Sunday, January 31, 2010

Newton Heath Resurrected in Manchester

Edited from: Wall Street Journal


Newton Heath Resurrected in Manchester

Visitors to Old Trafford who witnessed Manchester United's 3-1 victory over Manchester City on Wednesday night in the return leg of the semifinal of the English League Cup noticed a number of the home supporters clad in green and gold, rather than the club's traditional red. The colors refer to Newton Heath, as the club was known from its founding in 1878, until 1902, when it attracted new investors and was renamed Manchester United.

The green and gold is the fans' way of protesting against club owner, Malcolm Glazer, who acquired United in 2005 in a leveraged takeover. Mr. Glazer, who also owns the National Football League's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, is highly unpopular among United supporters (chants of "Love United! Hate Glazer!" regularly echo across the stadium whenever the team plays). They blame him for saddling the previously debt-free club with some $1.1 billion worth of debt. United's decision to refinance the borrowing with a bond issue worth nearly $800 million, has once again stoked up antipathy towards the American owner.

It's not the first time local fans have come up with novel ways of expressing their displeasure at Mr. Glazer. When he acquired United, there were mass protests at matches and a group of fans decided to break away entirely, forming their own club: FC United of Manchester. FC United features the traditional red shirts (albeit without any kind of sponsors' logo) and is a public trust, owned by the fans. After several promotions, it now plays in the seventh tier of the English soccer pyramid and their not-so-secret dream is to one day square off against the "other" United in a league match.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Durham 1 FC United 2

Source: Manchester Evening News

January 30, 2010

Second half goals from Joe Yoffe and Phil Marsh spared FC United’s blushes in an unconvincing 2-1 victory at rock-bottom Durham on Saturday.

A woeful first half display from FC saw them fail to create a single chance against a young Durham side who have lost every league game this season, conceding more than 100 goals in the process.

However, the Rebels upped the ante after the interval and were immediately rewarded when Joe Yoffe broke the deadlock five minutes in to the second period.

The visitors’ play improved after taking the lead, but they had to wait until the 76th minute to seal the win through a superb 25-yard effort from Phil Marsh.

Durham grabbed a late consolation goal from a free kick, but FC held on for their first win in six games.

Karl Marginson’s side are back in action at home to Ashton on Wednesday (7.45pm).

Friday, January 29, 2010

City hoping for record gate against FC United

Source: Newcastle Evening Chronicle

Jan 29 2010 Evening Chronicle

DURHAM City hope to record their biggest gate of the season when they host fans’ club FC United of Manchester at the Esh Stadium tomorrow.

FC United are the best supported side in the UniBond Premier Division, averaging crowds of almost 2,000 at their Gigg Lane base.

However, the current campaign sees the club, which was formed in 2005 by disillusioned Manchester United fans, languishing in the bottom six.

Travelling support has dwindled but should still be enough for Durham City to beat their previous best home crowd this season, 209 against Retford United in August.

FC United were held to a goalless draw at home to fellow strugglers Frickley Athletic in midweek and are looking for their first win in seven games.

Meanwhile, Durham City manager Lee Collings is expecting a reaction from his side after the 10-0 hammering at Boston United last Saturday.

Collings said: “FC United gives us the chance to regain some credibility, and it is a pity we hadn’t played them earlier in the season as they would have brought several hundred fans.

“Like us, they are struggling, but they have signed a couple of players on loan from Football League clubs this week and will expect to get back on track at our expense.

“I was very disappointed with our display at Boston. Some of the young lads froze in front of a big crowd, but they are determined to put on a show tomorrow.

“I will have the rare luxury of selecting from a full squad and strikers Josh Home-Jackson and Elliot Cutts will both return.”

Home-Jackson has shrugged off a back injury, while Cutts has served a one-match ban to face an FC United of Manchester side that had debutant Adriano Rigoglioso sent off against Frickley on Tuesday.

Local football: City look for response

Source: Sunderland Echo

Published Date: 29 January 2010

Durham City manager Lee Collings is looking for a massive reaction from his players in tomorrow's UniBond League Premier Division game against FC United of Manchester at the Esh Group Stadium.
He said: "It goes without saying that I was very disappointed with the performance at Boston (which City lost 10-0).

"I've spoken to most of the lads and they are determined to put on a show tomorrow."

Elliott Cutts is available again and Collings' only doubt is former Chester-le-Street striker Josh Home-Jackson.

He made the long journey to Boston last weekend only to be injured in the warm-up and was unable to play.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Blues come through FC United of Manchester test

Source: Hemsworth and Southelmsall Express

Published Date:
28 January 2010
By Nick Rigg
FC United 0
Frickley Athletic 0

FRICKLEY Athletic bounced back from their weekend thrashing at North Ferriby with a share of the spoils at relegation rivals FC United of Manchester last night.
It could have been more for the Blues after the hosts, backed by a support of almost 1,500 inside Gigg Lane, were reduced to ten men in the first half.

But Frickley boss Billy Heath will have been pleased that his men collected their first point of the new year in what he described as a "tough test" before the game.

It also moved the Blues up to 17th and above Matlock Town in the UniBond Premier Division.

Heath introduced 19-year-old defender Charlie Fisher into the Blues defence after signing the youngster on a one-month loan deal from Doncaster Rovers.

Skipper Steve Heath also returned after serving a one-match suspension.

And the visiting defence had to be on their toes in the early exchanges as United looked for an early goal.

Duane Grace was well positioned to divert a Jerome Wright effort over the bar.

Frickley, too, looked dangerous and Danny Walsh came close with a 25-yard drive that was cleared to safety.

The main talking point came on 20 minutes when Adriano Rigogliosio was sent off for the hosts for a crunching tackle on Jonathan Groome.

Groome was forced off through injury and Matty Bloor came on to replace him.

Frickley looked to take advantage of their extra man and came close through Neil Towler and Phil Lindley as chances came at both ends before half-time.

And the goal opportunities continued in the second half, this time Danny Clarke and Chris White coming close for the visitors.

But the hosts could have snatched all the points late on when Wright's deflected effort forced Blues stopper Adam Nicklin into a fine save.

FC United: Ashton, Jacobs (Chadwick 90min), Quistin, Cotterill, Tong, Nugent, Rigogliosis, Carden, Wilson (Yoffe 81min), Wright, Marsh ( Deegan 70min). Subs not used: Holden, Roca.

Frickley: Nicklin, Fisher, Grace, Walsh, Heath, Lindley (Jones 59min), Clarke, Groome (Bloor 22min), Morris (Palmer 83min), Towler, White. Subs not used: Pierrepont, Moody.

See today's Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express for all the latest news, match reports and previews from Frickley Athletic.

Love football, hate debt: The FC United story

Source: ESPN

By Robin Hackett

January 28, 2010

Back in 1998, a substantial number of Manchester United supporters launched a protest movement against media magnate Rupert Murdoch's proposed takeover of their club. In 2005, many of those same supporters protested against US businessman Malcolm Glazer as he tried to do the same.

In contrast to the success of the anti-Murdoch campaign in getting the Monopolies and Mergers Commission to overturn the takeover, the protests five years ago were, of course, in vain. Malcolm Glazer bought the club and brought in family members as non-executive directors on the board.

Despite the initial indignation, the widespread anger around Old Trafford became significantly less pronounced as United delivered success on the pitch and gave those who stayed loyal to the club little to complain about. As predicted, ticket prices increased, but so did demand for seats as Sir Alex Ferguson established a team that won three Premier League titles, the Champions League, the FIFA World Club Cup and the League Cup.

In recent months, though, supporters' animosity has been growing again. While the Glazers publicly backed Ferguson when he refused to sell Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid in 2008, many believe the manager has not been given enough backing following the departures of Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez last summer. Ferguson suggested the relative lack of investment that followed was down to a lack of value in the market, but the news that the debt created by the takeover has ballooned to over £700 million and the publicity surrounding a £500 million bond scheme have sown doubts and provoked substantial anger in those fans who "Love United, Hate Glazer".

