Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bay of hope for FC United

 Source: M.E.N.

 Peter Spencer
 April 30, 2011

 FC United are confident of writing another glorious chapter in their brief history when they head to Wales on Monday.

The Rebels’ remarkable rise through football’s lower echelons continues apace with the Blue Square Bet North play-off final against Colwyn Bay.

Victory will mark a fourth promotion in six seasons for the ambitious club, formed by disenchanted United supporters, who continue to astonish their rivals with attendances which outstrip some of those at Football League clubs.

Colwyn Bay, who finished second in the league to FC’s fourth, have a 2,000 ground capacity. With FC taking that number of fans to the semi-final at Bradford Park Avenue on Thursday, the club are in a position where they could sell up to three times their 1,000 allocation.

Season ticket holders who are members were given priority when the final tickets went on sale today from the club’s Ancoats HQ – although as manager Karl Marginson told M.E.N Sport, there is a farmer’s field near the hillside ground where there are restricted views of the pitch!

Marginson said: “I’m not joking, the game can be seen from the field so I hope the farmer is willing to ‘moove’ on his cows. Our fans are amazing and have helped the team so much come from second bottom to a play-off place in three months.

“Colwyn beat us twice in the league but they were close games so we have nothing to fear – especially since we beat Rochdale in the FA Cup and then did so well against Brighton.

“Dave Challinor is their manager and he’s experienced and has a big team that concentrates on set pieces with good movement up top.

“My message to the lads who are sensible about these things is to enjoy the Bank Holiday weekend and then let’s give it our best on Monday afternoon.

“We are physically strong as you would expect at this stage of the season. We have the ability to beat them and then the club can continue its remarkable progress by reaching another level.”

A key factor in FC’s success this term has been the form of captain and 32-goal top scorer Mike Norton, the Stalybridge-based self-employed tiler who a smiling Marginson likens to Alan Shearer.

But goal-machine Norton, who joined from Curzon Ashton after a highly-successful spell at Woodley Sports, is out suspended on Monday. Still, he epitomises the spirit of the club and will travel with the squad.

Norton, 30, who relaxed playing golf at Denton on Friday with the manager, said: “I’m not so sure about Shearer, I’m better looking than him that is for sure.

“It is frustrating not being able to play in the final especially as I lost in so many play-offs with Curzon. I believe the hardest game was the semi-final and we did great to beat Bradford Park Avenue.

“It will be tough on Monday but we will be okay. I joined FC rather than Halifax for two reasons – the incredible number of fans and the fact I am a Manchester United supporter.”