Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rebel Rovers fans to set up FC Blackburn

 Source: Lancashire Telegraph

 Exclusive By Chris Gee

 A GROUP of disaffected Blackburn Rovers fans, angry at the direction the club is taking, have revealed plans to form a new football club in the town.

Football Club Blackburn, who have already garnered the nickname the Rovers Radicals, plan to recruit players and management early next year and enter the non-league pyramid in a year’s time.

Financing for the club would come from a fee of £12 per fan, which would give each member an equal voting share in the club.

One of the fans behind FC Blackburn is 21-year-old Tom Keighley, the grandson of former Blackburn Rovers chairman, Derek Keighley, who presided over the club in the 1970s.

Tom said events at the club over the last year, which include the Venky’s takeover, player departures and the loss of figures such as John Williams, meant he and many others will no longer attend Ewood Park.

He said: “We want to provide a club for the people of Blackburn who actually care about the area and the love of the sport.

“It will not be about making money from football and draining resources.

“We believe the reputation which has been built up by years of tradition and great men who had Blackburn Rovers in their heart is in ruin.

“My grandfather was so proud of his association with Rovers and before that Great Harwood Town.

"He was a staunch supporter of the non-league system.

"Our aim is a club run by the fans for the fans.”

Whalley-based Tom, who works in the textiles industry, is an accomplished non-league player himself, having played for Curzon Ashton and Witton Albion.

He said the club was in advanced discussions about joining a league next year and the club’s blue and white-halved kit and leisurewear will be purchased from Nike.

“We will be applying for the North West Counties and the Evo-Stik leagues for the 2012/2013 season,” he said.

“Earlier this week we were in talks with Supporters Direct who are specialists in the field of helping fans build and run their own football clubs.”

The supporters' group behind the club hope to emulate the success of AFC Wimbledon and FC United of Manchester.

Both clubs attract gates in their thousands and have risen up the non-leagues, with the former now members of the Football League.

Another breakaway team, AFC Liverpool, has enjoyed more modest success and are currently in the North West Counties League Premier Division.

Tom said a general meeting would be organised for the new club in August at a venue to be decided.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Decision day on £3.5m stadium for FC United in Moston set for September 15

 Source: MEN

 Exclusive by Mike Keegan

 FC United will have to wait almost seven weeks to find out whether their dream of a new £3.5m stadium will become a reality.

Planning officers from Manchester council will deliver their verdict on the controversial proposals on September 15.

If the go-ahead is given it would end the breakaway club’s long wait for a home in the city.

Debate has been raging over the plans for the proposed 5,000 capacity ground on the Ronald Johnson Playing Fields in Moston since they were revealed in April.

FC, a co-operative formed in protest at the Glazer family’s takeover of Manchester United, say the as-yet unnamed stadium will benefit the whole community and open up a piece of land that is currently closed off. Their plans include a medical room and IT facilities as well as a club house.

However, campaigners protesting against the plans, say it will bring house prices down and cause traffic chaos. They also say a covenant on the land means it should not be developed. The Charity Commission, is to decide whether the site can be used and will give its verdict on the proposals next month.

Andy Walsh, FC United’s general manager, said: “We really have done everything we can. Two of the three local councillors are supporting us and we have been surprised at the backing from residents which is increasing all the time.”

If FC are given the green light they could be kicking off at the ground in time for the 2012/13 season.

Joanne Hilton, who is campaigning against the move, urged the council to ‘do the right thing’. She said: “We do not want it here and they need to do the right thing which is to say no.”

FC, who play in the Evo-Stick Premier Divison, have been at Bury’s Gigg Lane ground since their inception in 2005. They attract average crowds of around 2,000.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

FC keeper James Spencer hopes son will have a run-out

 Source: MEN

 Ben Collins

 James Spencer believes FC United’s new stadium wouldn’t just help the local community – his own family would reap the benefits too.

The former Stockport and Rochdale keeper only agreed to sign a one-year deal with the Rebels last week but has already set his sights on running out at the proposed new venue in Moston.

And the 26-year-old can also see his young son making full use of the facilities at the £3.5million project.

“My little lad’s almost one and I’m sure he’s looking forward to coming to a few games,” he said.

“He’s full of beans so I might get him a shirt so he can run around on the pitch to get him involved.

“He’s just learning to walk now so he’s flying about and he’s into anything so I’m sure he’ll be kicking a ball around soon enough – hopefully in the new ground.” FC United submitted a planning application for a 5,000-capacity community stadium last month, and initially hoped to kick off the 2012/13 season in Moston.

The project has yet to be given the go-ahead, with the club still in talks with the council and local residents.

But Spencer will be keeping right up to speed with developments.

“Funnily enough, my mother-in-law’s involved with the architects that are designing the ground so I’m trying to get some inside information!” he said.

“I think everything’s moving forward, and if we can get our own home, it’ll be even better.”

It was tenants against landlords on Saturday for a pre-season friendly at Bury’s Gigg Lane, where FC United have played their home games since being formed in 2005.

Bury won 1-0 in Spencer’s second game since leaving Northwich Victoria and he already feels at home with the Rebels.

“Everyone’s welcomed me and my girlfriend’s looking forward to coming down and meeting everyone,” he added.

“That’s the feeling I get – that it’s a real family club.

“Everyone’s pushing in the same direction and wants to get promoted this season.”

Monday, July 25, 2011

Karl Marginson to keep adding

 Source: MEN

 Tony Glennon

 FC United boss Karl Marginson is adamant he won’t let the surprise departure of popular keeper Sam Ashton make him think twice about continuing to strengthen his squad.

