Thursday, May 31, 2012

Marine FC Youth title after breaching player regulations

 Source: Crosby Herald

 MARINE Football Club’s youth team have missed out on becoming champions of the North West Youth Alliance League after being deducted points.

The club has confirmed that the youth team have been deducted 12 points in relation to breaches of discipline following disciplinary hearings that have taken place at the Liverpool County FA.

Officials at the club expressed their disappointment at the ruling, which means Marine Youth FC have now finished third in the league.

Six points have been deducted for fielding an ineligible player on two occasions and a further six points have therefore been forfeited for the points gained in those two games.

A further three point deduction has been made for the breach being on two occasions.

As a consequence of the 15 points deduction the youth team have finished in third place in the North West Youth Alliance Premier Division, organisers of which yesterday confirmed FC United of Manchester as champions and Altrincham as runners-up.

The youth side had enjoyed an incredible season, finishing top after a string of impressive displays.

Marine FC’s youth team chairman Colin Begbie expressed his disappointment at the deduction, particularly as many of the players will be too old to play for the team next season.

He said: “As far as I am aware it was an accidental breach.

“It’s unfortunate and these things happen but at the end of the day they’ve been found out and that’s it.

“They have broken the rules and have got to abide by them.

“It’s just disappointing and disappointing for the lads.

“I am sure a few of them of gutted.

“We have just got to move on and do it again next year.”

It is believed the incident concerned a player sent of in a cup match at Bradford last year playing before his suspension had run out.

Marine FC’s youth team had finished four points clear at the top of the league, with FC United of Manchester behind them and Altrincham in third.

Now the side have slipped to third in the league.

Within hours of the news breaking messages on the club website revealed disappointment over the deduction, with one fan posting: “Very disappointed to hear this news.

“You've got to say, the lads are going to be gutted now that all that hard work and effort they've put in is going to count for nothing.

“From first place to third place, I really am heartbroken for everyone in the Youth Team.”

by Joe Thomas, Crosby Herald

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Tributes to ex-Boston United winger Ludovic Quistin, who was killed four days after his 28th birthday

 Source: Boston Standard

 TRIBUTES have been paid to ‘popular’ former Boston United winger Ludovic Quistin, who was killed in a motor vehicle accident.

The winger - an ex-Guadeloupe international - is reported to have been killed in a road traffic accident on Monday, just four days after his 28th birthday.

“He was a very decent lad and a good, talented footballer,” said Boston United general manager John Blackwell.

Quistin joined Boston at the start of the 2007-08 season, joining Tommy Taylor’s rebuilding of the club following their double demotion from the Football League into the Blue Square Bet North.

He made six appearances before moving on to Swindon Supermarine.

He later turned out against United for Hednesford Town and FC United of Manchester.

And Blackwell said that on his return to York Street with the latter, his affinity with the club was still evident.

He added: “When he came back he still showed an interest in the club.

“He wanted to know how things were going and how we progressed.

“He was always popular here.”

Quistin is reported to have been killed in a road traffic accident in Bouliqui on the Grande Terre Island on Monday.

He was capped nine times by his country.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Grecians confirm friendly dates

 Source: Eurosport

 Exeter will host FC United of Manchester and Millwall in pre-season friendlies this summer.

FC United, formed in 2005 as a breakaway club by disillusioned Manchester United fans following the controversial takeover at Old Trafford by the Glazer family, will visit St James Park on July 21. It will be the first meeting between the two clubs.

Championship side Millwall are the opponents two weeks later on August 4.

The Lions last visited in November 2009, when a late Adam Stansfield goal earned Exeter a point in League One.

Monday, May 28, 2012

FC United of Manchester wins Community Club of the Year award

 Source: Rochdale Online

 Supporter-owned football club FC United of Manchester is celebrating after being named Football Foundation Community Club of the Year in this year’s National Game Awards, organised by The Non-League Paper.

The prestigious award was decided by a panel of judges from The Non-League Paper following the compilation of a shortlist based on supporters’ nominations. FC United, who play in the Northern Premier League Premier Division, overcame stiff competition from all non-league clubs to take the award, and the achievement is a testament to the hard work done by all FC United supporters, volunteers, staff, players and those with whom the club works in the local community.

Announcing the award, Stuart Hammonds from The Non-League Paper highlighted FC’s work on initiatives like Big Coat Day, which collected over six tons of warm weather clothing for the homeless, the club’s wellbeing project working with older people and initiatives working with children in care. Hammonds also praised the overall ethos of the club for striving to make a difference in everything it does, and this was displayed recently as FC United supporters raised over £1.6m from a community share scheme to help fund the club’s new football ground and community sports facility in Moston.

Commenting on winning the award, FC United general manager Andy Walsh said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive national recognition for the community work we do. We have a team of volunteer and paid coaches that includes some of our own fans, some of our players and our coaching staff including manager Karl Marginson. There are good community schemes all over the place but our approach is unique as it’s not all about FC United. We work with other community groups to access opportunities and that makes the whole community stronger,” said Walsh.

