Sunday, February 28, 2010

Manchester United fans go green and gold at Wembley in colour-coded protest against owners

Source: The Observer

* Luke Bainbridge and Ed Vulliamy
* The Observer, Sunday 28 February 2010
* Article history

Angry supporters to use Carling Cup final at Wembley against Aston Villa to publicise bid to oust Glazer family

Wembley Stadium will reverberate this afternoon to the sounds of the first colour-coded football rebellion as Manchester United take on Aston Villa in the Carling Cup final and fans of the Premier League champions stage a vivid protest against the club's controversial American owners.

Instead of the usual bank of red and white, United's end of the stadium will be green and gold – with 30,000 coloured balloons sent skyward. Thousands of Manchester United fans will also be wearing green-and-gold scarves distributed by the Manchester United Supporters' Trust (Must). Must is campaigning for the removal of the American Glazer family, which bought the club in a debt-leveraged buyout in 2005. Intended as a symbolic rejection of the Glazer family's ownership, the green-and-gold theme harks back to Newton Heath, the club founded in 1878 that then became Manchester United in 1902.

Today's game, which is certain to attract a large international television audience, is seen as an opportunity for independent supporters' organisations to demonstrate the extent of opposition to the Glazer family's continued ownership of the club. The green-and-gold protest began at the beginning of the year, after the publication of club accounts for 2008/2009. The figures revealed that without the sale of Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid for £81m, the colossal interest payments on the club's debt would have meant a net loss, after a hugely successful season in which the club won the Premier League and reached the Uefa Champions League final.

Referring to the green-and-gold protest, a spokesman for Must said yesterday: "We've done what we can, and we're hoping to see if during any celebrations, the players put on any green and gold – we'll be throwing things on to the pitch, scarves and stuff and whichever way they go, it could be interesting."

The Wembley protest comes after a week in which the issues of debt and foreign ownership have dominated the football headlines. On Friday, Portsmouth became the first Premier League club to go into administration, with debts of around £70m, sparking fears that a combination of spiralling player wages and reckless overspending could leave other clubs vulnerable to a similar financial predicament.

Yesterday, hundreds of fans from across the country attended a Beyond the Debt rally, hosted in Bury by FC United of Manchester, a club formed by Manchester United fans disillusioned by the Glazer takeover, and sponsored by Supporters Direct, a fans' organisation committed to giving supporters a bigger say in running football.

Dave Boyle of Supporters Direct told the meeting: "Football clubs shouldn't be owned by individuals, or even a group of individuals. They should be owned by supporters."

Football finance expert Keith Harris claims he has £1bn in place to buy out the Glazers, but fans need to boycott matches and merchandise to force the Glazers to sell. "They have to be prepared to take the pain of not watching their club in order to achieve a long-term gain," he said last week

After today's Wembley protest, there is even speculation that United fans and those of their arch-rivals Liverpool are considering joining forces against their respective American owners when the two teams meet on 21 March. Liverpool are owned by Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett – who are felt by fans to have saddled the famous club with soaring debts and interest payments, and failed to deliver on the promise of a bigger ground.

Spirit of Shankly, a Liverpool supporters' group that is coordinating a campaign to oust Hicks and Gillett, denied reports in the Manchester press last week that it has already held secret meetings with its counterparts along the M62. However, the group's AGM takes place in Liverpool today, and high on the agenda will be the issue of whether to join forces with United fans in a demonstration in March. The impact of a joint demonstration by supporters known for their fierce animosity towards each other would be bound to generate fresh headlines around the world.

The chatroom of United's Red Issue fanzine site has been teeming with plans for today's final, with a special trail called "Green and Gold Report", with an editorial to be published next week listing options for further protest. According to some supporters, the fight should be taken nationwide via the Football Supporters' Federation.

On one popular Liverpool forum, a supporter said that a joint protest with Manchester United fans was unpalatable, but necessary.

"It is time to think the unthinkable, and join forces with the dark side of the East Lancs Road," said the entry. "The two biggest clubs in the land with the two best fan bases in the land have been sold down the river to a bunch of no-mark Yanks, intent on stealing money from our vast sources of revenue. There is a greater good to be had here."

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Andy Walsh on 5Live

Source: BBC 5Live Weekend Breakfast

MP3 (3.6MB, 4mins)

Manchester United fans prepare to show their true colours at Wembley

Source: The Guardian

Posted by David Conn Saturday 27 February 2010 10.00 GMT

Green and gold will outnumber the traditional black and red at Wembley on Sunday as supporters unite against the Glazers

When a Manchester United supporter still known only as "chatmaster" floated the idea on an internet messageboard that fans might defy the debt-laden Glazer family's ownership by wearing green and gold, he can surely not have dreamed the scale the demonstration would reach. At tomorrow's Carling Cup final against Aston Villa, United fans in their thousands will arrive at Wembley sporting scarves or shirts in those original colours of Newton Heath, the club formed in 1878 by workers on the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, which later became Manchester United.

It will, surely, be the first time in football history that fans choose a showpiece final to protest en masse against their club's owners, and that signifies the remarkably educated nature of this United fans' campaign. The half-hearted argument that they have nothing to demonstrate about given three Premier League championships, a Champions League trophy and now yet another Wembley final since the Glazers bought the club in 2005, is having no impact.

Last month the Glazers published their bond-raising prospectus setting out the details of their ownership. The fans know that Sir Alex Ferguson and his team's success has been achieved despite the £716m of debt the Glazers loaded on to the club, the £464m fees and interest for which United have since become liable, and the £22.9m the family have taken out in fees and personal loans. No justification of that, or attempt to say it has not affected the club, from Ferguson, the chief executive, David Gill, or the Glazer family's representative, has swayed general outrage among fans whose ticket prices have steadily risen to pay for it all.

"It had a very powerful impact for fans to see from the Glazers, in their own document, that so much money is going out of the club," says Duncan Drasdo, chief executive of the Manchester United Supporters' Trust. "Green and gold has become so effective because it is a clear way to protest against the Glazers while supporting the team and proposing a better vision for United. It feels now like a widespread movement for change."

The yearning fuelled by this reaction is for United to be owned not by investors like the Glazers, but by the supporters, for the club to be truly a club. Given the scale of finance required to buy the Glazers out, presumably with a profit, and the £716m debts to take on or pay off, this is beyond a movement of ordinary fans. The trust, though, is in contact with the "red knights", a group of wealthy United supporters developing a bid to put to the Glazers. That, Drasdo says, is likely to involve 40 or so people taking a small stake each, and giving opportunities to the trust and fans generally to build up a shareholding.

Andy Green, an investment professional and United supporter who wrote a challenging open letter to Gill last week under his blogging name Andersred, says: "There is a very serious process going on in the City, with investors looking at a structure in which fans can develop as significant a stake as possible. Key will be persuading the Glazers to sell."

Keith Harris, the merchant banker and United supporter working with the red knights group, called this week for supporters to hit the Glazers where the prospectus showed they would be truly damaged, by withholding the money that services all that interest and fees. Drasdo says the prospect of replacing the Glazers with ownership more suited to United's character is hugely important to fans.

"Supporters do have very significant power because the Glazers' financial plans rely on fans continuing to pay their money in a variety of ways," he says. "I think when a very credible bid comes forward, fans will then feel most motivated to wield that power. We already know there is a huge drop in demand for executive facilities, and we believe many people will not renew those subscriptions next season."