Ashton has left FC to join fellow non-Leaguers Skelmersdale, ending a five-year stay in which he played a key role in helping the Rebels climb from the North West Counties League to Evo-Stik Premier.

The 24-year-old former Bolton reserve-teamer, who made 167 FC appearances and was a real fans’ favourite, quit after telling Marginson he was concerned about still being able to get regular first-team football in the wake of United’s recent capture of ex-Northwich keeper James Spencer.

Marginson said: “I can perfectly understand Sam’s reasons for leaving us, but we need to maintain a strong squad and I have to do what I think is best for FC United.

“On both a personal and professional level, I’m sorry to see Sam go, but I think competition for places is necessary if we’re to continue to move forward and the players we have got for this season are happy to fight for a starting spot.”

New Rebels keeper Spencer was in fine form against landlords Bury despite Mike Jones giving the Shakers a 1-0 victory at Gigg Lane.

Nicky Clee scored either side of half-time to give Altrincham a 2-0 win over a Tranmere XI in Mark Maddox’s testimonial.

Blue Square Premier side Stockport County, meanwhile, were 2-0 winners at Buxton as Dietmar Hamann notched his first win as Hatters manager. Meanwhile, Droylsden have signed midfielder Warren Peyton.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Avenue chief wishes he had held play-off semi-final at Valley Parade

 Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus

 3:30pm Friday 22nd July 2011

 By Ian Whiting

In the three years that Bob Blackburn has been the owner of Bradford Park Avenue, the club have gained promotion from UniBond Division One and then been involved in the play-offs for promotion from the Premier Division twice.

However, Blackburn says: “If I could go back in time, I would have asked to stage last season’s play-off semi-final against FC United of Manchester at Valley Parade. Their supporters had too much influence on the game at Horsfall.

“There were a couple of thousand of them and there were things being thrown on the pitch and flares going off on the terraces and everything.

"Our players had never witnessed anything like it and had one eye on the stands. You can’t win a football match like that, I wish we had switched it to a bigger venue - you never know, it might have meant a different outcome.”

The opening three Avenue pre-season friendlies have only whetted the appetite of Blackburn.

Their chief executive officer flew back into Britain a couple of weeks after the players had returned to training.

He was soon on the sidelines watching John Deacey putting the players through their paces and stated at the time that the new campaign could not ‘come quickly enough’ because he missed football so much through the summer.

After watching Avenue’s new-look squad play at Tadcaster Albion and then at home to Droylsden last week and in the Bradford friendly derby last night, Blackburn is looking forward to the new campaign even more.

The Avenue chief said: “I’m more confident this year than either of the last two and I think the stats speak for themselves. Everyone at the club works hard and we are knocking on the (promotion) door every season.

“John has built the nucleus of a very good side here and he now has a lot of lads who have played together for a few years.

"He is trying to add the right kind of people to that squad - ones that can fit in because we are a football-playing side.

“I’m really looking forward to it but that’s mainly because I’m a fan. Every supporter of every club up and down the land will feel exactly the same at this time of year.

"My boyhood club was Liverpool and I’m convinced they will challenge for the Premier League title, like I do every year. Maybe I’m just too involved as a fan, with Avenue and Liverpool, that it’s clouding my judgement but I certainly hope not.”

Blackburn, Avenue chairman John Dean and fellow director Kevin Hainsworth have ploughed a lot of time, energy and personal money into the club over the years.

The chief executive officer's building company Kelvic are the main sponsors and they have done extensive work at the council-owned Horsfall Stadium during the close season.

The board of directors know that the money and time they put into the ground is non refundable but they do it to ensure Avenue make the right impression for a club pushing for promotion to the Blue Square Bet North Division.

FC United stadium row turns into graffiti wars

 Source: North and East Manchester Advertiser

 Graffiti wars have broken out over FC United’s plans to build a new stadium.

Slogans have been daubed on walls across Moston both opposing and supporting the 5,000 capacity stadium.

Opposition to FC United’s plans has been mounting from residents concerned it will create parking chaos outside their homes.

But supporters of the site say it will create much-needed facilities for the area.

Both sides have condemned the graffiti.

One of the slogans daubed by people opposed to the scheme was ‘Love Glazer, Hate FC United.

And supporters of the plans have been using ‘reverse graffiti’ – blasting dirty walls with water using stencils – to write ‘M40 4FC’.

Moston Councillor Paul Murphy said: “Graffiti of any description is unacceptable.

“I condemn any graffiti from either side and will be reporting it to the council. I will make sure that the perpetrator is caught.”

Annette McGovern, from Residents United Residents’ Association, said: “We love our area and are totally opposed to graffiti of any sort.

“None of the members of RURA are responsible for it.”

The residents claim the stadium will devalue their homes and have mounted a major campaign against it. Plans for the 5,000 capacity stadium were submitted to Manchester council last week, and a decision is due to be taken in September.

Andy Walsh, general manager of FC United, said: “We condemn any graffiti at all no matter what form it takes.

“There has been a great deal of deliberate misinformation from the No campaign which has heightened anxieties in the area. We want to rectify that misinformation but this is not the right way to go about it.”

A Manchester council spokesman said: “We have never received a complaint about so-called reverse graffiti but will look carefully at any complaint and take appropriate action. All graffiti is detrimental to our neighbourhoods and we take a dim view of anyone involved in defacing property.”

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

New FC United sponsor won’t appear on shirts

 Source: How Do

 mxData has become the first principal sponsor of FC United of Manchester. However, due to the club’s constitution, the Wilmslow-based company's name won’t be appearing on any of the player’s shirts.

“I didn’t want to go down the normal sponsorship route of corporate facilities, or put our logo all over a club’s identity. I wanted something more meaningful than that,” said David James, the chief executive and founder of the mobile location services firm.