The current situation comes as little surprise to Andy Walsh. A lifelong Manchester United fan - "I always have been and always will be" - Walsh was the figurehead of the anti-Murdoch campaign that achieved its aim during the 1998-99 season which brought the team's famous 'treble'. In 2005, Walsh was also part of the original steering committee that founded a new club, FC United of Manchester, following the Glazer takeover, an event that proved to be the final straw after years of feeling that football was being taken away from local communities.

"I think the current situation at United is a scandal," he said. "We did everything we could as supporters at the time to stop the Glazers. We said the only way that the Glazer business plan could operate would be to increase prices but that, even then, there was a danger it could take the club under.

"We contacted The FA, Premier League etc and asked them to step in, and they all said, 'No, no, we're quite happy - everything the Glazers are saying is sustainable'. To actually see it go this way, there's no satisfaction. It's really just a scandal that the authorities, including the government, have allowed this situation to transpire.

"I think it's not just a Manchester United problem now - this is something that has afflicted the game. There's over 40 clubs have gone into liquidation or administration since the advent of the Premier League. There's going to be more - Crystal Palace this week, possibly Portsmouth, possibly Liverpool.

"Right the way from the top to the bottom, there seems to be a very loose regulatory framework."

Walsh, who works full-time as FC United's general manager, has revealed that the malaise surrounding the current state of the English game has led to supporters of a number of other sides getting in touch to ask about the process of founding a new club.

"At the time of the original takeover, we put a campaign together and we wanted to demonstrate that fans could run a successful club and create an alternative. If the Glazers' business plan was to increase ticket prices, that would mean more and more fans would be disenfranchised, so we wanted to have an affordable alternative. We wanted to refocus football's purpose towards being part of its community and not just a place for rich investors.

"We've already had enquiries from [fans of] other clubs, including Portsmouth, about our experiences and asking for advice on what to do to go about setting up similar enterprises."

FC United have followed in the footsteps of AFC Wimbledon - established in 2002 in reaction to Wimbledon FC's relocation and transformation into MK Dons - and both clubs have enjoyed a huge amount of success in climbing the football ladder.
FC United

Michael Dean/Other

FC United have enjoyed plenty of success in their first few years
AFC Wimbledon are now in the Blue Square Premier, looking to make it into the play-offs and reach the Football League, while FC United were promoted in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and are now in the Unibond League Premier Division, six divisions below the Glazer-run United. Walsh, though, stresses that they have no intention of living beyond their means to ensure further progress.

"Three successive promotions took us into the Unibond. We won a couple of trophies along the way and we play at Gigg Lane with crowds in excess of 2,000 in a league where the average is 250, 300. We've over 1,000 season ticket holders and 2,000 members.

"If we get enough supporters to sustain a higher level of football, we'll go for it, but we won't bankrupt the club with high wages. At the moment, we've probably got the lowest wage structure within our league but the added bonus for the players is that they're playing in front of 2,000 passionate fans every week.

"We're currently not doing so well in the table but that's because we're so many games behind everybody else - but we've still got 2,000 members and we've still got 1,000 season ticket holders, and that's the strength of supporter ownership. My belief going into this - and which has been strengthened because of this - is that the future for football is supporter ownership and supporter involvement."

Few clubs in the global game could offer a better advertisement for supporter ownership than Barcelona, who won every trophy available to them in 2009 including a Champions League triumph over United, and Walsh believes that football will increasingly become the game of the people.

"There needs to be a system in place that gives those people who care most about their club a stake in their club. That may require legislation; it certainly requires stricter regulation from the football authorities.

"There are lots of different models for setting up supporter-owned football clubs. It's not just ourselves and AFC Wimbledon - you look at Exeter and the success that they've got. It needs the support of organisations such as Supporters Direct to get off the ground and so people can share their experiences, but I certainly think it is the way football is going to go so that we have a sustainable future, free from the boom-and-bust system that we've got at the moment.

"There's no better example than the current European champions to show that the idea of supporter-owned football clubs is serious and can mean success at the highest level. All you need is the will to get there."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Rebels return for Wilson

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

January 26, 2010

PROLIFIC striker Kyle Wilson has rejoined FC United on an initial one-month loan deal.

Wilson scored 24 goals in 32 appearances for the Rebels last season before moving back in to league football with Macclesfield over the summer.

But the 24-year-old has had limited first-team opportunities Moss Rose, and FC boss Karl Marginson was only too happy to bring him back to Gigg Lane.

“I’m delighted because Kyle is a quality player,” said Marginson.

“It’s selfish of me to say that because he’s got the talent to play in the league and I wish it had worked out for him at Macclesfield.

“But hopefully he can do well for us here and then move up again.”

The deal, which could be extended until the end of the season, was struck quickly and Wilson could be in line to make his second debut for the club against Frickley on Wednesday night.

“I’ve been monitoring the situation since day one and Kyle’s not been featuring as much as he’d like there,” said Marginson.

“I rang Keith Alexander up yesterday to ask about him, and he told me they’d be willing to let him go out on loan.

“It’s a boost for us, and Kyle is fully fit and looked sharp in training last night so he’s definitely in contention for the Frickley game.”

Meanwhile, full-back Simon Garner has left the club, and midfielder Tunji Moses has decided to take a break from football due to personal reasons.

Blues to take winning mentality to FC United of Manchester

Source: Hemsworth and Southelmsall Express

Published Date:
26 January 2010
By Nick Rigg
FRICKLEY Athletic boss Billy Heath insists his men will be looking for all three points when they travel to relegation rivals FC United of Manchester tomorrow (kick-off 7.45pm).
The Blues travel to Gigg Lane level on points with United, with both clubs sitting just three points above the UniBond Premier Division relegation spots.

But Frickley won't be taking a defensive mentality with them across the Pennines as Heath looks for a big response from his men following their 5-1 defeat at North Ferriby United on Saturday - their biggest loss of the campaign so far.

"We'll be going there trying to win the game," he said.

"Our plan to go away and play a 4-5-1 formation and look for a draw hasn't really been effective before so we won't be going there to be defensive minded."

Defender Steve Heath returns for Frickley after sitting out a one-match ban, but Lee Booth will be unavailable for selection.

Karl Marginson's men haven't won since Saturday, November 14, a 3-2 win at Hucknall Town.

But Heath thinks the game could well provide a tougher test than their forgettable visit to North Ferriby at the weekend.

He said: "It will be a tough test for us on Wednesday, no doubt about it.

"I think it'll be a tougher test than on Saturday because of the crowd and because of the importance of the game for us."

He continued: "By all accounts they did a number on Stocksbridge at the weekend and were unlucky not to come away with a win."

See Thursday's Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express for all the latest Frickley Athletic news, match previews and reports.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The romance of United is dying – for the Glazers it's all about cash

Source: The Observer

The Premier League champions have secured a £500m lifeline – but that should not be enough to head off an Old Trafford revolt, says Julian Coman, a lifelong supporter

* Julian Coman
* The Observer, Sunday 24 January 2010

Deep into the second half of Manchester United's match against Burnley last week, there was a moment to lift the heart and revive the spirit. It didn't involve Wayne Rooney and it didn't take place on the pitch, but it could have repercussions far beyond the significance of United's flattering 3-0 victory over their lowly neighbours.

The Burnley supporters were goading the locals, and their choice of topic was incendiary – a gleeful chant of "we've got more money than you". This was an ironic reference to the huge debt inflicted on the English champions by their American owners, the Florida-based Glazer family, who also own the American football team Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The response came from behind the goal where the old Stretford End has traditionally housed the most fanatical section of the crowd. A group of young men unfurled a banner that read simply: "Love United, Hate Glazer". Orange-jacketed stewards scrambled to confiscate this brazen example of thought crime at the "Theatre of Dreams" and frogmarch the dissidents out of the ground. But the piece of agit-prop achieved its purpose. For the next 10 minutes, furious chanting against ­United's American owners swept around a stadium that suddenly seemed to regain its passion and sense of identity.

I wasn't there to experience it because in May 2005 – when Malcolm Glazer bought Manchester United and passed on to the club the £540m worth of debt that he incurred in the process (it now stands at more than £700m) – I stopped going to Old Trafford after regularly attending games for 32 years.

Like 4,000 other dissidents, I became a founder member of a club formed in protest at the takeover, FC United of Manchester, who currently play in the upper reaches of non-league football and try to give a glimpse of how a football club could be differently run – by fans.

