When were you approached to help with FC United?
The first time anything was mentioned was…February rings a bell,
would that make sense? A couple of phone calls, nothing more. Just
chatted at a very general level about what we’d done and how the
timing worked etc. At that point, I was still expecting you to see off
Glazer – I’ve always been an optimist, and you had a bloody good track
Then there was nothing for quite a while, and then we got to May, and
things were looking bad for you. I was asked up to a relatively small
meeting of activists, in the upstairs room of a pub in Manchester, the
name of which I have totally forgotten I’m afraid. I knew a couple of
people in the room, and got to know a good few others. Some of them
are watching FC United with you now, some are not. But they were all
And then of course there was the Apollo meeting on 30 May. It was a
bit of a faff to get up there for that – bank holiday and all that.
And I left my shades on the train on the way up, too. As with all
these things, although you have a feeling, you can’t know until the
event itself – sometimes until later, even – whether it’s worth the
This one was worth it.
What were your initial thoughts about the idea?
I may have said this before, but I was an ABU before the term was even
invented. I grew up with a brother either side of me claiming to
support United. In Sussex. No connection with Manchester or the club
whatsoever. I remember the pleasure with which I greeted your
relegation, and I was just a kid then. I hated you when you were shit,
in other words.
I’ll confess, my first thoughts were mixed, to an extent. I mean,
don’t get me wrong, I think it would be great if every football fan
turned his or her back on the money-making machine, walked away and
started again. And for United fans to do that – well, that was always
going to be something big. But on the other hand, we were the big boys
in this field, and I liked that. And while plenty of people detect a
note of arrogance among the Wimbledon fanbase…well, everyone knows
what you lot are like, right?
So it was a weird one, for me. Visiting Manchester, the sun shining,
meeting lots of very decent people, most of them from Manchester,
passionate about their club, pissed off with the commercialisation of
our game – just a normal bunch, really. Except, of course, this
“normal bunch” saw off Rupert Murdoch. And, although you had and have
some astonishingly talented and devoted people in leading roles, it’s
important to say that as a group, your fans are very impressive,
inside and outside the stadium.
What are your views now?
Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive. I feel immensely privileged to
have had the opportunity not only to be a part of the Wimbledon story,
but to have witnessed the birth of FC United at first hand and to have
chipped in a few words of encouragement. I’m very proud to be able to
say that I knew Russell Delaney and I’m very proud to count Andy Walsh
among my friends.
As for FC United – you’ve enjoyed it, haven’t you? And that’s the
thing. How much more enjoyable it is to be masters of your own
destiny. And here’s my thing: I’m a Wimbledon fan, and won’t ever be
anything else. But at times I am incredibly jealous of you and your
unsullied shirts and your link up with the Bhopal Medical Appeal and
your principle of affordability and your committment to avoid outright
More power to your elbows, anyway. I’m sure we will remain friends as
clubs, and I look forward to us playing a competitive game sometime,
so we can give you the spanking you truly deserve.
That will probably be in the Conference National. Or maybe the Trophy.
But in my dreams, it’s in the first season of the Supporters Trust
League Division One…
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