The OFs – better than quinoa
By Bahrain Baz
I nearly fell into that trap one day, you know. The trap itself doesn’t lure you in like a Venus Fly Trap’s glamourous facade to commuting insects or butterflies. It’s not even dangerous – unlike responding to a pedestrian in Piccadilly, thinking they might need a guiding hand to Printworks, but they whip out a yellow pamphlet giving *you* a guiding hand towards “our Lord and Savior”. Unsure about the lad they were raving on about, I was skeptical whether he would compare to the Youtube highlights of Juan Sebastian Veron.
I woke up one Saturday morning (not feeling fine, mind – just grotesquely hungover), turned off the ringing alarm, contemplated staying in and sacking the football off that weekend. Football, or the events preceding and succeeding it, got tiresome, cyclical and predictable. Go to a pub, have a nice time talking about our weeks, talk about the shambles our club is in, see (or not) football, go to pub, talk about the shambles are club is in, repeat. The WalshWalkerBrownWatt saga, entertaining as it was, dampened my first season’s footballing experience as a match-going fan. I can’t even imagine the magnitude of the anger, hatred and resentment it invoked in fans following the club for a decade.
But that’s history now, isn’t it? The ‘baddies’ have gone and we can finally sing the chorus of Dirty Old Town and truly mean it, can’t we? Answering those questions won’t be easy, I suspect – digging in the grave of the conniving past, it seems this is all far from over and every month, the inquisitive inspecting shovel clangs onto and exhumes another devious relic buried deeper than the one before it.
The membership (that’s probably you, reader) needed this. A roaring fire up our arses to pinch us awake and push us sprinting forward. This club wasn’t built by individuals, for individuals. It was that tenner you had spare after paying the bills. It was the two hours you yelled, “Get your half time draw tickets, only a pound!”. It was flag you painted and draped on the stands. It was the pint(s) of bitter you drank, singing the praises of red Manchester, amidst a politically-charged pre-match event and did the very same the next week. Start doing that again – volunteer, join the DF committee, paint a flag, write a fanzine article, buy beer in the stadium, sing a song for half an hour straight. Because doing all of that brought us own ground, doing all of that made FC United special and made it ours.
We’re all desensitized to it. That was the trap. We got comfortable, took FC United for granted, and just let the club and the governance fall by the wayside. Unlike approaching Mormons or Venus Fly Traps, the apathy towards our club was more of a quicksand. We didn’t pay attention to our feet slowly being sucked into the floor. Alarm bells were only heard when we flinched out off our daydreams by a flinging 50p.
I’ll reacquaint you with the wonders this club has brought to you and brings to you on a regular basis, it only seems fair that you give me a chance to. How many non-league clubs have their own pre-match show that shines the spotlight on fantastic causes like The Hummingbird Project, or brings on promising bands with songs titled “Uber Capitalist Death Trade”, or brings hundreds of supporters to away games in absurdly isolated Midland towns you have no reason to even know exist, or gets invited to friendlies in Detroit and South Korea, or gets invited to European friendlies more frequently than most Football League teams, or have a democratically-elected board, or have a membership who can have a direct influence on a one membership, one vote basis (just don’t send the Manchester City Council a memo)?
Or do you simply ever remember being giddy for a matchday in the morning, smiling in the pub and thinking to yourself, “This is all ace”. Do you remember being upset on Sunday afternoons about how far Saturday is? Do you remember thinking the community and mates you found surrounding FC United were so zany and unorthodox just like you were, you almost (just for a moment) felt like you were home?
Be grateful for FC United, boys and girls. I toyed and entertained the idea of going to West Didsbury and Chorlton last year once it was apparent the club’s finances were as promising as Wayne Rooney’s hair growth and speculations that February might be the estimated time where FC United go bust. That was a miserable 2 minutes, I don’t really like quinoa.
It’s February. We’re still fucking here.