) – well, it has if you compare it to that of another off-shoot club, AFC Wimbledon, who have marched up the pyramid and now play alongside Barrow in the Conference Premier.

But FC United are well set for the future and, most importantly to their rebel fans, true to their founding principles.

They should provide a decent test for Barrow at Bury’s Gigg Lane a week on Sunday.

And everything about the day will suggest the Bluebirds are playing a team placed much higher than FC United actually are – a-near 12,000 capacity Football League stadium likely to be bouncing with FC United fans and a strong Barrow travelling support.

It’s timely that Barrow should draw a club formed in rebellion against American ownership when a certain other US partnership appear to have brought a different famous English football club to its knees.

Liverpool fans will be praying that Hicks and Gillett will be long gone by the time Barrow play FC United.

The Glazers – the reason FC United were formed – will still be sitting pretty a few miles down the road in Manchester.