Tag Archives: FC United of Manchester

WUP 8.4

First published in November ’10 in WUP, my reaction to a shocking FA Cup draw, as Dons fans had to face the prospect of facing Them for the first time. Also, a round up of first round action where FCUM hit the headlines…

The blog post I refer to in the second paragraph can be read here.

I think all of us are going to remember where we were when ball five and ball thirteen somehow made their way out of the hat together, in the same manner everyone remembers where they were when JR was shot… sitting in front of the TV like everybody else… For me it was a very surreal moment, I’ve only ever felt like that before once a few years back, when I momentarily thought my finger was off after an incident involving a pen knife and an uncooperative tin of hot dogs. Fortunately my finger was at worst only mildly mutilated, and went on to make a full recovery… and AFC Wimbledon will too. Of course, thanks to the wonders of modern technology you got to read my thoughts on the draw mere hours after it happened, thanks to what at the time was just my feelings and initial reaction spilling forth onto a blank document, but went on to become the most widely read and influential few hundred words in Anonymous Don history… all two years of it. In fact the only post that to date has garnered more attention was a series of six photographs – no text – published shortly after the Hampton away game.

Some might say it was because I caught the zeitgeist. Others will say it had more to do with rival Dons bloggers being on holiday at the time. But for 48 hours, the usual handful of visitors a day were replaced by thousands worldwide as the post was linked from guestbook to message board, website to word of mouth. Which of course, rapidly raised the profile of the blog. Or should I say, rapidly inflated my ego to the point my head almost exploded. With so many people viewing, someone influential was bound to spot it sooner or later, or so I thought… and it all came to a head on Tuesday when I found myself being interviewed by Paxman on Newsnight giving my opinion on the whole gory episode, confidently batting off Paxo’s naive attempts to play Devils Advocate… in my head, of course, all in my head, as I walked to work that morning. Naturally, once the average football fans attention span moved elsewhere everything died down again, leaving me to get on with enjoying writing about football rather than staring at a rapidly increasing blog stats page.

Of course, by the time you get around to reading this article, the whole sorry situation could have blown over, as ITV sheepishly prepare to show the Ebbsfleet v Stevenage game. If it hasn’t, I would imagine there is a bit of a strange atmosphere at that Kettering game… But it does at least mean I am sort of justified in ignoring the whole sorry process from this point on. There was so much more to First Round weekend than the draw. Starting of course on Friday night at Spotland. Our friends up at FCUM had what looked like a plum tie, a great night out at a rival much further up the football pyramid – like us at Millwall last year you get the impression despite the relative league status the visitors were probably the bigger side. Football should have done the talking, to be honest I thought ESPN were having a laugh when they chose it as their Friday night game… we all knew FCUM would put up a decent battle in front of their army of fans, but it had 2-0 home win written all over it. Oh me of little faith.

It turned out to be one of those games that reaffirms your faith in the FA Cup. After I finally found a suspect website capable of streaming the match with sufficient quality to actually be able to spot the current official FA Cup ball… which truly is awful by the way. It’s apparently orange, but so dull there is a real possibility that irony will intervene, shall we see a second round game halted as the players cannot spot the ball amidst the mud on a threadbare pitch, forcing the referee to call for a white ball? Watching the Southport-Sheffield Wednesday game I found its barely more visible on a standard television set. What a cock-up, I’m sure ESPN and ITV were delighted with the decision… although ITV have been doing their very best to turn people off their football coverage for years now, I smell a conspiracy… Of course FCUM were accused of hypocrisy over their decision to switch their game to Friday night for TV, absolute nonsense of course… I was depressed but sadly not surprised to read isolated comments from other northern non-league sides along the lines of FCUM being disliked due to the perception they feel they ‘invented non-league football’… where have we heard comments such as these before? It’s nice to know jealousy is alive and well lower down the pyramid.

Unlike either of our encounters with League sides, FCUM got their moment of glory thanks to an almighty cock-up from the Rochdale keeper. It was one of those incidents you expect the referee to blow his whistle, and we all know the law is the goalkeeper should be in control of the ball, from the replay it appeared to be a very rare example of a goalkeeper having both hands touching the ball but NOT being in control of it. As Norton tapped in to the open net, you do wonder whether the referee might have had the four thousand or so FCUM fans behind him weighing on his mind as he decided whether or not to make a decision! Their victory, when confirmed, also led to another of those FA Cup traditions sadly lost to security madness over the last few years… the non-League clubs fans coming onto the field to chair their players back to the tunnel, and imagine if we ever did that – we would get hammered from all sides, including a sizeable minority within our own club!