The Glazers' representative has declined to comment on any alternative bid, and continued to say the family are long-term investors at United. Yet anger at the debts their takeover has imposed on the club, the other north American "leveraged buyout" at Liverpool, and Portsmouth's financial collapse has popularised the idea of supporter-owned football clubs beyond the passions of a small group of active fans. Supporters from the City of London to the Stretford End are asking why great sporting institutions like Manchester United should be owned by speculators from Florida with no previous connection to it, rather than the crowds of adherents who have supported it for life.

Some fans did turn away from Old Trafford immediately after the Glazer takeover in 2005, and today FC United of Manchester, the supporter-owned club that has since enjoyed three promotions to the UniBond League Premier Division, are holding a rally "Beyond the Debt" at their Gigg Lane ground, to promote supporter ownership.

"Those of us who formed FC United did so because we recognised there was a need to provide a positive, supporter and community-focused alternative," says Andy Walsh, the anti-Glazer campaigner turned general manager of the club. Today's rally will be attended by the Liverpool supporters group Spirit of Shankly, Portsmouth fans and Dave Boyle, the chief executive of Supporters Direct, the organisation that promotes democratic fan involvement in clubs.

Boyle and Walsh were in Brussels this week lobbying the European Parliament for an idea whose time, they believe, has come – together with Uefa, which enshrines in its document "Vision Europe" the idea that clubs should be clubs, owned by the fans. "In an ideal world," it says, "all clubs would be controlled and run by their members – eg supporters – according to democratic principles."

At Gigg Lane today and in green and gold at Wembley tomorrow, supporters will be united in campaigning for football to reassess its tortured relationship with money and rediscover its true colours.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Ferriby face tough test

Source: Hull Daily Mail

Friday, February 26, 2010, 05:55

NORTH Ferriby travel to face UniBond League Premier Division play-off contenders FC United of Manchester tomorrow.

Having had a slow start to the season, the hosts have recently gained momentum and will fancy their chances of making the play-offs, given they have games in hand on most of the sides above them.

With the exception of Liam Chapman, injured, and Sam Denton, suspended, manager Neil Allison will have a full squad to choose from, including Ben Morley who played his 100th league game for the club when he returned from injury to play the second half against Hucknall last Saturday.

The Villagers have been playing some excellent attacking football that has seen numerous goal-scoring chances created.

Goals have come not only from the main strike-force of Gary Bradshaw and Alex Davidson but also right through the team.

Keeper Steve Wilson has also been in excellent form and has a determined and resolute back-four in front of him.

If this form is maintained The Villagers will be expecting to come away from Bury's Gigg Lane with at least a point.

Allison is hoping The Villagers can take the game to FC United from the start.

He said: "With FC United's large home crowds, Gigg Lane is an intimidating place to play and the game will be a tough encounter.

"The players look forward to the large crowd and the good surroundings.

"However, we cannot afford to start slowly and concede early goals as we have done in our last two matches."

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wilson extends loan stay

Source: Eurosport

Thu, 25 Feb 16:46:41 2010

Macclesfield striker Kyle Wilson has extend his loan spell at FC United of Manchester for a second month.

Wilson has featured in five matches since his return to FCUM, scoring four times, including a hat-trick in a 6-1 win over Nantwich Town.

He will now stay with the club until the end of March but has a 24-hour recall clause allowing him to return to the Moss Rose.

Marginson in confident mood

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

February 25, 2010

Karl Marginson believes that his in-form FC United side can send out a message to by beating North Ferriby at Gigg Lane on Saturday.

The Rebels are yet to taste defeat in 2010, and go into the game against the promotion-chasing Villagers on the back of a four-game winning streak.

“We’re really on the up now and we’ll head into the game full of confidence - I think a win would show the rest of the division that we mean business,” said the manager.

“They’ll be looking forward to the occasion of playing at Gigg Lane but we can give them a good game - if we’re at our best then we can beat any side in the league.”

Meanwhile, new signings Mark Ayres and Angelos Tsiatkis could make their home debuts.

“Mark came on for the last few minutes at Frickley so he’s in contention, and we’re just waiting on international clearance for Angelos,” said Marginson.

Prior to the game, FC will host a ‘Beyond the Debt’ supporter rally at Gigg Lane to debate the issues of debt in football and supporter-ownership of clubs.

The rally, which starts at midday and is free to attend, includes speeches from Supporters Direct (who represent fans throughout the UK) and representatives from German top-flight club Schalke 04.

Ticket details announced for Marine’s match against FC United of Manchester

Source: Crosby Herald

Feb 25 2010 Crosby Herald

MARINE have announced arrangements for the visit of FC United of Manchester for a league game at the beginning of April.

Arrangements are the same as last season with the game all-ticket and capacity set at 1,750 with segregation.

The arrangements have now been approved following consultation with Merseyside Police and Sefton Council.

The match is to be played on Good Friday, April 2, and will be all-ticket with Marine being allocated 750 tickets for the College Road end of the ground and FC United of Manchester 1,000 tickets for the remainder of the ground.

Admission to the ground for FCUM supporters will be via turnstiles 1 and 2 on College Road and for Marine supporters via gates 3 and 4 accessible via the car park to the front of the stadium.

There will be no tickets on sale on the day of the game and admission will be by ticket only.

Ticket prices will be adults £8 with children and senior citizens £4. Marine FC season ticket holders are required to obtain a match ticket for which there will be no charge on production of their season tickets.

The game kicks off at 3pm but supporters are advised to arrive early to ease congestion.

Tickets for the game will be on sale to Marine supporters at their home games v Hucknall Town (Saturday March 6), Matlock Town (Saturday, March 13) and Whitby Town (Saturday, March 27) in addition to being on sale each evening after 6pm at the Marine FC Clubrooms, College Road, Crosby L23 3AS from Monday, March 15.

Postal applications can be made to Mr Richard Cross, Football Secretary, Marine FC, The Arriva Stadium, College Road, Crosby, Liverpool L23 3AS. Cheques should be made payable to Marine FC and applications should request the choice of tickets, either Marine or FC United.

Consultations continue with Sefton Council and Merseyside Police who have both confirmed that the arrangements for policing and stewarding the game will be the same as last season.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Forty seconds to dash hopes

Source: South Yorkshire Times

Published Date: 24 February 2010
A GOAL after 40 seconds effectively ended the Blues' hopes in the war of the roses clash with FC United and ensured the danger of relegation still looms large.
The returning Adam Lee had given Frickley's survival hopes a massive boost in midweek when he fired in a 90th minute winner against Worksop Town but the former Goole AFC man could do little to prevent his side from suffering defeat to United.

In fact it was only some stout defending that prevented the Blues from suffering a greater defeat at Westfield Lane.

The clash was in its extreme infancy when Carlos Roca's cross from the left was latched onto by Simon Carden, and although Adam Nicklin blocked the initial effort, Ben Deegan rammed in the rebound at the far post.

Jonathan Groome really should have equalised a minute later but blazed over and it needed some cool defensive work by Steve Heath to keep United in reach as he dispossessed Carden and Deegan in good positions.

Lee had a 20 yard free-kick well saved by visiting keeper Sam Ashton just after the break and Grant Normington had a couple of efforts blocked as the Blues resumed strongly.

The visitors always looked dangerous on the break with Roca having a shot well saved by Nicklin before Kyle Wilson slotted in their second goal after 66 minutes.