“I’ve long been keen to find and support a cause that offers a genuine community benefit the entire company can adopt and get behind – offering practical help and benefits as well as financial support.

“And when they told me I couldn’t have the mxData logo on the team shirt because of the club’s constitution, I decided they were the perfect fit.”

Andy Walsh, the general manager of the club, explained that the cash injection would enable it to do more community work and bid for grantss and funding.

“We’re not against sponsorship if it’s a sensible arrangement and used for the benefit of the club and its supporters.

“What we are against is putting commercial interests before those of the club, and we always want to work with organisations who understand this.”

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A year at the heart of their club, in their community

 Source: The Scottish Herald

 Duncan Hare

 IT seems peculiar and disheartening that in a country with such a rich history of people fighting for their right for self-determination – think Bannockburn, the Covenanters and Red Clydeside – the overwhelming majority of supporters of clubs up and down Scotland have no direct say in the running of those sporting and community institutions.

The idea of fan-ownership of clubs is nothing new; the 170,000 socios at Barcelona determine the future of the Catalan club through democratic elections, most Bundesliga sides have the supporters of the club as majority shareholders, around half of the teams in the Irish League are completely owned by fans, while closer to home St Mirren are working to set up a similar system of ownership.

The Paisley side are not the first in Scotland to pursue such an ambition. Stirling Albion – who last July became the first, and so far only, Scottish club to be owned entirely by their supporters – and Cliftonville, from Northern Ireland, competed in a specially arranged ‘fan-owned’ match for the Ladbrokes Cup at the weekend. Cliftonville secured a 3-2 victory to retain the trophy they won last year in a game with FC United of Manchester.

Some 2300 people make up the Stirling Albion Supporters Trust, under the adopted club motto of ‘Real Football for Real Fans’, with the innovative community scheme asking members, who famously include Cristiano Ronaldo, Andy Murray and his brother Jamie, to purchase a £45 stake in return for a direct say in how the club is run.

“If you’re up for election then members can say ‘we’re not going to vote for you’,” said Paul Goodwin, a director at the club. “That’s the power of democracy. We’ve always believed the club should play a greater role in the Stirling community. How do you define community? Well, before, we had never been in a school, never been involved with a charity because we were owned by an 83-year-old man [former owner Peter McKenzie] who didn’t have the energy to do those kinds of things.”

Now, the club are heavily involved with various local and national charities and also have 13 marketing students from the University of Stirling who contribute to each matchday programme. “It’s an essential part of our club,” added Goodwin. “What product do you know wouldn’t want to go out to their community and work with them?”

Fellow Stirling fan and Trust member David Ogilvie also endorsed the system. “Being involved with the Trust certainly makes you more inclined to volunteer, and you are more aware of the financial aspects of things at the club,” he said.

The Trust believe that the negative aspects of their fan-owned scheme, such as having to be overtly-transparent and the time-consuming practice of communicating to each and every member, are outweighed by the realisation that they, collectively, have the responsibility for their football club in their hands.

It is a view shared by Cliftonville treasurer Stephen McKillop. “We are the oldest club in Ireland, formed in 1879,” said McKillop. “We are a members club and always have been. If an Arab billionaire came along and offered us money, we’d say ‘fine, but you have to become a member and be elected chairman’. We’re happy with that and proud of that.”

Monday, July 18, 2011

Late goals prove costly for Rebels

 Source: MEN

 FC United let the Supporters Direct Cup slip from their grasp as they fell to two late goals against fellow Evo-Stik Premier fans’ club Chester at the Deva Stadium.

The Rebels appeared set to take the trophy when still leading through Lee Neville’s 31st minute headed strike with time running out.

But teenage Chester sub Joe Ormrod then smashed in a stunning equaliser with nine minutes left and FC scarcely had time to recover before Chester’s recent signing from Droylsden, Alex Brown, tapped in to give the hosts a 2-1 victory.

Police: Two Magpies games could be hi-jacked by thugs

 Source: Chorley Guardian

 Police chiefs and officials at Chorley FC are going on the offensive to tackle football hooligans.

The Evo-Stik League has just published its fixtures for 2011/12 and it is feared the home games against well-supported FC United on September 10 and Chester City on February 4, 2012, could be hi-jacked by troublemakers.

This year’s game between Chorley and Chester in February attracted a crowd of more than 3,000 – but was overshadowed by violent clashes between rival supporters, which resulted in a string of arrests.

Both teams got promoted to the Premier Division and there has already been talk on social media websites, including Twitter, of “carnage”.

As a result, the police have already pledged there will be a “significant presence” on the day, and that they will be holding urgent talks with the club.

Chief Insp Richard Robertshaw said: “Chorley FC is an extremely well-supported club and the vast majority of their supporters are well behaved and go solely to watch the football. The problems during last season’s match against Chester City have been well publicised and a number of people are now being processed through the court system.

“Both Chester City and FC United do have a big following, and we are in the process of drawing up plans for the matches.

“We’ll be meeting officials at Chorley FC to discuss both fixtures, but at this stage we are planning for a significant police presence at both matches. From our point of view we want to make sure the games pass off without trouble and all the talk is about the football.”

Chorley FC chairman Ken Wright said there was no place for troublemakers at Victory Park.

He said: “Last season we had a few people jumping on the bandwagon, but they’re not Chorley fans.

“These are the ones we have to guard against. As soon as the fixtures were released we planned to meet with the police and that’s what we’ll do. The problems against Chester City were well publicised and we don’t want a repeat.

“The games against FC United and Chester City are likely to be the ones with the biggest crowds.

