Thursday, December 29, 2011

FC United 2 Ashton Utd 1

 Source: Tameside Advertiser

 Ashton fell just short on their Boxing Day visit to Gigg Lane to face play-off hopefuls FC United.

They made the worse possible start as, with just three minutes on the clock, Matty Wolfenden controlled a through ball and struck his shot against the bar, ex-Curzon striker Mike Norton knocking home the rebound.

After 10 minutes, Mark Peers pulled the ball back for Ian Bennett whose left-footed effort was blocked before Warren Beattie volleyed over.

A couple of minutes later a great crossfield pass from Peers found Chris Amadi, who outpaced the full-back and hit a fine finish past James Spencer goal to level.

Midway through the half a long cross by Lee Neville saw Nicky Platt head wide for FC and Carlos Roca was then fouled by George Melling, the resultant free kick being headed wide by Adam Jones.

On the half-hour Wolfenden’s searching cross was too high for Norton and Stephen Johnson’s follow up hit the side netting.

Neville then won a challenge in midfield and fired off target from 20 yards.

The ball was then deflected through to Jones, whose near post effort was blocked as the home side continued to press.

After the restart a ball into the area by Peers saw Aaron Burns beat his marker and fire narrowly wide from a tight angle.

At the other end, a cross by Wolfenden was headed back across goal and as the Ashton defence stood and watched, the ball dropped to Neville who scored with a left-footed effort from six yards.

Amadi then played the ball through to Ian Bennett, whose effort was saved by Spencer and Burns then had his deflected effort saved.

Wolfenden played the ball square to Roca who fired over from 20 yards.

Amadi was then fouled resulting in a free kick which dropped to Burns who fired home, only for the goal to be disallowed for dangerous play.

Midway through the half, a long ball found Norton completely unmarked on the penalty spot.

He controlled the ball and set up Johnson, whose effort was blocked and Norton fired the rebound wide.

With 15 minutes left on the clock Amadi made great progress to pull the ball back to Burns, who looked certain to equalise, but saw his effort denied by a superb save from Spencer.

As Ashton pressed for the equaliser, FC broke away and substitute Daniel Grimshaw was played clear by Norton only to screw his effort wide.

Attendance: 1,926

Football fans dig deep for Big Coat Day

 Source: Prestwich and Whitefield Guide

 FOOTBALL fans showed support for their team and two charities on Boxing Day.

As well as cheering their side to a thrilling 2-1 win at Gigg Lane, FC United of Manchester supporters donated three van loads of clothing to good causes.

The 3,000 items will be shared between the Mustard Tree and the Boaz Trust, which both help homeless people.

Some of Bury Council’s 8,000 staff also made donations, as did workers from local firms.

And firefighters from Bury and Whitefield stations also made an appearance before the match to meet some of the supporter-owned club’s younger fans, who gained free entry to the game.

Sedgley representative and FC United fan, Cllr Alan Quinn, said: “It was great to get Bury Council’s workforce involved, “I’m sure that this will become part of their Christmas events now.

“I’d also like to thank Steve Matthews of Arco Workwear who generously donated many items of clothing too.

“From an FC United point of view, it’s another Christmas and we’re still here showing others that there is another way for football.”

Bury fire station watch manager Al Topping said: “Big Coat Day was a great success and we are pleased to have played our part supporting FC United and their continued valuable community work.”

FC United spokesman Andy Walker said: “I’d just like to say a massive ‘thank you’ to all those who took time out of their Christmas to donate costs and other warm clothing to help the homeless and needy.

“Seeing the van outside Gigg Lane packed to the roof with clothing was an inspirational site and every item that we have collected will make a big difference to many people in need across our area.”

1:45pm Wednesday 28th December 2011 in News
By Dale Haslam

Monday, December 26, 2011

FC United defeat Ashton United

Source: MEN

FC United stepped up their Evo-Stik Premier promotion challenge with Lee Neville’s 49th-minute strike securing them a 2-1 home win over neighbours Ashton United.

Mike Norton had given the Rebels a third-minute lead, but Chris Amadi quickly equalised.

Northwich remain just three points behind leaders Chester after Ryan Wade’s 77th- minute leveller earned them a 1-1 draw with the visiting Deva Stadium pacesetters, who had led through ex-Altrincham favourite Wes Baynes.
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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Stars line up to support FC United’s Big Coat Day to help the homeless

 Source: Social Enterprise

 Local celebrities, actors and comedians are lining up to support social enterprise football club FC United of Manchester’s annual Big Coat Day on Boxing Day, which aims to help the homeless and needy by collecting warm winter clothing before their home game against Ashton United on 26 December 2011.

Last year the impact of the cold winter months on the North West took someone’s life every half hour.

FC United of Manchester’s decision to organise a ‘Big Coat Day’ collection of clothing at its New Year fixture proved timely – the winter was the coldest in almost 40 years. However, a fantastic response from the public and football fans alike saw a 5.5 tonne wall of winter clothing collected to keep the poor and needy warm around the city.

The club aims to do better this year and the prospects are looking good with support already pledged from several stars of stage and screen across the UK, including comedian Johnny Vegas, actors John Henshaw and James Quinn, pop star Clint Boon and several Coronation Street stars, including the actors who play Hayley Cropper and Eileen Grimshaw.

Big Coat Day has also attracted backing from a raft of partners including the Royal Mail, who are promoting it to all their staff in delivery offices and on visual display screens across the UK. Bury Council is also asking all its staff to support the event, as are the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and Guinness Northern Counties Housing Association are also backing the initiative.

FC United general manager Andy Walsh said: “Last winter, some 5,000 deaths occurred in the North West, many because of lack of heating and warm clothing. I would ask anyone across Manchester with any unwanted items of warm clothing to take it directly to Gigg Lane between 12 noon and 2.55pm on Boxing Day, where it will be collected for distribution to the needy.”

Over the years, Big Coat Day has proven very successful with thousands of items being donated. All items will be collected from the ground and distributed by the Mustard Tree and Boaz Trust charities. “Any reasonable quality winter clothing can be brought to Gigg Lane between 12 noon and 2.55pm where it will be collected by Mustard Tree and Boaz Trust charities that distribute the clothing. Those that cannot get to Gigg Lane should contact us at FC United and we will make arrangements for collections,” said Walsh.

FC United’s game against Ashton United on Boxing Day has also been designated as a ‘Kids Go Free’ day so the club is urging people to make it a family day out to help with carrying bags of clothing to the game.

Here are a few clips of what some celebrity friends of FC have to say about Big Coat Day:

Monday, December 19, 2011


 Source: Non-league Daily

 Northwich Victoria took advantage of a slip from Hednesford Town to move into second place in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division on Saturday.

Vics notched a 2-1 win in an exciting clash with FC United of Manchester, while the Pitmen fell to a 1-0 defeat at Worksop Town – Tigers skipper Mark Hudson with the goal. Chester FC remain top following a 2-1 win at Marine.

At the other end of the table, Whitby Town remain the only team in the three Evo-Stik NPL divisions without a home win, losing 4-3 to fellow strugglers Buxton, who picked up their first win in twelve games.

Burscough remain bottom of the division after a defeat to Chasetown, who are finding a good rhythm with just one loss in the last seven games.

Kendal Town picked up a much needed 4-2 win over Stocksbridge Park Steels, who haven’t won on the road in six attempts, while Stafford Rangers picked up their first home win in seven games against a Frickley Athletic side who have now lost five on the bounce.

Elsewhere, Mickleover Sports are without a win in ten games now, but came from behind to earn a home point against Ashton United.

A frozen pitch put paid to Bradford Park Avenue’s clash with Chorley, ice and snow caused the postponement of Matlock Town’s match with Rushall Olympic, while North Ferriby United’s trip to Nantwich Town was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.

FC United's promotion setback

 Source: MEN

 FC United missed a chance to step up their Evo-Stik Premier promotion challenge in losing 2-1 to title-chasing Northwich.

Mike Norton's injury-time strike came too late to save the Rebels, who fell to goals by Ian Kearney and Chris Budrys.

Ashton United couldn’t hold onto a lead given them by Aaron Burns' sixth-minute penalty in a 1-1 draw at Mickleover.

Evo-Stik North leaders Curzon Ashton were grateful to Lee Blackshaw for rescuing them a point against visiting Witton Albion.

Jordan Stepien struck twice to give Woodley a 2-1 home win over Durham, while sub Ben Beresford also hit two as Salford crushed neighbours Mossley 4-1 at Moor Lane.

December 18, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

FC United continues Community Share drive

 Source: Pitchero Non League

 Club look to make £1.6m for new ground.

The FC United of Manchester Community Share Offer, a unique opportunity to invest in a community sports facility bringing football back to the heart of its communities, has just over three weeks left to run and today the club made an appeal for anyone who has yet to invest in the scheme to do so without delay.

Member-owned football club FC United of Manchester is planning to build a football ground and community facility in Moston, north Manchester, and is looking to raise £1.6m of the £4.5m cost from an innovative community share offer.

Raising capital through community shares is a unique development in English football and has been recognised as offering a real alternative to the way football is run and financed and offers genuine social benefits to local communities.

Speaking today, FC United general manager Andy Walsh, said: “When we were granted planning permission last month to build our new ground in Moston, we relaunched our community share scheme that we hope will deliver a significant contribution to the building costs. Last year’s scheme raised a magnificent total of £1.3m which has been safely held in an Escrow account since. We are now aiming to increase that total to £1.6m by 31 December 2011 and we are asking anyone who shares our vision of bringing football back to local communities to back us by investing in community shares.”

“By buying shares, investors will be supporting a better way for football to deliver genuine community benefit – one that is owned and run by supporters and committed to wider community and social development and financial sustainability,” said Walsh. “Our groundbreaking development will create a positive and lasting legacy in Moston, creating new sports and non-sports facilities for the area for generations to come,” he said. “But it is important that people act now to avoid missing out,” said Walsh.

The FC United community share scheme has a minimum share purchase of £200. The share issue has been given advance approval by the HMRC Enterprise Investment Scheme and subject to personal circumstances this allows individuals to claim tax relief of up to 30 per cent on the amount that they purchase in the share scheme.

