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There comes a time when silence is betrayal: Part four

Submitted by on March 28, 2016 – 11:20 amNo Comment

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We are publishing a letter written by long-serving red Stu from the Bay, which was sent to FC United’s rulers. SFTB is not a writer, by his own admission, and it took him weeks to put together (it is therefore out of date and doesn’t include the latest club shenanighans). We feel slight sympathy for those who received it having to trawl through 6,000 words, therefore we are chopping it up in to manageable chunks so none of you dear readers need suffer too much…

It was written in a genuine attempt to list all the things SFTB (and many others) believe the club have got wrong over the years, leading up to the discourse of the past nine months or so. It was done in the hope that the general manager and his board would give their collective heads a shake and think about their behaviour and the negative impact many of their actions have had on the club we all love. It also served as a cathartic exercise for a fan who has put thousands into the club over the years and now feels he no longer can.

It is heartfelt and upsetting in parts, so those with a nervous disposition or close friendship with any of FC United’s leading hierarchy should look away now…

Membership refusal of club’s creator and general Bullying.
The general way this farce was left to fester and then handled by the board and general manager is, in my opinion, embarrassing, furthering the splits and divides already prevalent after our “Summer of discontent”.

Walsh_NotForSale

Be in no doubt, that without the Benfica 50p programme rise and the subsequent bullying and scapegoating of the then-programme editor,  the club’s founder’s questioning of how the GM runs the club and his membership refusal farce would not have happened. (well possibly not in this timeline or amongst the toxic debate that has ensued since). 

The board (at the time) and GM, in my opinion, need to take a long hard look at themselves as your actions at that precise moment nearly destroyed FC United of Manchester, you were all given, due to circumstances, 5 to 6 weeks cooling off period between Benfica and the meeting to help stop this meltdown.

So, apparently, on the ‘night of the long knives’ where those involved were emailing round the board, to get a consensus on the board’s statement about the then-programme editor, not many chose to put the clubs well-being first over personal point scoring.

There was one honourable exception at the Benfica members’ meeting – John England (acting) Club secretary, he said sorry, that one word we all wanted to hear, a pity it wasn’t from the board and GM [and that it was for something that wasn't actually his fault].

So it’s quite ironic that when the club’s founder is refused membership for alleged bullying, we have on-going [in real life, not the internet] bullying of a co-owner/member by another member, which has been going on for over 18 months, which I have witnessed and reported many times. That bully still has his membership – one rule for one! It seems that ‘bullying’ is not considered unless it’s questions by an ex-member about the running of the club. (Coolmore, 99 questions to the board anyone? Some on the board might have to Google this).
 

Stockport away
I attended the above game with my mum, dad and my son as usual, and all was well until half time when a group of FC fans came and stood right next to us all.  Obviously this group have had a few beers (nothing wrong with that whatsoever), they then started to talk about a bit of mither in the toilet and how they were going to sort this as it’s not what they come to FC for. Being old United, when someone talks mither you automatically listen, it’s in your DNA. As the teams came out, the noise level rose and the conversation I’d been ear wigging on stopped. So I put it down to some trouble with Stockport before the game, how wrong I was (see below).
 
Halfway though the second half one of the young “Giddys” lads that do the flag came and stood next to me. He had only been stood with me for a few minutes when one of the group of FC fans who had come and stood next to us at halftime starts to ask him about the flags which were on the seats to our right. 

The conversation went…
“Do you think a flag about bombs is funny?”
Giddy: “No, it’s only a flag”
“So why bring a flag with bombs on it, it’s not funny?” 

At this point I stepped into the conversation as this group of FC fans were getting quite aggressive with their questions to the young lad. So I asked him what was on this flag as I’d not seen it.
Giddy: “Drop points not bombs” came the reply.
The drunk group’s gobby one then turned to me to ask, “Do you think a flag about bombs is funny?”

Sensing that this group where obviously not happy about this flag and knowing my mum, dad and son were with me I tried to calm down the situation,
“No, I don’t think that bombs are funny” I said.
“So, do you think it should be on a flag?” said Mr Gobby. 
“If you don’t like the flag don’t look at it and just watch the football then” I said. 

At this point he turned to his mates and mumbled something about politics and football….Then for the next ten minutes he and his mates treated the young “Giddys” with shouts of “shite flags” “pinkos” every so often.

With ten minutes to go, two more of this little group’s mates turned up. One of the returning heroes was asked, “Hey ***** ‘the racist’ (laughs from the others) what you doing here? thought you were in there” pointing to FC fans in the Popular Stand.
“Yeah, I was f***ing thrown out the f***ing twats” said *****. 
 
You might be thinking why didn’t I move as it was obvious that little group had stood there on purpose to intimidate the young Giddys with their flags. As some of you know I go with my dad who can’t walk without the aid of his walker. As Stockport’s away end is built on old terraces it was impossible to walk my dad from where he was with the crowd around him (plus he loves being where all the singing is). Also, I wanted to stick up for the young Giddy and not let him get bullied by these bigots at our club. 

I have since found out that ***** ‘the racist’ (as called by his own group) was thrown out of the Popular stand for abusing two ex FC United steering committee members / board members in front of their young sons!
 
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Tory MPs visit
What were we thinking? In the week of all weeks, and after 80,000 people, including myself, my wife, my son and numerous other FC members marched through the streets of Manchester protesting at this MP’s governments cuts, we then roll out the red carpet with photo opportunities!

When I spoke to general manager Andy Walsh about this he said “he’d taken his eye off the ball” (not for the first and last time), rather worrying when Andy also had Adam Brown with him, surely with both your political savvy backgrounds, how did you think this was a good idea?

If necessary, give him a tour, but without the bells and whistles, it wasn’t difficult.
 

Boycotting
Since last summer’s sorry events, myself and my family have been boycotting putting any extra money into club funds, bar the gate money for cup games as my email to the board at the time pointed out (ST and membership were bought before the EM) .

But since then I also didn’t attend the AGM as I couldn’t bear the thought of listening to Andy Walsh’s latest speech.  As it turns out, this year’s AGM speech was dressed up as a “financial report” which fellow co-owners have since told me was anything but and could have given a steer to the voting that came next, allegedly. It would appear that eyes had not totally been taken off the ball then!
 

Post Tamworth
Since Tamworth, I didn’t attend an FC United game for a long time, plus I have withdrawn from The Soul is One and Members Forums, as it appears that FC United of Manchester has moved so far away from what we set this club to be, where racist, homophobia, bullying and bigoted views are now tolerated.  A place where dissenting voices are treated with distain and hounded out of the club they helped to build, just for speaking up.

My decision not to attend games has not been made or taken lightly as this also now means my mum, dad and my son cannot now get to any games, and to be honest that really breaks my heart, as Ben (my son) should be watching live football with his dad!
 
‘Didn’t We Almost Have It All‘…… and we really did at Gigg Lane, bar one thing, our own ground. How did we manage to fuck up our very own football Nirvana?
 
Taking “one’s” eyes off the ball doesn’t really suffice or cut it…

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