“We’ve hosted FC United before without any trouble, but back then they brought around 1,500 fans and we had 300 supporters.

“Now we’ll probably get in excess of 1,000.

“It’s important to say that these are only two games in the season. We didn’t have any problem in our end-of-season play-offs, which attracted crowds close to 3,000.”

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Chester FC 2 FC United of Manchester 1: Blues fightback to win Supporters Direct

 Source: Chester Chronicle

 By Paul Wheelock

 TEENAGER Joe Ormrod enjoyed a dream debut as Chester staged a late fightback to beat their league rivals and claim their first silverware of the season.

The 16-year-old midfielder hammered home an unstoppable equaliser before fellow substitute Alex Brown tapped in to cap a dramatic comeback which ensured Neil Young’s men won the Supporters Direct Cup.

Young, however, was not entirely satisfied with the afternoon’s work. His biggest grievance was the reactions of his captain George Horan and star striker Michael Wilde after they were the victims of late challenges.

Both had cause for complaint but the Blues boss felt there could no excusing behaviour that would have seen the influential duo red-carded in a competitive fixture.

It has to be said, though, that at times this was a ‘friendly’ in only but name and there are sure to be a few scores to settle when the sides meet four games into the Evo-Stik League Premier Division season.

Lee Neville opened the scoring in the 31st minute but up until that point it was the hosts who looked the likelier as Wes Baynes twice stung the hands of James Spencer.

But a neat and tidy FC United team – whose line-up was close to their first-choice starting XI – weathered the storm and took the lead through left-back Neville, who headed home a Nicky Platt corner that Robbie Booth failed to clear.

Backed by a large and vocal support, the visitors began to dominate and Adam Judge did well to tip a Danny Stott 30-yard drive over the bar.

Chester’s response was to make eight changes at the break. Given the Manchester outfit began to follow suit shortly into the second half, it came as little surprise that the game died a death until a poor Martin Parker tackle on Wilde sparked the second melee of the afternoon.

Wilde, along with FC United captain Kyle Jacobs, was subsequently asked to leave the pitch. That gave Ormrod the chance to impress – and boy did he take it as he smashed in a stunning 22-yard strike into the top corner to level the contest in the 81st minute.

Three minutes later and the turnaround was complete.

A quick John Danby throw out found the marauding Mark Connolly, who advanced to the edge of the area before picking out Liam Brownhill.

It was the right pass and so was Brownhill’s as midfielder Brown had the simple task of stroking the ball into the net from four yards out.

And that was that, although Carlos Roca missed a glorious chance to equalise when he skipped past Danby but could only fire into the side-netting.

Chester FC: Judge (Danby 46), Stones (Brownhill 46), Horan, Taylor, C Williams (Marsh-Evans 46), Booth (Connolly 61), A Williams (Brown 46), Barnes (Powell 46), Baynes (Wright 46), Simm (Wilde 46, Ormrod 68)), Howard (Reed 46).

Goal: Ormrod 81, Brown 84.

FC United: Spencer, Jacobs (Grimshaw 68), Jones, Stott (Parker 60), Neville, Wolfenden, Platt (Holden 60), Cottrell, Metcalfe (Roca 46), Carrs (Battersby 60), Norton (Deegan 60). Subs: Ashton, Edwards, Devenney.

Goal: Neville 31.

Referee: M R Jones.

Attendance: 1,927.

Friday, July 15, 2011

FC Halifax Town’s new signing beat up his girlfriend

 Source: Halifax Courier

 Fans of FC Halifax Town were demanding answers today after one of their summer signings admitted beating up his girlfriend.

Scott McManus, 22, signed for the Shaymen from FC United of Manchester in May.

He has been given a 16-week sentence, suspended for two years, after pleading guilty to assault.

McManus carried out the vicious attack after he was sent off for violent conduct while playing for FC United in an FA Cup game against Brighton in December last year.

Salford magistrates heard he punched his girlfriend in the face, threatened to kill her and covered her head with a sheet as she struggled to breath.

Now fans want to know what action the club will take, if any.

Opinion on the club’s message board is split between those who think he should be sacked and others who think he should be given a second chance.

A message board one post read: “I’m usually all for giving people a second chance but domestic abuse betrays a lot about a person’s character.”

Another added: “He has only just been found guilty but I would hope the club act pretty strong over this.

Another poster said: “What is that for our young supporters as a role model?”

Other fans thought McManus deserved to be kept on at the club.

One said: “All I care about is how the lad performs on the pitch.

“His private life is his business. If he keeps his nose clean and performs well that’s good enough for me.”

Another said: “Give the lad a chance, I say. I couldn’t think of a better manager to try and help him turn his life around than Neil Aspin.”

And another added: “Are we are all saying the guy’s football career is over at 22 for a stupid mistake?”

McManus was also given a two-year supervision order and ordered to pay his former partner £500.

He is due to make his first home appearance for Town in their pre-season friendly against Scunthorpe tomorrow.”

FC United player assaulted girlfriend after costing side FA cup tie

 Source: Daily Mirror

 A FOOTBALLER sent off for elbowing an opponent returned home after the game and attacked his girlfriend.

Scott McManus, 22, got drunk after FC ­United’s FA Cup clash with Brighton, Salford magistrates heard.

He returned to the home he shared with his partner, 20, in Prestwich, Manchester, and when she quizzed him over why he wanted to sleep apart, he hit her, using a duvet to muffle her cries.

Former Man United trainee McManus admitted assault and got a 16-week suspended prison sentence.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Big gate expected for Boro opener

 Source: Staffordshire Newsletter

 STAFFORD Rangers are set for a bumper opening day in the Evo Stik Premier League after new fixtures released yesterday gave them a home clash against FC United of Manchester on August 13.