Full details of the scheme including all documentation, the offer documents and a summary business and community use plan for FC United’s community football ground in Moston are available online at

The FC United of Manchester scheme is one of only ten projects supported by Co-ops UK and central government through the Community Share Scheme, designed to enable cooperative organisations like FC United to raise finance from local communities to support expansion and development much more effectively than through traditional methods such as bank borrowing.

Tom Snee

Guiseley land home draw against Stockport or Stalybridge in FA Trophy

 Source: Ilkley Gazette

 Guiseley landed another home tie when the draw for the second round of the Carlsberg FA Trophy was made at Wembley today.

The Lions will face the winners of Tuesday night's replay between Stockport County and Stalybridge Celtic at Nethermoor on Saturday, January 14.

Steve Kittrick's men reached the second round with a 2-0 home win over FC United of Manchester on Saturday, while Stockport and Stalybridge fought out a 2-2 draw.

The winners of the second round tie will win £6,000 in prize money.

Second round draw Ebbsfleet United v Chester, Wealdstone v Barrow, Weymouth v Alfreton Town, Worksop Town v Newport County or Forest Green Rovers, Gateshead v Braintree Town, Lincoln City v Carshalton Athletic, Vauxhall Motors v Droylsden or Kidderminster Harriers, Dartford v Boston United, East Thurrock United v Hampton & Richmond Borough, Grimsby Town v AFC Hornchurch or Farnborough, Cambridge United v AFC Telford United, Northwich Victoria v Staines Town or Maidenhead United, Hinckley United v Luton Town, Salisbury City v York City or Solihull Moors, Guiseley v Stockport County or Stalybridge Celtic, Bath City v Basingstoke Town

Non-league round-up

 Source: Edited from MEN


 FC United also had their Wembley dreams shattered in a 2-0 defeat at Guiseley.

The Rebels held their own for more than an hour but were eventually sunk by two goals in the last 20 minutes.

It brings an end to FC’s run, which got them to the first round proper of the FA Trophy for the first time.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Guiseley AFC: Off-colour Lions seal late progress

 Source: Yorkshire Evening Post

 Guiseley boss Steve Kittrick admitted his side were “poor” as they scrambled to a 2-0 victory over Evo-Stik League outfit FC United of Manchester in the first round of the FA Trophy at Nethermoor.

The Blue Square Bet North side overcame their plucky opponents thanks to goals from Gavin Rothery and Lee Ellington, but they had to do it the hard way, frustrating fans with some misplaced passes and spurned chances.

Despite missing Simon Baldry through injury and Chris Senior, who was cup-tied, the Lions would still have fancied their chances and they began well, Ciaran Toner driving an early effort over the bar.

Andy Holdsworth then headed over before the visitors hit the woodwork after a corner caused the home defence problems.


Two moments Kittrick described as “game-changing” then occurred within minutes, both Danny Boshell and Danny Forrest forced off with hamstring tweaks. It clearly affected the hosts, who then struggled to lift the pace.

The Lions stepped up when it mattered most, however, and it was Rothery who made the breakthrough in the 76th minute, hitting the post before pouncing on the rebound. Guiseley then wrapped things up with Rothery dinking in to Ellington who fired home.

Kittrick said: “There’s no point dwelling on it because you’re going to get those sorts of performances. We’ve won 2-0 but we’ve been poor. At the end of the day you’ve got to take your chances when your team’s not playing well and you’re not having the best of times.”

Elsewhere, only a last-minute equaliser from Jon Challinor stopped York City from going out of the Trophy at the first round stage for the second year running.

Last year Boston United, from Blue Square North, won 1-0 at Bootham Crescent and Solihull, from the same league, were unlucky not to win after being the better side on Saturday.

They shook York with a third-minute goal from Jordan Fitzpatrick and although City levelled with a Matty Blair header from Danny Pilkington’s centre two minutes later, Solihull were back in front on 39 minutes.

Richard Walker, who had missed the game’s best chance seven minutes earlier, scored with a low shot off the inside of Michael Ingham’s right-hand post.

Pilkington shot wide after breaking clear when he had time to go round keeper Jasbir Singh and York were denied a clear penalty when Stuart Langdon handled Matty Blair’s shot.

Junior English hit the post for Solihull and the visitors appeared to have the game won until the third of four minutes of stoppage-time when Adriano’s pass up the middle saw Challinor appear to foul Singh before bundling the ball home from what Solihull claimed was an offside position.

York manager Gary Mills said: “We have had a bad day at the office, but we kept going and got the break we needed, although Solihull will have gone home thinking they deserved more than a replay.”

Harrogate Town did exit the competition, putting in a tremendous effort in going down 3-2 at Blue Square Premier outfit Barrow. Will Turl and Laurie Wilson netted for Simon Weaver’s Blue Square North outfit,

Meanwhile, in the only game in Blue Square North, FC Halifax Town were 3-0 winners against Blyth Spartans at the Shay, Jamie Rainford, James Walshaw and Jason St Juste with the goals.

Published on Monday 12 December 2011 10:01

Guiseley overcome early injuries to make Trophy progress

 Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus

 Guiseley 2, FC United of Manchester 0

Guiseley were victorious in their FA Trophy tie at home to FC United of Manchester but the Lions were far from rampant.

Steve Kittrick’s men booked their place in tomorrow’s second-round draw but it was more of a workman-like display, rather than a mesmerising performance.

That is probably paying due credit to FC United, who may be a step below Guiseley on the football pyramid but still present a formidable challenge.

The hosts were forced into first-half alterations to their game plan when they suffered two early injuries, with striker Danny Forrest (hamstring) and midfielder Danny Boshell (groin) both being forced off.

They were already without Chris Senior, who is on loan from Blue Square Bet Premier Division outfit Alfreton Town. His parent club’s manager Nicky Law did not want his player cup-tied.

Despite the shuffling of his pack, Kittrick’s side did force openings in the goalless first half.

Ciaran Toner fired over in the first minute and Andy Holdsworth shot just wide two minutes later.

Former Huddersfield Town player Holdsworth went close again midway through the half when he headed over from a Dave Merris cross.

Gavin Rothery had a shot deflected for a corner and Toner twice went close again before Joe O’Neill, who had replaced Forrest, put the last chance of the first half off target.

FC United had more possession after the break then they had enjoyed in the first period and it took Guiseley a while to create another opening.

Skipper Simon Ainge headed wide from a Holdsworth corner before the breakthrough finally came.

Rothery saw his 71st-minute shot parried by the visitors’ keeper but he netted at the second attempt – and later turned provider.

His good work and intelligent pass set up Lee Ellington and he put the result beyond doubt three minutes from time.

Lions spokesman Stuart Allen said: “We are in the hat, which the important thing.

“It wasn’t the most convincing performance, and the two early injuries disrupted us, but we did the job.

“They (FC United) had a lot of possession, especially in the second half, but they didn’t really have our defence in trouble and keeper Steven Drench had very little to do.”

5:30pm Sunday 11th December 2011 in Sport

By Ian Whiting

Injury-hit Guiseley in Trophy victory

 Source: Yorkshire Post

 Guiseley shrugged off first-half injuries to striker Danny Forrest and midfielder Danny Boshell to gain a 2-0 victory over FC United of Manchester, at Nethermoor, and reach the second round.

Although Guiseley always looked the better side they had to wait until the 71st minute to open the scoring, Gavin Rothery doing it in style by giving three defenders the slip before shooting against a post and firing home the rebound.

Guiseley’s place in the next round was assured with four minutes left when Lee Ellington shot into the corner of the net after the visitors failed to clear a corner.

Yorkshire Post, Sports Monday, page 5 printed version. No online content

Friday, December 09, 2011

Noon KO Not Expected to Affect Crowd

Source: Ilkley Gazette

 Despite the noon kick-off, Guiseley chairman Phil Rogerson is expecting a bumper crowd for Saturday’s FA Carlsberg Trophy First Round tie against FC United of Manchester.

 He said: “I would not be surprised if there are 2,000 there.”

The midday kick-off is on the advice of police because of incidents at previous FC United visits to West Yorkshire, and the early start hasn’t pleased everybody.

Rogerson said: “We have had one or two complaints from the Manchester end but what if we didn’t follow police advice and something happened?

“But as we have stewards and police inside the ground, I am hopeful that everything will pass off peacefully, and we have dealt with big crowds before when Stalybridge Celtic and FC Halifax Town have been the visitors.”

As for the football side of things, Rogerson said: “FC United are doing well in the division below us but we are doing well in the division above, and I believe we will have a full-strength squad available – but it is a cup tie and anything can happen.” Guiseley, after four draws, have picked up some momentum with four straight wins, including a 2-1 Blue Square Bet North victory on Tuesday at Blyth Spartans.

Rogerson added: “Our goalkeeper Steve Drench earned his corn in the last minute with a double save from what was a debatable penalty decision.”

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Supporters Direct supports FC United's re-launched Community Shares scheme

 Source: Supporters Direct

 FC United have re-launched their landmark Community Share Scheme for the development of their stadium and community facilities in Moston, North Manchester.

The scheme allows people to buy community shares to support the project without affecting the one member one vote structure of the club. The scheme has had advance approval to qualify for the Enterprise Investment Scheme, which means that you could earn 30% tax rebate (subject to personal circumstances) on investmnents of over £500.

To see the Offer Document, and further details about the project, please go to:

FC United are seeking to raise £1.6m out of the total project cost of £4.5m from Community Shares, the first football club to do so and a model that Supporters Direct hopes other clubs will follow.

Tom Hall, Supporters Direct Head of Policy and Development, described the project as "a ground-breaking initiative. The use of Community Shares allows supporter owned clubs not only raise funds and improve their facilities, but to have a real impact on the communities that they serve. Supporters Direct have advocated their use in our 2011 development briefing papers, and we have also recently received funding to deliver nine Community Shares projects over the next two years. We fully support FC United's Moston scheme, and would urge all those who can to get behind it."

