Punk Football (2013) Documentary on FC United of Manchester

Ball back to the keeper Go on Wolfy! YES!!! Wolfy Scores!
The keeper clears a terrible clearance straight to Wolfy and he hammers it from halfway
in the Witton half and it flies into the net
while Norton chased it down What a goal from Wolfy! That’s a great ball over the top and here’s Astley Mulholland YES!!! He’s scored a second goal!
Just like he did at Chorley! and what a through ball by Banks! What a ball through! Well if we were nervous before
we’re gonna be nervous after it are we not? Up he steps.. Scores 2-1 There’s a ball over for Norton to chase He’s onside Ref’s given a penalty?
Yes he’s given a penalty! Norton tries to go round the keeper,
out comes the keepers arms And the keeper’s not arguing YES!! Dean Stott scores the penalty,
and FC United go 3-1 in front! And by God did FC United need that,
because it’s been all Witton this half but great through ball to Norton,
rounds the keeper, down he comes Penalty Dean Stott,
And FC United get the 2 goal advantage again FC United 3 Witton Albion 1 (fans chanting)
Home to Bury Football Club but also the temporary home to a football club
by the name of FC United of Manchester FC are a club run by their fans,
almost entirely on a volunteer basis But what makes FC Interesting is that the fans
used to support another club One of the biggest and most successful teams in the world Manchester United (crowd chanting)
United! Manchester United began life as Newton Heath Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway Playing in green and gold They changed their name to Manchester United in 1902 and moved to Old Trafford in 1910 They enjoyed only limited success until after the second world war when they were managed by Matt Busby The ‘Busby Babes’ would enjoy great success With players such as George Best.. and Bobby Charlton After Busby’s departure, United would fail to reach the same heights until Alex Ferguson was appointed manager in 1986 His exemplary management, along with the sudden influx of cash in to the newly established Premier League soon turned United into the most dominant force in English football. United continued to grow,
but soon they were attracting unwanted attention from potential new buyers of the club. Rupert Murdoch’s Sky tried and failed to buy the club in 1998 but American billionaire family The Glazers were successful in 2005 They borrowed heavily to buy the club, placing United in hundreds of millions of pounds worth of debt Many fans tried to stop them, but their protests were ignored So some fans began to consider other options It wasn’t all about Manchester United, my dissatisfaction It was the Premier League, Sky Sports, Roman Abramovich.. I just started looking at other people’s point of view as well I’d go to places, Crystal Palace and places like that and they clearly resented us And I started just thinking, well, why? And I started understanding some of their concerns that we’d just turned into this bloated monster sweeping all before us, and it wasn’t good for sport I think it’s a sort of gradual process, a sort of growing disenchantment with the way that football is And the lack of atmosphere, and the continually increasing prices and you seemed to be paying more and more for less and less It was just less and less of an experience to go.
I found myself having to talk myself into going more than I would’ve expected I thought I’d always be excited about going to games, and never lose that buzz but I was losing it When you look down and you see players who are earning £100,000 a week and you’re a reasonably intelligent person, it’s hard to justify paying increasingly large amounts of money to pay these young lads ridiculous amounts of money to play football And of course the tipping point was Malcolm Glazer taking over That just came at the end of that process, and it brought it into focus It just focused all your reasons for discontent, really There wasn’t an atmosphere Back in the 70’s and the 80’s and probably the early 90’s there was an atmosphere but by the time I left there was no atmosphere A lot of it was ground regulations, health and safety. That curtailed a lot of it but the atmosphere was just totally dead, totally flat, and it still is today Played Chelsea away. £49 to get in. A lot of money for a football game on top of your train ticket, a bit of food, beer money it’s talking in excess of £100, so alarm bells started ringing then And then when the Glazer regime was being talked about and what the plans could be in increasing ticket prices. I had my doubts then and then when I heard about FC United, I thought, give it a go Somebody’s got to make a stand, and is the right way to go forward and I think it is I’d been to Old Trafford for an early kick off, come up here to meet my friends and it was a terrible atmosphere at Old Trafford, a terrible game, considering it was a derby and I came up here and all my friends were laughing and joking and I had a great day and I just thought, I should be here, this is where I meant to be now It’s a big thing to admit to yourself that you could walk away from something that’s been part of your life You’ve been home and away for 30 years or more and it was a big thing to get your head around. Could you do it? Could you walk away? Could you form your own club? Could you say, you know what? We’re not having this And that’s what happened, really I think, Dan, it was a typically Mancunian thing because Manchester was the birthplace of the TUC the Trade Union Congress was born
in Manchester The Suffragettes, the Pankhursts were Mancunians. We had the Peterloo Massacres where people protested against the price of corn, and were cut down Manchester has always been a city that has said no. It’s an immigrant city