In terms of travelling support they do not come much bigger than FC United, a club formed in 2005 by supporters of Manchester United dissatisfied following Malcolm Glazer’s controversial takeover at Old Trafford.

The Marston Road big kick-off could well attract a 2,000 plus gate, which will be much welcomed by Rangers, who have struggled financially these past few years.

FC United were promoted as champions in their first two seasons in the North West Counties League (division two and one), then won the play-offs in the NPL division one (North) the following year.

This will be their fourth campaign in the Evo-Stik league premier (NPL) having finished sixth, 13th and fourth last term before missing out in the play-offs at the hands of Colwyn Bay.

Rangers, who this week confirmed additional signings in former midfielder Kevin Street and ex-Newcastle Town striker Neville Thompson (both noncontract), face a six-match opening month to the league programme, including a trip to local rivals Hednesford Town on Bank Holiday Monday (Aug 29).

Over the Christmas period they will visit Nantwich Town on Boxing Day, with the return on Easter Monday, while receiving the Pitmen on January 2.

Another big crowd is expected when Chester FC visit on September 24.

In the FA Cup draw, Rangers hit the trail in the first qualifying round on September 17, with an away tie against one of four clubs, Castle Vale, Heath Hayes, Bloxwich United or AFC Wulfrunians.

Rangers also enter the FA Trophy at the same stage (Oct 22) and an intriguing tie is on the cards, with the club drawn away to new manager Greg Clowes’ old team- Newcastle Town or Daventry-based Woodford United.

Opening month’s league fixtures Aug 13 v FC United of Manchester (h), 17 v Worksop Town (a), 20 v Stocksbridge PS (a), 23 v Chorley (h), 27 v Whitby Town (h), 29 v Hednesford Town (a).

See for full fixture card.

FC United go with Cobbetts on 'Punk Finance' concept

 Source: Football Trade Directory

 Northern Premier League club FC United of Manchester have teamed up with law firm Cobbetts to work on 'punk finance', a concept which allows community groups and societies raise funds without the need to lend large amounts of money from banks.

The groundbreaking scheme comes after FC United raised £1.5m for their stadium development by raising capital through share issues, in exhange for shareholders having a say in how operations are run.

It is hoped that FC United's model can be copied by many other smaller organisations and in partnership with Cobbetts they have produced a pamphlet which promotes the 'punk finance' model.

Speaking on the Manchester Evening News website, FC United General Manager Andy Walsh said: "FC United was established to create a better way of running football clubs. Finance and governance problems dog the sport, and new financial and business models are needed which give clubs greater stability.

"The governance of the game would be vastly improved if clubs were run as clubs with supporters given a more central role.

"The community shares model we have developed with Co-ops UK and the legal framework that we have put together with Cobbetts offers a route to financial stability.

"Punk Finance is about clubs raising finance for themselves instead of looking to outside ‘investors’ who put their own interest before that of the club.

"Our own success in raising finance has shown what can be achieved even at a time of economic uncertainty and provides a model for others who care about football as a sport and community enterprise."

Matt Morris
14th July 2011, 12:18

FC United of Manchester clash centrepiece of Supporters Direct Fans’ Weekend

 Source: Chester Chronicle

 By Paul Wheelock

 CHESTER FCs pre-season friendly with FC United of Manchester on Saturday is the centrepiece of a footballing conference which will bring one of the sports leading officials to the city.

UEFAs William Gaillard is the star attraction of the annual Fans Weekend this year held in Chester and hosted by Supporters Direct the organisation which helped set up fan-owned clubs like the Blues and FC United.

Gaillard, a special advisor to UEFA president Michel Platini, will tomorrow deliver a keynote speech at The Queen Hotel on City Road before the focus switches to the Exacta Stadium when Chester do battle with their league rivals for the Supporters Direct Cup (3pm).

But even though there is silverware at stake, Blues boss Neil Young and his FC United counterpart Karl Marginson are likely to treat the match with caution.

When the Evo-Stik League Premier Division fixtures were released yesterday the clubs discovered they will meet just four games into the season. Therefore it seems highly unlikely either manager will want to show his hand.

A marquee will be erected in the car park at the Exacta alongside a bar and a barbecue and from noon onwards speakers including leading football journalist David Conn will give talks.

Chester director Jeff Banks said: Chester FC are extremely proud that Supporters Direct have chosen Chester as the centrepiece for this years Fans Weekend. We received tremendous support from the organisation when reforming the club and we wouldnt have enjoyed much of the success that we have experienced if it hadnt have been for their help.

Its also fantastic that two of our directors, Chris Pilsbury and Mark Howell, have been invited to speak.

Admission to the match is s10 adults, s7 concessions and s4 juniors with a percentage going to Supporters Direct and the Homeless World Cup.

For more information on the Supporters Direct Fans Weekend, which includes a comedy night at The Queen Hotel hosted by Chester-born comedian Bob Mills, see

Airbus UK Broughton: Wingmakers disappointed after FC United defeat

 Source: The Flintshire Chronicle

 By David Triggs

 Airbus UK Broughton 1 FC Utd of Manchester 4

A STUNNING debut goal from Glenn Rule was one of the few highlights of a ring-rusty pre-season display from Airbus as FC United eased to a well-deserved win.

The Manchester visitors, cheered on by a large contingent of noisy supporters, netted two goals in each half in Saturday’s friendly.

Summer signing Rule, a former Chester City midfielder, provided some cheer for the home fans, blasting home a superb 20-yard free-kick in first-half injury time.