Form is with Guiseley going into big cup tie

 Source: The Advertiser

 By Ian Whiting

 The clash between Guiseley and FC United of Manchester at Nethermoor on Saturday in the first round of the Carlsberg FA Trophy is an appetising one.

There promises to be an atmosphere that will do justice to the big cup tie.

West Yorkshire Police have insisted on a noon kick-off to minimise disruption and potential trouble in and around the surrounding area but it is not an all- ticket game.

Guiseley are riding high in the Blue Square Bet North Division, having consolidated their third place with a midweek away win.

However, FC United are just outside the play-off zone, in seventh spot, in the Evo-Stik Premier.

FC United were just one game away from joining the Lions in the Conference League set up last season.

They beat Bradford Park Avenue at Horsfall in the play off semi-final before suffering defeat at Colwyn Bay.

Guiseley spokesman Stuart Allen said: “We finished Tuesday’s game with no new injuries and Danny Ellis came on for the last 15 or 20 minutes in his second game back from the ankle problem that kept him out for a long time.

“Danny Boshell missed the game with a groin injury, so is struggling, and Simon Baldry also had to sit that one out.

"They will be doubtful for the FA Trophy tie but the rest of the lads, even Mark Bower, seem to be in contention for places.

“Steve (manager Kittrick) will not be sure who is and who isn’t ready until he finds out if there were any reactions after tonight's final training session of the week.”

Former Bantams skipper Bower has also been sidelined with an ankle injury but has been involved with the rest of the players during the warm-up before the last two league games.

2:32pm Thursday 8th December 2011 in Guiseley

Guiseley chairman defends early Trophy kick off

 Source: Ilkley Gazette

 Despite the noon kick-off, Guiseley chairman Phil Rog-erson is expecting a bumper crowd for Saturday’s Carls-berg FA Trophy first-round tie against FC United of Manchester.

He said: “I would not be surprised if there are 2,000 there.”

The midday kick-off is on the advice of police because of incidents at previous FC United visits to West Yorkshire, and the early start hasn’t pleased everybody.

Rogerson said: “We have had one or two complaints from the Manchester end but what if we didn’t follow police advice and something happened?

“But as we have stewards and police inside the ground, I am hopeful that everything will pass off peacefully, and we have dealt with big crowds before when Stalybridge and FC Halifax have been the visitors.”

As for the football side of things, Rogerson said: “FC United are doing well in the division below us but we are doing well in the division above, and I believe we will have a full-strength squad available – but it is a cup tie and anything can happen.”

Guiseley, after four draws, have picked up some momentum with four straight wins, including a 2-1 Blue Square Bet North victory on Tuesday at Blyth Spartans.

Rogerson added: “Our goalkeeper Steve Drench earned his corn in the last minute with a double save from what was a debatable penalty decision.”

11:14am Thursday 8th December 2011 in Sport

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Chorley v FC United Manchester

 Source: Chorley Guardian

 FC United Manchester 0 - 0 Chorley

Chorley’s players showed their fighting spirit to grab a point at FC United’s Gigg Lane ground in front of 2,000-plus fans.

The club’s cash crisis means the players haven’t been paid for nearly a fortnight, but there was no shortage of effort on Saturday, in a game which could have gone either way.

Both sides hit the woodwork, and Garry Flitcroft will have been impressed by the never-say-die spirit to keep FC United out.

Amid all revelations about their off-the-field problems over the club’s finances, the Magpies had to deal with an early onslaught, but the hosts wasted a few chances in the opening spell.

Things went from bad to worse for Chorley, as they lost the influential Jamie Vermiglio after 20 minutes with a suspected hamstring injury.

Striker Chris Denham failed to find the back of the net when his shot rolled wide of the goal, and watched as another effort was well-saved.

The final chance of the half fell to Adam Roscoe, as his free-kick rattled the crossbar.

Manager Flitcroft was forced to bring Andy Russell on in the place of skipper Andy Teague, who was struggling with a chest infection and tonsillitis.

The Magpies went close with chances for Denham and Wayne Maden, who put in a man-of-the-match display.

Chorley fans were brought to life when the hosts’ keeper controversially appeared to handle the ball outside the area, but the officials did not see it.

Maden became a more influential figure as the game progressed, and looked like the player he was before last season’s groin injury.

The last 10 minutes of the game were full of incident, as Shelton Payne replaced Steve Foster, and then striker Denham was given his marching orders after his second yellow of the afternoon.

Chorley survived a late scare as the woodwork rattled, following a powerful header from an FC United corner, but neither side could grab a winner.

Chorley: Russell Saunders, Mark Ross, Tom Ince, Andy Teague (capt), Wayne Maden, Jamie Vermiglio, Dale Whitham, Steve Flitcroft, Chris Denham, Steve Foster, Adam Roscoe. Subs: Andy Russell (for Teague), Matt Walwyn, Tom Williams (for Vermiglio), Shelton Payne (for Foster), Dean Porter

Attendance: 2,075

Published on Wednesday 7 December 2011 09:00

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Honour for Karl Marginson

 Source: MEN

 FC United boss Karl Marginson has been named Evo-Stik Premier manager-of-the-month after steering the Rebels to five wins and two draws in November.

Pick of the victories was FC’s FA Trophy triumph over neighbours Altrincham, which has earned them a first-round trip to Guiseley this weekend.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Lee Sinnott hopes Altrincham’s away-day blues are over

 Source: MEN

 Relieved Altrincham manager Lee Sinnott was left praying the Robins have finally found a cure for their travel sickness after they recorded only their second away win of the season in beating FC Halifax 4-2.

Jack Redshaw’s double secured the points for Sinnott’s Blue Square Bet North promotion hopefuls after they’d earlier lost a two-goal lead provided by the division’s top scorer Damian Reeves, leaving him now just one short of 20 league goals.

Reeves would have had a hat-trick had his late penalty not been saved but, by then, the damage had already been done.

Sinnott said: “After a tricky November, it was nice to get back on the winning trail and very much like our only other away victory at Colwyn Bay, when we scored six.
“Our front two were very sharp and we looked dangerous for large parts of the game.

“It could have ended up 8-5 to us, but we’re pleased nevertheless.”

Meanwhile, FC United’s Evo-Stik Premier promotion battle with Garry Flitcroft’s Chorley at Gigg Lane ended goalless – a result which extends the Rebels’ unbeaten run in league and cup to nine games.

FC’s best chance fell to star striker Mike Norton early on, when he missed the target from a narrow angle after rounding Magpies’ keeper Russ Saunders.

But it was the visitors who came closest to snatching the points when Adam Roscoe’s blistering 30-yard free-kick rattled the crossbar.

Northwich stay level on points with leaders Chester following a 2-0 home win over Stocksbridge, while 10-man Ashton United survived Kevin Sanasy’s 53rd- minute dismissal to carve out a useful goalless draw at high-flying Hednesford.

Glossop North End’s dreams of a Wembley return in the FA Vase were shattered in a 2-1 third round home defeat to fellow NWCL title contenders Runcorn Town.

Ramsbottom were knocked off the league’s summit on goal difference by Bootle, despite beating Ashton Athletic 5-3.

Tony Glennon
December 05, 2011


 Source: Non-league Daily

 The Evo-Stik League Manager of the Month awards for November have gone to FC United of Manchester’s Karl Marginson, Neil Parsley of Farsley Celtic and Grantham Town’s joint management team of Wayne Hallcro and Jim Albans.

Marginson’s FC United won three and drew one of their four league fixtures in the month in addition to overcoming a tricky looking away tie in the FA Trophy at Durham City where they drew before winning the replay. In the next round of the Trophy FC United secured a well deserved win over Blue Square Bet North club Altrincham to finish with five wins and two draws in their seven games during November enabling Marginson to lift the top tier award.

Farsley Celtic started November with defeat against Skelmersdale United in what surprisingly transpired to be the only time in the month that “Skem” picked up maximum points. Parsley (pictured), however, regrouped his troops to reel off five successive league victories in the rest of the period to move in to play-off contention and take the Division One North award.

The joint Grantham Town management team of Wayne Hallcro and Jim Albans have been carrying all before them recently in the Division One South and their side reeled off six straight victories in the month to give themselves eleven successive three pointers and leave Grantham unbeaten in fifteen league outings going in to December.

FC United 0 Chorley 0

 Source: Chorley Citizen

 Chorley cast aside their off-the-field cash-flow problems to produce a professional performance which stifled a well-drilled United side in a finely-balanced contest at Gigg Lane.

Given tremendous backing by some 200 supporters in a crowd of 2,075, the Magpies were good value for their point after weathering an early onslaught.

United’s Astley Mulholland fired wide from an inviting Lee Neville centre and then Dean Stott unaccountably missed the target after sidestepping Magpies’ keeper Russ Saunders.

As Chorley fought their way into the match, Chris Denham, racing onto a fine through pass, got the ball beyond keeper James Spencer but was unlucky to see it roll inches past the far post.

Then the lively Denham forced Spencer into an impressive diving save to keep out a fierce snap-shot.

The visitors’ best effort soon followed, a thunderous 25 yards’ free-kick by Adam Roscoe which rattled the bar with Spencer well beaten. But United were always dangerous and Saunders did well to change direction and grab a deflected shot from Neville.

Chorley withstood renewed home pressure after the break before hitting back through Denham whose powerful 20-yards’ drive was tipped over by Spencer. As the absorbing game entered its final quarter, United raised the tempo and Saunders alertly back-pedalled to hold a clever Mike Norton lob under the bar.

United came closest to breaking the deadlock six minutes from time when Matt Wolfenden’s header from a partially-cleared corner rebounded from the foot of a post.

In a Chorley breakaway in the first minute of added time, Denham burst into the box and went down under a token challenge. Harshly booked in the game’s first minute, Denham was given a second caution for ‘diving’ and shown the red card, an unfortunate finale to a highly creditable Chorley display in which centre-back Wayne Maden was outstanding.

8:54am Monday 5th December 2011 in Sport

Haytons saved by rival Selwyns in pre-pack deal

Source: MEN

 A family-run coach firm whose contracts include ferrying soccer teams and supporters around the country has been rescued by a larger north west rival in a pre-pack administration deal.

