Monday, 22 August 2011

Moston Community Stadium Facility-FC United of Manchester

Next month sees Manchester City Council looking at FC United's planning application for their Community Stadium Facility in North Manchester.

The scheme will bring an invaluable resource to the people of Moston and a much awaited home for FC United, who have been groundsharing with Bury FC since their formation in protest at the Glazers' takeover of Manchester United in 2005.


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Chester FC v FC United of Manchester

In 2005 the Glazers bought Manchester United, or rather they borrowed millions to buy Manchester United then loaded the debt onto the club. To many of us it was the final straw in the gradual disillusionment that had started with the advent of PLCs, then the formation of the Premier league, and then the sale of the soul of football for TV money.

Thousands of us walked away from Old Trafford, binning our season tickets and turning our backs on the club we had supported as boys, as had our fathers, grandfathers and great grandfathers. To the vast majority of Mancunians United is in our blood, but we also have pride and principle and while understanding why many couldn't and still can't make the break, despite ever more expensive tickets and other rip-offs, we left and began supporting a breakaway club, FC United of Manchester.

FC United is an idealistic club. Owned by the members it is an Industrial and Provident Society. Having rebelled against the crass commercialisation of top flight football one of the first votes of the membership was to reject spirt sponsorship. A few years back there was a boycott of a game when the kick off was brought forward for the benefit of internet TV. Kick off should be 3-00pm on a Saturday, not 8-00pm on a Monday or 1-00pm on a Sunday. In our second season there was a boycott of a game because the home club did away with concessionary prices for juniors and OAPs for our visit in an effort to cash in on the club's huge support.

Chester are also a fan owned club so there should be a natural affinity you would think. But Chester FC are charging £12 to enter the seated area of the ground, which is expensive when you think that the average admission price in that league is around £9. And Chester are seen by some clubs as trying to buy success, a poor man's Manchester City in a way, by poaching top players from other clubs.

As a football league club in a previous incarnation Chester's fans are also seen as arrogant and obsessed with regaining their status as a league club as if it's a God given right. A similar club, AFC Halifax Town were similarly unpopular, for the same reasons, last season as were Boston United fans before them.

In the 1990s I spent a lot of money travelling to support little Chester City, as they were, when they had a 'Fans United Day' to try and stave off bankruptcy, something they have had to do due to poor support on a regular basis. Fans from all over attended in a spirit of mutual support. United fans attended only to hear the majority of Chester fans chanting abuse about Manchester and United in particular, hardly in the spirit of the event. I decided then that I would never do anything to help Chester football club again, whatever form it took.

So what does this have to do with FC United playing Chester on 24 August? Well, while there is no organised boycott, a lot of FC United fans have decided that they will miss the Chester game. I'm in two minds myself. I'd prefer to boycott the game but want to support my team. Are we (FC United fans) getting a bit carried away with the idealism at times? Maybe, I'm not sure. Will I be there on 24 August? Maybe, I'm not sure, I'll just have to see what happens between now and then.

But in their own small way Chester FC/Chester City have given me at least as much cause to stay away as the Glazers have at Old Trafford. I no longer visit Munch, Florence, Milan or Lyon to watch football, maybe I'll add Chester to that list.

*A correction. I initially referred to them as AFC Chester in this post which they are not. It is confusing when Chester City they were, now they are Chester FC and there also seems to be a club called AFC Chester knocking about with some tenuous link to the other two. Mea culpa.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Manchester City Manager Roberto Mancini

We've had reports that Roberto Mancini is looking to buy a house in Manchester. Nothing fancy, just a two up three down!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Lancashire v Gloucestershire and Dickie Bird

Now then, which one's me?
On July 28th 1971 I was enjoying the summer holidays. I'd passed my 11+ and was starting, in the September that year at Xaverian College in Rusholme, where we would finish school at 3-30pm and then go on to watch the last couple of hours of cricket at Old Trafford before going home. But on July 28th we had a whole, carefree day to watch Lancashire v Gloucestershire in the Gillette Cup semi-final.

Tomorrow I'll be on a trip down memory lane with Lancashire again playing Gloucestershire in a one day game, but this time preceeded by a sportsman's lunch with Dickie Bird as special guest. Dicki Bird is probably the world's most famous umpire and was umpiring on that historic day in 1971. The lunch is especially to comemmorate 40 years since that glorious day, the most exciting day's cricket I, and many others have ever witnessed.

Tomorrow will be a day for wallowing in nostalgia. The reminiscing began last month at the last lunch I attended. A group of us, grey haired, bald or both stood with pints of Thwaites bitter recounting whereabouts in the ground we were on that July day, and night as it transpired. In most cases we were sat somewhere on the grass between the boundary rope and the perimeter wall around the pitch. What we all remembered perfectly clearly was the sheer joy carrying us across the pitch to swamp the victorious Lancashire players as they tried to leave the field after an historic win. As 10-00pm approached the players were still on the pavilion balcony celebrating with the thousands of joyful cricket fans still crowded onto the field in front of the pavilion singing and screaming with sheer joy. My mum and dad knew why I was so late home that day, because it had made the News at Ten.

Roll on tomorrow, and reliving every glorious moment.  Don't worry if I'm a bit late home Jules!

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Belle Vue Aces Announce New National Speedway Stadium

Belle Vue Aces have announced the plans for a new national stadium in Manchester. It is hoped it will be ready for racing in 2012.

Full story from

Great news for Manchester, and Gorton especially.