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Star Wars and Jacob’s crackers…

Submitted by on November 4, 2010 – 9:46 am4 Comments

Oliver Holt in the Mirror:

Imagine it: the FA Cup third round draw and out of the hat together come FC United of Manchester and Manchester United. Luke Skywalker v Darth Vader. Alderaan firing back at the Death Star. The football fan v The Glazers. The three-times European champions against their guilty conscience. But first, the guilty conscience has got two more games to win and a decision to justify.

FC United of Manchester will receive £67,500 when their FA Cup first round tie away to Rochdale is televised live by ESPN on Friday night.
Kevin Nolan could charge Andy Carroll that for a few weeks’ bed and board. Wayne Rooney might even stretch to that for a pack of Marlboros on his new deal. And Manchester City pay that to Craig Bellamy every week for him not to play for them.

But it’s still £67,500 more than FC United have ever received for a live television appearance before. It’s about £60,000 more than the average gate money for their home matches in the Evo-Stik Premier League, the seventh tier of English football.

And it’s a massive boost to their dream of building their own stadium instead of playing at Bury’s Gigg Lane. So most clubs in their position would not have thought twice about taking ESPN’s money. Most clubs would not have blinked at moving their fixture away from Saturday at 3pm. But FC United of Manchester are not most clubs.
FC United are the truth we try to push away, the voice in the back of our minds that keeps telling us something is wrong.

They are our sorrow at seeing great clubs like Manchester United and Liverpool turned into the whores of foreign owners who care nothing for them. Owned and run by its supporters and organised democratically, they are our deep unease about the culture and the direction of the Premier League brought vividly to life.

So the members of FC United, which was formed in 2005 by Manchester United fans appalled by the Glazer takeover, did not grab at ESPN’s offer. They thought about it long and hard. Some worried that moving the kick-off would be a sign they were turning into the very thing they hated. And that maybe they were falling prey to the same greed that had twisted the club they once loved so grotesquely out of shape.

This is a club, after all, that allowed their supporters to pay what they felt they could afford for season tickets at the start of last season. This is a club where signs proclaiming Pies Not Prawns are held up by fans, where the supporters sometimes sing ‘Glazer, wherever you may be, you bought Old Trafford but you can’t buy me’.

“If the game was at Southampton, it is doubtful that our members would have agreed to moving the kick off,” FC United general manager Andy Walsh said.
“It is not a given that we would accept moving a fixture every time the television companies come calling.

“But most of our fans can reach Rochdale easily enough on a Friday night so when it was put to a vote, the club agreed to the change. We felt it was the right thing for the club this time.
“The most inspiring thing about this club is that it is about the empowerment of ordinary fans. “But our club shop sells replica shirts, not hair shirts. What drives us is the idea that fans should have a say in how their club is run.”

So the FC United story will take another giant leap forward at Spotland five years after many predicted its creation would be a short-lived vanity project built on the petulant impulse of disaffected Manchester United fans.

They have been promoted three times since then and even though their progress has stalled in the Evo-Stik Premier alongside teams of the calibre of Bradford Park Avenue and Northwich Victoria, optimism still courses through the club.

The club is raising £3.5m to build its own stadium at Ten Acres Lane in the Newton Heath area of Manchester that was where Manchester United originated.
It is hoping that £1.5m will come from the sale of Community Shares to supporters and others who want the FC United principle to succeed.

The stadium will be for the use of the local community in a run-down area of the city. Community work is an integral part of the club’s constitution.

And the community is responding. The club was initially offered 1,500 tickets for the trip to Rochdale. At the last count, it had sold 3,500. There will be more than 4,000 FC United fans at Spotland.

But what would happen to FC United if a munificent tycoon bought out the Glazers, wrote off Manchester United’s debts and slashed ticket prices? Wouldn’t FC United suddenly lose its raison d’etre?

“I don’t mean to dodge your question,” Walsh said, “but you have just told me the moon is made of cheese and asked me what happens if I go up there with a plate of Jacob’s Cream Crackers.”

Too fanciful, then. Better dream about United v United coming out of the hat instead.

Also worth a read, from the Independent: http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/life-at-fc-united-forget-cantona-my-heroes-are-now-here-2123411.html

4 Comments »

  • Russ says:

    “Alderaan firing back at the Death Star.”

    I think this exposes a lack of research on Holt’s part. Alderaan’s massive war machine was dismantled and the weapons were placed upon an armory warship called Another Chance way before the completion of the first Death Star (which readers will be familiar with if they had studied the historical dramatisation ‘Star Wars – A New Hope’. This automatically nullifies his analogy.

    May I politely suggest that Holt completes a more thorough research before continuing to offer coverage of FC United of Manchester. Lazy journalism.

  • midjmo says:

    Admittedly it is not a definitive source, but Wookipedia may side with Holt on this one Russ. It suggests the ‘weaponless’ claim was not true:

    “Shortly after the destruction of Despayre, Alderaan was the first strategic target of the first Death Star. In a demonstration of its power to Princess Leia, Grand Moff Wilhuff Tarkin ordered the destruction of her home, despite Leia’s protest. While she claimed the planet was weaponless, it is said it had some of the strongest defenses in the Empire.”

  • toast says:

    The more i think about it, this whole analogy does not work for me at all.

    What was the so called ‘Death Star’ well on one side you had a rabble of pseudo religious fundamentalists in partnership with an uppity princess who wants her tiara back and a couple of trigger happy mercenaries arguing that it was a laser ‘capable of destroying a planet’ i mean they never went the whole hog of claiming it could be put together in 45 minutes but they might as well have.

    There is however a counter argument but before we get to that we first have to acknowledge that as raised in the film ‘clerks’ that the death star was only partialy built when completed – there were a LOT of unionised workers still working on that when the so called ‘rebel alliance’ shot the whole thing up – what about their families where the fuck was their 3 minutes silence you bastards? If we can lay that aside then we consider what the ‘death star’ was, i personally think it obvious that it was a co-operative social housing project to allow people from increasingly inhospitable planets like hoth and the filthy vermin plagued lands of endor to live in social freedom no matter their income, their class or even their background. It also provided affordable healthcare and i think that might have been half the problem

    fuck the royalist fairy-tale believing rebel dicks

    t.

  • midjmo says:

    Furthermore, t, Luke Skywalker was a proper geek so I’d rather FC were not compared to that Talkative-haired virgin as opposed to the far smarter Darth.

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