New arrival from North Ferriby Alistair Benson came on as sub and should have reduced the arrears three minutes later, scuffing his shot across the face of goal after a free kick by Chris White had been flicked on by Heath.

Frickley did make a spirited attempt in the closing stages. White had an angled shot blocked on the line the 78th minutes, while Lee ran onto a through pass in stoppage time but fired straight at the keeper.

The result leaves the Blues just four points clear of second bottom though they still hold a game in hand over Worksop who they triumphed 2-1 over thanks to Lee's late goal and White's 30 yard strike.
Frickley visit Hucknall Town on Saturday before hosting Whitby Town on Tuesday evening.

* THE BLUES celebrate their centenary year at the start of the 2010/11 season and is running a competition for supporters to design a new club badge to be used for the milestone campaign.

Entries should be no larger than A4 paper while using only the club's colours of blue, white and gold on a circular, diamond, square of shield shape..

Entries should be sent by post to Frickley Centenary Badge Competition, 1, Princess Avenue, South Elmsall, Pontefract WF9 2 QU, or handed in to the club shop at the Tech5 Stadium on match days.

Rebels on a roll

Source: The Bolton News

11:43am Wednesday 24th February 2010

By Staff Sports Reporter »

FC United’s stunning UniBond Premier League form continued at the weekend with a 2-0 victory over Frickley.

Ben Deegan got the Rebels off to a flying start with a first minute strike before Kyle Wilson wrapped up the victory in the 66th minute.

Karl Marginson’s men, who have won their last four games as they plot a path to the play-offs, are back in action on Saturday when they host North Ferriby United at Gigg Lane.They then switch their attentions to the visit of Ossett Town on Wednesday.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Blues fall to FC United of Manchester defeat

Source: Hemsworth and Southelmsall Express

Published Date:
20 February 2010
By Nick Rigg
Frickley Athletic 0
FC United of Manchester 2

FRICKLEY Athletic couldn't build on their midweek victory at Worksop as in-form FC United of Manchester ran out comfortable winners in the UniBond Premier Division at the Tech5 Stadium.
The visitors, backed by a big following in South Elmsall, got off to the perfect start when Ben Deegan fired them in front with just a minute on the clock.

The Blues battled for a way back into the game but Kyle Wilson doubled the visitors' lead on 66 minutes to send Karl Marginson's men back to Lancashire with maximum points.

The defeat leaves Frickley 17th in the Premier Division and four points above the relegation zone after Ossett Town, who occupy the final relegation spot, saw their clash at Stocksbridge Park Steels postponed due to a frozen pitch.

See Thursday's Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express for full match report and reaction.

Frickley 0 FC United 2

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

February 20, 2010

Goals from Ben Deegan and Kyle Wilson helped FC United to their fourth consecutive league win at Frickley on Saturday.

In-form striker Deegan broke the deadlock from close range in the first minute of the game, and Wilson then sealed the victory with a classy finish from Jerome Wright’s cross midway through the second half.

The result moves the Rebels back in to the top half of the table, and Karl Marginson was satisfied with another victory.

“It was a really difficult pitch which wasn’t conducive to a good game of football, but we’ve managed to get an important three points and it’s pleasing to keep another clean sheet,” said the manager.

FC’s next game is at home to North Ferriby next Saturday (3pm).

Friday, February 19, 2010

New supporter built website scores for FC United

Source: How Do

Friday, 19 February 2010

Northern Premier League Premier Division team FC United, the club formed in 2005 by disenchanted Manchester United supporters, is claiming success with its new website, launched on Christmas Day.

The site features an online shop, dedicated press and media area and a new section that aims to encourage volunteers to get involved with, and strengthen, the fan base and running of the supporter-owned outfit.

According to the club, focus has been put on ease of navigation and a clean layout.

Since launching it claims to have boosted unique visitor numbers by 10% (from 192,000 in November to 212,000 in January), while it also recorded over one million page views last month.

FC United’s general manager Andy Walsh commented: “The new website has been designed and built by our volunteers and it’s a big improvement – the figures speak for themselves.

“Added to that, the current huge interest in the model of supporter-owned clubs against the backdrop of enormous debt in top-flight football means our website is an important resource for those wanting to know more about how we run our club for the benefit of our supporters.”

The club is now planning to fine-tune the site to make it more accessible for people with sight and hearing difficulties.

Manchester United supporters still hold club’s heart and soul dear not their bottom line

Source: Telegraph

As he sits in the middle of the team photograph taken to mark the opening of his new football stadium in Old Trafford in 1910, John Henry Davies looks the archetype of Edwardian success.

By Jim White
Published: 7:00AM GMT 19 Feb 2010

With his several chins, his handsome, waxed moustache and his box-fresh bowler hat, as he stares into the camera lens, the Manchester United chairman exudes an air of self-satisfied certainty. This is the picture of a man well aware that he has something substantial on his hands.

The brewing magnate had taken control of Newton Heath football club nine years previously, rescuing a near bankrupt institution that had only been kept alive by the players rattling collecting boxes in local pubs.

Not a football fan, Davies was nonetheless fiercely proud of the town that had made him rich and he saw in the team the perfect promotional tool for Mancunian self-esteem.

The first thing he did was change the club’s parochial name to reflect its wider geographical base: Manchester United, he reckoned was the perfect moniker to advance his vision.

He paid off debts and sorted out the place so quickly he was soon turning a handsome profit from the club. Then, with their Bank Street premises at any moment threatening to sink into the mud and grime, he decided to provide them with a new home.

Old Trafford was built without debt or mortgage, largely from Davies’s own pocket (or rather from his wife’s purse; she was heiress to the Tate and Lyle fortune).

With typical bravura, on completion Davies decreed the ground to be the best in England, and thus he casually assumed, the best in the world. Which was only right, he said. What was required was a home worthy for his team, a team of “Manchester men to make Manchester proud”.

A century on, if you stand in front of the boastful steel and glass frontage of the modern Old Trafford, you will find yourself shoulder to shoulder with tourists from Singapore, Cyprus, Sydney and beyond photographing its signage and statuary. In every snap they are confirming Davies’s concept: United is the entity that has put Manchester on the world map. Millions across the world know of Manchester not because of cotton or coal or Coronation Street but because of the city’s most prominent cultural asset: United.

Much to the chagrin of United’s noisy neighbours, the club are more generally known in Barcelona, Madrid and Milan simply as “Manchester”. These days people associate Cottonopolis with the exploits of Law, Best and Charlton; Giggs, Keane and Cantona and, latterly the new golden trinity of Old Trafford: Rooney, Rooney and Rooney. They may not be Manchester men, but theirs is indeed the team that made Manchester proud.

So much so that in 2005, the club’s worldwide renown, built up through the unbeatable combination of historical romance and recent success, even seeped into the consciousness of a family of businessmen based in Florida, that last redoubt of football agnosticism. Unmoved by the sporting claims of the club, indifferent to the silverware cluttering the trophy room, unaware of the tragic implications in the word Munich, what the Glazer family saw in United was expressed in more modern business terms: it was all about the power of the brand.

And what a brand it is, reckoned to be among the five most instantly recognisable in the sporting world, up there with Nike, adidas, the Olympic rings and the New York Yankees. Such recognition is immensely valuable.

For 20 years following the moment Alex Ferguson arrived at the club bringing with him untrammelled success, the United brand was ruthlessly exploited by those in control. It was United who were at the forefront of the formation of the Premier League, pioneered corporate hospitality, and first entered the new football merchandise business. For the new United football’s traditional boundaries of local affiliation held no restraint.

