I’ve been an ardent Manchester United supporter since 2003. The club went through rough seas during the summer of 2005, because of the protests of the fans against the takeover of the club by an American businessman called Malcom Glazer, which meant that the club – which used to represent the common man of Manchester, and had a great heritage and history – was now going to be run according to his whims and fancies, for his profit. At that time, I heard that a few fans who broke away had set up a new club in the lower divisions of English football, but then I forgot about it.
Then sometime last year, I happened to read the wikipedia article about FC United of Manchester, purely by chance, and I’ve been in love with the little football club ever since! I learnt that the club started out in the tenth tier of English football, and even secured promotion in their first ever season. What’s more amazing is that their attendance is much more than even some league sides!
FC United represent the true community spirit. With the commodification of football in the nineties, many faithful supporters of Man United were priced out – they had to shell out a good part of their income to watch their team play, and with the takeover of Glazer, they simply refused to cough up money to contribute to his profits. The drop down to the lower divisions meant that there would be no more Premier League or Champions League football, but who cares? They had a team of normal human beings to watch, people who played purely for the love of football, and not spoilt “professionals” earning a hundred thousand pounds a week… and it was affordable. FC United fans just love it.
The standard of football’s not bad, either. Thanks to the digital age, an isolated fan like me can actually watch their match highlights on the internet(albeit from last season’s archive)! And today, for the first time, I listened to the live match commentary broadcast on the internet, on their site.