Walsh also spoke of the importance of the community share scheme. He said: “At a time where sponsorship is hard to come by and ground funding is very difficult to get, the community share scheme presents big opportunities. It has also given confidence to other funders such as the Football Foundation, Sport England and Manchester City Council, to put some money in themselves to help us achieve our ambition,” said Walsh. “We’ve always said that if you involve supporters at the heart of a football club and give them responsibility and ownership of the club, that faith will be repaid in handfuls.

“Winning the Football Foundation Community Club of the Year award is a brilliant achievement for FC United and it will inspire the club and its supporters to do even more in the months and years ahead. Thank you to everyone who has made winning this award possible – we couldn’t have done it without you,” Walsh concluded.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Trial for FC United’s new womens team

 Source: North East Manchester Advertiser

 Trials for the new FC United of Manchester women’s football team will be taking place on Sunday 10 June.

They are from 11am until 1pm at The Manchester College Nichols campus, which is just off Hyde Road, Manchester M12 6BA. Women footballers over 16 years of age are welcome at the trials.

The new FC United women’s team will be playing in the Greater Manchester Women’s Football League next season and will be managed jointly by John Marsden and Lee Sutton.

Sutton said: "Since we announced that FC United would be forming a women’s team for next season, the response has been brilliant.

"John and I are hoping that the interest will result in an excellent attendance at the trials."

Marsden is a former manager at Birkdale United Ladies and Sutton is the manager of Denton Girls.

Both have valuable coaching knowledge and experience in women’s football and both are looking forward to building a competitive team at FC United next season.

Marsden said: "I’m personally delighted that FC United will have a women’s team next season. It will be good for the club and it adds to our vision of working in and across all communities."

Manchester FA’s Get into Football strategic football manager, Fiona Callaghan, added: "This is a welcome boost for women’s football especially in the north of the city of Manchester.

"Football is the biggest team sport for females in England at the present time, so if clubs within the male game such as FC United with their passion and track record in community football are looking to create new teams, inevitably it will enable more women to play competitive football and further raise the profile of the game."

FC United star man Adam Jones has no regrets

 Source: North East Manchester Advertiser

 FC United's newly-crowned fans’ player of the season Adam Jones insists he has no regrets about joining the Rebels – despite having suffered promotion heartbreak for the fifth year running.

Centre-half Jones’s debut campaign with FC ended just as his previous four had at Curzon Ashton – with defeat in the play-offs.

But, having been chosen by United’s fanatical supporters as the club’s top performer of 2011/12, the towering defender is adamant he made the right choice in swapping the Tameside Stadium for Gigg Lane.

Jones said: "Even though the season didn’t end the way we’d hoped, it was still really enjoyable for me personally.

"I’m not one for change, so leaving Curzon after six years was a big decision, but the way I was welcomed by everyone here was amazing and it has been fantastic for me ever since.

"Being named supporters’ player of the season is the icing on the cake and it has left me with a massive sense of achievement. FC United, as everyone knows, is all about the fans, so for me to have been singled out by them is really special.

"I can’t describe how it feels when they sing my name – it means so much."

Meanwhile, winger Carlos Roca has also spoken of his delight at being voted player of the year by FC’s junior fans.

He said: "This award means an awful lot to me because I try to be an exciting player and to do things which are a little bit out of the ordinary. Sometimes they come off, sometimes they don’t.

"But if our young supporters enjoy watching me that’s really great because hopefully it will inspire a few of them to try to play the same way."

Roca’s 25-yard screamer in FC’s FA Trophy victory over Altrincham was chosen as the club’s goal of the season by the Didsbury and Withington branch of the Rebels’ supporters’ club.

Striker Matthew Wolfenden was voted player of the year by his team-mates, while keeper James Spencer, who missed the Evo-Stik Premier play-off final defeat to Bradford Park Avenue with an injured hand, was manager Karl Marginson’s choice as FC’s star turn.

Spencer, Jones and skipper Kyle Jacobs each collected other branch awards while FC’s under-18s boss Dave Brown named James Brooks as his top player, with Alex Stones carrying off the players’ player prize.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Promotion puts us back on map, says Bradford Park Avenue chief Hainsworth as young and old join celebrations

Fans of all ages applaud
the players after victory
over FC United of
 Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus

 A lifelong supporter of the club, it was an emotional and humbling experience for Avenue director Kevin Hainsworth to see the club finally gain promotion to the Blue Square Bet North and he expects it to raise the club’s profile.

Hainsworth said: “I have been a fan all my life and it was nice to see a lot of people my age and above, who remembered Avenue in the Football League, celebrating after the win over FC United. A lot of them were on the pitch at the end with tears in their eyes.

