It’ll Be Off

FA in ‘not knowing arse from elbow’ shock
May 29, 2008, 3:24 pm
Filed under: News | Tags: , , , ,

A statement from the ‘fishal site:

FC United will play any home FA Cup games and FA Trophy games at Gigg Lane next season and not at Altrincham as previously announced.

The FA had advised that playing these matches away from Gigg Lane was permissible but The FA has since informed us that we had been wrongly advised by a member of staff in the competitions department.

I suppose now isn’t the time to point out we played BPA at Radcliffe in last season’s Trophy? The FA probably don’t know about that, the useless pricks.

The reason we wanted cup games moved to Alty, for those who don’t know, is due to the regulation stating gate receipts must be shared equally among the clubs in cup competitions. Now, in the league, we need an attendance of 1700 to break even. So in the cups, if we don’t get around 3400 (I know, bad maths, don’t pick me up on it) in, we’re getting financially slaughtered.

So what are the options?

1. Close the MRE, as we did in several games last year. This takes the figure need to break even down from 1700 to 1200, and it’s a lot more realistic expecting 2400 people in for a cup game.

2. Hope we get drawn away in every round.

3. Get knocked out as soon as possible, and get the fuck out of Gigg Lane even sooner. The place (although we’re grateful for the use of it blah blah blah) is crippling us financially. Which is another reason it’s such a shame this Alty thing didn’t happen. Given the contract at Gigg Lane is up soon, it would have been interesting to see how Moss Lane worked for us.


Swarbrick Back to Lancaster?
May 29, 2008, 3:06 pm
Filed under: Transfer tittle-tattle | Tags: ,

I was once, briefly, a columnist for the Lancaster Guardian. My stuff was described by one reader as ‘the least offensively right wing stuff to appear in the paper for years’, which although some way short of the Pulitzer I crave, is an honour of sorts.

But it seems the Guardian can’t help themselves. Even when the story isn’t offensively right wing, they’ll print a story about a right winger that I find offensive: According to their website, David Swarbrick
is to return to Lancaster City for their preseason training.

Know-it-all City boss, Barrie Stimpson, told the Guardian “I can totally understand his reasons for being tempted to FC United but at the time I told him it was not the best move – and it wasn’t.

“He wants to come and try to prove to me he is worth a place next season so I have invited him to preseason.”

“Most people who saw him play will have seen the potential in him,”

So that appears to be that. Swabba (can I call him that, or is it a little over-familiar?) always had a bang on attitude and really seemed to ‘get’ what we’re about. As cliched as it is, it’s a shame to see him go, and I wish him well.

(I long for the day when I can write “He’s a cock, I’m chuffed to bits he’s going.” but it never seems to be the case. Ah well.)

Rory Patters-off?

It appears this preseason’s dull as you like transfer saga is going to be Real Madrid’s lecherous pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo. Ramon Calderon has been stalking Ronaldo for some time, but has upped the ante this year, camping outside Ronaldo’s Wilmslow mansion, and spying on him when he uses the shower. Take it from someone who knows, Ramon, these tactics get you nowhere but the sex offenders’ register.

Manchester United, without a hint of irony given Sir Fergalot’s very public courting of Karim Benzema, issued a moody sounding statement yesterday saying that if Real Madrid din’t back off, they’d tell on them. This prompted Real Madrid to release a statement to the press claiming that they considered United a friendly club, and wouldn’t want to do anything against their wishes. Hahaha. Which, I think, is the boardroom level equivalent of holding your hands up in mock regret having scythed down your opponent.

But what the fuck has this got to do with anything? Well, my needy chums, I was merely musing over this whilst reading the Bradford Park Avenue forum and reading Bob Blackburn’s comments about our very own Rory Patterson.

There is, or should be, a code of conduct in football. An ethical guideline that stops clubs from behaving in the way that Real Madrid (and Manchester United) do when it comes to signing a player. If Ronaldo is under contract at Manchester United, then Real Madrid should know better than to issue public statements trying to attract the player. It’s crass, ignorant, and lacking in class. And while we’re about as far removed as you can get from Real Madrid, the rules should be the same. So why do I find Bob Blackburn, BPA’s chairman, posting on the unofficial BPA forum, saying he’s already done a deal with Rory Patterson for next season?

Posting as THE GENERAL (I mean, for fuck’s sake. Where do you start with that? If Andy Walsh ever posted on our forum – which he wont as it was rightly decided that it would be an inappropriate way for board members to converse with fans – I’d like to think he’d call himself ‘Brother Walsh’, ‘Comrade Walshy’, or perhaps ‘Your loyal and obedient servant’. Something dignified and humble anyway), Blackburn has said for some weeks that a deal for Rory, and for Curzon’s Mike Norton, has been struck for next season. Mike Norton, having previously turned down BPA’s vile advances, banjaxed Blackburn’s prediction by signing a new deal at Curzon Ashton last week, but Blackburn is unmoved, and recently offered odds of 100-1 that Patterson wouldn’t be playing in red next season.