The sale of Haytons Executive Travel saves 60 jobs and means there will be no disruption to services operated by the firm.

Haytons, based in Gorton, Manchester, has been bought by Selwyns Travel Group, which has its headquarters in Cheshire and depots in Greater Manchester and on Merseyside.

Haytons, founded in 1984 by Barry Hayton, will continue to operate under its own name and with its existing management team.

It has a variety of contracts including ones with FC United, Stockport County, various soccer supporters’ clubs, National Express and the Greater Manchester Passenger Transport Executive. Turnover is nearly £5m.

The business was facing serious cash flow difficulties in the new year, which prompted its owners to seek a buyer.

Selwyns, which has its HQ in Runcorn and depots in Manchester,Liverpool and St Helens, employs more than 200 staff and has grown organically and through acquisition since its inception in 1968.

Chairman Selwyn Jones said: “I am extremely pleased to have been able to acquire the business with an enviable reputation, strong brand and market position within the Manchester area.

“The Haytons name will remain, as well as Barry and the existing management team.

“As a result of this acquisition, Selwyns Travel Group has an additional operational platform which will place us in an extremely strong position to further develop our business throughout the north west.”

The deal comes amid a period of consolidation in the sector as coach hire businesses grapple with soaring fuel prices and tough economic conditions.

Paul Stanley, a partner at Manchester-based Begbies Traynor, was appointed administrator and sold Haytons.

He said: “We have been able to save 60 jobs and sell the business as a going concern to another quality operator.”

He said the main issue in the sale process was satisfying Hayton's two biggest customers, the GMPTE and National Express, of the credentials of potential buyers.

Mr Stanley added: “Sensible negotiations between all parties have enabled a sale which will involve no disruption to services and no worry for passengers.

“This type of deal to an independent purchaser is a textbook example of how the pre-packed administration procedure should work.”

Sunday, December 04, 2011

England’s Euro 2012 Krakow plans threaten future of Polish club

Source: Sportingintelligence

By Nick Harris
SJA Internet Sports Writer of the Year
in Krakow

4 December 2012

The English FA’s decision to base themselves in Krakow during Euro 2012 may inadvertently lead to a local club, Hutnik Nowa Huta, going bust, according a senior local official, Sportingintelligence can reveal.

England’s training base will be the Stadion Suche Stawy (SSS), the council-owned home of a fourth division side, Hutnik.

The FA had to settle for this run-down facility, not endorsed by Uefa, because the Netherlands and Italy had already bagged the grounds of the two Polish top-flight clubs in Krakow – Wisla and Cracovia – as their 2012 bases.

The FA did the deal to rent the SSS directly with Krakow council, not Hutnik, and the deal stipulates nobody but England can play there between 1 February and 7 July 2012.

This means Hutnik will effectively be homeless from when the Polish league season resumes after the winter break in March until the end of the 2011-12 league campaign in June.

Hutnik are a fan-owned club, started last year after their predecessor club went bust. As a consequence, they don’t own their own ground but rent it – but the council got more money from the FA than Hutnik pay, and only dropped the bombshell on Hutnik in late October that they’re being evicted for half a season.

Hutnik are party to regular council planning meetings about England’s visit next summer, and at the latest, last week, suggestions were made about where Hutnik could go instead.

The council have suggested Hutnik groundshare during next Spring with Wanda Krakow of Poland’s eighth division (while the FA ‘own’ their home between February and July) but Hutnik’s vice-president, Adam Gliksman, exclusively told Sportingintelligence: ‘Wanda play in a speedway stadium, the pitch is awful and there is no electricity.

‘We have been hopeful of securing the one promotion place from our division this season because we’re in second place now. But being forced into a sub-standard stadium could hurt our chances on the pitch, and damage us financially if attendances and commercial income drop. Things are already tight financially.

‘I don’t blame the FA because I don’t know if the council even explained the consequences to them. I’m proud to think Hutnik’s home might help England do well at Euro 2012. But we were only told by the city council in October that someone else might be renting our stadium in the second half of the season and it was a shock.

‘Because of England’s deal we need to find somewhere else to play and it’s problematic. I am seriously concerned this will damage our promotion hopes. It might finish us.’

Gliksman, 34, whose day job is working for the Solidarity union made famous by human rights campaigner and Nobel Prize winner Lech Walesa, was instrumental in forming Hutnik Nowa Huta in 2010 as a fan-owned club, in the mould of FC United of Manchester and AFC Wimbledon.

Their 62-year-old predecessor club, Hutnik Krakow, went bust with debts of £1.5m, having been in the Polish top division and in the Uefa Cup (playing Thierry Henry’s Monaco) as recently as 1996-97.

The financial meltdown meant the council took ownership of the stadium, which is run on a day-to-day basis by Siemacha, a powerful local Catholic business organisation.

Hutnik’s budget is small but they operate as a community club with average gates of 1,000 this season. Ticket prices are £2 for adults and £1 for concessions but most of their income goes on rent to the council (£300 per game, £600 if floodlights are needed). Their best paid player earns £350 a month and most earn £100 a month.

The council, hurt that Krakow missed out on staging any Euro 2012 games, has done all it can instead to get big teams basing themselves in the city so it can promote Krakow as a Euro 2012 destination anyway. England, the Netherlands and Italy are good names to have. Hutnik’s fate is considered to be the acceptable the collateral damage.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Sinnott - We can push for promotion

 Source: MEN

 Lee Sinnott is convinced the only thing stopping Altrincham mounting a push for promotion is a bout of travel sickness.

Altrincham were dumped out of the FA Trophy by Evo-Stik Premier FC United on Sunday, prompting chairman Grahame Rowley to issue a plea to supporters not to criticise Sinnott and his players.

The Robins have picked up just five points on their Conference North travels this season compared to six wins from nine games at Moss Lane.

And despite the disappointment at seeing the road to Wembley blocked by FC United, Sinnott believes a change of fortune on the road could see Altrincham challenge the league leaders in the new year.

"We’ve been together for five months and we’re looking to build something," said Sinnott, who replaced Ken McKenna in the summer.

"It takes time and it’s an on-going process.

"We’ve got 25 points in the league and we’re six points off the play-offs with a game in hand. Our away form just needs rectifying.

"You get the sense that people think there’s a little bit of doom and gloom. Form in this league can change very, very quickly. We know where we need to improve and things are going on behind the scenes to bring new people to the club.

"I’ve said to the players, we’ve just got to keep our heads down and work our way through it. It’ll make them better players for later in their careers. In the meantime, we’ve just got to keep our heads down and graft."

Sinnott was adamant Altrincham didn’t deserve to lose after watching FC United progress into the first round of the FA Trophy with a 2-1 win at Gigg Lane.

Carlos Roca’s fantastic 20-yard strike was cancelled out by Jack Redshaw’s second-half header before Mike Norton won it for United.

"I’m not the type of person who thinks, because FC are a league below us, we can just come here and do what we want to do for 90 minutes," said Sinnott, who takes his team to FC Halifax on Saturday.

"If you look at the balance of play, of course we should still be in the hat. But this is cup football and sometimes you don’t get what you deserve."


 Source: Non-league Daily

 Only two matches went ahead in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division on Tuesday evening, and they both ended in 1-1 draws.

Sean Cooke gave Nantwich Town a ninth minute lead against FC United of Manchester from the penalty spot, but Michael Norton (pictured) rescued a point for United with nine minutes to go.

Elsewhere, Stocksbridge Park Steels took the lead through Jack Muldoon in the 16th minute of their match against Frickley Athletic, but the visitors levelled on 74 minutes through Bradley Grayson.

Kendal Town's scheduled match at home to Chester was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Guiseley have big home tie in FA Trophy

 Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus

 Guiseley’s reward for their 7-0 thrashing of Eastwood Town in a Carlsberg FA Trophy tie at the weekend is a home draw against FC United of Manchester in the first round a week this Saturday.

Today’s draw handed the Lions home advantage against the club with the big support who came within one game of joining them in the Blue Square Bet North Division.

FC United, like Bradford Park Avenue, were in the play-offs last May and, after beating Avenue, they were themselves beaten in the final at Colwyn Bay.

FC Halifax Town are also still in the FA Trophy but face a replay against Colwyn Bay after the sides drew 0-0 in Wales on Saturday.

Should the Shaymen be successful tomorrow night they will host Blue Square Bet Premier Division club Lincoln City .

Guiseley are in action tomorrow, defending their West Riding County Cup when they host Harrogate Railway Athletic at Nethermoor.

Lions boss Steve Kittrick said: “The same players will be on duty. We only have the one squad and it is a small group of players because we don’t have a reserve side.”

Avenue also have a second-round tie and they will be heading to Glasshoughton Welfare.

Avenue should have more players available, with both Martin Drury and Ross Daly having served one-match bans at the weekend.

However, Bradford boss Deacey may decide not to change a winning side as they enjoyed a 4-0 away romp in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

Liversedge must also travel as they were drawn away at Garforth Town.

The derby tie between Eccleshill United and Farsley AFC was due to be played tomorrow night but has been switched to Wednesday.

4:45pm Monday 28th November 2011
By Ian Whiting

FC United of Manchester 2 Altrincham 1

 Source: Messenger Newspapers

 ALTRINCHAM slumped to their fifth defeat in six matches on Sunday with this loss to a team from a step lower down in the non-League pyramid.

Victory would have won the club £4,000 as well as progress to the next round of the FA Trophy.

After a reasonably bright start from Altrincham, United gradually got on top.

Their main attacking focus was their speedy left-winger and former Altrincham player, Carlos Roca. He put his side ahead just before half-time when the Rebels were given the benefit of the doubt about an offside decision. The ball came to Roca who fired into the top of the net from outside the box.

Having barely threatened a goal in the first half, Alty levelled the scores just seven minutes into the second half when Jack Redshaw, the shortest player on the pitch, was given a free header from a Nicky Clee corner from the right.

After this, with Alty having their best spell of the game, they made a couple of changes to their attack, as Twiss and Lawrie replaced Redshaw and Clee.