it’s a vibrant city We consider ourselves probably more European than English And it was the people involved that had the balls to do it. To set up this football club, and to just say that we’re not going to be told that we can’t do it And they did do it. Roy Keane was right what he said about the prawn sandwich brigade It’s just been priced so much out of the range of the average working class bloke And we’re in a triple dip recession or whatever you want to call it as a result of greedy bankers and we see greedy footballers and they’re earning more in a week than some people earn in a lifetime And these austerity cuts are coming in, and welfare state, it’s all being chipped away, the NHS, the police.. If you want to rob a bank these days, don’t get a balaclava and a shotgun get a thousand pound suit and go and work in the city You can rob billions of pounds and you get bailed out and you don’t even go to prison Every time something happens in the papers like Rooney supposedly on £150-200,000 a week and he wasn’t happen on £120,000 or whatever it was, it just reinforces it really that you don’t want to be part of that For me it was a bit like the shadows being taken away You suddenly realised what you’d been putting up with for the last 10 years or so That’s what it was. It was like a bolt, and you sort of wake up, and go My God, have I actually been going through that miserable footballing matchday experience for the last 10 years? And yeah, that’s what it was like. How they’d made the game different to how we were, and why you came to enjoy the game And then moving your seats around in the stadium, you were always in a group with your friends, and so forth, and then the pricing out, affordability Loads of different factors
The Glazers were probably the last straw The supporters were against the Glazers taking over because we knew that their takeover was predicated on them just increasing ticket prices and increasingly marginalising the supporters and that’s what we’ve seen.
The club have continued to be successful but that’s not down to the Glazers, that’s down to the way the club is structured and the manager, ultimately So this was a statement really, by the supporters, that they weren’t going to be taken for granted by the Glazers, or any other owner for that matter And we wanted to make sure that fans views were considered Because the money’s got to come from somewhere, and it comes from the fans even though they say it’s through the TV or the sponsorship but it’s only because the fans buy that kit or buy that TV deal that they’ve got that money It’s a complicated relationship I think with television generally and of course we’ve elevated Sky into the big bogeyman because they were the ones who put all the money in and they really changed the whole equation by putting so much money into football And of course, because they were putting so much money in, they’re the paymasters they were becoming far too influential If you feel that strongly about it, and enough of you do, then break away Vote with your feet. And vote with your subscription to Sky It’s reached a ridiculous thing where you can’t even watch it on a foreign channel because the powers that be have made it illegal, because everyone’s paying each other off Backhanders. It’s dictating the law.
This Australian media mogul Some woman, a pub landlady got taken to court because she tuned into a foreign TV channel to watch an English game How can that be right?
I thought it was a free country And at the rate that pubs are closing down as well. What do they want us to do? I think they want all the pubs closed I think they want everyone sat at home
watching a thousand channels of shite and voting for it on your mobile phone Taking money from you while you’re sat in your favourite armchair It’s terrible. Destroying communities. The whole spirit of the whole country Greed. Greed is good. What happens is, as the TV deal goes up, the players want more and more They’ve already reneged on a deal, I think it was the overseas deal They have a deal where that money goes through to the grass roots and they got more money but they reneged on giving more money, and what you’ve got now all over Britain is Sunday football with children, and what’s the first thing the parents do? Well basically they clear up the broken bottles and the dog shit and the hypodermics off the pitch If the kids want to have a wee, they go in the bushes, because they’ve got no facilities And where’s the next generation of English players gonna come from? It’s not. When the Glazers did secure a majority of shares, the idea of establishing FC United was then discussed in earnest And a number of people met up in a curry house in Rusholme, and over a bite to eat decided the rough structure of what we would actually try and do A group of 15 people at that meeting went out and established a steering committee and as United fans went out to see if their was a strong opinion supporting what we’re proposing You saw it on message boards, forums, fans forums, people at the ground talking people talking to each other.. So there was an undercurrent of rumour, initially about could a club be formed, could people walk away Then there was a few meetings I remember the first meeting. The idea of forming a new club was very low down on peoples list of possibilities, but it was the idea that most gripped me I just thought.. If you don’t like who you work for, you can’t do anything other than go and work somewhere else If a company lets you down when you buy something, you buy it from somewhere else and I thought, it’s no good just protesting and moaning, the only positive way of protesting in my opinion was to take the ultimate step and for your own club, and it was an exciting idea because it was the chance to create a football club in your own image the kind of club that people wanted to have instead of