“Since we reformed we have had an older level of support but it was great to see a lot of younger people at the play-off final and they have been getting on board more and more recently. A lot of them were asking about season tickets for next year.”

The Bradford fans mobbed scorer Tom Greaves when he netted the winner deep into extra-time and had to be ushered back into the stands by the army of stewards. At the final whistle they swarmed back out to celebrate with their heroes.

FC United’s supporters were also on the pitch and even though they lost it was all very good natured and they too were congratulating their own players on taking the promotion race all the way.

Hainsworth added: “I have to say that 99.9 per cent of the FC United fans are phenomenal and they love their football.

“It has been a pleasure sharing the last few seasons in the same division and I hope we stay up because I’m sure the Manchester side will be joining us soon.

“They made it a great atmosphere and quite a lot of them were saying we deserved it because we were the better side on the day. That’s fantastic and it’s what you get at this level because it’s not as partisan as the Football League. You get good banter before and during the games but all the fans share a pint and chat afterwards.”

Avenue were founder members of the Conference North, which is now the Blue Square Bet North thanks to the sponsorship of the online betting company. Hainsworth remembers that brief sojourn, and so will Greaves.

“It couldn’t have been anybody better than Greavesy to score the goal that put us up,” said the club director.

“I remember him coming through as an 18-year-old and that was in the Conference North under Carl Shutt. We got relegated and he left us shortly after Shutty did and played for a few other clubs but things have come full circle and I’m glad for Tom because he is a Bradford lad.

“It hasn’t been easy and it has taken a lot of hard work and finance (gaining promotion following a third play-off campaign on the spin) but it has been worth it. One of the criticisms we have had is that not a lot of people know that Avenue are still around. That has all changed now.”

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Manchester divided: United and City fans on football's power shift

 Edited from The Observer

 With City favourites to claim the Premier League title, the city's football fans are adapting to a world turned upside down

There is a football sage in Manchester, Adam Brown: a former United fan but now board member of FC United of Manchester, the non-league club that emerged from dissent against the commercialisation of the game in general and at the Glazer takeover of United in particular.

Brown, who has not watched United since 2005, now runs an independent social research co-operative called Substance, but in 2002, for Manchester Metropolitan University, compiled the only statistical data on each team's geographical base, finding that in 2001, United fans came mostly from the north and west of the city, and from Salford, City's from the east and south.

More season tickets at Old Trafford were sold to fans with Manchester postcodes than at Maine Road, but a higher proportion of those at City were locals. Gone were the days, says Brown, when fans used to watch both teams on alternate Saturdays. But "there are dichotomies within both clubs. United fans love the glory, but even in the late 90s a backlash against BSkyB's attempt to buy United led to a reassertion of local club identity.

Ed Vulliamy

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Extra-time Greaves winner puts Bradford Park Avenue in dreamland

 Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus

 Bradford Park Avenue 1 FC United of Manchester 0

(after extra-time, 0-0 after 90 mins)

)The goal-poaching instinct of Tom Greaves saw Avenue finally reach their promised land as they gained promotion to the Blue Square Bet North Division.

Greaves’ clinical finish from three yard in the penultimate minute of stoppage time condemned FC United to another season in the Evo-Stik Premier Division and removed the threat of the penalty shoot-out lottery that was imminent.

There was already enough nervous tension around a packed Horsfall Stadium and Greaves’ goal was a more fitting end to an enthralling afternoon.

The first ten minutes of the game were a blur of action, with both teams looking for an early initiative, but from then on Bradford were firmly in the driving seat.

Former Avenue keeper Jon Worsnop returned to Horsfall in United’s colours and it was he who had to make the first save. Alex Davidson cut inside and made himself room for a shot but Worsnop gathered.

Davidson provided the next opening, only to see Nicky Boshell fire over from inside the area, but he was soon limping out of the game with a foot injury.

Club captain Rob O’Brien replaced Davidson and within two minutes he provided a cross for Richard Marshall but his header went into Worsnop’s arms.

The first of two controversial incidents happened midway through the first half. FC United winger Carlos Roca appeared to catch Avenue left back Martin Drury with an elbow. There was a long stoppage but no action from the referee.

Boshell fired over again, this time with a volley from the edge of the area after a corner, but the visitors ended the first half with a half chance of their own. Centre back Adam Jones’ header to a corner was easily plucked out of the air by Lamb.

Bradford bossed possession in the second half without really creating clear-cut chances, with FC United sitting deep and relying on the breakaway.

There were two almighty scrambles in the FC United area but both ended up with Avenue players having hands on heads as chances went begging.

If the visitors were fortunate when Roca was not – at least – yellow-carded for his challenge on Drury, they were exceptionally lucky to end the game with a full compliment after Jake Cotterill landed blows on an Avenue player as the pair hit the ground following a 50/50 challenge. There was an immediate melee but again no action from the referee.