So it was that for many football followers, particularly fans of less financially muscular clubs, United became synonymous with all that was wrong with the game, the rapacious greed, the careless pursuit of wealth at all costs, the deliberate dislocation of football from its roots. When the words 'football’ and 'club’ were removed from the badge in 1998 it was final proof. No longer a football club, United had become something different: a corporation.

The Glazers’ interest in United was the ultimate recognition of the club’s transformation. An operation formed by a railway carriage maker to give its workers a healthy alternative to spending their leisure hours marinated in alcohol had become, 130 years later, an entertainment conglomerate, a company that provides media content, like Universal Studios.

For the Glazers, there was no emotional implications here, no Davies-like desire to put their mark on the world. In their mind, seeking to take control of United was solely about seizing the asset; it was getting their hands on a production line spewing cash. Their takeover was the final statement that the club’s wider cultural meaning had been subsumed into its bottom line.

Yet, to stand on the bridge over the railway behind the Stretford End, as the crowd make their way to the ground on match days is to get a sense of an institution much closer to Davies’s vision than that of the Glazers. Despite the sneery insistence of rivals that the United crowd is made up of those solely from beyond the city boundary, Mancunians are not uniquely immune to the finest players in history besporting themselves on their doorstep. Yes, there are millions across the globe who claim allegiance to the club who would be incapable of pinpointing the city on the map, but the accents gathering to watch home games are overwhelmingly north-western, overwhelmingly working class. Somehow, despite flotations and leveraged buyouts, despite payment in kind notes and bond issues, despite the insistent spread of corporatisation evident in every concession stand dotted round the ground, there is something in the club that still reaches out to them. And the arrival of the Glazers has made many of them think deeply about what exactly that something is.

Once, in the Fifties, the manager Matt Busby, as strong a definer of the meaning of United as anyone associated with its tale, took his United players to the gates of a factory next door to the ground after training. It was clocking off time and he instructed them to watch the Lowry-like stick figures trudging home. He wanted to remind them of what he saw as their duty. They had an obligation, he said, to play a brand of football that lifted the spirits of the people who paid their wages.

The Glazers take a different view. For them the fans clacking through the turnstiles (or rather swiping their credit-card-style season tickets through state-of-the-art admissions systems) are mere customers. The family made it clear what they felt about them in the small print of the recent bond issue, designed to alleviate temporarily the debt they had incurred taking over the club. Ticket prices, it was noted, could rise inexorably: the customers would always fork out whatever it took to see their heroes. That was the nature of football support.

Such an attitude will come as no surprise to the couple of thousand diehard fans who broke away from the club in 2005 to form a co-operative venture of their own called FC United of Manchester. Battered by commerce, wearied by the endless diminution of the club’s cultural status, the final straw for the refuseniks was the manner in which the Glazers leveraged their buy-out by saddling the club with the mortgage to facilitate it. Not for sale, they cried as they refused to renew their season tickets.

“What is it you love about United? It’s not the board, or the moneymaking or the whole media Man U thing, that’s not the soul of the club,” says Andy Walsh, one of the founders of FC United. “What you defended was your experience of going to United with your friends and family. It was the sense of belonging, of being part of the Manchester United movement. And we discovered we could take that with us.” Others viewed the departing few as traitors. “I’ve never seen Manchester United as mine,” says Stephen Armstrong, a lifetime fan from Moston. “I belong to United, but I don’t own it. I see my relationship as that of a dog to its owner: I give it my loyalty and it keeps me warm in return.”

But recent revelations about the crippling levels of debt put on the club by the Glazers, debt that will be paid off by the fealty of such fans, has led to a new search among the supporters to define the true meaning of the club. What is it they follow? How can they continue to put their trust, their money, their identity into a concept now so tarnished? The Love United Hate Glazer movement has found visual articulation through fans sporting the original colours of Newton Heath. Green and yellow scarves are now in the majority in the stadium.

Suddenly fans are finding fresh enthusiasm for what it is they most cherish about United: the sense of shared identity between them, their fellow supporters and the players on the pitch. Suddenly the previously moribund atmosphere at Davies’s ground has perked up. Suddenly there is a sense of excitement in the air.

Unusually in football, this discourse has taken place against the background of success. Those green and yellow scarves are flying in celebration of a Ferguson team again reaching fruition at the business end of the season.

Yet their very popularity is evidence that for many of those inside Davies’s venerable old ground, their club is about more than trophies, that it has a meaning beyond mere commerce, that it has a soul. A hundred years on, John Henry Davies would be proud.

Provided, obviously, he was still earning a tidy dividend from his investment.

Cottrell boost for Rebels

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

Jake Cottrell has boosted FC United's play-off push by signing a contract that keeps him at the club until the end of the season.

The 20-year-old central midfielder has arguably been the Rebels' player of the season so far, and Karl Marginson is delighted that he has agreed to stay at Gigg Lane.

"It's great news that Jake has signed - he's performed consistently well throughout the season," said the manager.

FC have also signed Cyprus under-21 international midfielder Angelos Tsiaklis from Wrexham and centre-back Mark Ayres from Salford City this week.

The Rebels travel to Frickley on Saturday (3pm) looking for their fourth-straight league win.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Blues target FC United of Manchester scalp

Source: Hemsworth and Southelmsall Express

Published Date:
18 February 2010
By Nick Rigg

FRICKLEY Athletic will be looking to secure crucial back-to-back UniBond Premier League wins when they host FC United of Manchester on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
An injury-time Adam Lee winner gave the Blues a first win in seven matches at old foes Worksop Town on Wednesday night to lift them four points clear of the drop zone.

And they'll be looking to secure back-to-back wins for the first time since last October and further ease their relegation fears at the Tech5 Stadium this weekend.

United were in the thick of relegation trouble alongside Frickley not long ago but a run of six games without defeat have seen them shoot up the table.

And although lifted by Wednesday's success at Worksop, boss Billy Heath knows Karl Marginson's men will be a tough nut to crack.

"I think everybody knows they've been in a false position for most of the season and now they're showing what they can do," said Heath.

"They have a massive spending budget and a great support there.

"They're finding a bit of form but we had a good result there not too long back and we'll be looking for a repeat of that on Saturday."

The Blues held United to a 0-0 stalemate at Gigg Lane last month.

The clash across the Pennines was played in front of almost 1,500 fans and Frickley are set for a bumper crowd of their own at the Tech5 Stadium tomorrow.

Blues fans are set to get a first taste of new signings Michael Wood and Ben Chapman, while midweek match-winner Adam Lee is set to keep his place in attack.

See this week's Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express for all the latest sports news from around the area.

Football - United midweek trip frozen off

Source: Westmorland Gazette

9:03am Thursday 18th February 2010

KENDAL Town's stop-start season continued with the postponement of the Unibond Premier Division match against FC United of Manchester at Bury's Gigg Lane ground.

Overnight frost had not come out off thep itch sufficently to allow Wednesday evening's game to go ahead.

Now Lee Ashcroft's men face a trip to Nantwich Town on Saturday followed by a home encounter with Burscough on Tuesday evening (7.45pm).

FC United v Kendal postponed

Source: Manchester Evening News

February 17, 2010

FC United's clash with Kendal Town has been postponed because of a frozen pitch.