It was not necessarily a popular choice at the time: some United fans accused the FC crowd of "splitting" and betrayal. There was tension and, on occasion, violence in and around Manchester. Other long-standing supporters also made ­different and often heartbreakingly ­difficult decisions. Some threw their season tickets away and stopped going to a football ground where they no longer felt at home.

A substantial proportion of the hard core continued the passion of a lifetime, but committed themselves to a Fight From Within (FFW) against the enemy regime. Some went only to away games, where they were not giving the Glazers their money. Thousands and thousands of fans simply buried the memory of ever having sung "United: Not for Sale" and got on with watching the football.

And for five years nothing happened. FC did gain three promotions in a row, but the FFW never materialised. After a shaky start to the Glazer era, United were inspired once again by the club's long-serving manager, Sir Alex Ferguson. The Glazers kept a sensibly low profile and enough supporters swallowed the savage annual hikes in ticket prices to keep Old Trafford at its 76,000 capacity and the debt serviced. The place was changing; it was more nakedly about parting people from their money, but resentment was passive and muted.

This month all hell broke loose. And battle, possibly, is about to be rejoined. The club's 2008-09 accounts reveal that, two years after Northern Rock crumbled, Wall Street trembled and Sir Fred Goodwin marched RBS into the abyss, it may be United's turn to suffer the consequences of the economics of "irrational exuberance". The figures demonstrate that, even after the most successful spell in the club's history (three successive league titles, one Champions League, one losing European final and the highest average attendances in world football), a huge loss was only avoided last year through the sale of perhaps the world's best player, Cristiano Ronaldo, for the world's biggest ever fee, £81m.

Like a footballing Lehman Brothers, England's best-supported club has maintained its outward swagger while being devoured from within by a toxic combination of excessive debt and wildly irresponsible assumptions of future success. Too big to fail? Probably. Too big to go into wholly unnecessary decline? Certainly not. And if United's results turn sub-prime, who will finance the debt, currently standing at £711m?

The level of indebtedness forced on to the club to pay for the unwanted Glazer takeover, and the punitive interest payments (£68m last year; £325m since 2005), require that United somehow sustain a level of success never before achieved in English football, simply to keep the debt under control. Within Old Trafford, those who might speak out are choosing not to.

Ferguson, to the frustration of many, has remained silent on the state of the club's finances. Gary Neville, the veteran full-back and club captain, said last week that the debt and its implications were not an appropriate subject for players to discuss. David Gill, the chief executive, originally opposed the Glazer takeover on the grounds that the debt loaded on to the club would cause "significant strain on the business".

Last week he was pitching a £500m bond to potential investors, secured (of course) on United, but designed to ease pressure on super-high interest accruing on loans now amounting to £201m, for which the Glazers are personally liable. News that he had succeeded came on Friday, and the merry-go-round of deferred, repackaged debt goes on, predicated on an asset that cannot guarantee its future returns. Doesn't it sound at all familiar?

What hope there is for rebellion lies with the likes of the ejected rebels. MUST (Manchester United Supporters Trust) is attempting to organise a protest march outside Old Trafford before the home leg of the Champions League tie against Milan in March. Hopefully the "don't go any mores" – the FC fans, the only-aways and the FFW lobby – will all be there, fighting to wrest the soul of United back from a form of corporate extortion.

Resistance has to come from those who either remember or are capable of imagining a different ground and a different club, one that exists to promote its own sporting glory as a community, rather than to pay off the debts of a businessman based in Florida or provide a dividend for uninterested shareholders. For not all the blame lies with the Glazer family. For 30 years, those in charge of Manchester United have attempted to monetise the charisma of an institution that gained a special status after the Munich air disaster in 1958 that wiped out a successful side. The club was in the first wave of football plcs and pioneered the development of merchandising revenue.

It aggressively positioned executive seating sections in the heart of the old Stretford End and renamed it the West Stand, a gesture of intent towards the plc's less profitable "customers" if ever there was one. The words "football club" were dropped from the badge on players' shirts – the future lay with Manchester United, the brand. In the process the business laid itself open to the ruthless exploitation of Glazer, who would analyse the drive for profit and, recklessly, believe that he could do better, at the expense of those who created the value in the first place.

Since 2005 the cost of match tickets has almost doubled. In the 1970s, as an overawed boy from a gentle market town, I used to gaze in intimidated admiration at the working-class lads in flares who divided the Stretford End up between themselves and infused the ground with a rawness, noise and intensity almost absent today. If you want to find the 21st-century successors to that generation, you'll find them watching the game at the pub. They're not part of the United family any more.

It's not only the young. In recent years, if United are on Sky, a sizeable crowd gather at the Bishop Blaize pub, a stone's throw from Old Trafford. They've "gone to the match" but they can't afford to leave the pub. Some of them don't want to. Inside the stadium, as the current edition of the respected fanzine United We Stand puts it, "the 'Theatre of Dreams for the working class' has turned into 'the Disney of football stadiums'". It is a place where all too often a monied demographic passively consumes a product and is quick to complain if it doesn't come in the form of a win.

There is a famous story involving George Best during the early 1970s when drink and womanising were taking their toll. Best was found in bed with Miss World and a pile of banknotes from a casino win. "Where did it all go wrong, George?" a waiter asked in mock despair. United are currently champions of England, lie third in a tight race in the Premier League and play Milan in the last 16 of the Champions League. And via the £500m bond, the Glazer family have succeeded in refinancing their debt and escaping the immediate clutches of the vulture funds. "Where did it all go wrong, Malcolm?"

But it has gone seriously wrong, and if the fans don't push for it to be put right and for the Glazers to be forced out, all United fans will live to regret it.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Stocksbridge 1 FC United 1

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

January 23, 2010

FC United missed the opportunity to return to action with three points by conceding a late equaliser at Stocksbridge Park Steels.

The Rebels, who had not played since early December due to the big freeze, looked to have claimed a vital win through Carlos Roca’s second half strike but had to settle for a point in a game they controlled throughout.

Karl Marginson’s side started on the front foot and carved out the best chances of the first half.

Centre-back pairing Rob Nugent and Adam Tong both spurned golden opportunities within minutes of each other around the half-hour mark, before the outstanding Phil Marsh had a free kick cleared off the line with 35 minutes on the clock.

The sides went in all-square at the break, but FC picked up where they had left off in the second half and took a deserved lead on the hour, when a sweeping team move involving Jake Cottrell and Ludovic Quistin was finished off superbly by Roca.

The home side were reduced to ten men shortly after, and it appeared certain that the Rebels would increase their lead further. However, with just two minutes remaining, Stocksbridge snatched an unlikely leveller to the delight of the home fans.

FC’s next game is at home to Frickley Athletic on Wednesday night (7.45pm).

Friday, January 22, 2010

The only way for fans to force to change is to vote with their wallets

Source: Daily Mirror

By Simon Mullock

Published 10:00 22/01/10

Manchester United fans have tried almost everything to force the Glazer family out of Old Trafford – including forming another club.

Thirty-five miles down the East Lancs Road, Liverpool’s finest have made it clear that Tom Hicks and George Gillett are not welcome at Anfield.

It has become so desperate that there has even been talk – or rather whispers - of the two rival factions calling a brief truce and joining together to prevent the north west of England continuing as America’s Soccer State.

The posturing and rhetoric, the demos and banners, the e-mails and letters might make the supporters feel good because at least they are actually doing something.

But the bottom line – literally – is that there’s only one thing that hard-nosed businessmen like the Glazer brothers, Hicks and Gillett understand: Money.

They can live with the bruised ego that comes from an irate fan calling them a ****. But hit them in the wallet and watch their eyes water.

Unfortunately, for groups like the Manchester United Supporters’ Trust and the Spirit of Shankly they are unlikely to ever come up with the reddies that will tempt the Americans to sell.

And that means the only alternative, as unthinkable and shameful as it may seem to football fans of every ilk, is for the supporters of United and Liverpool to boycott their clubs.

A few thousand United fans walked out of Old Trafford five years ago to give their support to FC United of Manchester. It had no impact on the Glazers whatsoever.