The visitors stepped up a gear in extra-time while Avenue’s players looked tired after their endeavours throughout the game.

However, the home side had fresh legs up front. O’Brien, who only made the bench after recovering from a troublesome knee injury, was forced off in the 72nd minute and replaced by Matty James. Greaves came on four minutes before the end of the first extra period.

FC United threatened to steal the game but Avenue’s defence were stoic and then came the knife through Manchester hearts. With a little over 90 seconds remaining, Avenue launched another concerted attack which eventually led to Adam Clayton drilling the ball into the box and there was Greaves to add the crucial touch.

Delighted boss John Deacey said: “I thought we deserved it because we played well. We are all absolutely delighted. We just want to go and enjoy the celebrations now because these kinds of victories, days like this, don’t come around that often.”

Heartbreak for FC United

 Source: MEN

 FC United face a fifth season in Evo-Stik Premier after suffering play-off final heartbreak for the second year running.

The Rebels' dreams of rubbing shoulders with neighbours Altrincham, Droylsden and Stalybridge Celtic in Blue Square Bet North next term were dashed as they fell to a goal two minutes from the end of extra-time in a nailbiting promotion decider at Bradford Park Avenue.

A predictably tight encounter at the Horsfall Stadium appeared to be heading for a penalty shoot-out when Bradford sub Tom Greaves poked in a Matty James cross from point-blank range to wreck FC's bid for a fourth promotion in seven seasons - one which would have left them just two hops away from a place in League Two.

It was very much a case of deja vu for Karl Marginson's men, who lost by the same score in last season's play-off final at Colwyn Bay,

But Marginson offered no excuses for either the result or FC's below-par performance, saying: "It wasn't a great game, as is so often the case on occasions such as this, but fair play to Bradford, I thought they deserved to beat us on the day.

"The conditions weren't ideal as the pitch was very bumpy, but it was the same for both teams and Bradford coped better than we did.

"It will be difficult to pick the players up after this, but they're a great set of lads and I know they'll bounce back.

"I told them beforehand that I'm proud of their efforts this season. One defeat isn't going to change that even though we're all obviously bitterly disappointed to have once again fallen at the final hurdle."

FC suffered a major blow before kick-off when their ever-present keeper James Spencer was forced to pull out with a hand injury, forcing Marginson to give a debut to pre-deadline signing Jon Worsnop.

The Rebels had an early scare after Bradford's Richard Marshall had outfoxed Kyle Jacobs only to shoot narrowly wide.

Avenue dangerman Nick Boshell was next to threaten but fired a yard over after cutting inside onto his right foot.

Boshell was again off target when Worsnop's misdirected punch fell to him on the edge of the box.

Despite being driven on by Jake Cottrell, FC were struggling to find their rhythm, with star striker Mike Norton too often cutting a lone figure up front.

United had to wait until eight minutes before the break for their first effort on target but Bradford keeper John Lamb was equal to Adam Jones's header.

FC found themselves pushed back early in the second-half as Bradford continued to look the likelier to break the deadlock.

Marginson responded with a double substitution, replacing wide-men Carlos Roca and Stephen Johnson wth Nicky Platt and Astley Mulholland, but Bradford continued to hold the upper hand and FC's Lee Neville had to make a desperate clearance to ensure the 90 minutes ended goalless.

Norton had the ball in the net four minutes into extra-time, but the ref had already blown for a push.

Worsnop then saved bravely at Ross Daly's feet, while, 60 seconds later, Rebels sub Nicky Platt fluffed what proved to be their best opening when he contrived to fire over from no more than six yards out following fine work by Norton.

Penalties loomed after Greaves had spurned a golden opportunity for Bradford with just three minutes left, scooping over when it seemed he must score.

But there was still time for him to break FC's hearts with his dramatic late winner sending the home fans into raptures and leaving the visitors to mull over another wasted promotion chance.

Tony Glennon

Fan-owned clubs put best foot forward

 Source: Morning Star

 Despite the some drama at the end of the football season it has yet again been good news for football co-ops.

OK, fan-owned Barcelona lost to Abramovich's Chelsea. But Chelsea still have to beat the 130,000 fans who own 84 per cent of Bayern Munich to win the title.

So it's another good season for fan-owned clubs, with three of the four Champion's League semi-finalists being owned by their fans.

The Bundesliga have a 50 per cent plus one rule which means no individual however wealthy can take control of one of its member clubs. So I will be cheering on Bayern in the final.

And when it comes to bankruptcy blues, why does no-one seem to be advocating fan ownership for Glasgow Rangers?

With their global support, surely if any club is capable of rebuilding themselves, it has to be Rangers on the back of such a hugely passionate fan base.

They are in an ideal position to go for fan ownership. Surely their experience of being owned by some particularly dubious people is enough to forever put them off being a rich man's toy.

Meanwhile in the lower divisions we have had some stunning performances from fan-owned clubs.