But it was FCUM who scored again, with 12 minutes remaining. This time Roca played a fine pass to another former Alty man, Astley Mulholland. His cross was headed home by centre-forward Mike Norton.

Despite a late flurry, in which Altrincham won four corners, FC United hung on to secure a tie in the first round proper of the FA Trophy.

ALTRINCHAM Coburn, Lees, Flynn, Williams (Watmore), Brown, Richman, Danylyk, Densmore (capt), Clee (Lawrie), Reeves, Redshaw (Twiss). Unused subs: Reid, Coombs


 Source: Non-league Daily

 Blue Square Bet North side Altrincham were dumped out of the FA Carlsberg Trophy by Evo-Stik League Premier Division side FC United of Manchester in a Third Qualifying Round tie on Sunday.

Former Alty player Carlos Roca (pictured) broke the deadlock with an excellent long-range shot to put FC United ahead.

Altrincham equalised when Jack Redshaw headed home.

But a Michael Norton header on 78 minutes gave United a 2-1 victory.

Friday, November 25, 2011

United we stand!

 Source: The FA

 Big Trophy crowd expected as FC United host Altrincham.

FC United of Manchester have a chance to claim the scalp of a club steeped in non-League tradition when they face Altrincham in The FA Trophy on Sunday, according to their manager Karl Marginson.

One of the most intriguing Third RoundQualifying ties this weekend sees the meeting of two clubs separated by just ten miles - but poles apart when it comes to their history.

Altrincham - now playing in the Conference North - were formed in 1891 and boast a proud 120-year tradition that has featured them lifting The FA Trophy on two occasions and going as far as The FA Cup Fourth Round.

In contrast, FC United were born as recently as 2005 and have since enjoyed a steady rise through the non-League pyramid to the Northern Premier Division - one tier below their opponents.

"Altrincham, especially from the northern area, are one of the most famous non-League teams going and have a great heritage," Marginson told

"We've only been going six years and having these games and these situations is really enjoyable - it's a great opportunity for everyone at the club.

"They are going to be favourites because they are in a higher league but we will look to compete and make sure the lads go out there and enjoy the occasion.

"It's a fantastic competition for non-League clubs and presents a real chance to play at Wembley, last year we had the great FA Cup run so let's hope for a repeat of that."

While awaiting the planning permission required to build their own stadium, FC United play their home games at Bury's Gigg Lane.

And, with near neighbours Manchester United playing on Saturday and Manchester City away at Liverpool on Sunday, Marginson is expecting a big crowd.

"There is a lot of local interest in the North-West and I would imagine there will be a few down there with it being on the Sunday," he added.

"Altrincham will bring a good few fans, our supporters will turn out in their numbers and you will get members of the public who have nothing else to do with their Sunday.

"The fans will have a bit of banter because it is a local derby and that will only add to the occasion. I'm sure it's going to be a great spectacle for everyone."

FC United Of Manchester v Altrincham
The FA Carlsberg Trophy
Third Round Qualifying
3pm, Sunday 27 November
Gigg Lane, Bury FC
Winning clubs receive £4000 from The FA's prize fund

By Giuseppi Muro - Friday, 25 November, 2011

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Head boy Norton fires FC United to victory

 Source: MEN

 Ten-man FC United shrugged off the 55th minute dismissal of Jimmy Holden to step up their Evo-Stik Premier promotion challenge with a hard-fought 1-0 win over visiting Kendal.

Mike Norton headed in what proved to be the only goal after just six minutes.

But Astley Mulholland's failure to convert a similar chance early in the second-half threatened to be costly when Holden saw red soon after for serious foul play.

Nevetheless, the Rebels held on comfortably for a win which takes them back up to sixth.

Meanwhile, Ashton United fell to a 38th minute goal scored by former Droylsden full-back Liam Brownhill in losing 1-0 at Chester.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Non-league round-up

 Edited from MEN

 FC United stepped up their Evo-Stik Premier promotion challenge with a 3-2 victory at Worksop although it needed a 71st-minute Luke Shields own-goal to gift the Rebels the points after they’d lost a 2-0 half-time lead given them by Nicky Platt and Lee Neville.

Friday, November 18, 2011

FC United boss Karl Marginson has announced a backroom re-shuffle

 Edited from MEN

 FC United boss Karl Marginson has announced a backroom re-shuffle in a bid to get more from his Rebels’ staff.

The move sees FC’s youth-team manager Chuks Akuneto promoted to first-team coach, with Dave Brown replacing him in charge of the club’s juniors.

Akuneto’s step-up means assistant Roy Soule will no longer need to regularly work alongside him on matchdays.

Soule will instead team up with United’s head of player development Darren Lyons in finding and nurturing young talent while also assessing future opponents.

Marginson said: “I’ve thought long and hard about these changes and feel they will help us take greater advantage of the individual strengths within my backroom team.

“Chuks’ primary responsibility will be for training and tactics, freeing up Souley to make better use of his years of experience in scouting and reporting on teams.”

FC, unbeaten in five, will be out to add further weight to their Evo-Stik Premier promotion assault with victory at Worksop.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mickleover 0 FC United 2

 Source: Bury Times

 TWO goals in two first-half minutes from Astley Mulholland completed a great week for FC United.

The forward came off the substitutes’ bench to score in Wednesday night’s FA Trophy replay win against Durham.

And he was back among the goals as his quickfire double moved the Rebels up to seventh in the Evo-Stik Premier Division.

Against Durham, Michael Norton, Jimmy Holden and Mulholland were on target in the 3-1 extra-time victory.

10:00am Thursday 17th November 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Durham City boss Dickie Ord is very frustrated

 Source: Newcastle Evening Chronicle

 THE curse of the Manager of the Month Award has struck Durham City boss Dickie Ord after his side’s winless run stretched to four games.

After exiting the Durham Challenge Cup in a 4-3 defeat at home to Su nderland RCA, City took FC United of Manchester to a replay in the FA Trophy.

Wednesday’s extra-time defeat at Gigg Lane was then followed by a 2-0 defeat at title-chasing Curzon Ashton.

After winning every game in October, Durham have yet to taste victory this month and have slipped to seventh – while unbeaten Ashton have taken over at the top.

Durham paid the price for two defensive lapses at the Tameside Stadium, though there was only one goal in it until the closing stages of the game.

Both high-fliers had early chances, but Curzon’s Chris McDonagh shot into the side netting and City defender Ross Wilkinson put a free header wide.

The home side were ahead after 37 minutes with a simple goal from Kristian Dennis, who tapped home after James Winter failed to hold on to a Sam Walker shot.

That changed Ord’s half-time team talk, with Durham now behind against a side which had won 12 and drawn two of its opening 14 league games.

The first goal was always going to be crucial, though Elliott Cutts spurned a chance to put Durham back into the game early in the second half.

Winter then kept the Citizens in it with saves from Andy Watson and Walker, but it was all over 12 minutes from time.

Wilkinson could only turn McDonagh’s cross from the right into his own net and against a side which had conceded only nine league goals there was no way back.

Durham City now have a free week to prepare for the visit of 13th-placed Salford City this weekend.

Nov 14 2011,
Evening Chronicle

Non-league round-up: Hyde ease past Boston

 Source: MEN

 Hyde boss Gary Lowe insisted they and neighbours Stalybridge Celtic can make it a straight fight between themselves for the Blue Square Bet North title after the Tameside pair moved further clear at the top with identical 2-0 victories.

Lowe’s table-topping Tigers maintained their two-point lead over their Bower Fold foes with goals by Shelton Payne (48 minutes) and Danny Broadbent (70) securing them a fourth successive win as they triumphed over Boston in Lincolnshire.

And Jim Harvey’s similarly slick Celts are now a massive 11 points ahead of third-placed Gainsborough after they comfortably saw off nine-man Histon with Phil Marsh scoring twice to sink the Cambridgeshire visitors.

Lowe, whose resurgent Hyde side can open up a five-point gap by winning at Hinckley tonight, said: “We’re delighted to have come away from a tough place with another victory and clean-sheet.

“It’s also good to see the likes of Gainsborough and Guiseley both dropping points.

“Stalybridge and ourselves now have a nice little cushion and, who knows, it could be between just the two of us all the way.”

Meanwhile, Altrincham missed a chance to climb into the play-off places and instead drop two spots to eighth after crashing to a 3-0 defeat at Worcester.

The Robins, who were without manager Lee Sinnott due to a family bereavement, were second-best for long periods of the game.

But things could have been so different had their 16-goal top scorer Damian Reeves not fluffed an early scoring opportunity.

Droylsden moved level on points with Alty in ninth but needed an 89th minute Danny Rowe equaliser to rescue a 1-1 draw at Vauxhall Motors.

Managerless Stockport suffered further Blue Square Bet Premier heartache as they were beaten 2-1 at Ebbsfleet. County, making their first league appearance under caretaker boss Willie McStay in the wake of Didi Hamann’s exit, looked to be on their way to a vital win after skipper Nick Chadwick had put them ahead from the penalty spot.

But two goals in the final ten minutes saw County lose again.

FC United stepped up their Evo-Stik Premier promotion challenge with Astley Mulholland’s quickfire brace giving them a 2-0 victory at Mickleover.

The former Flixton and Altrincham striker struck twice in two minutes midway through the first-half to ensure the Rebels kept up their chase on the leading pack. Leaders Northwich preserved their three-point advantage at the top of the table with Tom Field hitting two in their 3-0 romp at Rushall.

Third-placed Chorley lost ground in being held to a goalless draw by visiting Stocksbridge, while Ashton United lost 1-0 at Chasetown. Curzon Ashton returned to the top of the Evo-Stik North, and stretched their unbeaten start to 15 games by beating Durham 2-0 at the Tameside Stadium.

Jon Robinson was Ramsbottom’s match-winner as they pipped Runcorn Linnets 2-1 to stay tucked in behind NWCL frontrunners Runcorn Town.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Big week for Town

 Source: Retford Today

 SATURDAY’S big game marks the start of a big week for Worksop Town.