Gigg Lane was inspected on Wednesday lunchtime and considered unfit to play after temperatures plunged overnight.

A new date for the fixture has not yet been announced.

Margy bolsters squad with former Blue

Source: Manchester Evening News

February 18, 2010

FC United manager Karl Marginson has added to his squad with the signing of former Wrexham and Manchester City midfielder Angelos Tsiaklis.

The Rebles have also signed Mark Ayres from Salford.

Marginson said: "Angelos spent his youth at City before moving on to Wrexham, where he did well early on. He’s an energetic midfielder who never seems to stop running.

"His signing will give us that extra competition in midfield and any additions always boost a squad at this time of the season.

"We’re waiting for international clearance for him to play for us because Wrexham play in Wales.

"We have also brought in Mark Ayres. He is very steady and seldom lets you down. I’ve known him a while and he is a player you can rely on and it gives us good options at the back."

FC United's fine run of top form continued on Saturday with a comfortable 2-0 home victory over Worksop.

Two goals from Simon Carden made it three consecutive league wins for the Rebels.

But there was a key contribution from Sam Ashton, who kept FC level with a superb penalty save from Adam Burley in the fourth minute.

Marginson said: "At this time of the season it’s quite often a case of getting the points and not worrying a great deal about how you get them.

"That was certainly true of Saturday, when we weren’t at our best but still managed to get a reasonably convincing three points off Worksop.

"Simon Carden’s goals showed his quality once again and he just keeps on going. Five years on from when he joined the club he has continued to be one of our best performers at whatever level we have played.

"His game has changed slightly and he is more selective of when he gets forward these days, but he showed once again on Saturday that he is a top finisher when near the goal.

"His experience is invaluable in what is a young team and he really is a fantastic servant for this football club."

"Sam Ashton’s penalty save was vital and had Worksop scored that it would have been a completely different game.

"Sam loves being a part of FC United and when he’s not playing he’s working with our community team as a coach and it’s really heart-warming to see.

"Like Si Carden, Sam is here for the long haul and we’re very lucky to be building a club around characters like those two."

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Rebels look to upset Kendal

Source: The Bolton News

5:30am Wednesday 17th February 2010

FOOTBALL: FC United will be chasing a fourth successive victory when they take on play-off chasing Kendal Town at Gigg Lane tonight.

The in-form Rebels have surged from just above the relegation zone up to 10th in the UniBond Premier League table following a fine run of results.

Three more points against seventh-placed Kendal would boost their own hopes of a late promotion push, which has been helped further by the signings of Salford City centre-back Mark Ayres and midfielder Angelos Tsiaklis, a Cyprus Under-21 international, from Blue Square Premier club Wrexham.

Leigh Genesis are in Division One North action tonight against Rossendale at the Sports Village.

Last night, Radcliffe Borough were beaten 4-0 by leaders Lancaster City at the Giant Axe.

Adam Farrell bagged a brace while Jordan Connerton and Max Rothwell were also on the scoresheet.

Marginson rallies Rebels

Source: Manchester Evening News

February 16, 2010

Karl Marginson wants his play-off chasing FC United side to maintain their momentum against Kendal at Gigg Lane on Wednesday (7.45pm).

The in-form Rebels are unbeaten in five games since returning to action after the big freeze, and their 2-0 win over Worksop on Saturday took them up to tenth in the Unibond Premier League.

“Winning breeds confidence and we’re trying to instil that mentality in the dressing room,” said Marginson.

“Our games against Kendal are always nip and tuck and it’ll be tough, but they’ll find it difficult here if we play as well as we have been doing recently.”

Sunday, February 14, 2010

FC United continue fine form

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

February 13, 2010

FC United continued their recent run of good form with a comfortable 2-0 home victory over Worksop on Saturday.

A brace from Simon Carden made it three consecutive league wins for the Rebels, and Karl Marginson was happy with his side’s display.

“It was a good performance and we’re very pleased to get another win,” said the manager.

“We’re definitely heading in the right direction but we’ve got another tough game on Wednesday to prepare for now.”

Sam Ashton kept FC level with a superb penalty save from Adam Burley in the fourth minute, and the home side controlled the game from then on.

Despite their domination, it took the Rebels 42 minutes to break down a dogged Worksop defence when midfielder Carden opened the scoring from six yards.

And it was Carden who then sealed the win with his second of the afternoon in the 55th minute as he converted Jerome Wright’s superb cross.

FC’s next game is against Kendal at Gigg Lane on Wednesday (7.45pm).

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Unthinkable? Supporter-owned football clubs

Source: The Guardian

* Editorial
* The Guardian, Saturday 13 February 2010

English football's endemic financial crisis claimed another bouffant hairdo yesterday as Sven-Göran Eriksson moved on from Notts County. "The problem with this club is that it has been living beyond its means," said Ray Trew, one of the new investors. Notts County, like Portsmouth and Cardiff City, are in trouble with the taxman, who comes low on cash-strapped clubs' payment priorities. Time to think again about football finances. It may be impossible to divorce success on the pitch from money in the bank, but that shouldn't mean it's impossible to devise a sustainable financial settlement. In the end, supporter-owned clubs would be the answer. Some of the great Spanish sides – Barcelona, Real Madrid – belong to their fans, hundreds of thousands of them. Defenders of the English system point out that they can only afford it because they sell TV rights individually rather than sharing out the cash across the league. But look at the German example. Last November, the clubs in the Bundesliga, their premier league, again backed the rule that fans own a majority of shares. They claim it guarantees stability, continuity and proximity to the supporters. In practice it really does seem to mean accessible ticket prices go hand in hand with excellence in depth. Here, brave pioneers like FC United of Manchester and AFC Wimbledon fight to break through the daunting cost barrier. They need a limit on corporate investment if they're to succeed. A supporter on every board would be a start.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tong's FC United mission

Source: Manchester Evening News

February 12, 2010

Australia-bound Adam Tong wants to fire FC United further towards the Unibond Premier League play-off zone before he leaves.

Defender Tong is scheduled to move Down Under to play semi-professionally on March 1.

But ahead of his imminent departure, he is determined to help the Rebels gain maximum points from his four remaining games with the club.

"I want to try to make sure we get 12 more points before I go, and if we do that we'll be right up towards the play-offs," he said.

FC host Worksop on Saturday (3pm) looking to record their third successive league win.

FC United's opportunity

Source: When Saturday Comes

12 February ~ FC United of Manchester's recent announcement that they have submitted proposals to the city council to build their own stadium could not have come at a more significant time, with the the "green and gold" uprising against the Glazer regime continuing to gather pace among Man Utd fans. Born in 2005 out of the original fan disillusionment that greeted the Glazer takeover, FC United have used Bury's Gigg Lane as their makeshift home ever since. After three consecutive promotions and one season of consolidation, the "Rebels" now find themselves in the Unibond Premier League. Owning their own ground is now seen as a necessity if they are to climb the final two rungs of the non-League ladder.

Hence the 4,000 capacity stadium they hope to begin building in the coming months. That it's to be located in Newton Heath only adds to the symbolic significance. This, of course, is the area where the club now known as Manchester United formed in 1878. This season's average home attendance of around 2,000 makes FC United one of the best-supported non-League clubs in the country. Away fixtures are often transformed into smaller, more intimate versions of home games as their support usually outnumbers their hosts. But it is their potential fanbase that makes them a Football League club in waiting.