I get the impression that Blackburn is a bit of an attention seeker. You have to be, I think, to be a football club chairman in his (large) mould. There was a remarkable quote when he took over at BPA saying that he had all the villas and yachts he could ever desire, but now he wanted to put something back in to the community by buying a football club. Posting on the fans’ message board as ‘THE GENERAL’ and changing the music the team run out to to ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ for their home match against us also screams “COO-EEE, OVER HERE! LOOK AT ME!” so there is a chance that Blackburn’s comments are tongue in cheek wummery. But that’s barely the point. As the owner/representative of a football club, Blackburn shouldn’t be making these comments in a public forum, true or otherwise. It’s showing an alarming lack of class, and an equally alarming lack of respect. And, if he does chose to make these comments, at least fucking spell them properly, and don’t use text speak. I mean, Jesus, how old is he?

Anyway. Bob Blackburn is a very rich and successful man. What he’s doing at BPA should, in part, be applauded. They were the best team FC United played last season and thoroughly deserved their championship win. But Blackburn needs to learn that there are some things money can’t buy: respect, class and dignity. And, hopefully, Rory Patterson.

Season Review
May 28, 2008, 6:45 am
Filed under: Season Review | Tags: , , , ,

“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

Mahatma Gandhi said that. Wise words indeed from the dhoti wearing peacenik. And while he may not have been talking exclusively about FC United’s 2007/2008 campaign, he certainly had it in mind. Though definitely not when he came up with that ‘non violent resistance’ lark. I’m not sure even our Mahatma would have come away from Goole or Garforth unruffled. The British Raj had nowt on the West Yorkshire Police. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind? Aye, so does CS gas.

I digress. In the end 2007/2008 will be remembered as a good campaign. Almost a great one. After the processions of the previous two seasons it was great to not only have competition, but to have a real fight against teams (in some cases) better than us. Bradford Park Avenue were probably rightful winners of the title, but Skelmersdale, Curzon Ashton, and until the last month of the season Bamber Bridge, were all great opponents. To only miss out on winning a third consecutive championship by a solitary point was galling, but our subsequent success in the play-offs took the edge off the pain. And hey, isn’t FC United all about experiencing new things? Though I don’t suppose I’d have been quite so chirpy about the whole affair had we been humped by Skelmersdale in the final.

So that, coupled with our Copa del Presidente success, was the ‘then you win’ bit that Gandhi promised us. What of the ‘then they fight you’? It seemed for a while that everyone was lining up to have a go. The LMC, Bury FC, the weather, Sir Alex Ferguson (again). We’re a young club still finding our feet, we’re bound to make mistakes (I, for instance, can barely be described as young, yet I walk around in a continuous shroud of wrongness) but that doesn’t mean we’ll sit back and let people bully us.

The club, on the fans’ behalf, made a right and proper stand against the NPL and Invision over the Curzon Ashton fiasco. To put the wishes of a tinpot operation like Invision above those of several thousand fans is ludicrous, and the subsequent boycott was not only the right decision, but the only one. After all, if a club such as ours – one set up by bolshy gets for bolshy gets – doesn’t protest against this sort of administrative idiocy, who is?

And then there was the whole Woodley Sport game cancellation. Which for a while looked to have been terrible sabotage. The conspiracy theorists went in to overtime, donning their tinfoil hats, and logging in to their underground networks to come up with the alarming news that Sir Alex Ferguson and Tony O’Neill had bribed Iain Mills in the Masonic Lodge to discredit us. And while that suggestion was never thoroughly discredited (*cough*), it seems more likely that we dropped a bit of a bollock, and Bury were a little out of order. But let it be said on record that none of that takes away from the fact that Iain Mills is a short-wearing, black-pudding snuffling tosser of the highest order, and I laughed like a drain when he stepped down from his position as director of Bury. Good luck with the court cases, Iain.

(And should anyone wish to read the CSCI Inspection Report on Mill’s care homes, you can here).

So that was that. From a personal view point what should have been my most enjoyable season as an FC United fan was somewhat tempered by moving to London and missing out on most of the fun. But following from the armchair isn’t entirely new from me, and living the FC United dream vicariously is almost as much fun as being there, but without the hangover. Ever the optimist I’m sticking out my neck early on and saying promotion next season isn’t out of the question either. We’ve the backbone of an outstanding side, and providing we keep ’em (Back off BPA!) we should, like J-Stand, do alright.