I will be cheering on Wrexham to make it into the football league after a dramatic year in which the club have been brought back to life thanks to the support of their fantastic fans.

Last summer players went unpaid and pre-season games where called off for lack of cash. Now they are on the verge of promotion.

The fans raised over £100,000 in a matter of hours to raise the conference bond and nearly 6,000 turned up for the battle of fan-owned clubs when they played AFC Telford on New Year's Day.

AFC Telford - another club undergoing rebuilding following a fan buyout - have managed to hang on to their place in the Blue Square League.

Sadly Exeter City, who do a tremendous amount in the community in Devon, will drop into the Championship League 2 to join AFC Wimbledon who have had, well, a mixed season back in the football league.

One of the most amazing performances of the season has been in the Premiership where Swansea, the only Welsh club ever to play in the Premiership, have set people talking with their brand of free-flowing football.

However, not many people realise that without the 20 per cent of the club in the ownership of the Supporters Trust, giving them a seat on the board, this success would not have been possible.

Over time, as other shareholders come and go, the Supporters Trust will most likely come to play an even bigger role in the club.

Elsewhere in Wales, Merthyr Town won promotion from the Western Football League Premier Division to the Southern League just two years after being reformed under supporter's ownership after the liquidation of Merthyr Tydfil FC.

There is no doubt that Supporters Direct, who promote supporters' club ownership and the formation of supporters' trusts, are doing a great job with 26 clubs now in ownership or control by supporters' trusts.

I will be looking forward to the contests for the Supporters Direct Shield between Fisher and Lewes and the Supporters Direct Cup, sponsored by the Co-operative Group, between Wrexham and Enfield Town when both games are played, on Sunday July 8, at Enfield Towns Queen Elizabeth Stadium.

Talking of stadiums, as well as reaching the play-off final in the Evo-Stick League, FC United of Manchester are also celebrating having raised £1.6 million in a community share issue.

This cash will unlock the grant funding they need to meet the costs of their new £4.6m stadium project and building work is set to begin soon at the Moston site.

Many people have commented that in the tussle between the two halves of Manchester that United have been held back this season by the huge burden of debt imposed on them by the Glaziers.

It was this argument that in many ways lead to the formation of FC United. They are not however the only critics of the Glaziers and their financial engineering.

One critic brings me back to where I began - it is Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness. He argues that it is unfair for the owners of the club to lumber them with almost £450m of debt, something many United fans would have agreed with when they woke up on the morning after City had overtaken them in the Premiership table.

This may soon become a much bigger issue as Bayern are vociferous supporters of Uefa's financial fair play regulations, which could see clubs barred from the Champions League if they fail to reduce losses and adhere to the new financial strictures by 2015.

The German club's chief executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge insists that Europe's governing body must get tough with those who ignore the rules.

At the moment only Arsenal of the highest profile Premier League clubs would comfortably meet the requirements of the new rules based on recently published financial results.

Under their current ownership model, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City would all fail.

If it was needed, here is another good reason to rethink how our most popular sport is owned and run.

by Nick Matthews

Friday, May 04, 2012

Confusion over FC United's play-off final in Bradford

 Source: When Saturday Comes

 4 May ~ FC United of Manchester travel to Bradford Park Avenue on Sunday for the Evo-Stik League Northern Premier play-off final. The build-up to the game has been marred by disagreements between the clubs, the local council, police and safety advisors over the kick-off time and ticket allocations. Originally scheduled for 3pm tomorrow, concerns were raised about previous fixtures between the sides, behaviour of supporters and the availability of police in the area. Initially, the club agreed reluctantly to a reduced capacity with no segregation or kick-off change. But, according a statement by the FC United board, the game was rescheduled by the authorities without any further consultation with the club.

Change of day matters little to Bradford Park Avenue as John Deacey aims to seal promotion

 Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus

 Bradford Park Avenue’s destiny will be known on Sunday after they host great rivals FC United of Manchester in the final of the Evo-Stik League Premier Division play-offs.

The clash was originally scheduled for tomorrow and Avenue had their allocation of tickets on sale before they were informed that the authorities would not sanction the game.

A combination of Bradford City being at home to Paulo Di Canio’s League Two champions Swindon Town, the police being stretched by two high-profile matches with simultaneous kick-offs and the local council being concerned about two sets of out-of-town supporters in the city centre at the same time led to Avenue’s game being put back a day.

Avenue director Kevin Hainsworth said: “Both the clubs (Avenue and FC United) wanted the original date and kick-off time but the decision was taken out of our hands.

“As I have said previously, it doesn’t matter who holds the safety certificate for the ground or who is providing the stewards, once that decision had been made the clubs had to fall into line.

“I certainly didn’t want it moved because I had arranged to go to the Guiseley game on Sunday.

It was a superb effort in the last game, a real team performance with good play despite dreadful conditions
John Deacey

“We have a great relationship with FC United – they played us here in last season’s play-offs on a midweek night and everything was fine. We are looking forward to the game and I’m sure it will be good one.”