FC already attracts players that would otherwise play at a higher level. "This is a unique club and any player would want to play here," said ex-Doncaster midfielder Adriano Rigoglioso after signing for the club in December. "I could've gone elsewhere for more money, but opportunities like this don't come around very often."

As Man Utd fans run out of patience and, perhaps more pertinently, money, they could turn to a club that truly represents them. FC United have the fanbase of a League club, they have the name and now they may soon have the stadium too. Sam Williams

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Nantwich Town 1 FC United 6 - full report

Source: Crewe Chronicle

Feb 10 2010 by Peter Morse, Crewe Chronicle

Nantwich Town 1 FC United 6

PETE Hall admitted he was too distraught to face anyone after Saturday’s humiliating defeat.

The fiercely passionate Nantwich boss was crushed by the 6-1 thrashing – a record reverse at the Weaver Stadium.

He declined to speak to Press afterwards for fear his raw emotions would spill over into print.

But the former roofer pulled no punches when he later opened up to the Chronicle.

Hall said: “I was sick after the game. Distraught. I put a massive amount of work into it. I was so up for the game. It was massive for us.

“Although the scoreline in no way reflects what the game was like, we gifted them all six goals. The players have to be responsible for their performances.

“Far too many of them are falling well below the standards they are capable of.

“You could hear a pin drop in the dressing room afterwards. I let them know how I felt.

“But now I need to galvanise the players again. We need to work hard together and I believe we can put things right.”

After losing the Premier Division play-off final in extra-time last season expectations were high for the Dabbers.

They have actually won four of their last six but their league position – 13th – is a worry.

Hall has done his best to keep the squad fresh and Harry Davis, on loan from Crewe, made his debut on Saturday.

But the teenager suffered a baptism of fire as his new team-mates crumbled all around.

United went ahead on five minutes through on-loan Macclesfield Town striker Kyle Wilson.

Nantwich quickly drew level when midfielder Glyn Blackhurst teed up Micky Lennon, but on 23 minutes Wilson’s 15-yarder made it 2-1.

Goals either side of the break, from Simon Carden and Ben Deegan, gave the Dabbers a mountain to climb in front of the 1,171 crowd.

Nantwich registered 15 attempts on goal but even when the visitors were reduced to 10-men after Ludovic Quistin received a second booking, things failed to improve.

Jerome Wright rounded keeper Lee Jones for 5-1 and former Alex trainee Wilson completed his hat-trick.

The Dabbers entertain third-bottom Frickley Athletic on Saturday before visiting Burscough on Tuesday.

Stoke City reserves will take on Arsenal reserves at the Weaver Stadium tonight (7pm).

The club is holding a half-term coaching course for youngsters from Monday to Friday next week. Call Pete Hall on 07967 634002 for details.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Nantwich Town 1 FC United 6

Source: Crewe Chronicle

Feb 8 2010 by Peter Morse, Crewe Chronicle

NANTWICH Town were humiliated at home by FC United on Saturday.

Their promotion hopes in the UniBond Premier took another blow as the visitors ran riot.

FC United were first to show when Ben Deegan headed against the bar.

On five minutes they went ahead through on loan Macclesfield Town striker Kyle Wilson after being played through by Adam Tong.

Five minutes later Nantwich drew level when midfielder Glyn Blackhurst played a delightful ball into the path of Micky Lennon whose shot on the turn beat Reds keeper Sam Ashton to square the match.

On 23 minutes hesitancy in the Nantwich defence allowed the ball to drop to Wilson whose 15 yard shot flew past Dabbers keeper Lee Jones.

On 37 minutes the visitors increased their lead minute when Nantwich failed to clear from a corner allowing Simon Carden to nip in and score.

Soon after the restart it was 4-1 when Ben Deegan driove home.

FC United were reduced to 10 men in the 70th minute when Ludovic Quistin was dismissed for deliberate hand ball after being booked earlier in the game.

But they still pressed ahead and two minutes later Jerome Wright inflicted further misery on the home side when he had the easiest of tasks in rounding his marker before slotting past Jones from close range.

The demolition was complete when Wilson completed a hat trick.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Can't take that as Red

Edited from The Independent

Funny the tricks that memory – and possibly shorthand – play. But how could the minutes released by Liverpool's managing director, Christian Purslow, and the 12 Spirit of Shankly representatives from their meeting last week differ so much? There was no mention, for instance, in the MD's version of having said: "Royal Bank of Scotland are annoyed and unhappy with Hicks and Gillett and they want a change of ownership." Nor: "The promises of Hicks and Gillett are unforgivable. Hicks and Gillett cannot hang on to the club." Meanwhile, as the protest movements against the owners at Liverpool and Manchester United gather momentum, there remains an odd contrast between the attitude taken to the two breakaway fans' clubs. At Anfield home games, there are regular mentions of AFC Liverpool's forthcoming matches, whereas their Manchester equivalent are ignored by United and have even been publicly criticised by Sir Alex Ferguson. Undeterred, FC United are going into Europe. They will visit Hamburg on 15 May to play a friendly against an All-Star XI from St Pauli, the Bundesliga second division club who are famous for their left-wing affiliations.

United fans must hit Glazers in the pocket to force ownership change

Manchester United's fans have been warned they must hit the club’s American owners in the pocket if they are to force a change of ownership at Old Trafford.

Andy Walsh, who helped to launch FC United in response to Malcolm Glazer’s buy-out in 2005, believes the champions have reached another pivotal point in their history. Walsh senses United’s rank-and-file supporters have reached breaking point, with the club being strangled by the kind of debts he once predicted.

The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust have orchestrated a Green and Gold campaign that harks back to United’s formative years as Newton Heath – and have seen their membership pass the 45,000 mark. And Walsh, who has never stepped inside Old Trafford since the takeover, said: “I said when the Glazers took over at United I wouldn’t give the club another penny – and I haven’t.

“I was not prepared to line the pockets of people who planned to do nothing more than pillage the club I love.

“I wasn’t the only one. Some of us helped to establish and support FC United, others just went to the pub to watch United matches and the money they used to spend on tickets was spent on buying a few pints instead.

“Fans who had been unable to buy tickets in the past took our places, but even that pool of support is drying up.

“One thing missing from the Glazers’ prospectus when they were looking to raise a £500m bond was that United now have 58,000 season-ticket holders. Last season it was 65,000. It’s been widely reported hospitality bookings are down, you can see empty seats inside Old Trafford – and that hits the Glazers.

“If people don’t renew this summer the owners’ business plan will really struggle.

“The match-going supporters have to take advantage by hitting them in the pocket – and I know some fans are talking about that as the next stage of the campaign.”

Manchester United fans to boycott season tickets as anti-Glazer green-and-gold campaign grows

Source: Mail on Sunday

By Joe Bernstein
Last updated at 10:52 AM on 07th February 2010

Manchester United fans are planning a boycott of season tickets in the summer to try to force the Glazer family out of Old Trafford.

Thousands of supporters hope hitting the owners in the pocket will persuade them to leave after putting the club more than £700million in debt.

The anti-Glazer campaign has already attracted wide publicity, with fans wearing the original green-and-gold worn when the club was founded as Newton Heath in 1878.

It was stepped up yesterday when the Manchester United Supporters Trust distributed 70,000 cards to fans in a recruiting drive on the 52nd anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster, and five years to the day the Glazers first tabled a bid to buy the club.
Manchester United

Sign language: Manchester United fans make their feelings known

A protest that denied the Glazers much-needed revenue could have a serious impact on the financial running of the club and the future of Sir Alex Ferguson.