If a few thousand more refused to renew their season tickets those places would be filled in an instant.

But if 30,000 “customers” – and that’s how the Glazer’s see them - sent back season tickets, refused to visit the megastore and cut up their MUFC credit cards, how long would it be before the owners’ crumbling business plan collapsed completely? Six months? A year?

If anything, Liverpool’s owners rely even more heavily on a club standard that states ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone.’

Again, there is a long waiting list for season tickets, so the dissension would have to be widespread to guarantee a half-full Anfield and the thus force the owners to the negotiating table with a realistic valuation of the club for potential buyers.

It’s the fans that make a football club.

What the owners of United and Liverpool have exploited is that club loyalties are unbreakable. Like genes, they are part of you, passed down through the generations.

One flag I’ve seen around the world on my travels covering United states: ‘United, Kids, Wife. In that order.’

The Glazers might not understand football, but they know how to fleece a fanatic like him. Double the price of a ticket and if he pays, double it again.

The only way to remove club owners who are only in it for the money is for fans to take away the hold they have on them.

A boycott of Old Trafford and Anfield is akin to asking the impossible.

But who would have thought a few years ago that these two rival sets of supporters would, in a way, share a common goal?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

FC United/Non-league

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

January 21, 2010
ON a normal Saturday afternoon, FC United are battling it out for three points in the Unibond Premier League.

However, after their game against Bradford Park Avenue was postponed, the Rebels spent last Saturday at the ‘Challenge 4 Change’ training centre at Trafford Park.

The centre teaches effective team-building through various tasks and exercises, including tackling an assault course, and FC boss Karl Marginson said the trip was a big success.

“It was a fantastic day - good fun and also really important because it helped the new lads fit in,” said Marginson.

“For the past five weeks all we’ve been doing is running and indoor 5-a-sides which gets monotonous, and the two lads who ran it for us were first class - it was scary and hilarious!

“It’s a really good place and we’ll definitely go back,” he added.

The Rebels are due to resume their league campaign on Saturday at Stocksbridge Park Steels, and after six weeks without a game, Marginson’s side are raring to go.

“Everybody’s chomping at the bit, and I think it’ll be like playing the first game of the season again,” said the manager.

“The players will be rusty because this time off has been like having another pre-season, but they’ll be full of aggression and endeavour.”

Marginson sees the trip to the Look Local Stadium as a perfect opportunity for his team to set the tone for the remainder of their campaign.

“We’ve always been strong in the second half of the season, and a win could be the catalyst for our season," he said.

FC, who have re-signed central midfielder Jimmy Holden this week, will have captain David Chadwick available after injury

Rebels up for the task

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

January 21, 2010
ON a normal Saturday afternoon, FC United are battling it out for three points in the Unibond Premier League.

However, after their game against Bradford Park Avenue was postponed, the Rebels spent last Saturday at the ‘Challenge 4 Change’ training centre at Trafford Park.

The centre teaches effective team-building through various tasks and exercises, including tackling an assault course, and FC boss Karl Marginson said the trip was a big success.

“It was a fantastic day - good fun and also really important because it helped the new lads fit in,” said Marginson.

“For the past five weeks all we’ve been doing is running and indoor 5-a-sides which gets monotonous, and the two lads who ran it for us were first class - it was scary and hilarious!

“It’s a really good place and we’ll definitely go back,” he added.

The Rebels are due to resume their league campaign on Saturday at Stocksbridge Park Steels, and after six weeks without a game, Marginson’s side are raring to go.

“Everybody’s chomping at the bit, and I think it’ll be like playing the first game of the season again,” said the manager.

“The players will be rusty because this time off has been like having another pre-season, but they’ll be full of aggression and endeavour.”

Marginson sees the trip to the Look Local Stadium as a perfect opportunity for his team to set the tone for the remainder of their campaign.

“We’ve always been strong in the second half of the season, and a win could be the catalyst for our season," he said.

FC, who have re-signed central midfielder Jimmy Holden this week, will have captain David Chadwick available after injury

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Football & The Media – There’s Something In The Air

Source: Twohundred Percent

Posted by Ian on Jan 20, 2010 in Clubs in Crisis, Latest

Football & The Media – There’s Something In The Air

In an extraordinary article in the Daily Mirror yesterday, Oliver Holt put forward a call to arms to all football supporters and offered an impassioned defence of those that are protesting against the way that our game is being mismanaged at the moment. Last Friday the Daily Mail, of all people, ran an article on FC United of Manchester that came close to being a eulogy and was at the same time a stinging attack on the Glazer’s management of Manchester United. The Guardian is getting its teeth well and truly into the proposed Manchester United bond issue, with new stories about the state of the club’s finances being reported on a seemingly basis. There’s something in the air. Attitudes are starting to change.

The writers on the sports pages are generally given a freer political reign than those in other parts of a daily newspaper. Much as it might seem jarring to be FC United being talked about in the Daily Mail, it isn’t, upon reflection, actually that surprising. Football is in the process of eating itself, and football sells newspapers. At this moment in time, however, there is a tangible sea change in the attitude of the printed press in its attitude towards football and money. The bare fact of the matter is that articles such as the two linked to above simply wouldn’t – apart from the ever-impeccable David Conn in The Guardian – appeared in British newspapers a year ago.

When the truth began to come out the takeover of Notts County a couple of months, there was no public apology from Chief Executive Peter Trembling over comments that he made about media speculation being the reason for the lack of money being forthcoming from the supposed billionaires that had persuaded the supporters to give it to them, rather than the possibility that the supposed “bank guarantee” that was the proof that everything was above board wasn’t worth the paper that it was written on. Unsurprising, perhaps, considering that he brought it for £1 from them. Nice work if you can get it.

The truth of the matter is the people running English football clubs are completely losing the trust of the public, and this can be seen in the reaction to various stories involving football clubs and insolvency over the last few weeks. Portsmouth have been taken to court for not paying their tax and lost their initial appeal, pushing them closer to becoming the first Premier League club to enter into administration. In previous years, it may have been easy for them to paint the taxman as some sort of bogeyman, but this doesn’t wash any more. Even the news that Sol Campbell – not necessarily the most popular footballer in the country – has chosen to launch proceedings against them over money that they owe him has been met with a mixed reaction, with a sizeable number of people siding with a player that is owed money and not been paid it.

The reaction on the television has been somewhat more muted, but this is not surprising when we consider that television contracts will be up for renewal in a couple of years and the heavy handed reaction of many of those within the game to the Panorama special on bungs in 2006. Alex Ferguson, to his considerable discredit, still doesn’t talk to the BBC as a result of the programme. Harry Redknapp threatened very publically to take legal action against the corporation in 2006, during a time that falls very much within the period that he was recently charged with tax evasion over. No libel writs were ever issued over that particular programme.

The over-dependence of football clubs on television money in particular may yet prove to cause them even greater problems in the future. The television regulator Ofcom’s recent confirmation that they are to force Sky to cut prices to wholesalers is likely to lead to a price war in the pay TV market, it is not unreasonable to suggest that the next contract for football on the television will be worth less – possibly considerably less – than the current one is. Clubs are going to have to readjust if these circumstances come to pass. Whether they will be able to or not is a quite different question. There isn’t a great deal of confidence in the people running our clubs going around at the moment.

And the responsibility for all of this lies with the people running the clubs. Excuses will be thrown around. It’s the fans for not turning up. It’s the taxman for demanding payment. It’s the authorities for trying to eliminate debt and mismanagement. These, however, are the the bleatings of the culpable. The shower in charge of Portsmouth are running a business. They have projected income streams which are, by the standards of most businesses, fairly stable. They have a largely captive consumer basis that is loyal above and beyond any reasonable call of duty. If they can’t run their business properly, they should face the consequences. The “club” – the community, the shared experience – will keep going. We know this from the clubs that have reformed after the failure of clubs as busineses in the past.

Elsewhere, the game stumbles from PR disaster to PR disaster. A Liverpool director – and the son of the club’s owner – sends vile emails to a supporter and has to resign over it. There is more alarming news from Old Trafford, with talk that the Glazers could take £130m out of the club if their proposed bond issue is successful while the club’s debts have risen to £716m. The game is starting to smell rotten from the inside out, and this smell is starting to become all-pervasive to the extent that even those that have been trying to avoid the smell or don’t have a particularly strong sense of smell are starting to notice it. The question now is whether the current press enthusiasm for sniffing around is a passing fad or something capable of bringing about meaningful change.