Avenue manager John Deacey is pleased with his squad following their 5-0 victory over Hednesford Town in the semi-finals that set up this meeting of old foes.

The final would have been a roses derby in any event as FC United beat fellow Lancastrians Chorley in their last-four clash.

Deacey said: “It was a superb effort in the last game, a real team performance with good play despite dreadful conditions.

“I thought all the lads were magnificent but – I’m sorry, I have to say it – Jordan was man of the match for me.

“He had a hand in four of the five goals and was superb in the midfield linking up play and making intelligent runs.”

Jordan Deacey is the manager’s son and usually not singled out for praise by the boss.

There was a scare for Avenue against Hednesford when James Knowles, skipper on the day in the absence of injured club captain Rob O’Brien, signalled to the bench that his central defensive partner James Riley could not continue.

Deacey said: “James has come back from a hamstring injury and he felt it tighten up, so it was just a precaution to substitute him.

“Rob will also be available for Sunday, so I’ve got a selection headache but a nice one.

“I am picking the best side for the situation on the day to give this club the best chance of gaining promotion.

“I have done all I can, Mark (assistant Hume) has done all he can and it is all about the players now. I just hope we can deliver.”

Fans v billionaire owners: Academics gather in Manchester to debate ownership

 Source: MEN

 A major summit in Manchester will discuss whether billionaire football club owners are turning local people away from the game.

More than 100 academics from around the world will attend the conference at Manchester Metropolitan University on June 1 and will look at different ways clubs are owned – such as global brands like Manchester United and fan-owned clubs like FC United.

In particular the academics will look at how Premiership clubs with international owners can remain rooted in local communities.

Conference organiser Deirdre Hynes, from Manchester Metropolitan University, said privately-owned clubs could enjoy huge investment from wealthy owners – but could face trouble if they walked away.

She said: “Many other European countries – particularly Germany and Spain – have different ownership models in which fans are heavily involved.

“Barcelona is an example. It is the most famous and successful club in the world where the fans are also the owners.

“Manchester United and Real Madrid are massive global brands in football and there is a debate in how big clubs re-engage with their communities.”

Dr Hynes, who researches football crowds and will be speaking at the event, is interviewing fans of FC United for a research project.

She said fan-owned clubs such as FC United could end up being more sustainable.

Dr Hynes added: “Placing the ownership of a club within the hands of the community could prolong the life of the club.

“Clubs with a large, wealthy owner are often dependent on their goodwill to make investment after investment.

“If they decide to withdraw their support, or take money out of the club. You have a huge problem. You only have to look at Rangers to see how things can go wrong.”

The experts will consider the commercial pressure on clubs and how Twitter and Facebook can keep clubs in contact with core fans. The conference – Football and the Community – was due to be held at the National Football Museum which doesn’t open until July 6.

Deacey needs Sunday best from Avenue after final twist

 Source: Yorkshire Evening Post

 FRUSTRATED Bradford Park Avenue boss John Deacey was hoping to be toasting success twice tomorrow – but at least one lot of champagne will have to stay on ice after the Evo-Stik League Premier Division play-off final was put back yet again.

The showpiece, originally scheduled for last Saturday, was deferred a week following Northwich Victoria’s enforced relegation due to off-field matters and their subsequent appeal against the decision which banned them from the play-offs.

And then on Wednesday, Avenue – who thrashed Hednesford 5-0 in the semi-finals last weekend to book a home clash against FC United of Manchester – were told to suspend ticket sales for the final at the Horsfall Stadium and were called to a meeting later in the afternoon.

There, they were informed by West Yorkshire Police and Bradford City Council – who just 48 hours earlier had given the go-ahead to a Saturday 3pm kick-off – they could no longer play at that time and the final was put back 23 hours to this Sunday at 2pm.

It means rather than playing their own “cup final”, Avenue will be having a light training session tomorrow, though the second part of the planned schedule remains in place for Liverpool fan Deacey, who will be glued to the box along with a few like-minded members of his squad for the FA’s showpiece at Wembley between the Reds and Chelsea at 5.15pm.

Deacey said: “The club really tried their hardest to get it on on Saturday but they couldn’t do it. The council couldn’t provide the security people and the police said if there was any trouble at the game between Bradford City and Swindon and then an incident occured at our game they couldn’t cope.


“It’s awkward. We have a couple of lads who work shifts and had already made adjustments so they could play Saturday. Now they have to go back and try to change things again so they can play on Sunday.

“We are not full-time, all the lads work, so it is not ideal preparation. But that’s non-league football for you. The decision has been made and we just have to get on with it. And I would much rather have to deal with this than not be there, that’s the way I am looking at it.”

There was never really any danger of Avenue failing to make the final for the second time in three seasons.