United have already seen season-ticket sales fall from 65,000 to 58,000 this season due to the economic climate and they can ill-afford any further downturn.

Last month, the Glazers had to raise £500m in a bond issue to help repay hedge fund loans they took to buy the club. Fans were alarmed that the bond prospectus allowed the Glazers to transfer £127m into their parent company in the first year.

And there is concern only a small part of the worldrecord £80m transfer received for Cristiano Ronaldo last summer has been invested in new players.

Having previously been staunchly supportive of the Americans, Ferguson has expressed sympathy with protestors in his recent programme notes.
The Glazers at the Emirates Stadium for the Arsenal v Manchester United semi final 2nd leg Champions league match.

Under fire: The Glazers at the Emirates Stadium for United's game against Arsenal

FC United general manager Andy Walsh, who was vilified by many Old Trafford fans when the breakaway club was formed in 2005 as a protest against the Glazer takeover, has said he is aware of major protests being planned by United supporters’ groups.

He said: ‘It is only now, after the true state was laid bare in the prospectus to raise the £500m bond, that the fans have taken the veil from their eyes.

‘We’ve had many people apologising to us. There is a plan to step up the campaign and hitting the Glazers in the pocket as the next phase.

‘The green and gold campaign has focused people’s attention but there is an understanding it won’t work on its own. A boycott will hit the Glazers because their business plan relied on them cranking up ticket prices and extracting more cash from supporters.’

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Nantwich 1 FC United 6

Source: Manchester Evening News

Sam Williams

February 06, 2010
A vintage performance from FC United saw them cruise to a 6-1 victory at Nantwich on Saturday.

Kyle Wilson scored a superb hat-trick as the Rebels produced their best display of the season to record their second Unibond Premier League win in a row.

FC opened the scoring after just five minutes when Wilson latched on to Adam Tong’s through ball and netted his first goal since returning to the club last month.

The home side drew level through striker Michael Lennon 10 minutes in but FC continued to dominate proceedings and deservedly re-took the lead in the 23rd minute when Wilson grabbed his second of the afternoon with a classy finish.

Simon Carden then increased FC’s lead on 37 minutes to make it 3-1 at the break and Ben Deegan added a fourth just after half time.

Ludovic Quistin was dismissed for a second bookable offence mid way through the second period but FC’s ten men were still too good for their hosts and Jerome Wright rounded off an excellent team move to make it 5-1 in the 72nd minute.

Wilson then completed his treble with an unerring left-footed finish 10 minutes from time to give the Rebels their biggest win of the campaign.

Friday, February 05, 2010


Am 15. Mai kehren Legenden zurück ans Millerntor. Mit einer All-Star-Mannschaft, bestehend aus einigen der besten Spieler aus dem letzen und dem aktuellen Jahr100, tritt der FC St. Pauli gegen FC United of Manchester an. 2005 gründeten Fans von Manchester United den Club aus Protest gegen die Übernahme von Manchester United durch Malcolm Glazer. Thematisch wollen wir mit dem Spiel auf die immer stärker werdende Kommerzialisierung des Fußballsports aufmerksam machen, als auch das die beiden Fanszenen verbindende antirassistischen Engagement unterstreichen.

Google translation:
On 15 May return to the legends Millerntor. With an all-star team, consisting of some of the best players from the past and the current Jahr100 occurs in the FC St. Pauli v FC United of Manchester. Fans of Manchester United in 2005 founded the club in protest against the takeover of Manchester United by Malcolm Glazer. Thematically, we call attention to the game to the ever-increasing commercialization of football, but also emphasize the fan scenes linking the two anti-racist commitment.

Non-league preview

Edited from Manchester Evening News


Adriano Rigoglioso says the lure of playing for FC United was too much to resist - despite being offered more money to go elsewhere.

The ex-Doncaster midfielder signed for the Rebels from Colwyn Bay over Christmas, and already feels at home at Gigg Lane.

“This is a unique club and any player would want to play here,” said Rigoglioso.

“The fans are unbelievable and the facilities are second to none - it’s like a professional club really.

“I could have gone to other clubs for a bit more money but it’s important to me to feel comfortable in my surroundings and opportunities like
this don’t come round very often.”

The 30-year-old has also been impressed with his team-mates, and believes the club’s future, in both the short and long term, is bright.

“There’s a lot of quality in our team, and the lads have been very welcoming,” he said.

“The play-offs have to be our aim this season and we want to kick-on now and push up the league.

“This club wants to get promoted every season and our fan base is frightening - that’s definitely a recipe for success.”

FC travel to Nantwich on Saturday (3pm) looking to record back-to-back wins in the Unibond Premier League for the first time since early October.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Could FC go back to United’s roots?

Source: North East Manchester Advertiser

Paul Maher

February 04, 2010

The rebel football club FC United of Manchester has been urged to build its planned new stadium in Newton Heath.

The club is hoping to unveil plans for a 4,000-seater ground within the next few months and Newton Heath – the area which spawned Manchester United – is seen by some fans as the romantic option.

Formed by breakaway Manchester United fans, in protest to the Glazers’ takeover of the Old Trafford club in 2005, the Red Rebels are currently ground-sharing Bury FC’s Gigg Lane stadium.

However, despite attracting average crowds of more than 2,000 per match, the financial burden of using the Bury ground has forced FC United to pursue its dream of finding its own hallowed turf with earnest.

The club is currently in talks with Manchester Council over a number of potential sites but councillor John Flanagan believes the club shouldn’t look any further than Newton Heath.

"We would certainly welcome FC United putting a stadium in Newton Heath," he said. "I know they have been looking at where United used to play when they were in Newton Heath and it would be good to bring that land back into use.

"FC United have a record of working with schools and the local community and that is the sort of club we would want here."

He added: "It would be good news, not just for the community, but the local economy.

"There is a lot of investment coming into the area. If the stadium is built it will be on a brownfield site and will bring that back into use.

"A lot of things have been clicking into place in Newton Heath in the last year and if FC United can fit into that jigsaw it’ll be fantastic. The club has the potential to grow and grow and it’ll will no doubt bring some jobs to the area."

The club itself is playing its cards close to its chest over the sites being considered. Officials say the new ground will include community facilities and that they are is optimistic an announcement is close.

FC United general manager Andy Walsh said: "We’re at quite an advanced stage. We are in discussions with the council and looking at a few sites but can’t be any more specific than that. We want to find a site that is best for the city, for ourselves and residents."

He added: "We are not at liberty to say yeah or neah over any sites. It is a matter of record that we are talking to the council but with the economic climate the feasibility of certain sites drop in and drop out.

"We’re hoping in the next few months that with the council that we can make an announcement."

A council spokesman said: "It is the council’s policy not to comment on any pre-application discussions."

Durham City 1 FC United 2

Source: Bury Times

11:10am Thursday 4th February 2010

By Staff Sports Reporter »

FC United will look to continue to move clear of UniBond League Premier Division relegation worries when they travel to Nantwich Town on Saturday.

The struggling Rebels, who played Ashton United at Gigg Lane last night, moved seven points clear of the drop zone with a 2-1 victory at basement club Durham City.

