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Thursday 25th February 2010


Margy's Notes

The latest win came at Frickley Athletic on Saturday and I was very pleased with the performance the lads put in. It was very professional and they worked hard on a difficult pitch at a ground that is renowned for being a tough place to win.

We made several chances on top of the ones we took and could have won by more than two. We were also very efficient at the back and that was pleasing to see. We didn’t really give them any chances to get back in the game.

Adam Tong went out on a high with another solid display at the back and I brought him off five minutes from the end to give the fans a chance to say goodbye to him.

Tongy has been a well-liked member of the squad and the way the players formed a guard of honour for him at the end was proof of his popularity in the dressing room.

We wish him all the best in Australia and with a bit of luck he can really make a go of his new life down under.

I brought Mark Ayres on for Tongy to give him an introduction to FC United and he will be a good addition for us. Ayresy looked a bit different from how I remembered him and I couldn’t put my finger on it until we got off the coach and he was rushed to hospital. The lad had infected wisdom teeth and had to have an operation - his jaw was really swollen so he looked different to the last time I’d seen him.

He didn’t make a fuss as he’s a typical Salford lad who just gets on with it.

He got discharged on Tuesday so, hopefully, he could be in line to make his first start today. He is a good lad who gives his all and won’t let you down.

Another new signing, Angelos Tsiaklis, is still waiting for international clearance because his registration was held by Wrexham, so he will be chomping at the bit. He has looked really good in training and we hope to get him involved competitively soon.

The new blood adds to competition for places and sharpens the squad up at a crucial time in the season.

We’re doing well at the moment because the hard work in training is being taken onto the field on match days. It’s really important this attitude and effort continues as we look to climb the table in the last third of the season.

North Ferriby will be a challenge for us today. They are 10 points ahead of us on equal games and they have beaten some decent sides so far.

They have had a couple of top results and we will need to be on our game to make it five wins in a row today.

We beat them in the FA Cup back in September and they got revenge in the league a month later. But I thought we were the better side on both occasions, even though the matches were very tight.

If we keep doing what we have been doing of late, then we won’t have a problem today.


Billy Meredith called them "the little shopkeepers who govern our destiny". Brewers, butchers or billionaires, football club owners have never been at the top of the average fan’s Christmas card list. But they’ll always have their apologists.

Journalists who’ve forgotten when they last had to pay to watch a match and can claim match travelling costs on expenses. Radio phone-in hosts too busy posing as the voice of the fans to listen to the voices of the fans. They’re happy to pay lip service to the fans as the life-blood of the game but call us naive for expecting a say in the game. They all eventually come out with the same line to excuse the latest tightening of the screw on the fans. Football has to be run no differently from any other business.

Oh yeah? The truth is that, if football had ever had to be run like any other business, there wouldn’t be a club left in Britain. Football clubs only survive the follies and vanity of their owners because they’re insulated from commercial reality.

What would happen if Sainsburys stocked only the worst tasting baked beans, if Morrisons whacked up their prices above inflation every year, if Tesco tried to throw out their customers for complaining? Would those customers keep trooping loyally through their sliding doors every week? Would they heck as like. They’d switch to the Asda down the road like a shot.

The only reason that football clubs survive is because they have a captive audience. Loyal masochists who’ll turn up every week no matter how badly they’re treated or how dull the football being played. Because the love, loyalty and emotional belonging to our club is an addiction for us. On the day that our Dad takes us to our first match, he’s signing us up for lifelong indentured service to that club’s owner. He might as well just roll up our sleeve and slip the heroin needle into a vein there and then.

The fans have always voiced their anger but, in order to sing rude songs at the directors’ box, you first have to pay to get into the ground. When the owners put up prices while serving up dross yet we still keep going through the turnstiles, where’s their incentive to run clubs differently? They know that we’re never going to switch to the club down the road. Or they thought that they knew pre-2005. United’s tantrum reaction to the setting up of FC wasn’t just because of the loss of 3,000 customers and the publicity. Every Saturday that FC and AFC Wimbledon run out onto the pitch is a strike at the heart of the system that keeps the owners in power and silk socks - the conviction that the fans will never leave and that only the moneymen can run a football club.

