Wednesday, December 01, 2010

FC United of Manchester Show All Is Not Lost After All

 Source: The Epoch Times

 MANCHESTER, England—As football’s talented exponents become distracted by the wealth their gift accumulates, then the love for football is no longer a pure thing.

Play ugly who cares? What is fuelling the headlong charge away from the pure thing that sidesteps open admiration and respect for an opponent’s skill, playing within the rules of the game, and a healthy appreciation of good natured sportsmanship?

Carlos Tevez, the Manchester City striker, threatens to escape from the money obsessed Premier League claiming football is only about money, he does not like it, and young players are not interested in winning.

Only money is the driving force. Tevez also referred to football being full of uneducated “bad people” in an interview with TyC Sports.

As in other areas of society, the good, the bad, and the ugly take their place. Tevez is simply highlighting a situation that has long been recognized, but carries more weight being registered as direct experience from the confines of the dressing room.

Under the cover of the accepted distorted norm, the impact of the lowering of standards is blatantly ignored, and the impression is given that, after all, it is the big boys at the top who call the tune. Is it a rich man’s game and not much can be done about it?

Breath of Fresh Air

Now and then, there appears a group of people who have a true sense of perspective and genuine care for the relationship that once formed a strong bond between club and community. They decided something could be done about it.

Here we have a non-league club; FC United of Manchester owned and run by its fans that formed five years ago, because they could not stomach their beloved Manchester United’s loss of heritage by the Glazer millionaire brothers’ debt-laden takeover.

In early November, these non-leaguers achieved an astonishing feat by defeating Rochdale, a Division 1 side, 3–2 in the FA Cup first round at Rochdale, which was shown live on television in the U.K.

These mighty minnows play in the Evo-Stick Premier Division, four divisions below Rochdale who were promoted to Division 1 last season.

Last Saturday, Sam Ashton saved a last-minute penalty to earn dedicated (reduced to 10 men) FC United an FA Cup second-round replay with League One leaders Brighton with a 1–1 draw.

Their 854 traveling fans went crazy with joy shouting mischievous chants referring to the possibility of meeting giants Manchester United in the later rounds of the Cup. These advocates of fair play receive $200 per week in wages, and would it not be a great irony to see these cheeky monkeys trot out at Old Trafford to play their salaried counterparts, having in mind Sir Alex Ferguson’s reference to their fans as "self-publicists" at its inception.

These brave hearts show a light that all is not lost after all.

Now FC United of Manchester have set their sights on buying their own ground with the help of the proceeds gained from the television company who paid for the rights to screen the Rochdale match.

And Manchester City Council is aware of the club’s good work in many deprived areas of the city with the distinct possibility of granting a lease to allow FC United to build their own facility in Newton Heath, which was formally the birthplace of Manchester United in 1878.

FC Manchester has a commitment to community service written into its constitution enabling a return to the purest thing possible in football. And if they can pull it off against Brighton in the replay, who knows—it might herald fans deserting in greater numbers from their first love Manchester United.