A derby game against a bogey side will be followed by TWO midweek matches in the space of 24 hours, then a visit from FC United of Manchester and their hordes of fans.

Simon Clark’s Tigers travel to Matlock Town on Saturday, a side who have often given them trouble.

Tuesday brings a League Cup game at Belper Town and on Wednesday South Kirkby visit Sandy Lane in the Sheffield Senior Cup.

FC United should bring the biggest crowd of the season to Worksop the following Saturday.

Tigers are in red hot form having made it nine games unbeaten under Clark on Wednesday, when they ousted Radcliffe Borough from the FA Trophy.

But in his post-match interview with the Guardian, Clark issued a statement that may serve as a warning to the rest of the league – this Worksop Town side is not yet the finished article.

“We’ve got a lot more to come,” said the former Stamford boss.

“We need to get them on the training ground but we can’t do the sessions we want to at match tempo because we have so many games in November.”

“Tonight we’ve had Michael Jacklin out, Owain Warlow out, Jamie Jackson out with illness, Luke Sharry coming back from injury and Chris Wood playing left-back when he’s not a left-back.”

“Matlock will be a test for us, but we ought to have a full squad.”

The manager has added to the ranks this week, bringing in striker Gary King from Stamford and taking Gavin Allott on loan from Guiseley.

He paid tribute to club owner Jason Clark for allowing him to sculpt a squad that fits his needs, and the demands of the packed fixture list.

“The chairman has been magnificent,” he said. “We’ve now got a Trophy squad and a league squad.”

And he admits that he’ll have to draft in players from the ‘junior’ section to cope with next week’s midweek double header.

“The lads who start on Tuesday will come and do a cool down on the pitch on Wednesday while we’re warming up for South Kirkby,” he explained. “We’ll drag seven or eight in from the Under 19s hopefully for that game.”

“We’re out to win it, but more so it’s a great opportunity for me to see what the Under 19s are about, and it’s good for the club to have them involved.”

l For reports from the FA Trophy tie, and the replay that earned Tigers a third qualifying round clash at home to Curzon Ashton on 26th November, along with an interview with Gary King, see pages 78 & 79.

Published on Friday 11 November 2011 13:00

Thursday, November 10, 2011

FC United 3 Durham City 1

 Source: MEN

 FC United booked an FA Trophy third qualifying-round date with Altrincham by seeing off Durham at the second attempt at Gigg Lane.

But the Rebels needed extra-time to secure their passage with substitutes Jimmy Holden and Astley Mulholland each scoring in the added half-hour to earn them a 3-1 victory.

Mike Norton put them in front in the first half but Amar Purewal poked Durham level soon after the break.

:: Witton Albion secured a Trophy trip to Droylsden with Anthony Sheehan, Alex Titchiner, Daniel Andrews and Josh Hancock on target in a 4-1 romp over Leek.

Radcliffe crashed 2-0 at Worksop, who next host Curzon Ashton.

Durham City suffer FA Trophy agony

 Source: Newcastle Evening Chronicle

 TWO extra-time goals ended brave Durham City’s FA Trophy hopes in front of a 672 crowd at Gigg Lane last night.

The Citizens took FC United of Manchester all the way in their second qualifying round replay after the two sides had drawn 1-1 at New Ferens Park.

The Reds, a league above Durham in the Evo-Stik Premier, led through Mike Norton’s header on the half-hour.

However, the gutsy visitors were always in the tie and levelled through Amar Purewal early in the second half.

Either side could then have won it but it was not until the last minute of extra-time that Astley Mulholland clinched the tie with United’s third.

A 3-1 defeat was harsh on Dickie Ord’s side, who nevertheless picked up useful money from a share of the gates in the two Trophy ties.

Norton put United ahead when he headed home Lee Neville’s cross.

Durham, though, were back in it when Stephen Thompson set up Amar Purewal to level.

City were unlucky not to go ahead, while James Winter saved well from Kyle Jacobs and Mulholland blazed over the bar.

Thompson almost won it for City five minutes from time, but his free-kick from just outside the box was tipped past the post by Spencer.

Holden then put the Reds ahead seven minutes into extra-time with a header and then Mulholland sealed a third-qualifying-round derby against Altrincham with a 120th-minute goal.

Durham City next face a top-six Evo-Stik North clash with Curzon Ashton on Saturday.

Read More

Durham City 1 FC United 1

 Source: Bury Times

 FC United got a second bite of the FA Trophy cherry after drawing their second qualifying round tie at Durham City on Saturday.

Mike Norton put the Rebels in front just before half time, but the lead was short lived with David Dowson equalising for the home side two minutes after the restart.

The winners of last night’s Gigg Lane replay will have a home tie with Conference North side Altrincham in the next round on Saturday, November 26.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Dickie Ord wants spirit of 2009 to inspire Durham City

 Source: Sunderland Echo

 Published on Wednesday 9 November 2011 13:30

DURHAM City boss Dickie Ord will remind his players of a memorable March day two years ago when he gives his pre-match talk at tonight’s FA Trophy replay against FC United of Manchester at Gigg Lane, Bury.

It was then that City won for the first time in the Evo-Stik League Premier Division and Ord remembers the occasion very well.

Ord, right, said: “We hadn’t won a match all season. The main sponsor had pulled the plug, most of the squad had left and the club was really struggling on and off the field.

“We were fielding a team of kids week-in and week-out and went to Bury with everybody predicting another hiding.

“But what a day it turned out to be. We won 2-1 and although we managed just two victories all season, that was a result to savour. It was one of the best feelings I’ve had in football.

“We did it then and there’s no reason why we cannot repeat the result tonight.

“I thought we deserved to defeat them at the first attempt on Saturday, but a couple of decisions didn’t go our way, so we are certainly up for the task tonight.”

Ord is sweating, though, on the availability of centre-half Ross Wilkinson, who is unsure whether he will be able to travel because of work commitments.

“The bus leaves at 3.30pm and I’ll wait until the very last minute for Ross.

“His absence would be a massive blow since he has been in outstanding form,” added Ord, who expects Stephen Thompson to come through a fitness test.

Washington will aim to arrest a losing sequence when they line up with Shildon at the Nissan Sports Complex in the Second Round of the Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup.

Manager Richie Latimer, who is looking to strengthen the squad, welcomes the return of Nicky Evans and John Lydon.

Birtley Town, who moved into third in Division Two at the weekend, could upset the odds at First Division Guisborough Town, who have slipped into the relegation zone.

A close result is anticipated at Waterhouses, where Esh Winning have home advantage over Second Division leaders Team Northumbria, whose recent results have been erratic.

In contrast, Spennymoor are enjoying a rich vein of form and they are firm favourites to go through at Morpeth Town.

Easington Colliery, now fourth-from-bottom in the Second Division, are at home to Hebburn in the Ernest Armstrong Memorial Cup.

Manager Mark Proudlock has yet to announce his starting line-up.

Manchester holding no fear for Durham City

 Source: Chester Chronicle

 DURHAM CITY go to FC United of Manchester tonight without fear, Ross Wilkinson says.

The New Ferens Park outfit held their Evo Stik Premier opponents to a 1-1 draw in Saturday’s FA Trophy second qualifying round clash.

They replay at Gigg Lane this evening, and City skipper Wilkinson believes they do so buoyed by their weekend performance.

“We’re quite confident going down there,” Wilkinson said.

“We were really pleased with Saturday’s performance, especially the second half when I thought we fought hard.

“In the first half we stood off them a little bit, and let them get the ball down but in the second half we were in their faces and I think we could have won if we’d pushed on a little bit harder.

“We had a couple of good chances, and I had a goal disallowed, which I thought was a bit harsh, I thought I was onside.

“I felt if the game had gone on a little bit longer we would have won it.

“In the end, we settled for the draw. Against a team from the league above us, that’s a good result.

“Now we’ve got an excellent chance going down there to Gigg Lane.

“We’ve got to go there with confidence, start the game like we finished on Saturday and we might surprise a few people.

“Spirits are high at the club right now, the banter and morale are good.

“Dickie (Ord) gets us fired up for every game, and as long as we can keep this squad together and everybody fit, I think we can give it a good push in the Trophy and in the league.

“The money involved in the Trophy is obviously very important for a club like this, and the further we go in the competition the higher the standard of the opposition.

“People work their backsides off here to keep the club afloat so it’s important we keep our good form going.

“Two years ago the team that kept the club going won down there so it’ll be good to go back. If we play like we did on Saturday we’ll have a good chance.

“They’ll expect to win but there’s no fear among us, and nothing to lose.”

Meanwhile, City vice-chairman Ian Walker added: “We’ve got to take confidence from Saturday’s game.

“When you look at FC United, the spin-off of Manchester United, they’ve got big support but haven’t forgotten what we did down there two seasons ago when we went down and beat them 2-1 with a bunch of kids.

“That shows where we’ve come from, we’ve risen from the ashes and I think they respect us for that.

“We’re getting recognised now across the north of England and we’ll go there on Wednesday with confidence.

“If we’ve got a strong squad I firmly believe we can give them a good run for their money and pick up a win.”

by Steve Brown, Evening Chronicle
Nov 9 2011

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Robins wait in wings for Rebels

 Source: MEN

 FC United have landed a plum home tie with non-League neighbours Altrincham in the FA Trophy’s third and final qualifying-round on Saturday November 26.

First, the Rebels must beat Durham City in a replay at Gigg Lane tomorrow (7.45pm).

Stalybridge Celtic will launch their Trophy assault with a trip to Droylsden’s recent FA Cup conquerors Blyth Spartans.

The Bloods, meanwhile, will entertain either Witton or Leek, while Hyde will visit Matlock or Hednesford.

Other ties will see Curzon Ashton visiting either Worksop or Radcliffe and Northwich Victoria hosting Ilkeston. Stockport County, as members of Blue Square Bet Premier, don’t enter the Trophy until its first-round stage.

Hyde had to wait nearly an hour longer than they had planned to knock Tameside neighbours Stalybridge Celtic off the top of Blue Square Bet North. The Tigers' clash with bottom-of-the-table Blyth Spartans at Ewen Fields last night kicked off 50 minutes late after the match officials were held up in traffic en route to the game.