But the FC United goal was rarely threatened on afternoon when Airbus director of football Craig Harrison gave a run-out to his entire first-team squad, while also blooding several youngsters.

FC United, of the Evo-Stik League Premier Division, went 2-0 up courtesy of a couple of sharp headers from Scott Metcalfe and Nicky Platt.

Rule’s thunderbolt halved the deficit but the visitors added two goals in the final 15 minutes, Ben Deegan side-footing home before Matthew Woolfenden curled a left-footed shot into the top corner.

Airbus’ line-up included several new faces, including right-back Danny Taylor, a 19-year-old from Deeside who has played in the Football League for Shrewsbury Town.

Exciting young striker Mark Jones, 17, who played for Bodedern in the Welsh Alliance last season, was among the second-half subs used by Harrison.

Airbus’ next first-team friendly is at home to Luton Town of the Blue Square Premier next Tuesday (July 19).

Kick-off at the Airfield is 7.45pm and admission is £6 for adults, £3 for concessions. For under 16s, the prices are £1 (accompanied) and £3 (unaccompanied).

Footballer punched girlfriend in the face after he was sent off in FA Cup match

 Source: MEN

 Richard Wheatstone

 An FC United player punched his girlfriend in the face and smothered her cries with a duvet after being sent off in a crucial FA Cup tie.

Scott McManus, 22, left his terrified 20-year-old partner fearing for her life during the vicious attack, a court heard.

He had been on a boozy night out after his dismissal in FC United’s second round clash with Brighton.

McManus, of Woodward Road, Prestwich, felt he had cost his side victory in the 1-1 draw after being shown a red card for violent conduct, magistrates in Salford heard.

The former Manchester United trainee launched the attack after returning to the Salford home he shared with his partner and their baby daughter.

Steve Woodman, prosecuting, said: "While the sheet was covering her face she was struggling to breathe, all she could think about was that she was going to die. He told her he would kill her if she called the police and that if he couldn’t get to see their daughter again he’d make sure she couldn’t either."

McManus pleaded guilty to common assault and was handed a 16-week custodial sentence, suspended for two years, a five-year restraining order, a two-year supervision order. He was also ordered to pay £500 in compensation to his former partner.

Martin Jones, defending, said: "When he got home he decided it would be best if they slept separately and that he would leave her to her own devices. Unfortunately she was suspicious and upon confronting him did not believe what she was being told. She took considerable exception to this and unfortunately things degenerated from there."

McManus had been sent off for elbowing an opponent. FC United had been leading 1-0 in what had been billed as the biggest game in the non-league club’s history. His side conceded a late equaliser and missed out on a money-spinning third round tie after losing the replay 4-0.

McManus has since signed for FC Halifax Town.

Det Con Nicola Wood, from Salford CID, said: "I want to praise the victim for having the courage to call police immediately and report her ordeal.

"Rather than suffer in silence for years and risk becoming a repeat victim, she bravely stood up to McManus and thanks to her we were able to prosecute him. I would like to take this opportunity to reach out to other people who may be victims of domestic abuse and urge them to come forward, both for themselves and for the sake of any children they may have.

"GMP has specially-trained domestic abuse officers who can support them throughout the criminal and judicial processes and there is also a wide variety of other organisations out there that can offer support and advice."

If you are a victim of domestic abuse or know something who may be suffering, you can call GMP on 0161 872 5050 or visit for information. The National Domestic Violence Helpline can be reached on 0808 2000 247 or you can also call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.

FC United teams up with Cobbetts

 Source: MEN

 FC United of Manchester has teamed up with law firm Cobbetts to help other community enterprises raise cash without going into debt.

The model, dubbed “punk finance,” creates a legal framework for community benefit societies to generate working capital through share issues, rather than lending.

It allows people to pledge money to enterprises the believe in, in exchange for a say in their operations.

The structure is the same used by FC United to raise capital for its ground-breaking stadium development.

Devised with advice from Manchester-based Co-operatives UK, it allowed the club to raise £1.5m from people who have a voice in shaping the organisation’s future through the one-member-one-vote democratic system.

Now, FC United has teamed-up with lawyers in Cobbett's Manchester office and Mutuo, an body representing mutual organisations across the UK, to draw-up the framework, so it can be followed by others.

They have produced a pamphlet called Punk Finance, written by Cobbetts partner Kevin Jaquiss and FC United general manager Andy Walsh.

Jaquiss said: “As the coalition government’s policies work themselves through, some significant public sector services will come to be delivered by employee and community led enterprises. If people are going to do things for themselves they will need capital.

“The success of FC United is a great example of how the punk finance model allows people to support sustainable projects that have positive social impacts in local communities.”

Walsh said: “FC United was established to create a better way of running football clubs. Finance and governance problems dog the sport, and new financial and business models are needed which give clubs greater stability.

“The governance of the game would be vastly improved if clubs were run as clubs with supporters given a more central role.

“The community shares model we have developed with Co-ops UK and the legal framework that we have put together with Cobbetts offers a route to financial stability.

“Punk Finance is about clubs raising finance for themselves instead of looking to outside ‘investors’ who put their own interest before that of the club.

“Our own success in raising finance has shown what can be achieved even at a time of economic uncertainty and provides a model for others who care about football as a sport and community enterprise.”

Monday, July 11, 2011

FC United’s new ground plans submitted to council

 Source: MEN

 Exclusive by Pamela Welsh and Mike Keegan

 FC United have officially submitted plans for a new 5,000-capacity stadium.

The controversial bid would see a £3.5m stadium built on the Ronald Johnson playing fields in Moston.

Some neighbours living on nearby St Mary’s Road had opposed the move, claiming the stadium would lead to parking chaos. But FC United have now included a park-and-ride scheme to ease their concerns.