While we were playing out possibly the worst cup tie of the weekend, the First Round was creating drama and excitement wherever you looked. The big story, certainly the one that struck me immediately when I got home, was Dover’s victory at Gillingham. The back story made it all the more sweet for Dover, I’m sure Andy Hessenthaler feels a bit of a wally right now… Dover are a club on the up, but I’m not sure this really signals a swing in power in Kent football, however if Gillingham continue to remain in the doldrums and Dover their impressive recovery of late, this could be a League fixture in a few years time. Another BSS club doing well were Woking, with Brighton top of League One they pulled out what should have been the hardest possible draw for them, but escaped with a replay. With a three division gap between the clubs, if you thought we were frustrated after the Ebbsfleet game imagine how Brighton fans must have felt…

Of course, the two games mentioned above must have been all the more sweet considering ITV deemed there no chance of an upset on either of them, instead sending their teams to Fleetwood (who didn’t quite manage it) and Harrow (who battled well but were always looking to make up too much of a gap). THe first round highlights package i just about the only highlights show I can remember when about a three-quarters of the way through it finally happens – you lose the will to watch any more football (especially if you do Match of the Day and flicked to the Football League Show during the adverts…). Fortunately, this year, ITV catered for this by screening the Dons highlights at the very moment that feeling kicks in – glad we could be of use for something on First Round day…

I never tire of telling people how much the FA Cup still means to me, and I presume it matters as much to all of you of a similar age (I was ten years old that hot May afternoon at Wembley in ’88). I can only hope by the time you read this we are still involved in the competition, and cross our fingers that we are looking forward to a tie next week that all of us can enjoy.

Further WUP articles can be found in the Features Index

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The Anonymous Don Searches For Answers…

This is a new occasional feature (In other words I’ll do a couple then forget about it…) where I examine the search terms that people use to find my beloved blog, find the strangest ones, and belatedly find answer for them. In a bumper bonus first edition I have four for you…

Ross Montague Wife

I’m not sure who would have urgently needed to know this information, maybe a particularly lovestruck lady (or chap… he is a handsome devil, much like myself). Of course there are a few Ross Montague’s in the world, maybe someone out there met one of them at a party and decided to engage in a spot of cyber stalking…

A Google search of this subject reveals my General Specific on 10th September comes up 7th, amid a load of other searches. I’m going to take a guess here and say this may have been referring to the Ross Montague that became Director of the Scottish Countryside Alliance back in April, but to answer in relation to our Ross; not as far as I know, leave him alone, he’s only young! Let him enjoy his football, don’t encourage him to waste his life!

fcum third kit

My match report from earlier in the season, at the same time as our third kit was released, undoubtedly led some confused soul here. But just in case you’re interested… see below…

fcum3

You can buy one here (http://www.fc-utd.co.uk/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1_4&zenid=8c023c4bf1b9faf5dd7bc3bb107f94b7) for £8 less than the Wimbledon equivalent… 

showmeonlylorraineadjei

lorrainekennedy 

 

                 Easy!

 

 

 

Who Is The Anonymous Don?

The question is, would you really want to know who the Anonymous Don is? I mean, I wouldn’t have a clue who Rob Dunford was if he came round my flat and laid a big curly log on my carpet… well, I might then know him as ‘the guy who crapped on the floor at my flat’ but you get the idea, I still read SW19’s (got to keep ahead of the pretenders…). But I get the impression that actually meeting him would be a massive disappointment for someone like me who has read his reports for years… and in my case you can times that by ten!

And the point is, despite the title of the blog, I don’t exactly keep it a secret. The blog title was just a spur of the moment cool idea that has become a millstone around my neck. But basically, I’m the scruffy looking bloke who normally stands behind the home dugout, making notes and taking the odd picture. Yes, that’s me. Nice to meet you.

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AFC Wimbledon v FC United of Manchester – A (Friendly) Match Preview

fc unitedTomorrow will see the welcome return of the Supporters Direct Cup to Kingsmeadow, and the even welcomer return of our good friends FC United of Manchester. Always willing to travel south in large numbers, the United support normally create a great atmosphere elevating what should be a run of the mill friendly to something worth winning, and I’m sure Terry has told the players he is expecting a win.

While we consider FCUM as kindred spirits due to their trust ownership, and the media normally straps us together as ‘protest’ clubs, it’s worth remembering that our two extraordinary clubs were formed for entirely different reasons. There’s no value in going into the details of the great betrayal we suffered, although if you want to read all about it on the BBC’s 606 you will find plenty of people who disagree with our very existence as ‘we abandoned our club’… Our aim as a club is to get into the League as soon as possible, to take back what was once stolen from us, and long term to destroy those South Midland club stealers – and to do all this without letting ambition get in the way of long term stability.