Steels foe who played with greats

Source: The Star

Published Date: 20 January 2010

By Bob Westerdale


FOR three years, Adriano Rigoglioso lived the dream as a professional footballer, with Doncaster Rovers.
Sadly, like many fresh-faced prospects who hope the soccer world is at their feet, it didn't quite work out.

The midfielder whose skills were honed in the same Liverpool youth team line up as Michael Owen, Steve Gerrard and Jamie Carragher, slipped out of the Football League and down into the comparitive wilderness of non-league.

And when Rigoglioso returns to South Yorkshire on Saturday to debut for his latest non-League team, he might be forgiven for wondering what would have happened if he'd have made an impact in the same county, with Rovers.

The 30-year-old Scouser plays against Stocksbridge Park Steels in the Unibond Premier League for his new side FC United of Manchester.

Looking back at his time, in the pro ranks, he says: "Dave Penney brought me to Doncaster (2003; the season they were crowned third Division Champions ) but I didn't fit in with their style of play. I was used to playing in the hole behind a main striker but he preferred 4-4-2 with Leo Fortune-West and Gregg Blundell up front.

"The team was successful and I could never get settled. I had two knee operations; it wasn't the best of experiences."

The highpoints were a debut against Hull City and a volleyed goal from a Michael McIndoe corner in the LDV Vans trophy against Hereford.

A low point was being sent off for Rovers against Bradford, two minutes after coming on as a sub!

After 29 league games, mostly as sub, it was back to semi-pro obscurity with several teams before, on New Year's Eve, signing for FC, the club formed by renegade Manchester United fans.

"A win and maybe a goal at Stocksbridge would be a great start," said Rigoglioso, who supports neither Liverpool more Everton, but Palermo, because of his Italian dad's origins.

It's all very different to the lifestyle he could have enjoyed if he'd made it at Anfield. Does he keep in touch with the superstars of today?

"No," he laughed. "They live in a different world, don't they?"

Why angry football fans are the heroes of the resistance

Source: Daily Mirror

By Oliver Holt

Published 23:00 19/01/10

The people I admire most in football are fans who take action.

I don’t mean violent action. I don’t mean smashing directors’ windows or daubing their cars with paint.

But I do mean fans who don’t just sit back and take it. Fans who are angry about what is happening to their club and to football and do something about it.

Fans who don’t believe the garbage they’re fed by people who think they’re all dumb. Fans who fight back.

I admire the supporters who unfurled the ‘Love United, Hate the Glazers’ banner at the Stretford End on Saturday.

I admire the Spirit of Shankly fans who are trying to defend Liverpool from its American owners.

I admire the Stockport County supporters who walked from Edgeley Park into Manchester to highlight the club’s financial plight at the height of the winter freeze before Christmas.

I admire the people who have made AFC Wimbledon such a success and still rage against the way their club was stolen from them by Milton Keynes Dons.

And the disaffected United supporters who set up FC United of Manchester and who have stuck to their principles as their club has risen through the non-league pyramid.

They didn’t just sit there and munch on their prawn sandwiches when the Glazers took over.

They saw what was coming and they tried to mobilise more United fans to protest with them but the club, to their shame, snuffed the protests out.

Sir Alex Ferguson turned his back on those people, too. He got another Champions League victory out of it, I suppose, but now he’s suffering the consequences.

I hope they keep it peaceful but I hope United fans step up their protests about what is happening to their club.

I hope they continue to make life awkward for the Glazers. I hope they keep taking that banner to games and unfurling it.

Because the rape of so many of our football clubs relies in some part on the silence of the fans.

It relies on supporters accepting meekly the bland and hollow explanations they are given.

Remember a few months ago when Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore was busy telling everybody that debt in football wasn’t a problem.

Just like you and me having a mortgage, he said. Ridiculous to worry about it, he said. Made us feel like fools for saying it was a concern.

He’s changed his tune a bit now. Debt’s got a bit tricky now that Portsmouth look like they might be heading for administration.

Debt’s not so routine now that David Sullivan has revealed West Ham have £110m worth of it and nearly went into administration as well.

Debt’s not quite so hunky-dory now that the Glazers are talking about selling Old Trafford and leasing it back and doing the same with the club’s prized Carrington training facility.

They’re threatening to chop up United like it’s a piece of cheap meat and yet still there are those who criticise the supporters for organising protests.

Informed reports yesterday revealed that the Glazers can take almost £130m cash out of the club next year alone if enough lenders sign up for the bond they have launched to borrow £500m for United.

I suppose that’s just capitalism at work. Owner seeks to make a fat profit shock. But it doesn’t mean fans have to like it. It doesn’t mean they have to put up with it.

The thing the Premier League and the club owners hate to admit is that however badly the fans have been screwed over, they still have power. Real power.

Scudamore needs Premier League stadia full of fans so he can continue to flog television rights for huge sums.

Rows of empty seats don’t look good on telly. They don’t do a lot for share value or re-sale price.

And nothing makes owners more uncomfortable than fan discontent. They hate it because it focuses attention on them and their sometimes dubious practices. It’s bad for business.

With every day that passes this season, it feels as if English football is at a critical stage. It feels as if it is dying of greed.

And sometimes it feels as though the fans are the only ones trying to save it.

I’d like to see more marches, more protests, fans turning their backs on the action in a gesture of disgust. The Premier League is clearly powerless to enforce any form of proper financial governance. The fans might as well have a go at influencing owners instead.

Good luck to all of them, whichever club they support. Good luck to Spirit of Shankly and IMUSA and MUST and the Stockport fans who are petitioning the local council.

Good luck to them for not listening to the drones who tell them resistance is futile. Their defiance should be an inspiration to all of us.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Steels hopeful of FC United clash

Source: The Star

Published Date: 19 January 2010
By Bob Westerdale
STOCKSBRIDGE – Sheffield's North Pole – is hopeful it will be able to host a lucrative non-league game on Saturday, despite the threat of snow on high ground tomorrow.
Park Steels, the Unibond Premier Division side, are hoping their money-spinning date with FC United of Manchester – and their legions of travelling fans – will go ahead.

Chairman Allen Bethel said: "We have had two big falls of snow up here, one 10 inches in depth and a second one of four inches.

"But there has been a remarkable change to the ground in the last day or two and we are really quite hopeful it will go ahead.

"Most of the pitch's grass is visible now and it has not flooded, which is encouraging. Things have been improving by the day and any snow tomorrow might be 'wet snow.'

"Obviously more away fans will travel if the game is on a Saturday than midweek."

Manager Simon Collins said: "The groundsman is working on it and we want it to be on, the lads haven't played football for nearly a month."

Steels' last game was a 3-2 defeat at Boston United on Boxing Day.

Stocksbridge will also be seeking revenge over FC – the club set up by Manchester United fans rebelling over the Glazer family dynasty takeover at Old Trafford.

FC beat Stocksbridge 4-3 in October at their ground-share home at Bury.

"We were 3-1 up and a few weak refereeing decisions cost us. It was the first experience for our players playing in the environment of a league ground with 2,000 supporters. It was an intimidating place to play, said Collins"

Collins' side are eighth in the division, while FC are third from bottom.

"United are an attacking side although they have been struggling of late. But anybody can beat anybody in this league on their day" added Collins.

FC brought around 1,000 fans to Sheffield FC for the 3-1 FA Cup victory in Dronfield in August.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Durham City's long wait for game continues

Source: Newcastle Evening Chronicle

Jan 18 2010

DURHAM City’s long wait for a game continued when their league clash with Stocksbridge Park at the Esh Stadium was postponed.

City had hoped to stage their first home game for six weeks, but decided against removing the blanket of snow on the 3G pitch.

The last three scheduled games on Durham’s plastic pitch – six in total over the last season and a half – have been cancelled due to plummeting temperatures or snow.

Director of Football Austin Carney estimates the cancellation of recent games against Nantwich Town, Burscough and Stocksbridge have cost them a five-figure sum.