But Hyde made light of the delay with Adam Griffin's 27th minute strike securing a 1-0 win.

Durham City have to see reds again after cup draw

 Source: Sunderland Echo

 DURHAM City will have to make another attempt to see off FC United of Manchester on Wednesday night after a thrilling FA Trophy tie, writes Malcolm Pratt.

A pulsating, end-to-end contest at New Ferens Park finished 1-1.

City’s biggest crowd of the season was still a disappointing 533, considering the visitors expected at least 1,000 to make the journey to the North East. However, those who did turn up were not let down, with thrills and spills at both ends.

City’s Stephen Thompson was dispossessed and Michael Norton tried to lob into an empty net after goalkeeper James Winter had raced to the edge of the box to try and intercept the ball.

Gary Brown then headed over from a Thompson cross and United’s Kyle Jacobs forced a double save from Winter.

A superb challenge by Ross Wilkinson prevented Norton from getting in a shot and visiting goalkeeper James Spencer was forced to concede a corner, with David Dowson through on goal.

A ding-dong first half ended with United taking the lead on 45 minutes.

A free kick by Carlos Roca found Norton, who drove into an empty net.

City’s disappointment lasted only a couple of minutes, however, when Dowson deservedly equalised with a spectacular effort in off the far post.

The pattern of the first half continued into the second. Amar Purewal went close for Durham, but only a brilliant block by Jonathan Davis prevented United’s Astley Mulholland from capitalising in front of an open goal.

City, however, went even closer 20 minutes from time as Thompson rattled the woodwork, with United goalkeeper Spencer nowhere in sight.

Two minutes later Mulholland missed an open goal, so the sides must try again on Wednesday.

Durham City: J Winter, Stephenson, Madden, Davis, Wilkinson, Arjun Purewal, Cutts (Greulich-Smith), Brown, Dowson, Thompson (Home Jackson), Amar Purewal.

Ref: Mr Tony Peart. Att: 533.

Not what you'd egg-spect: Manchester's latest craze

 Source: Daily Mail

 Manchester City fans need no egging on when it comes to strange or quirky - just look at the Poznan, the bouncing, backwards celebration they adopted from Poland.

And now a popular but odd snack named the 'Manchester Egg' is the latest fad to make its way to the Etihad Stadium.

The snack, a pickled egg surrounded by Bury black pudding, coated in breadcrumbs and then deep-fried, will be sold on match days after taking the Manchester Food and Drink Festival by storm.

Inventor and amateur chef Ben Holden said: 'I don’t think you can surpass the meat pie, but it’s about time football fans had another option.

'I think the Manchester Egg is perfect for eating on the hoof while walking to the match, washed down with a pint.

'We were overwhelmed by the success of the stall at the food and drink festival, and we’ve been looking for loads of ways to take it to a wider audience including at City.'

Although Blues fans will be able to buy the egg from December before and after matches at City Square, home of Marco Pierre White's Blue Moon Cafe, it is not for City mouths only.

The egg was well received by FC United fans before a recent home match, selling out in 15 minutes, while Manchester United fans are also invited to try it.

Neil Worcester, head of catering operations for Manchester City, told the Manchester Evening News: 'The north-west boasts some of the finest produce in the country and Manchester City prides itself on promoting locally-sourced ingredients across all our catering.'

Not somebody to put all his eggs in one basket, Worcester added: 'The Manchester Egg is one of many locally-produced products that will be featured in our match-day offering in City Square.'

By Rik Sharma
Last updated at 3:07 PM on 3rd November 2011

Monday, November 07, 2011

David Dowson delight with his 'fluke'

 Source: Newcastle Evening Chronicle

 DAVID DOWSON admits the goal that earned Durham City an FA Trophy second qualifying round replay at FC United of Manchester on Wednesday was a fluke.

But the former Sunderland starlet insists another stab at the Evo Stik Premier outfit is the least his side deserves.

Though City trailed to Mike Norton’s 45th-minute goal at New Ferens Park on Saturday, they struck back through Dowson’s intended cross.

And though unfortunate not to claim victory with a string of late chances, Dowson believes Durham go to Gigg Lane in midweek full of confidence.

“I thought we were very unlucky, we had enough chances to win it,” Dowson said.

“Their keeper made a couple of good saves and we had a couple cleared off the line, and overall I think we gave a good account of ourselves.

“In a way, we’re disappointed. But we feel we’ve done ourselves justice.

“We’re coming off the back of a good few wins, confidence is high and I think that showed in our performance.

“They’re from the league above us, so we take encouragement from that. We knew they were going to be a challenge, we showed them respect but not too much.

“We just felt that if we went out and gave it a right good go, we fancied our chances.”

On his goal – a right-wing cross that looped over FC United keeper James Spencer – Dowson added: “I’ll be honest, it was a bit of a cross.

“It came off the side of my foot and ended up in the net, so happy days. They all count.”

Skipper Mike Norton strikes to keep Rebels’ dreams alive

 Source: MEN

 FC United kept their Wembley dreams alive with a 1-1 draw at Durham City securing them an FA Trophy second qualifying-round replay at Gigg Lane on Wednesday.

The Rebels were made to work hard by their lesser-ranked opponents, who quickly replied after skipper Mike Norton had turned in Carlos Roca’s free-kick in the 44th minute.

Durham drew level within two minutes of the re-start when a mishit cross by dangerman David Dowson somehow found its way past United keeper Scott Spencer.

Both teams then contrived to waste a string of chances, Astley Mulholland missing FC’s best with a shot which sailed over.

Curzon Ashton progressed at the first attempt but needed a late Chris McDonagh goal to knock out Belper after the visitors had threatened to snatch a replay by cancelling out Sam Walker’s 36th minute opener.

Northwich, too, needed no second invitation to ease past Buxton, crushing their Evo-Stik Premier rivals 3-0.

Radcliffe and Witton Albion face replays, but Salford and Woodley both crashed out.

Ashton United were held 1-1 by visiting FA Cup heroes Nantwich in Evo-Stik Premier, while Garry Flitcroft’s Chorley missed a chance to go top, losing 1-0 at Rushall Olympic.

Trafford climbed to sixth in Evo-Stik North, Michael Oates hitting a hat-trick in their 4-1 romp at Clitheroe.

Ramsbottom had a pair of two-goal stars in Andrew Dawson and Lee Gaskell as they thrashed Squires Gate 4-0 to march to the top of the North West Counties League.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Durham City 1 FC United of Manchester 1

 Source: Sunday Sun

 THERE were fireworks at Durham yesterday. No literally, FC United’s fans turned New Ferens into the San Siro with some final-whistle flares.

During the game, it was just as explosive.

After an incendiary enough first half with little to choose between the two sides but Mike Norton’s 45th-minute goal, the second 45 ignited into a cacophony of incident.

City rocketed back into contention moments after the break through David Dowson, and though both sides had chances to win it, the hosts can take heart from having had more of the better.

And they can take heart too, from having outplayed in spells, a side from the league above them.

So while the curse of manager-of-the-month – defeat and this draw since six straight wins, won it for Dicky Ord, who prefers to call it ‘club-of-the-month’ – has yet to fully subside, Durham are still in with a shout for £3,000 prize money, and the cut from Wednesday’s replay gate at Gigg Lane should add a tidy sum.

On and off the pitch, City are – after a tough time – on their uppers. Even president Asbery’s jokes are getting better.

His side were unfortunate first half not to lead, Ross Wilkinson’s header well saved by James Spencer, who then denied Dowson one-on-one.

At the other end James Winter pushed away Kyle Jacobs’ firm, 20-yard effort, and saved comfortably from Carlos Roca and Norton.

So it came as a considerable blow when, moments before the interval, Roca hung a free-kick into the area, Winter collided with Lee Neville – a Manc Neville, they’re everywhere – and Norton tapped into the vacated net.

So what, say City.

For after sausages, sausage rolls and Scotch eggs – cholesterol, pah! – I just made it back to my post in time to see Dowson bolt down the right and, from a narrow angle, slice an intended cross over Spencer and in.

If it was lucky, Durham deserved such fortune. Thereafter, it deserted them.

On the hour, Amar Purewal ghosted into the six-yard box but from point-blank range stabbed straight at Spencer, and minutes later – after Elliot Cutts was grounded, no pen – Stephen Thompson’s free-kick struck the foot of the post and Purewal was again denied by the FC United keeper.

Before then Adam Jones headed on to the crossbar for the visitors and Ashley Mulholland ought to have done better than smash a loose ball in the City box well over. With 10 minutes remaining Wilkinson fired in from another Thompson free-kick, but was adjudged offside.

But while that and other spurned chances may have left Durham feeling somewhat aggrieved, there was much more from which to be encouraged.

So replay Wednesday. Expect more fireworks.

DURHAM: Winter, Stephenson, WILKINSON, Arjun Purewal, Madden, Cutts (Greulich-Smith 84), Davis, Brown, Amar Purewal, Thompson (Home-Jackson 83), Dowson.

FC UNITED: Spencer, Stott (Deegan 74), Jones, Stones, Jacobs, ROCA, Cottrell, Carr (Platt 90), Neville, Wolfenden (Mulholland 34), Norton.

Attendance: 533.

Referee: Tony Peart (Northallerton).

Nov 6 2011 by Steve Brown, Sunday Sun

Saturday, November 05, 2011

FA Trophy round up

 Source: The FA

 There were 36 Second Round Qualifying ties on Saturday.

The FA Carlsberg Trophy
Second Round Qualifying
Saturday 5 November 2011
Winning clubs receive £3,000 from The FA's prize fund

The FA Cup took a backseat to The FA Carlsberg Trophy on Saturday, with 36 ties up and down the country in the Second Round Qualifying.

Teams need to negotiate just one more qualifying round before the Football League's big names come calling - but Radcliffe Borough will need win their replay with Worksop Town to reach that stage after the sides drew 1-1 in Saturday's early kick-off.

Radcliffe were indebted to Dave Sherlock, whose penalty snatched a draw to set up a replay at Worksop this Wednesday.

