We’re on our way to Wembley… the wrong way


Good news and bad about FC United’s FA Cup 1st Round Proper at home to Chesterfield. The good news is purely personal, however.

FC United have been advised by the FA that the game will be played on Monday 9 November at 7.45pm to enable it to be broadcast live on TV (can someone remind me who’s got the rights this year?). Unlike the Saturday, I will be free to go to the game, ticket availability willing, or at least watch it on live TV.

Unfortunately, the move has been made against the Club’s wishes. The full story is here, but for those who want the short version, FC’s stance has always been about putting the supporter back at the centre of the game. This includes NOT moving games from the traditional Saturday 3.00pm kick-off unless there is very good reason for doing so – and TV money does not count as a good reason.

So the club refused, and was ordered to comply by the FA. Then they requested any date but Monday which, being a work day, followed by a work day, causes the most inconvenience and disruption to the supporter: think of Chesterfield’s following, getting to Manchester and back for work Tuesday morning. And the FA insisted: fuck the fans, TV is god.

One thing FC can control, however, is the price. FC also supports keeping ticket prices in line with fans’ means. The entrance fee at Broadhurst Park is £9 but the FA are insisting on £10 – the First Round’s ‘minimum’ price. FC must comply, but out of their own resources, every entrant to the ground, away fans included, will receive a £1 voucher redeemable for food, drink or merchandise inside the ground.

Ever since they formed, I’ve been very proud of FC United of Manchester. Do you see why?

We’re on our way to Wembley…


Broadhurst Park, Moston

Well, here’s a thing.

Five years ago, FC United of Manchester, in only their third season in the FA Cup, reached the First Round Proper for the first time. As I have written elsewhere, the Red Rebels were drawn away to Rochdale, a tie that was an eerie echo of my previous FA Cup experiences with Droylsden who, on only their second foray into the Cup proper, had played – and won – at Rochdale in the First Round.

FC United won that tie, but were knocked out in a Second Round replay by Brighton & Hove Albion, the then League One leaders and the highest ranking team in the competition. But they couldn’t beat us at home.

At the weekend, FC played away in the Fourth Qualifying Round to Sporting Khalsa of the West Midland League, three levels down. They win, 3-1, to reach the First Round Proper for the first time since Rochdale.

Once again, the eerie hand of coincidence strikes, for who should they have drawn that once again looms large in Droylsden’s FA Cup history but Chesterfield (read here).

The bastard of it is, from my point of view, that the tie is to be played on Saturday November 7, at home. November 7 is a working weekend for me. I’m not even back in work for another two days to see if there’s a faint chance of there being enough capacity to get that Saturday off.

But, bloody hell, how many times is my personal history going to shadow FC United in the Cup?