FC United fans resolve to help the homeless on Big Coat Day.
FC United of Manchester is asking supporters and the public to make a New Year’s resolution now - and bring unwanted big coats to its game on January 1st.
The club has named New Year’s Day as Big Coat Day and is appealing to supporters to bring along old coats, hats, scarves and gloves.
They will be collected outside the ground by the Salvation Army and the Boaz Trust, who will then hand them out to the homeless and destitute in Manchester.
When the club ran a similar event in 2006, supporters donated 300 sacks of warm clothing to help those most in need during the cold winter months.
Now the club hopes that, at the New Year’s Day game v Ossett Town, it can beat that total - inspired by the time the phrase "Big Coat Day" passed into FC United folklore.
FC’s general manager, Andy Walsh, said: "It was a warm, mostly dry summer’s day in July 2005 when we played against AFC Wimbledon, having just got FC off the ground. A TV crew came along to cover the game and interviewed fans beforehand."
When asked whether we’d be as keen to watch FC in the depths of winter, one of our supporters replied that he’d just get a big coat.
"It was a great response and the remark went down so well because we all recognised the exact sentiment behind it. But now it has come to represent even more, with supporters doing something for those in Manchester who need our help.
"Please bring along whatever warm clothing you can spare - it will be put to good use."
In addition, the New Year’s Day fixture has been thrown open to all staff at the region’s co-operatives, together with members of the Co-operative Group. Each can apply for one free adult ticket and one free U18s ticket for the game.
FC United has a close association with the Co-operativesUK after being recognised in its 2009 Excellence Awards for "Promotion of Co-operative Values and Principles".
Co-operative stores or offices wishing to put up a free stall around the stadium, advertise in the match programme or contribute in any other way to the success of the day’s events should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
As well as the co-operatives, various care teams, job centre staff, homeless prevention teams, unions and MPs from across Greater Manchester will be attending.
The event has also won the backing of actors John Henshaw and Justin Moorhouse who starred together in the Ken Loach film, Looking For Eric – which included scenes featuring FC United.
Justin Moorhouse said: “Being a man who has always needed a big coat, I really appreciate having one to hand when the weather gets cold – I hope everyone gets behind this and brings a donation.”
FC United v Ossett Town: January 1st 2010, kick off 3pm at Gigg Lane football ground, Bury.