FCUM don’t have that urgency to get into the League, and are therefore content for now to focus on their own core reasons for existence. Malcolm Glazer and his collection of strange looking offspring were the straw that broke the camels back (and you have to say its a good job Glazer was loader ‘cos there was no way he was going to get laid in this lifetime without it). United fans want affordable football, to be able to sit/stand with their mates, not to be ripped off week in and week out with ever increasing ticket prices. Plus they have resisted the temptation to slash a slogan across their shirt, and hopefully when they do it will be a gesture towards a charity, as Barcelona have proudly worn the Unicef badge for the last couple of years (although cynics suggest this is to soften up their supporters before a commercial sponsor is introduced).

For them to walk away at a time when big United were at the height of their powers has drawn praise  from all quarters. How often have you heard an Arsenal, Chelsea fan, whoever, start a comment about FCUM with the words ‘I hate Man United but…’. In truth there is a great deal of jealousy for what FCUM have achieved to date from your average Premier League fan, who perhaps hold some hope that football will once again fall from fashion as it has before, and fall back into the hands of those who cherished it through the tough times, local support paying a fair admission price to watch their team.

For that reason I would have expected a greater number of clubs would have reached that tipping point where a critical mass of support decide enough is enough and decide to form another team to hold on to the traditions of the club they love. Of course there is an AFC Liverpool, but they haven’t really caught on and appear to be a cross between publicity stunt and an extension of Liverpool FC’s community arm.

Despite this FCUM have been remarkably successful in their first four seasons. Three successive promotions prior to last season, where despite being in a division full of moneyed clubs and servicing a huge groundshare rental bill, United managed to only miss out on the playoffs on the last day of the season. The Reds are learning as we had previously, that many supporters do not necessarily mean an automatic promotion. There are just as many sugar daddies in the Unibond as there are in the Ryman these days, and the economic meltdown doesn’t seem to have halted this.

FCUM face us off the back of a trip to Bucheon… hang on? Aren’t they supposed to be twinned with us? I know we turned Bucheon down as we had a prearranged trip to… errm… the Isle of Man, but it just seems like when we miss out on something, FCUM pick up the pieces. Remember when Lok Leipzig wanted to play us in a friendly during the season? We turned them down and there was a promise the game would be scheduled for some point in the future, and when it was it turned out AFCW were being elbowed out of the way by FCUM… that should have been us! And what about their trip to Sweden at the end of last season?

Let’s not forget United fans are used to travelling across Europe, it’s been part of their upbringing. On the other hand, we dreamed about playing in Europe, so cruelly denied by a European ban for English clubs that had absolutely nothing to with us in 1988, were given false hope with the Intertoto Cup campaign, even seeing perhaps our best ever team cursed with tiredness despite looking set to qualify via one of three routes. Maybe it was never meant to be. Perhaps the furthest corners of the UK are the most we can ever hope for.

So, on to Wimbledon. The big news being Bossman has gone and a new target man is being lined up for a start tomorrow. So far the mystery man is a big secret except for the information that he is an ‘experienced target man’. This type of player, perhaps with the exception of goalkeepers (more on that later), faces extreme scrutiny from Dons fans who have been spoilt by some of the best in the game over the last twenty years or so (and Danny Webb).

As for our goalkeeper, it seems as though Sebb Brown is getting another run out. At last we have a keeper who deserves the nickname ‘The Cat’, he’s certainly had enough lives so far. After his shaky performance against Wycombe (if you ignore the Hollywood saves toward the end of the half of course), Brown was given a second chance against Brighton, where his only real action was to pick the ball out of the net after seeing it drilled through him as if he wasn’t there. Is Sebb a relative of Terry’s? I think we need to be told!

The truth is my opinion is we already have a better goalkeeper than Brown in Jack Turner. Although Turner is just 17 the phrase ‘if your old enough your good enough’ spring to mind. Jack was given a game on the IOM, yet presumably will be representing the reserves for the remainder of pre-season and beyond, rather than picking up much needed experience against League One opposition. I was also hoping Jack may get a chance to go out on loan at some point to gain first team experience, in the Ryman League, or even the BSS.

The rest of the squad seem to be ticking over nicely. It’s a chance for Chris Hussey to stand up and show what he can do following Derek Duncans Man of the Match performance on Tuesday. Perhaps we will finally see us score at home? Maybe even win another trophy, to bring our tally up to two…

Catch all the action tomorrow, if you can’t make it remember to tune in to WDON and log on to the Matchday Stadium. And if you are at the ground or not you can check my tweets on the game either here in the Twitter feed in the sidebar, or by following me here (http://twitter.com/Anonymous_Don). Remember though, due to the crappy technology I can’t be guaranteed to respond to any of your replies (maybe at half time…). Don’t worry, my phone contract is up later this year and I’m going to make sure I screw the best possible deal out of them this time…

Finally you will remember the legend Paul Raymond offered me his IOM photos earlier in the week, I didn’t take him up on it, but I am now with his picture of the third kit (released tonight, available tomorrow). Enjoy!