Supporters who travel by car would park at sites in north Manchester – including Central Park and local schools - and get a shuttle bus to the ground.

The move comes after the club held meetings to get the opinion of local people. Club bosses also delivered 10,000 leaflets to homes across the area.

FC United general manager Andy Walsh said: "There has been some opposition to the proposal from residents, mostly regarding parking and noise.

"But we have worked hard to address these concerns in our plans and if we get permission to build we will prove to residents that we are determined to be good neighbours. We have also found a lot of support for the development among Moston residents who would welcome the additional community amenities our development would bring."

The £3.5m plan include two youth pitches for Moston Juniors, who currently lease the playing fields from Manchester council, with the opportunity to play major matches in the stadium. There will also be a full-sized artificial pitch, and a medical room managed by club physios which would be open to the public.

The club is negotiating with the Charities Commission for permission to use part of the site which is covered by a charitable covenant.

Joanne Hilton, who is leading opposition to the plans, said: "There is a convenant on that land and it needs to remain green. If FC United come here it will cause chaos with the parking."

There will now be a consultation with residents before planning bosses make a decision – expected in September.

July 11, 2011

Friday, July 08, 2011

Plans in for £3.5m FC United ground

 Source: Place North West

 FC United of Manchester submitted a planning application on Friday for its new 5,000-capacity community stadium in Moston.

The application was submitted after the club's drop-in sessions in the area found a mixture of support for the development, designed by Taylor Young, together with some concerns over parking in particular.

"There has been some opposition to the proposal from residents, mostly regarding parking and noise," said Andy Walsh, FC United's general manager.

"But we have worked hard to address these concerns in our plans and if we get permission to build we will prove to residents that we are determined to be good neighbours.

"For example, our submission includes proposals on a sustainable travel plan, including park and ride and park and walk schemes.

"We have also found a lot of support for the development among Moston residents who would welcome the additional community amenities our development would bring."

The club is continuing to work with Moston Juniors FC - the current leaseholder on the Ronald Johnson Playing Fields site - about how the two organisations would work together and develop the facilities, if permission is granted.

There will now be a formal consultation period with residents about the proposal before Manchester City Council's planning committee considers the application - likely to be at its September meeting. FC United is also working with the Charities Commission to apply for permission to use part of the site that is covered by a charitable covenant.

The club has already run six drop-in sessions across Moston to explain the plans to residents and answer their questions. The club has also delivered a series of leaflets to more than 10,000 homes in the area to explain the community benefits its stadium would bring.

FC United's proposals for the development include a 5,000 capacity stadium, community changing facilities and classroom, a function space open for public bookings, three additional community pitches and landscaped public areas.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Exciting times for the Co-op - it even flourishes in hard times

 Source: MEN

 As targets go, getting a third of the population to join your movement seems fairly ambitious.

But that’s the goal set by the Co-operative Group, which hopes to have 20 million people signed-up to its dividend scheme by 2020.

At the start of this year, the figure stood at six million members.

Although it’s early days, things are heading in the right direction, with the Manchester-based mutual revealing to Business Week it has already signed-up a nearly 250,000 extra people since it launched a major recruitment drive in February.

Tripling the Co-op’s membership is just one of a series of tough targets set by chief executive Peter Marks, including its most radical ethical plan to date, which is made up of 47 separate aims.

They range from rendering the group’s operations carbon neutral by 2012 to the launch of a £20m fund to help co-operatives around the world get off the ground.

And the Co-op has embarked on one of its most challenging projects to date, as it aims to transform a 20-acre section of Manchester into a new retail, office and residential quarter, where its own new headquarters will be housed.

The group hopes the £800m NOMA scheme, which will even involve a dual-carriageway being re-routed, will ‘open up’ a new destination to the public for the first time.

But, as any of the organisation’s senior management team will tell you, pulling off ambitious challenges is part of the Co-op’s culture.

It started-out in 1844 when a group of 28 Rochdale workers, tired of seeing their families friends and neighbours exploited, decided to set up their own, new type of business, which distributed a share of profits to members through a ‘divi’.

Today, the group has more than 15 separate divisions, from food to funerals and banking to pharmacies, with underlying profits of £545.7m, on a combined annual turnover of £13.7bn, which outstrips any other organisation in the region.

Employing 114,000 staff, it operates more than 5,000 retail outlets, distributes 53bn prescriptions a year, has 800 funeral homes and 360 travel agencies.

All that makes it the world’s largest co-operative to be owned by its own customers.

The Co-op’s unique structure makes it one of the few businesses to have flourished in the credit crunch and come out fighting.

And, amid national Co-operatives Fortnight, it seems more and more of us are following suit, with latest figures revealing membership of mutuals has shot-up by 18 per cent since 2008.

“What we think we are very good at is long-term thinking and planning,” says the Co-op’s head of social goals Paul Monaghan.

“That is because we don’t have the same pressure to deliver short-term results to shareholders.

“Even in the recession, we have been growing and we have grown in an ethical way.

“What we are finding is more people are turning to the old Co-op as they know it but also that other people are considering the co-operative model as a way to do business. They can see that the two largest football clubs in the world – Real Madrid and Barcelona – are fan-owned and that is just one example.”

While the rest of the business world has suffered the effects of the recession, the downturn has proved to be a catalyst for an economic renaissance at the Co-op.

Two key events gave the business a major boost, the first of which was its merger with United Co-operatives in 2007, which delivered an extra £70m of profit to the Co-op in the first year and gave it capital for further investment in retail stores.

Following that was the 2008 acquisition of the Somerfield chain, which was integrated into the Co-op’s food retail division, adding 3,000 grocery stores.