If you want proof that having a lot of money doesn’t make you a financial genius, just look at the banks. If you want proof that it doesn’t take a financial genius to run a football club, just look at the motley collection of ne’er-do-well ragamuffins (barms?) who’ve been running FC United successfully for the past five years. If that lot can run a football club, how does David Gill justify his salary?

Nothing will change until we fans use the most powerful weapon we have - our ability to withhold our money.


• Adam Tong: off down under

We've only got one man

So sang the MRE (and three of the Main Stand from underneath their blankets) when only Sam Ashton appeared for the second half against Worksop Town during our last home game.

The full team eventually came back onto the pitch in dribs and drabs and the chant had gone all the way from one right through to 11 before the last man was greeted by an enormous cheer as well as a massive laugh.

The songs and banter are a huge part of following FC United for many people. There have been far too many to recount them all but a particular favourite was George-gate at the end of our inaugural season.

A ‘rotund’ Leon Mike joined the club at a similar time to when legendary shelf stacker-cum-shot stopper Barrie George disappeared and rumour was rife.

The FC faithful were suspicious and believe the two must be connected. So as Leon 'jogged' down the touchline he was greeted with chants of: "Who ate Barrie George? Who ate Barrie George? You ate Barrie, you ate Barrie, you ate Barrie George.”

Rumours continued to circulate until our away tie against Salford City the following season when Barrie appeared on the opposition bench to relieved cries of: "We thought you'd been eaten." Genius.

I often wonder what the players think as jokes on the terraces are aired by our very vocal support. The best response I've seen was when, after suffering some stick for his fondness of pies, Bacup Borough’s keeper Tommy Allen pretended to eat a plastic burger. He got a massive cheer and was really made up with the reaction. Great days.


Beyond the Debt

On Saturday 27th Feb before our home game against North Ferriby United, FC United will host a supporters rally aimed at putting supporter ownership at the very centre of the debate on the future of the game.

Alongside our own speakers, guests will include Guardian journalist David Conn, representatives from Schalke FC and Supporters Direct. Two other high profile European sides have also been invited and we await their confirmation. It is also hoped that groups from English clubs affected by the escalating debt in the game, will be in attendance.

Football is at a critical juncture, with the need for clear leadership and regulation never more evident. An alternative model of how the game is structured has never been more needed with supporter ownership absolutely fundamental to that model.

FC United is part of that debate, an example of that alternative and with our guests and friends that will join us on the day we aim to make the point that supporter ownership is the only way forward.

27th Feb, 12 noon at Gigg Lane Social Club - Free Entry

International Mystery

FC United’s former striker and still all-time leading goal scorer, Rory Patterson has earned his first ever international call-up for Northern Ireland's friendly against Albania next week.

It’s a just reward for Rory as he is the leading scorer in the Northern Irish Premiership with 32 goals for title-challenging Coleraine, the same amount as his two closest golden boot rivals put together.

Mr Mystery - as he was dubbed by the FC United faithful in 2005 whilst making his debut for the club with no number on his shirt - has rediscovered the kind of form which saw him score an incredible 98 goals in 129 games in our first three years.

Despite enjoying himself during his first season at the Showgrounds, Rory will be on the move again this summer. At the end of January, the man from County Tyrone signed a pre-contract agreement to join champions Glentoran.

Due to that, Coleraine fans may have been forgiven for having doubts about what commitment levels they could expect from ‘The man with no name’ for the rest of the campaign. However, in his typically nonchalant style, Rory emphatically dismissed any misgivings by bagging a hat-trick against his future employers the day after the agreement was announced.

So, if the man with no name does get a game and his first international cap, we can all be proud of giving him the opportunity to re-launch his career back in 2005. Let’s hope he kicks off and scores.