Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Our Road to Wembley

Source: SkySports

FC United create unique atmosphere at Spotland

Last updated: 8th November 2010

As Andy Walsh and the rest of the FC United contingent celebrated in the main stand at Spotland, I could not help but smile.

I went into the match, as I am compelled anyway, with no preconceptions. I genuinely had no preference for a winner, but in the end I was happy as football was the winner on a genuine night of brilliant entertainment.

It is not very often you're able to witness FA Cup history, which is exactly what we saw on Friday evening as skysports.com's Road to Wembley kicked off with a huge giant-killing feat as FC United defeated League One Rochdale.

Now this was no normal giant-killings, it was in the sense that they were a side four divisions below Rochdale and they were odds-on not to get anything from the game.

But they were cheered on by a 3,000 strong support, this was support that any Premier League club would have been proud of.

With flares reminiscent of a European night at Galatasaray, perhaps you can see where for many of the fans their former loyalties once lay - Old Trafford.

For yes, they did sing all night, but much of it was anti-Manchester United as much as it was pro-FCUM.

But this is no slight on FCUM, they are what they are and their natural supporter base will always have divided loyalties, even if they get their eventual wish of a ground at Newton Heath - where it all began for Manchester United.

FCUM are a huge breath of fresh air as their fans showed a huge passion for the sport at a level where the game is still all about the football.

And it may seem we are just singing the virtues of FCUM, but that is because they did provide the bulk of the atmosphere. It does take two teams to make a game, as Rochdale and FCUM proved on Friday, but as FCUM also showed it does not take two teams to provide an atmosphere.

But Dale should not be too down about this as FCUM would go to most teams outside the Premier League and create the bulk of the atmosphere.

The fact a pitch invasion followed only added to the atmosphere for me, at no point was it threatening and what better marks a cup upset than a pitch full of fans.

To be honest we have been spoilt by getting FC United in our inaugural feature, we will have the pleasure of following them and their wonderful supporter base into the second round - but the atmosphere from Spotland we could be hard to find in any game up to the final.