Twelve months later, the Britannia building society was merged into the Co-operative’s finance arm.

Not content with doubling sales, profits and membership numbers against a tough economic backdrop, the group was eager to maintain ‘clear blue water’ between itself and its competitors when it comes to its ethical credentials.

“It got to the stage when we thought we had to reinvigorate our approach to ethics,” says Monaghan.

“We felt a lot of our competitors had stepped up their games and we needed to respond and, in the context of doubling our sales and membership, we felt we were in good enough economic shape to take the next step.”

That led to the formation of the Co-op’s Ethical Operating plan, which set out 47 targets, all of which will be reviewed and re-assessed each year.

The plan was launched in February and Monaghan is pleased to report it is already having an impact. Quarterly research carried out on behalf of the group’s banking and retail arms recently showed it has widened the gap between itself and its nearest rival in terms of the public perception of its ethical policies.

A key strand of the Co-op’s ethical plan is to spread the word to others. Specific actions include investing £11m between now and 2013 to support the growth of co-operatives throughout the country. FC United of Manchester, owned and run by fans, has already received support.

Next year, it will spend £1m to help celebrate the United Nations’ Year of Co-operatives, while a £20m international Co-operative Development Fund is being set-up.

Included in the ethical plan is the NOMA development, which will deliver 4m sq ft of mixed-use space and the group aims for it to be the biggest sustainable construction development in Europe.

Just one illustration of this is the fact the fuel used to generate all the site’s energy will come from rape seed oil grown on the Co-op’s farms.

Staying true to its ethical roots has seen the Co-op adopt a ‘tortoise and hare’ strategy to overtake its competitors, who lost the trust of their customers during the downturn, explains Richard Wilcox, of the Co-operative Bank’s social banking unit.

The team, which provides finance to charities, social housing companies, credit unions and those engaged in renewable energy projects, has more than doubled in size since 2007, now employing 40.

One of its key pledges is a commitment to lend £1bn to renewable energy projects by 2013. One recent example was a scheme in New Mills, Derbyshire, where £60,000 was provided to a co-operative wanting to operate its own hydro-electricity system, which is used to power the local Co-op store.

“We’re in the market for more than just financial return,” says Mr Wilcox.

“But we also recognise that this is a market that will grow and grow, so that is why we spent more time than perhaps other people would understanding how the scheme worked, so it can be rolled-out in other places.

“We can take that longer-term view because we are not driven by institutional shareholders, who want half-yearly returns.

“And we are able to work with these organisations because we genuinely understand what they are all about because we are a mutual ourselves.

“We are not necessarily doing anything different than we have done in the past but there has been a definite flight of trust towards us.

“We have definitely seen that halo effect across the whole of the banking division, not just in terms of lending to charities and the third sector.

“People are recognising that we have a model that they want because they no longer trust the failed busted flushes of the other banks.”

*What's in store at the £800m NOMA development....

1. The City Building will become the luxurious Hotel Indigo, which will include a Marco Pierre White restaurant and is set to open in autumn 2012.

2. Two buildings on the corner of Corporation Street and Balloon Street to be converted into 106,000 sq ft of grade A office accommodation. Completion by second half of 2013.

3. The Co-op's existing space in New Century House to be refurbished and brought to market when all staff have moved out, starting September 2012.

4. CIS Tower still to be occupied by the banking division, though parts may eventually be brought to market. The Co-op has the capacity to fund the revamp itself if necessary.

5. The Co-op's new HQ will house 4,000 of its staff and will be complete in September 2012.

6. Major new car park planned. Access to be gained from the inner ring-road, which is set to be re-routed.

7. Plot next to Angel Meadows has been identified as one of main areas for residential development.

8. Land opposite the CIS Tower, on the site of the former Arkwright's Mill earmarked for mixed-use development, comprising retail, residential and office space. Talks are underway with potential developers.

9. Space north of the CIS Tower is likely to be turned into office space, with a call centre one of the options being considered.

Welsh Premier League: Airbus UK Broughton ready for FC United of Manchester

 Source: Chester Chronicle

 AIRBUS UK Broughton truly get their pre-season preparations under way on Saturday when they welcome Chester FC’s league rivals FC United of Manchester to the Airfield (3pm).

The Wingmakers, who beat lower-league Ruthin Town 7-0 in a low-key friendly on Tuesday, have been given a boost on the eve of the clash by the news that three key players have committed their futures to the club.

Right-back Ryan Edwards and centre-back Matty Woodward have signed one-year contracts while midfielder Danny Desormeaux has put pen to paper on a two-year deal.

Airbus director of football Craig Harrison has also convinced the versatile Mark Cadwallader to return to the club from Rhyl, as well as signing Cefn Druids midfielder Josh Griffiths and former Tranmere Rovers youth team striker Ross Rule, who is the younger brother of fellow new boy and former Chester City defender Glenn.

Two more new arrivals, Craig Whitfield (2) and Mike Hayes, were on target in the convincing victory over Huws Gray Alliance outfit Ruthin.

Hat-trick hero Ian Sheridan and Paul McManus shared the rest of the strikes for the Wingmakers, who will kick-off their Welsh Premier League campaign at home to Port Talbot Town on Saturday, August 13.

But first up for Harrison’s men is the visit of FC United.

Admission for Saturday’s friendly costs £6 for adults, £3 for concessions and £1 for under 16s accompanied by an adult.

Airbus will also host Luton Town, Morecambe and a Wolverhampton Wanderers XI in pre-season.

Monday, July 04, 2011


 Source: edited from: MEN.

 ...snip... SCP has also been appointed to support an application for FC United’s stadium in Moston.