After finishing fourth in the league – six points clear of FC United – they destroyed Hednesford last weekend with goals from Richard Marshall (2), Adam Clayton, Martin Drury and James Knowles putting them in control from start to finish.

FC United, meanwhile, won 2-0 at Chorley – Michael Norton and Astley Mulholland with second-half goals – to book their place in the final for the second successive season.

They won 2-0 at the Horsfall Stadium in the semi-finals last year – a year after Avenue suffered final heartbreak against Boston United – but Deacey says that result counts for nothing on Sunday when Bradford will be hoping it proves a case of third time lucky in their bid to return to Blue Square North.

Deacey said: “We have had plenty of encounters with them now and they have all been very tough games. I am expecting it to be very tough again and I am sure they feel the same. They are a very good side but we’ve proved we’re decent as well to get to where we have.

“We had a good win in the semi, we went out there with the right attitude and we have got to take that into the final now. We have to go out with the right attitude, put in a good performance and put them under pressure.

“I don’t think last year will have any reflection on the game at all. I have looked at the side who played that day and we have about seven different players in our team now. It’s going to be completely different.

“It’s going to be very, very close. It’s an occasion very much similar to Liverpool v Chelsea in that it’s a cup final and we have to make sure we put our best performance in on the day. The games we have had to get here don’t count for anything now.

“This is the third time we have knocked on the door and we have to try and do it this time, but it’s a very, very difficult task against a very good side.”

There could be one major benefit for Avenue due to the showpiece being delayed – and that’s not a seat at the FA Cup final! It gives skipper Rob O’Brien an extra day in his bid to recover from a knee problem which kept him out of their last-four clash.

Deacey has ruled out any trips to Wembley for his players who he wants in tip-top condition and totally focused on Sunday’s final.

Not that FA Cup final tickets would be easy to come by at this stage – even tickets for Avenue’s clash against FC United, limited to 1,000 per side, are proving red-hot.

“My phone hasn’t stopped with requests for tickets,” revealed Deacey. “It’s a big game and everybody seems to want to be there.

“I’ve had one player put in a request for 28 tickets so there is plenty of interest out there, which is good.

“We just need to make sure we are totally focused on what we need to do now.”

By Wendy Walker

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Flitcroft: ‘I want to go up as champions next year’

 Source: Chorley Guardian

 CHORLEY FC boss Garry Flitcroft has told his players to put the misery of failing to get promoted from the Evostik Premier Division North.

The Magpies lost 2-0 to FC United of Manchester on Saturday and Flitcroft had to lift his squad after a disappointing result.

He said: “After the game I told the lads that they had worked hard for me and I want them to keep their heads up.

“We have to win the league next year because I am fed up of qualifying via the play-off and be champions.

“It was a real shame because Ciaran Kilheeney had a great chance before FC United scored.

“They went directly up the pitch and took the lead.

“It could have been so different if that had gone in.

“It was a great achievement to get in the play-offs because earlier in the season we could have gone under.

“I wanted to thank the supporters and businesses for all their help.

“I am starting to talk to players from higher divisions about joining us.

“It means that I cannot rest and I have always tried to strengthen the team each season as I want to win the league next year.”

Refereeing decisions prove costly for Magpies

Adam Roscoe wins this header
for Chorley against FC United
of Manchester
 Source: Chorley Guardian

 The Magpies’ dream of back-to-back promotions ended on Saturday as a resurgent FC United side defeated them 2-0, with their fortunes not being aided by two refereeing decisions which could, and possibly should, have gone their way.

It was a cruel end to what has been a fantastic first season back in the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League, finishing 3rd in the league and triumphing in the Co-operative Challenge Trophy final at the Reebok Stadium.

Back to the game itself, and the Magpies squandered a very good chance to take the lead early on when Chris Denham found himself in space on the left hand side of the box.

His attempted pass to Foster, however, was cut out. At the other end, a Carlos Roca free-kick caused a mad scramble in the penalty area before it was cleared, then Chorley hit the back of the net through Adam Roscoe only to discover the referee had given a foul on the keeper, although it did seem extremely soft!

Roca, Wolfenden and Norton (twice) all went close but all the efforts were fairly comfortable saves for Russ Saunders.

After the break, Chorley were extremely unlucky not to take the lead, as Ciaran Kilheeney saw his rasping drive smash back into play off the crossbar with James Spencer in the Rebel goal helpless, before FC took the lead from what seemed a very harsh free-kick to give!

The ball was knocked into the penalty area, was only half cleared and Michael Norton, who played using his elbows and head all through the game, showed his tricky side as he turned before curling skilfully into the top-corner of the net.

The Magpies had to respond and they did, with Steve Foster receiving Andy Russell’s pass and finishing, but the referee ruled it out after seeing an infringement to cut short the Magpies’ celebrations.

The game was sealed in harsh fashion, as Chorley were denied a clear penalty when Steve Foster’s back was used as a climbing wall before he was shoved to the ground.