Courtesy of Paul Raymond

Courtesy of Paul Raymond

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The General Specific (Wednesday 6th May 09)

As the pre-season news starts leaking out through the usual manner of updates on the Official Site and through the back door via other clubs, I realised my usual article-style postings wouldn’t be suitable for rounding up the news (they’re too bloody long), and as I don’t want to ressurect Seven Days (remember that… anyone?), I’ve decided to title them The General Specific, basically whats been going on at the club recently. So this is the first of my GS postings, expect irregular updateds through pre-season and beyond…

fcunitedFirstly, we finally know one of the sides we’ll be playing in pre-season, and it’s a home game to FC United on Saturday 25th July. I’m not sure they’ll be bringing as many down as they usually do, I believe they even have a post-season game in Stockholm this year (not exactly the Isle of Man though is it?) and it could start getting a bit expensive for some of  them with season ticket renewals and the like. Having said that they do seem to like coming down and its been a couple of years. Seeing that message pop up on the site was a bit like getting a wedding invitation from a distant cousin you haven’t seen since you were kids, but there is a bit of moaning going on that we didn’t get to go up to Bury this time to play them.

The other friendly, which hasn’t yet been finalised, has been leaked on the Farnborough FC website as part of the deal that brought Rob Saunders on loan for the last few games of the season. I was thinking of going down to Farnborough for their playoff game last Saturday, which they lost to Gloucester City, and now I’m quite glad knowing I’ll get my first visit to Cherrywood Road in the summer. For those of you who last visited for our CCL game against Frimley I think your in for a shock – their ground has been tarted up a bit recently. As for other games, we know we will more than likely be playing Kingstonian, we are definitely playing Tonbridge, although its gone a bit quiet on the Isle of Man front recently…

We should start getting a bit of news regarding which players are coming and going as of early next week,. TB had said nothing will be announced until after the End Of Season dinner on the pitch at Kingsmeadow on Saturday, however that’s not saying nothing has been arranged yet. Knowing this, you can start piecing things together, and by doing so it makes my Great Player Evaluation predictions look a bit silly. I’m now 100% sure the Saunders deal is dead, I remember Terry hinting talks will continue in the summer, but we seem to be aiming our sights a little higher. I think Farnborough saw we were desperate going for Saunders at that stage of the season, and got themselves a PSF out of it – and good luck to ’em.

There was an article on Barnets website regarding their midfielder Max Porter, who has left the club after his contract expires. Barnets O/S cryptically claimed Porter had declined to comment on speculation linking him with a move to AFC Wimbledon. Mt first reaction to this was – what speculation? This could be a cleverly worded way of saying ‘he’s off to AFC Wimbledon, but he can’t talk about it yet’. Bear in mind this was not internet chatter or paper talk, this was the official website of the club he has just left. I’m rating this an ‘8’ out of 10 on the Possibility Scale.

And on the subject of chatter it seems Jake Leberl hasn’t been too guarded in telling fans he probably wouldn’t be getting a contract next season, and its looking likely he might be on his way back to Dover. That seems reasonable, I’ll say 9 on the P.S. he’s actually leaving, 8 he’ll go to a BSS side and 7 that he’ll end up at Dover.

Finally, I’m off to Hampton tomorrow to see the Play Off Final, but I really don’t know who I should support? Perhaps Hayes would be the weaker opponents next term, and I’d hate to see the Hampton fans celebrating at the end. It’s been suggested Terry has been scouting a couple of Hayes lads, and their promotion might harm our chances of getting them. To be honest if we go in for them over the summer and they are out of contract, I can’t see a player not coming to us whether Hayes get promoted or not. Yet I’m convinced Hampton will be equally crap in the Conference next term, plus we might get a chance to actually beat them!

You can expect a match report of sorts for that game on here some time on Friday, as well as the first part of The Conference Files (A is for Altrincham). Until then, if you’ve heard any other rumours, do share them with the rest of us by adding a comment, partly so I’m not the only one whos pitiful predictions will get laughed at!

STOP PRESS – The Anonymous Don now has a page on Facebook. Come and add yourself by searching ‘Anonymous Don’ – there will be exclusive photos and video added very soon, plus you can check for new posts there. Plus some other stuff I haven’t thought of yet. COMING SOON – The Anonymous Don on MySpace, and possibly even Twitter… I’m hitting those social networking sites hard…

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