He said: “On two of the occasions, one was on New Year’s Day, we would have been virtually the only game on in the area so it is very frustrating.

“Fortunately, it has not affected our cash-flow in the same way it does other clubs because we have not had a game of any sort since December 12 and no one at the club is paid.

“Hopefully, we will finally get back into action next Saturday at former Football League club Boston United, where there should be a four-figure crowd.

“We then have FC United of Manchester at home at the end of the month, which should be a real money-spinner for us as their fans travel in numbers.

“It is vital we have that game on as it will be huge day for Durham City – and the next two weekends will be a real experience for our young lads.”

Durham, awaiting the outcome of an FA enquiry into fielding an ineligible player in two away games, could yet still play Premier Division football next season.

Carney added: “With Newcastle Blue Star and King’s Lynn going to the wall, the league is down to 20 teams and there is a chance if another club folded then we would not be relegated.

“That would be a stay of execution we would take.

“We have made mistakes this season, but there is a lot of goodwill towards the club and we are moving forward.”

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Source: The People

* 17 Jan 2010
* The People
* by Laura Armstrong

MICHELLE’S footballer boyfriend has landed an acting role in Shameless – as a gay player.

Brad Howard, 22, who has been a defender for semi-pro side FC United of Manchester, will appear in a “typical” storyline involving the dysfunctional Gallagher clan.

He will feature in a plot about the team from the show’s pub The Jockey and a league match.

Brad, who has been dating Corrie star Michelle for two years and also works as a club promoter and model, is hoping more higherprofile acting roles may follow.

An insider said: “He is delighted and feels very lucky to have won the part.”

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Rebels plan home fit for their heroes

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

January 16, 2010
FC United have submitted proposals for their own 4,000-capacity stadium to Manchester council.

Although a final location for the project is yet to be confirmed, the club say they are hoping to complete the planning process before the end of the season.

"We've been working on the business plan for a few months and had meetings with the council before Christmas to talk about our draft proposals," said general manager Andy Walsh.

"The final draft has now been sent in, and we hope to make an announcement about when work will begin in the next few months." Walsh estimates that the stadium will cost around £3-4m to build, and says that funding for the project will come from several sources.

"We'll be using our own resources as well as some grant funding to help us.

"Obviously, it's not the best time financially to be asking for funding, but we're in discussions at the moment."

FC are also keen to ensure that the stadium will be available for other uses as well being as their home ground.

"This is not just for FC United and it's important that the ground is used as a community facility," said Walsh.

"We will consult with local residents, as well as all of our club members, about things such as the name of the ground because we want their input." The Rebels currently play their home fixtures at Bury's Gigg Lane, and have also used Stainton Park in Radcliffe and Altrincham's Moss Lane ground since their formation in 2005.

However, it now appears that they will have their own place to call home in the near future - news that will be warmly received by fans as the club aim to continue climbing the non-league ladder towards the Football League.

The club's determination to own their own ground has received the backing of Sir Richard Leese, leader of the city council, and Walsh believes his support could be crucial.

"He says he wants FC United to stay within the city boundaries, which is good, so now it's down to us," said an optimistic Walsh.

"There's still work to be done before the final plan goes before the councillors, but we're as confident as we can be about it at this stage."

Friday, January 15, 2010

FC United v Bradford PA off

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

January 15, 2010

FC United's home game against Bradford Park Avenue has been postponed.

The Rebels' next scheduled fixture is away at Stocksbridge Park Steels on Saturday 23 January.

Daily Mail, 15 Jan 2010. Pages 96 - 97

Daily Mail
15 Jan 2010

红魔负债之际山寨曼联崛起 连升三级示威格雷泽

Google translation:

Chinese to English translation-

Manchester United Red Devils liabilities rise when the cottage Lianshengsanji Glazer protest
2010-01-15 11:30:12 Source: Netease Sports Gentie six mobile phone to see events

When the commercial and money on behalf of Manchester United are entangled, a group of a firm in Manchester, football apologists are quietly guarded the corner where his dream, grass-roots of the founders of Manchester United Red Devils early on today, had a clear understanding of ... ...

NEW YORK, January 15 report

When this week in the British media as long as 322 out of Manchester United share of official documents, there are very surprised how many Manchester United fans crowed? Carrington training ground and Old Trafford are all available, the player's wages are crazy, and the club's debt is heavy, or even next door to Manchester City is horrible ... ... the media and fans are in hot discussion Glazer family could leave Manchester United embark on Road to Perdition, but in fact a group of local loyal Manchester as early as four and a half ago, has foreseen all of this, they are used by many Chinese fans, nicknamed the cottage Manchester United FC United of Manchester to sustain the dream of his most pure soccer.

5 years ago, when Manchester United when the Glazer family, intend to buy the vast majority of Manchester United fans have expressed their opposition, when in front of them so a couple of choices: to continue to support Manchester United, Manchester United is no longer ignored, there is a selective boycott, or the last strokes - their own to form a new Manchester United.

At that time a few Manchester United Supporters Association, for example, shareholders of Union, Shareholders United, Manchester United supporters trust funds Manchester United Supporters' Trust have called for the fans and the shareholders holding shares in Manchester United against Glazer family's takeover, but eventually Glazer family, or win, in May 2005 they acquired a successful, probably more than 1,000 Manchester United fans sad disappointment choose to go the last one road - the formation of a new FC Manchester United.

When the genuine Manchester United regain the Premiership, and then three consecutive Champions League trophy back to a time, this new grass-roots Manchester United tenaciously adhered to down them from the bottom of the league playing areas, leased Bury team to play home games per game average of 2000 fans to the scene to watch the battle, and now they have risen by three, this week is to build an application to the Manchester city can accommodate 4,000 fans, the new stadium as their home.

, Brilliance and infinite compared with the Red Devils Manchester United, this grass-roots Manchester United may be ignored, but this is the group of smitten fans dream. Walsh, general manager of Manchester United FC, said, "We do not oppose the Americans, we just oppose the acquisition, against those who know little about the club and the community who took over the team, we can see the impact of money for English football, We know that Old Trafford's fare had to be skyrocketing. "

Walsh that "Old Trafford debt figures are staggering, many people are on the Manchester United has an understanding of the extent of the liabilities, but these so-called Glazer are still confused with the marketing, it was like a crime. Big Most people have been blinded, but now the public has such a "gambling-style economy," an understanding of where they see happening in football circles, has been shocked. "

The population in these grass-roots fans, those who "have been deceived eyes" of people, including management, including the Government. Walsh is a shareholder of Union and the then Manchester United supporters, the backbone of the Trust Fund, if they are actively lobbying the then Manchester United's two major shareholders, Magnier and McManus not to sell 28% stake in Manchester United Glazer. However, the latter of these two characters rich blue, or sell, Walsh received the then British sports minister Richard - Cabon, the FA Premier League and a letter, they guarantee "Glazer family, there is no bad motive."

"They are what" security manager "," a move worthy of respect "to describe the Glazer family, all of the football authorities and the government looks like a conspiracy, they seem to have and this acquisition pattern combines together. what they call "the appropriate testing candidates," Where is it? look at his letter? It is really annoying, since they do nothing, then the only choice we have to. "

FC United's founders, is also not a naive utopian, who both understand the importance of economic operation, they are very conservation, every game needs 1,300 fans attended the match to ensure a fiscal balance, they also need to detachment of the semi-professional players wages - the highest paid 150 pounds per week, they also need sponsorship, but also sell club merchandise revenue.

"Commercialization is not wrong, but we insist on is that this commercial is designed to allow a lower fare, (but not vice-versa)." If the FC Manchester United's new stadium plans are passed, they will be up again in the amateur league two, just as their teams in similar situations, like AFC Wimbledon (Wimbledon fans, then re-formed their own team) .

Now there are about 1100 Manchester United FC season ticket holders, of course, very low fares, season tickets a minimum 90 pounds, an average of 120 pounds, however, the club also has a community plan, although most of the fans of the Premiership is still a sense of such a high level of competition interest, but they are still working on it.

