Saturday, April 21, 2012

Northwich Victoria fans' protest is supported by their FC United of Manchester counterparts

FC United of Manchester
followers supporter their
Vics counterparts during
Saturday's protest.
Picture: Paul Simpson.
 Source: Northwich Guardian

 FOOTBALL supporters called for change in how their favourite club is run at a protest during their team’s final match of the season on Saturday.

Northwich fans held aloft red cards to show their anger at how the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League outfit, expelled from the competition last week, has been managed in recent seasons.

Followers of their opponents and hosts, FC United of Manchester, sang their support during the contest at Bury’s Gigg Lane.

Vics owner Jim Rushe, sat metres away from fans of his club, responded by taking a piece of the same coloured card from his pocket and waving his while they did.

He had earlier repeated the gesture before the game while stood pitch side.

Northwich fan Mark Riding organised the demonstration, dubbed the 1874 Protest in reference to the year in which Vics were formed.

“I’ve got huge respect for the FC United fans for taking part and supporting our message,” he said afterwards.

“There were many more than just me involved in the protest’s organisation in the end, and I’m grateful to everybody that helped.”

He arranged for fans to raise their red cards after 18 minutes of the Premier Division encounter.

They did exactly that, Vics fans chanted ‘We want change’ while hundreds of their FC United counterparts replied with cries of ‘Green Army’ in reference to the visitors’ traditional colours.

The message was the same when the clock reached 74 minutes, this time the Rebels’ fans responding with cries of ‘Take control’.

It was then that Mr Rushe, laughing, held aloft his red card.

He left the ground with his family shortly afterwards.

Not all Northwich supporters at the game took part in the protest, trying instead to drown out fellow fans with slogans of their own.

Vics, who lost the match 4-1, were kicked out of the league last Friday after officials found the club guilty of breaking finance rules.

The team has been barred from playing in the promotion play-offs as part of the punishment.

An FA panel listens to the club’s appeal on Tuesday.

By Andrew Simpson