Second-half goals from Joseph Yoffe and Phil Marsh proved enough for United, but it was a far from convincing display against a side who have lost all 22 of their league matches this season, conceding 110 goals in the process. Carl Heiniger added a consolation for Durham in the fourth minute of injury time.

Defender Adam Tong will be leaving the club in March to pursue a career in Australia.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

College to offer rising stars a sporting chance

Source: The Bolton News

10:30am Wednesday 3rd February 2010

ASPIRING young sportsmen whose hopes of joining professional clubs have been dented, could still realise their dreams of playing at a high standard, thanks to a new initiative at Bolton Sixth Form College.

When the college’s new town centre campus opens in September, three sporting academies — boys football, girls football and cricket — will be run in conjunction with standard A-level and BTEC Diploma courses.

The new academies are designed to offer 16 to 18-year-olds a high level of academic tuition with the addition of quality coaching in their chosen sport and a high standard of competition in national leagues.

The college’s website claims the new academies will offer students “a fantastic opportunity to excel in sports where they already have a high level skill.”

The boys’ football academy, in particular, will give late developers and talented youngsters who have failed to secure places at professional clubs a chance to make the grade, while continuing their academic education.

A partnership has already been established with ambitious UniBond League club FC United of Manchester and local NW Counties League club Daisy Hill, who will host their home games in the Youth Football Conference at their New Sirs ground.

The girls’ football academy, which has already attracted 18 applications, will play in the British Colleges leagues.

The cricket academy, which has had its plans approved by the Lancashire Cricket Board, has forged links with clubs in the Bolton League and Bolton Association and aims to play its games on various local grounds.

Alan Tomlinson, who is developing the cricket programme and has not ruled out establishing a girls’ cricket academy, said: “We’ve met with the League and Association and the clubs were very positive towards the development of the academy.”

Craig Thomas, co-ordinator of the college’s football academy and part-time manager of Daisy Hill, says the football element of the new courses could even put talented young players back in the shop window.

“This is not about coming to the college just to play football or cricket, it’s about gaining a good education,” he explained.

“But students who gain places on the academies will be offered coaching to a very high level — with sessions on skill development, fitness, diet and video analysis — opportunities to gain coaching qualifications and, as far as football is concerned, will be playing at probably the best level available outside the professional game.

“The league they will play in — the Youth Football Conference — will put them up against academy teams from high grade clubs such as Burton Albion, Stalybridge Celtic and Farsley Celtic and is well-scouted by professional clubs.

“Bolton is a hotbed of football and cricket and the academies will be offering the best opportunity to get a really good education with a high quality of sport tuition on top.

“Students will come out with A-level qualifications or a BTec Diploma with their sporting talent and education developed to a high standard. The progression route could then be university football or American scholarships.”

Bolton Sixth Form College will hold its open evening on March 2 and trials for the football academy will be run in March and April.

Students requiring application forms for the academies can contact the sports department on 01204 486629 or email

Details of all courses on offer are available on the college’s website

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Narrow defeat for City

Source: Durham Times

4:53pm Tuesday 2nd February 2010

By Kevin Hewitt »

DURHAM CITY 1 - 2 FC UNITED OF MANCHESTER Despite two inches of overnight snow City were still able to play their first home game for seven weeks after players, officials and supporters worked tirelessly throughout Saturday morning to make the Esh Group Stadium surface fit for play.

Not the ideal preparation for the City side but they were nearly rewarded for all their efforts, both on and off the pitch, when they held the United side for the first fifty minutes before eventually going down by the odd goal in three.

Backed by more than 400 travelling supporters the Reds had the chance to take a fourth minute lead when Ludovic Quistin and Jerome Wright linked up down the left for the latter to whip in a low cross which Kyle Wilson was inches away from converting at the back post.

Minutes later it was Wilson again who was clear through on goal when a superbly timed tackle from centre-back Max Stoker robbed the striker of a scoring opportunity when he looked certain to score.

Despite the Reds territorial superiority some solid defending from a City side, showing no ill effects from their ten goal hammering away at Boston United a week earlier, prevented the visitors turning possession into scoring opportunities.

Indeed City should have taken the lead just after the half-hour when a pin point cross from Marc Hollingsworth was headed wide by Josh Home-Jackson when he really should have done better.

Phil Marsh had a late opportunity to put the visitors in front in first-half stoppage time but his free-kick from just outside the area failed to trouble Richard Heiniger in the City net.

The deadlock was eventually broken, five minutes after the break, when Marsh broke down the right to pick out a near post run by Joe Yoffe, whose side-foot effort looped over Heiniger and into the bottom right hand corner of the net.

Buoyed by the early second-half goal the Reds stepped up the pressure on City with a Wilson header on goal producing a tip over from Heiniger and Marsh ending a dangerous run, after taking on a long throw out from Sam Ashton, by firing wide.

Marsh finally made amends for his earlier misses when, on 77 minutes, a long ball from Jake Cottrell was only half cleared by the City defence, and he drilled a low shot past, the late moving Heiniger and into the bottom right-hand corner from fully 25 yards out.

The Reds continued to dominate the latter stages of the match and centre-back Rob Nugent had a header cleared off the line from a Wright corner while Heiniger had to be alive to smother a close-range effort from substitute Carlos Roca, who caused City a number of problems down the right-hand side before his cameo performance ended when he was replaced by Ben Deegan.

It was too little, too late but City eventually pulled a goal back in the fifth minute of stoppage time when City substitute Carl Heiniger stepped up to bend his free-kick over the Red’s wall and beyond Sam Ashton before finding the top-left hand corner.

A superb strike that denied the visitors their second successive clean sheet but it was to prove little more than a consolation for the City side as the referee blew for full-time almost immediately.

City showed a lot of character to come back from the mauling they received at Boston, just seven days earlier, and arguably should have been leading at the interval, but with City unable to muster any real firepower the Reds thoroughly deserved their victory.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Durham City’s young guns lose out to United

Source: Newcastle Evening Chronicle

Feb 1 2010 Evening Chronicle

DURHAM City were rewarded off the pitch, if not on it, after they pulled out all the stops to get their game against fans’ club FC United of Manchester on.

One of only two senior non-league games in the region to survive the overnight snowfall, Shildon was the other, cash-strapped City were rewarded at the turnstiles.

A bumper 606-strong crowd, three times the previous best this season, saw City’s young guns go down 2-1, but takings in the region of £4,000 softened the blow of yet another defeat.

Around 50 volunteers, including Durham players and officials, took part in the snow clearing operation, which lasted five hours.

Newcastle-based referee Darren Wellington, who had a good game in the middle, also got in on the act with a two-hour shift to make the pitch playable.

But the charity does not extend to the pitch, as Durham’s losing league run extended to 22 games.

The first half was goalless, though striker Josh Home-Jackson put an eight-yard free header wide from Marc Hollingsworth’s surging run and cross.

Durham manager Lee Collings said: “He should have scored and the goal would have given us something to defend and we could have been more compact and tight.

“We gifted FC United both goals and no-one grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck. We didn’t get out of second gear and didn’t express ourselves or have a go.

“The players had lost a bit of belief after the hammering at Boston last week, though we kept going and were rewarded with a late goal.”

A poor Gareth Ayers pass just outside the City penalty area saw Joe Yoffe flick home Phil Marsh’s 50th-minute cross and then Marsh beat Richard Heiniger from distance late on to delight the 400-plus Reds support.

Heiniger’s brother, Carl, then powered home a 25-yard free kick in the sixth minute of injury time.