There are a number of former Manchester United FC Manchester United players in private support, in addition, this grass-roots support Premiership giants Manchester United and that has no connection, but in fact most of the FC Old Trafford Manchester United fans are still playing like that Red Devils supporters, but the Glazer soaring under the rule of the fare has given them away from their former team.

"Fans can not afford to go on-site watching, not just Manchester United, soccer, and more should have been intertwined with a social club for the purpose of the original components of a large part of a social welfare is to community harmony, but now All this has changed, moving in the wrong direction. "
(This article Source: NetEase Sports Author: Mark Van)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Manchester United's breakaway faithful vindicated

Source: Daily Mail

By Michael Walker Last updated at 8:16 PM on 14th January 2010

In a converted mill in Ancoats in Manchester are a group of people who would be entitled to feel vindication this week.

FC United of Manchester is the football club Malcolm Glazer and his family founded by accident. Now members of the Unibond Premier League, FC United were established by disaffected Manchester United fans who fought to the bitter end to prevent the Glazers' takeover at Old Trafford four-and-a-half years ago.

They fought because they feared what is happening today - the apparent financial hijacking of United, or as FC United states on its website: 'The material theft of a Manchester institution.'

When, in May 2005, the Glazers won in spite of supporter opposition and, at one stage, opposition from the Old Trafford chief executive David Gill, Manchester United fans had choices: to continue attending, to walk away, to boycott selectively or, the 'last resort', to form a new club.

Around 1,000 of the disillusioned agreed to the last resort. With an ethos in total contrast to the money first model of Premier League club takeovers, FC United was born.

Many expected the club to fizzle out - particularly as Sir Alex Ferguson led United to three consecutive League titles and another European Cup - but FC United are still here. They rent Bury's Gigg Lane, have an average gate of 2,000, have won three promotions and this week submitted a business plan to Manchester City Council to build a new 4,000-capacity stadium of their own.

'We were never anti-American,' explained FC's general manager Andy Walsh, 'we were just anti-takeovers by people who knew little about the club or the community around it. We could see the dash for cash happening in English football and we knew ticket prices at Old Trafford would rise.

'The figures from Old Trafford are quite shocking. Most people were aware of a level of indebtedness but for it to be compounded by the Glazers cynically "dipping in" is bordering on the criminal.

'Most people have shielded their eyes to what's going on but the general public are now more familiar with the "casino economy" after Northern Rock and all the rest of it. People understand more about it and it's happening in football. That has shocked them.'

Those Walsh accuses of shielding their eyes are the authorities, including the Government. Walsh was part of Shareholders United and Manchester United Supporters' Trust who tried in vain to buy a bulwark shareholding to frustrate the Glazers. They petitioned John Magnier and JP McManus not to sell their 28 per cent to the Glazers and thought the Irishmen would not.

Once they did, Walsh says he received letters from then Minister for Sport Richard Caborn, the Premier League and the Football Association that offered reassurances about the Glazers' motivation and practice.

'They used phrases about the Glazers such as "safe custodians" and "intentions are honourable",' said Walsh. 'It's almost as if the football authorities and the Government are in cahoots. They seem wedded to this takeover business model.

'What about their fit and proper person test? Thaksin Shinawatra? It is so frustrating. They don't see an alternative. We do.'

FC United are not naïve, they exist in the real economy and need 1,300 fans to break even. They pay their semi-pro players - the top earner is on £150 per week - they seek and attract sponsorship and they sell merchandise.

If they get permission to build their new stadium, two more promotions would see them in the Blue Square Premier, already reached by self-starting forerunners AFC Wimbledon.

'There is nothing wrong with commercialism,' said Walsh, 'but our argument is that it should be used to subsidise tickets.'

FC United have 1,100 season ticket holders who this season have been reassurasked to pay what they can afford - £90 has been recommended as a minimum, the average is £120. The club has a thriving community scheme, although Premier League clubs are also very active in that sphere.

Aside from whispered support from former Manchester United players, there is no relationship with Old Trafford. Walsh says 'the vast majority' of FC United followers remain Manchester United fans. But ticket prices have risen under the Glazers; the very thing which FC United's founders warned of five years ago.

'Fans can't afford to go,' said Walsh. 'It's not just at Manchester United. Football in this country is woven into its social fabric. When clubs were formed they often had a social purpose and part of that purpose was community cohesion. That is being meddled with. And that's wrong.'

FC United v Bradford PA in doubt

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

January 14, 2010
THE big freeze looks set to have claimed yet another FC United fixture as tomorrow’s home game against Bradford Park Avenue is in serious doubt.

Due to league regulations, the game cannot be officially called off more than 24 hours in advance.

But Bury’s clash with Macclesfield at Gigg Lane on Tuesday was postponed, and it seems certain that the Rebels’ fixture will follow suit.

“There’s still several inches of snow on the pitch so we’re not expecting it to be on,” said an FC spokesman.

Avenue's La Liga facility is boon in bad weather

Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus

By Ian Whiting

With Bradford Park Avenue due to face FC United of Manchester in the UniBond League Premier Division on Saturday, it could be a third club who hold most sway on the call as to whether the game goes ahead.

FC United, a splinter faction of the Old Trafford giants of a similar name disillusioned with the Glazers’ takeover, play their home games at Gigg Lane.

That means their landlords, Bradford City’s Coca-Cola League Two rivals Bury, will have a vested interest.

Avenue chief executive Bob Blackburn admitted: “We are preparing as though there is no chance whatsoever of the game being played.

“Kevin Hainsworth (one of Blackburn’s co-directors) has been liaising with FC United and they have more or less told him that, but league rules state that a decision cannot be made until tomorrow at the earliest.

“I suppose Bury will have the final say and, after all, it is their pitch and they don’t want any more disruption to their own season.

"At this stage, we are all just hoping the temperature lifts next week and we get some football on.

“I’m getting to the stage where I get up on a Saturday morning full of the joys and then slip into depression when I realise we don’t have a game.

"Don’t get me wrong, it’s nice to spend a Saturday with the wife and family now and again – but that’s what summer’s for.”

Avenue manager John Deacey still has his squad of finely-honed players on a minute’s stand-by but the roses clash is likely to be shelved.

With Avenue in second spot, Deacey is hoping that all the division’s clubs suffer the same fate.

If Avenue cannot play, he will want the Retford United versus Boston United game off as well.

That clash sees first hosting third and, whatever the result, it would mean Avenue losing ground in the table without playing.

“Both of those clubs have played more games than us but with this frustrating situation, you feel that the need for points on the board is even more necessary than in a normal season,” said Blackburn.

“We have already planned Saturday's training session, to be honest. That’s how sure we are that the game will be off. We have got three seven-a-side pitches at our La Liga soccer centre and that is handy for us.

“They are all together and if we lift the curtains we have an area the size of at least a third of a full pitch.

"We have kept them clear for Saturday for our lads to get a decent-sized surface to train properly on.

“The facilities are there and better than most non-league clubs, so we use them.

"I have heard that even our neighbours City have experienced difficulties training over this exceptionally icy spell, so we might even be in better shape than some Football League clubs when we do finally get back into it.

“John has also had the lads in at a boxing gym in Leeds while the weather has been so bad.

"They have been football training in midweek and if the game has been off at the weekend, they have gone through their paces with these boxercise classes.”

Friday, January 08, 2010

Boston United v FCUM - POSTPONED

Source: Boston Standard

Published Date:
08 January 2010
By Duncan Browne
Friday, 10.25am - BOSTON United's UniBond Premier clash against FC United of Manchester has been postponed.
The fixture, scheduled for tomorrow, has unsurprisingly fallen foul of the weather with the Jakemans Stadium covered in a blanket of snow.

With three inches of snow on the pitch and sub-zero temperatures, the game was deemed unplayable.

Club boffins have pointed out that this is the first weather-related call-off at York Street since 2006.

Volunteers braved the cold to shovel snow off the pitch on Boxing Day, ensuring the match against Stocksbridge Park Steels went ahead.

Club press officer Craig Singleton said: "The snow was cleared from the pitch on Boxing Day morning, but the difference on this occasion is that there is far much more snow — and the pitch is frozen underneath this time too.

"It is unfortunate because the FC United of Manchester match is always the most attractive on the fixture list, but hopefully the game can be re-scheduled for another Saturday later in the season to ensure a bumper attendance."