Chippenham Town and Mangotsfield will also have to do it all again as the sides played out an entertaining 1-1 draw.

Northwich Victoria are there, though, as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Buxton and Joe Francis was among the scorers as Lowestoft beat Hitchin Town 3-1 away from home.

Billericay Town beat St. Neots Town 2-0 and Chester also advanced with the same scoreline as they beat Stafford Rangers, while Brackley Town beat Hemel Hempstead Town 3-2 away from home.

Elsewhere, FC United battled to a 1-1 draw at Durham City and the teams will face each other in a replay.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Durham City set for big crowd

 Source: Sunderland Echo

 DURHAM City will have their biggest gate of the season at New Ferens Park tomorrow with FC United of Manchester expected to bring at least 1,000 spectators.

“It should be a cracking occasion,” said manager Dickie Ord. “They have a terrific fan base and hopefully we can put on a good show.

“I know we lost to Sunderland RCA in the Durham Challenge Cup on Tuesday night but I wasn’t too disappointed.

“Yes, there was a lack of concentration which cost us goals but there were a lot of tired legs out there following last Saturday’s game on a heavy pitch at Mossley.”

Before Tuesday’s result, City had won six Evo Stik League Division One North games on the bounce and Ord is confident his side will quickly return to winning form.

He added: “We were going great so there’s no reason whatsoever why we cannot keep up our challenge for at least a play-off place.

“I should have everybody available. Steven Thompson took a knock on Tuesday but should be okay and I’ve also re-signed Josh Home Jackson, who has returned from Greece and he goes straight into the squad.”

Published on Friday 4 November 2011 13:30

Sir Alex Ferguson's fascinating relationship with the press

 Source: Belfast Telegraph

 From slanging matches to bunches of flowers

It is a sign of the way things have changed that there were eight minutes of skirting the subject yesterday before someone actually summoned the courage to ask Sir Alex Ferguson about the 25th anniversary of his arrival at Old Trafford.

The word was out that he did not want to dwell on this topic – or was "nae getting into all that" to cite the response which has become his catchphrase – though since 700 of his closest friends will celebrate this silver jubilee overlooking the Old Trafford cricket pitch tonight, it may equally be a case of him not caring to give those who chart his life in newsprint the satisfaction of a story. "You f***ing sell your paper and radio shows off the back of this club," as he said, eight years ago.

"I'm nae going to get into all that," Ferguson replied when the BBC, only restored to his press conferences two months ago, took the plunge. "All I'm going to say is I've been very fortunate to have some of the best players in the game. When I look back at these players I say to myself 'how fortunate I am'." But that wasn't the finish of it. The Manchester United manager's full reflections are reserved for tomorrow's newspaper but as he sat back, gazed into the pale sunshine illuminating the Carrington training complex and talked, you could have heard a pin drop. Very few questions were required, just the odd prompt for the most disarming and engaging manager in football – when the mood and the subject take him.

It is not always like this, of course. It is not even often like this. Ferguson's press conferences in United's nondescript youth academy building are generally prickly and fairly desperate affairs: a process of seeking to extract a meagre few beads of information from a man who does not need a good press and does not need to be here. His 10-minute audiences are actually a lot easier than Kenny Dalglish's. He goes in for monosyllabism and irritation, but rarely his compatriot's mockery.

But since Ferguson relocated this event across the car park from the main Carrington building in 2005 – punishment for the verbatim reporting of a press conference which he stormed out of after 74 seconds and 85 words – it has become an increasingly monochrome affair. Ferguson insisted when imposing this regime that everything he said must be filmed and, though he was persuaded two years ago that the daily newspapers' questions should not be transmitted on screens until they are published, it is a very different world. Daniel Taylor's This is the One, an excellent and affectionate portrayal of Ferguson republished for this anniversary, offers a reminder of how Ferguson waltzed down Carrington's central staircase, tanned and healthy after a few days in Malta with Lady Cathy, singing an old Josef Locke song to Kath, his receptionist. "Hear my song, Violetta, hear my song beneath the moon..." That was six years ago and yet somehow also a lifetime.

This was the Alex Ferguson encountered in 1986 by David Meek, chronicler of his actions at the Manchester Evening News and also the ghostwriter of his programme notes all these years. For Meek, the arrival of the new man from Aberdeen was a "breath of fresh air" – delivering a more accommodating manager than Sir Matt Busby, Wilf McGuinness, Frank O'Farrell, Tommy Docherty, Dave Sexton or Ron Atkinson had ever been – though Atkinson was a little more media-minded. It helped that Ferguson was an evening newspaperman's dream – installed at The Cliff training ground by 8am and and ready to take a call to hit first edition deadlines – and aware of the need for a fresh line from the nationals.

The propensity to erupt was also there from the start. The first spot of bother for Meek came when Ferguson took his players for a day trip to the SAS headquarters in Hereford, at the instigation of the club's head of security Ned Kelly, who had served with the regiment. One of the MEN news reporters got wind of the story, Ferguson asked the paper not to publish – fearing that his club would become a target for the then active IRA – but the paper went ahead anyway.

Ferguson effectively severed all relations with Meek when the reporter decided to meet the problem head on at Old Trafford, where the players were training just before Christmas. Ferguson spotted him. "The Manchester Evening News is finished at this club," he bellowed and marched away up the slope to the top of tunnel. He was out of breath, at the top, when Meek caught up with him. "OK. If that's how you feel, then Merry Christmas," he retorted as another Glaswegian volley came his way. Meek was marching past him when Ferguson's arm came out. "Nothing personal, you know!" Ferguson said, a smile breaking across his face.

It is a brave individual who puts Ferguson's club at risk but fire is always best met with fire where Ferguson is concerned. That much was also revealed when a recent dispute with one of the few journalists he engages with – all of his own vintage – was recently settled by his text message offering a racing tip. The Evening News's own relationship with Ferguson was not helped by the 1995 readers' poll asking whether he should resign – the answer was yes – though the paper almost got away with it. The manager was holidaying in the United States at the time and did not appear to have spotted the story until someone pointed it out. The relationship remained good enough in 2003 for Meek's successor, Stuart Mathieson, to have a Good Friday lie-in disturbed at 8.45am. Ferguson was on the line, asking a bleary Mathieson: "Are you in bed?" and barking: "What the fuck is a day off?" before declaring he had a story to offer, involving United's side in a bitter dispute with Arsenal over Sol Campbell's dismissal for an elbow at Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. It was the local paper's series of articles on the breakaway FC United which severed the long, significant relationship.

Meek is one of many journalists to have known Ferguson's compassion. After illness forced him to break off from 16 years of uninterrupted programme notes, he arrived at hospital to find a huge bouquet. He was convalescing at home a week later when the phone rang. There were no words of introduction down the line, just a growl declaring: "The Scottish beast is on its way!" Ferguson was at Meek's door in 20 minutes. The same went for John Bean, the former Daily Express journalist who after a heart attack awoke in hospital to find flowers and a note. "What have you been doing to yourself, you silly old tap dancer?" There has been professional empathy, too. When Mathieson was estranged from United for a newsroom misdemeanour, Ferguson wrote to his editor, saying it was not the journalist's fault. "You're not giving the lad a chance," he said. Strangers receive random acts of kindness, too. In March, Ferguson phoned the club doctor when a cameraman collapsed at a press conference.

And when it comes to his own utterances, an appreciation of how his words will be received is undoubtedly there. About one in four of Meek's columns, which he emails to Ferguson for approval, return via the manager's secretary, Lynn, with amendments. For the Sunderland programme on Saturday, Meek added writer's licence to Ferguson's praise for the returning John O'Shea and Wes Brown. "Although perhaps not big-name superstars, they nevertheless brought a quality and strength to the squad that was invaluable," Meek's script read. Ferguson indicated that the "superstar" reference must be removed, for fear of causing offence.

The media world is unrecognisable to an individual who so embraced it from his Aberdeen years on. There is always a suspicion when a face he does not know appears at his press conferences particularly for those who look young, when they are British. Taylor relates the story of a Daily Express reporter in his mid-thirties who turned up. "Jesus Christ," Ferguson said. "Do they get them straight from school these days?" But it is the 24/7 media monster which he sees as a root of many evils. "[The English media] source a problem where there's no problem [and] create a sensation just to counter the challenge of Sky [Sports] and the internet," he said in a rare and revealing interview last year to see La Gazzetta dello Sport's Giancarlo Galavotti into retirement.

The media will doubtless attempt to doorstep his big bash tonight, being held in a space known as The Point at cricket's Old Trafford. But he will close the doors, shut out the scrutiny and reflect – for an evening when red wine will certainly flow – that, though the enemy might be at the door, it will certainly not get beyond it.

Fergie on the media...

* "I don't get the press coverage I'm entitled to and I no longer see it as part of my job to fulfil their interest."

* "The media has become a monster. They know all the answers, right and wrong. They want exclusive stories and confidential background. They want their cards marked. They want gossip. And believe me if they don't get it you're in trouble."

* "Whenever we lose the media want an instant answer, preferably something a bit different so it makes a good headline. By now the press know I am immune to their sniping."

* "I don't give any of you [press] credibility. You talk about wanting to have an association with people here and you wonder why I don't get on with you? But you're a f***ing embarrassment. One of these days the door is going to be shut on you permanently."

Sir Alex Ferguson yesterday described his 25 years at the club as "a fairy tale". Ferguson, 70 in December, has won 12 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four League Cups, two Champions Leagues and a Cup Winners' Cup.

"It is a bit of a fairytale to last so long," he said. "It has been a fantastic spell for me. It is something you don't think is going to happen and I appreciate that." He reflected briefly on his career since succeeding Ron Atkinson in 1986. "I say to myself how fortunate I am to have had these players. The list is incredible, going back to Bryan Robson, Norman Whiteside, Brian McClair, [Mark] Hughes, [Paul] Ince, [Roy] Keane, [Eric] Cantona. What a collection of players. It is hard to think I controlled all these players for so long."

By Ian Herbert
Friday, 4 November 2011