However, the referee failed to whistle, and Ashley Mulholland twisted Andy Teague inside out within the penalty area and finished well.

At 2-0, Chorley’s season was all but over, and the only threatening chance as the game approached full-time was Mulholland failing to reach a low ball across goal where a touch.

The result was perhaps harsh on Chorley, and it was certainly a game which could have gone either way, but the Magpies can certainly look forward to next season with an eye on a stronger push for promotion.

Chorley: Saunders; Ross, Teague, Russell, Ince; Roscoe, Vermiglio, Flitcroft (Cunliffe), Denham; Kilheeney, Foster

Man-of-the-Match: Tom Ince – Solid defensively and always looking to get forward where possible.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

‘Lucky’ FC United deserve their final place: Margy

 Source: North East Manchester Advertiser

 FC United manager Karl Marginson has scoffed at suggestions the Rebels can count themselves lucky to be preparing for a second successive Evo-Stik Premier play-off final appearance this weekend.

Marginson’s men, who lost to Colwyn Bay in last season’s final, visit old foes Bradford Park Avenue on Saturday (3pm) to decide who joins champions Chester in going up to Blue Square Bet North.

Having narrowly missed out on automatic play-off qualification in finishing sixth, FC are only appearing in the promotion knockout thanks to runners-up Northwich Victoria being barred from taking part for financial reasons.

But, having seen his side book their red-letter date at the Horsfall Stadium with a stirring 2-0 semi-final victory at Chorley, Marginson insists there’s nothing fortunate about the Rebels once again being just 90 minutes away from a place alongside fellow Mancunians Altrincham, Droylsden and Stalybridge in the Conference’s northern tier.

He said: "I absolutely think we deserve to be in the play-off final against Bradford.

"Every single one of my lads was excellent against Chorley and, as for what happened to Northwich, we can hardly be blamed for having put ourselves in a position which meant we were the ones to benefit from their misfortune.

"We’ve been in this situation before and we certainly don’t want to experience the same disappointment as we did at Colwyn Bay 12 months ago.

"It was a horrible feeling – we can’t go through that again.

"Bradford hold no fears for us. They used to be our bogey-team, but we’ve now well and truly ended that hoodoo.

"We won 2-0 there in last year’s play-off semi-final and have thumped them 5-2 home and away this season.

"Bradford thrashed Hednesford 5-0 in their semi-final, so we know what they’re capable of.

"But, in spite of that result, I think they’ll fancy meeting us a lot less than we do them."

Marginson also hailed star striker Mike Norton (above) after he broke the deadlock at Chorley with a stunning 63rd minute goal when he curled delicious left-footer past Magpies keeper Russ Saunders.

Sub Astley Mulholland then added an equally well-taken second late on as FC triumphed over Magpies side who had finished seven points and three places above them in third place in the table. Marginson added: "So often games like Saturday’s are decided by a scruffy goal but Norts’ finish was straight out of the top drawer.

"That’s what he does – he’s simply a born goalscorer."

Bradford Park Avenue's final moved to Sunday on police advice

FC United keeper Sam
Ashton is down after a
clash of heads in last
season's play-off with Avenue.
The final between the two
clubs has been moved from
Saturday to Sunday
 Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus

 Bradford Park Avenue had an administrative nightmare to contend with today after their Evo-Stik League Premier Division play-off final at home to FC United of Manchester was switched from Saturday to Sunday on police advice.

Director Kevin Hainsworth said: “Within half an hour of us putting our tickets on sale for what we thought was a Saturday game, we were informed that the authorities wouldn’t allow it to go ahead on that day.

“They had gathered information from various FC United fans' forums and decided there was a risk of trouble. They contacted Bradford Council (owners of the stadium), and it doesn’t matter who is providing the stewarding or who holds the safety certificate for the ground when it come to matters like this so it was off from then.

“We had to convene a meeting with the league and FC United and rearrange the game. It will now be Sunday with a 2pm kick-off.

"I would ask any Bradford supporters to buy their tickets as soon as possible because we sold 750 in the first two hours.”

The match is all-ticket with each club having an allocation of 1,000 - exactly half as the capacity has been set at 2,000.

Bradford Park Avenue play-off final all-ticket

 Source: Bradford Telegraph and Argus

 The Evo-Stik Play off final between Bradford Park Avenue and FC United of Manchester will take place at Horsfall Stadium this Saturday and it will be all-ticket.

Avenue announced yesterday that a 2,000 limit has been set for the attendance and those tickets will be split equally between themselves and FC United.

Avenue’s allocation goes on sale today at the clubhouse at Horsfall, with priority to season-ticket holders and supporters club members.

They are priced the same as league games: adult £9, concessions £6 and under 16s £2 and will be available today and tomorrow (midday until 4pm and 7pm until 9pm) and Friday (midday until 5pm).