It also seems likely that Tuesday's UniBond Challenge Cup clash at Sheffield FC will also be postponed as the league's website reports the host club doubt they will be able to play a match at home until February, also due to the weather.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

El United 'rebelde' pelea por salvarse en Séptima

Source: (Spain)

[]A supporter has provided a translation of this article, you will find it below the original text. Google's automatic translation can be found below that again.[/]

Creado por contrarios a los dueños foráneos de los 'red'

Guillem Balagué | 06/01/2010

Cómo le va al grupo de aficionados del Manchester United que decidió abandonar al club de su vida para fundar otro, el FC United of Manchester, como medida de protesta ante los distantes dueños americanos? Ocurrió en 2005 y desde entonces el nuevo club no sólo tiene plantilla, sino también cuerpo filosofal. No se trató de una pataleta contra los propietarios que compraron el Manchester endeudándolo, sino también un reproche "por el robo de una institución, el sustrato sin permiso de la gente de Manchester", como dice el portavoz, Julian Spencer. Tienen lema ("Nuestro club, nuestras normas") y apodo: no más Diablos Rojos, sino Rebeldes Rojos.

Los fundadores de FC United catalizaron la frustración entre los seguidores británicos con los cambios provocados por la llegada del dinero de la televisión y la conversión de estadios en lugares "sin alma llenos de nuevos aficionados que sólo quieren sentarse en el teatro en lugar de participar, con excesivos controles policiales, pérdida de libertades civiles y precios exorbitados de las entradas", clama Spencer.

El club, democrático y con propiedad de sus socios, en una decisión inspirada en el modelo del Barcelona, juega con las famosas camisetas rojas, pantalones blancos y calcetines negros del Manchester e inició su andadura en la liga amateur, diez niveles por debajo de la Premier. Durante su primera temporada (2005-06), tuvieron una asistencia media superior a siete clubes de las primeras cuatro categorías, incluyendo al Bury, con quien comparten su campo (el récord de asistencia fue 6.023 aficionados en un partido contra Great Harwood City en 2006).

Hoy están decimoséptimos en la Unibodn Liga Premier, en la séptima categoría del fútbol inglés, pero tienen peñas en Francia, Polonia, Noruega, Nueva Zelanda, Estados Unidos y Canadá, además de un total de 1.940 socios. Peligra su permanencia y casi todo depende de los goles de Carlos Roca, un ex del Oldham. Aunque sus jugadores no son profesionales, uno de ellos es internacional: Quistin, de Guadalupe. Pese a las dificultades deportivas, el objetivo es crear su propio estadio en el centro de Manchester a partir de 2012. Y, ¿quién apostaría contra ello?

Spanish speaking supporter's translation:
How are the group of Manchester United fans doing who decided to leave the club they supported all their lives and establish another, FC United of Manchester, as a means of protesting against its distant American owners?

That happened in 2005 and since then the new club not only has a team, but also a philosophy. It wasn't just a tantrum against the owners who bought the indebted Manchester United, but also an expression against "the theft of an institution without the permission of the people of Manchester" according to spokesman Julian Spencer. They have a motto (Our club, our rules) and a nickname: no more red devils, only red rebels.

The founders of FC United encapsulated the frustration of British fans with the changes that have happened with the arrival of television money and the conversion of stadiums to places "without soul, full of new supporters who only want to sit in a theatre instead of taking part, with excessive policing, loss of freedom and exhorbitant prices" claims Spencer.

The club, democratic and member owned, in a decision inspired by the model of Barcelona, plays in the famous red shirts, white shorts and black socks of Manchester United and began its journey in the amatuer leagues, 10 levels below the Premier League. In its first season (2005-6) they had a better average attendance than seven clubs in the first four divisions, including Bury whose ground they share (the record attendance is 6,023 in a game agasint Great Harwood City (sic) in 2006).

Today they are 17th in the Unibond Premier League, in the seventh level of English football, but have supporters clubs in France, Poland, Norway, New Zealand, United States and Canada. They are in danger of relegation and dependant on the goals of Carlos Roca, formerly of Oldham. Although their players are not professionals one of them is an international, Quistin, of Guadeloupe. Despite the problems on the pitch, the objective is for them to build their own stadium in the centre of Manchester from 2012. Who would bet against them?

Google's automatic translation:
The United 'rebel' fight to save himself in Seventh

Created by anti-foreign owners of the 'red'

How goes the group of Manchester United fans who decided to leave the club of his life to found another, FC United of Manchester in protest at the distant American owners? It happened in 2005 and since then the new club has not only staff but also philosopher's body. It was not a tantrum against the owners who bought Manchester United in debt, but also blame "for the theft of an institution, the substrate without permission of the people of Manchester", says the spokesman, Julian Spencer. They slogan ( "Our club, our rules") and nickname: Red Devils no longer, but Rebel Reds.

The founders of FC United catalyzed the British fans' frustration with the changes brought about by the arrival of television money and the conversion of stadiums in places "without a soul full of new fans who just want to sit in the theater instead of participating, with excessive police checkpoints, loss of civil liberties and popping price of tickets, "claims Spencer.

The club, democratic and owned by their members, a decision inspired by the model of Barcelona, playing with the famous red shirts, white shorts and black socks Manchester and began work in the amateur league, ten levels below the Premier. During his first season (2005-06) had an average attendance exceeding seven clubs in the first four categories, including Bury, with whom they share their field (the record for attendance was 6023 fans at a game against Great Harwood City in 2006 ).

Today is seventeenth in the Premiership Unibodn in the seventh category of English football, but they have rocks in France, Poland, Norway, New Zealand, USA and Canada, plus a total of 1,940 members. Endanger its permanence and almost everything depends on the goals from Carlos Roca, a former of Oldham. Although players are not professionals, one of them is international: Quistin, Guadeloupe. Despite the difficulties sports, the goal is to create your own stadium in downtown Manchester from 2012. And who would bet against it?

Boston United confident game against FC United of Manchester will beat the weather

Source: Lincolnshire Echo

Thursday, January 07, 2010, 06:30

Comment on this story

Boston United officials are confident that Saturday's home clash with FC United, in the UniBond League Premier Division, will go ahead.

"There is a bit of frost on the pitch, but there is nothing like what there was on Boxing Day, when we played Stocksbridge," said commercial manager Craig Singleton.

"There will be a pitch inspection first thing on Saturday morning but we have not had a game postponed, due to the weather, for about five years."

Meanwhile, Lincoln United are due to travel to Chasetown on Saturday in UniBond League Division One South, Sleaford Town travel to Northampton Spencer and Lincoln Moorlands Railway are at Scarborough Athletic.

Manchester United still rule the roost despite Manchester City’s lottery win

Edited from: Telegraph


It is 2005 all over again. United's answer to the Roman revolution at Chelsea was to fall into the indebted hands of Malcolm Glazer.

The club convulsed. Disturbed supporters marched out of the Stretford End behind their FC United of Manchester banners to begin life anew in a Gigg Lane commune.

They wanted none of the Americanised commercialisation of Old Trafford, though they seemed happy enough when the money being spun was in the hands of a dynasty of Mancunian master butchers.

The departing faction confused love with ownership. They saw the club's accounts as their own. The debts would bring them down, they screamed as if they were the ones making the repayments. Ferguson was already on the wrong end of a pendulum that had swung towards Arsène Wenger's Invincibles. Then, after a season of overbearing Arsenal supremacy, along rides a Portuguese show pony with a saddle full of roubles.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Non-league games hit by weather

Source: Manchester Evening News

January 01, 2010

FC UNITED'S New Year’s Day home fixture against Ossett Town has been postponed due to a frozen pitch.

However, the planned ‘Big Coat Day’ appeal for winter clothing for the homeless will still go ahead at Gigg Lane from 2pm today and then again at FC’s next home game against Bradford Park Avenue on January 16th.

Altrincham's Blue Square Premier match against Wrexham at Moss Lane has also been postponed.

There is also a glut of cancellations in the Blue Square North.

Droylesden's visit to Alfreton, Northwich Victoria's home clash with Vauxhall and the derby between Stalybridge Celtic and Hyde have all been called off.