just accepting what was presented to them so I was excited right from the beginning We set a target then, saying that if there was a thousand people who would come forward and say that they would support the idea of establishing a supporter owned club then we would take the idea forward Over two thousand people turned up at the Apollo Theatre in Manchester to debate and discuss the issue and just short of a thousand, around 900 odd people put their names down to join the club So the decision was taken to establish it I knew straight away that it was the most ridiculous idea I’d ever heard in my life The concept of me, going to watch a different football club, to Manchester United It was so ludicrous as to be off the charts of rationality, you know what I mean? It wasn’t an irrational idea, it was just impossible The next thing I knew, I read Oliver Holt in the Daily Mirror when I was getting up to go to work one Saturday and he was saying that it had happened, and that it was on We’re a member-owned club which means that every member that signs up to the club gets one share, one vote and the members decide on things such as the ticket pricing, design of the club shirt and major strategic policies of the club We then set about organising our own annual meeting and constituting the football club applying to the FA for a license and then applying to the North West Counties league for a place in the league Well, the manager, it’s his first job as a manager He’d been deputy manager elsewhere
and he was recommended to the club I got a phone call saying that this club was going to go ahead and would you be interested in going and having a chat with them about maybe becoming the manager Looking back, it’s quite surreal That was 4 days before the first meeting and two weeks after that
I was announced as FC United manager We had open days, where we invited everybody who wanted to trial, to trial We had about 7 pitches going for 2 days and anything from fat 50 year olds to likely lads of 14 to people who had played at non-league level and from that we sifted through and did other trials until we got to a nucleus of a certain amount who were realistic prospects So in 2005, FC United kicked off their inaugural season in the North West Counties Division 2 9 divisions beneath the Premier League They quickly proved a force to be reckoned with
and were promoted in 3 consecutive seasons earning themselves a place in the Northern Premier League The first season was euphoric, to the point where you had to pinch yourself you know. Is this real?
It was so much fun But on the downside, their was far too much alcohol drunk it was too much of a party atmosphere! It was a bit mad..
Some great days I Met a lot of people I didn’t know at United.
A good bit of camaraderie The football was a lot different, which is to be expected but you saw the commitment of the players They were like me and you.
They had day-jobs They were coming to play a game of football after doing a days graft for midweek games so you related to that,
and it was a fantastic experience It was hectic. Very enjoyable On a social level at some points but there was fan and player and management interaction on a real regular basis Too much of it in the pub though That was always going to have to change The success was there because the players that we had at that time were playing well below the levels that they were capable of so the 3 promotions in 3 years were pretty inevitable Then I read about the next game down at Wimbledon and there was a comment in there from someone at the game saying ‘They’re crazy about this club these fans, because they own it. It’s their own club’ And I just thought,
this is everything I believe in What the fuck am I doing not involved in this? Basically it was just messing my head up The concept of not being at Manchester United was unthinkable the concept of not being involved at FC, which is everything I believe in in terms of society and life and philosophy, you know, my philosophy on life was being carried out, and so it was pretty mind-blowing Anyway, I remember talking to another mate of mine, another United fan down at home in Hertfordshire, and we said we’d have to find out about it I’m from Uppsala, in Sweden,
and I came here to watch FC I think it’s about the political movement and the philosophy of FC the democratic aspects of the club. It’s run by the people, for the people and that really gives me great joy and happiness because I think that modern football of today is not really focused on the fans anymore,
and FC for sure is You know this thing that people keep saying ‘Against modern football’? I totally disagree with that statement, because we are modern football We’re post-modern football This is what modern football should be, and will be because I believe that this is modern football Modern football is fan-owned clubs are the way the future is Absolutely. It’s going against the norm It’s punk football Without a shadow of a doubt,
it’s punk football Also, they have bands playing before the match We’ve had all sorts. We’ve had ska bands, punk bands, hardcore bands, reggae bands, dub bands, we’ve had people doing burlesque, we’ve had comedians.. we’ve had rappers, and it’s all DIY bands, and it all adds to the feel of the day and it’s about community, it’s not just about the football, it’s about everyone being involved and pitching in and showing off their talents I’ve been to Old Trafford for 30 years,
sitting in the North Stand and I knew the people I went with but I didn’t know anybody else but as soon as I went to FC all of a sudden I was meeting people I hadn’t seen for years It was just unbelievable, totally different That’s the thing about FC United, there’s a real passion a real community spirit about the club, and it’s great for grass roots football and their heart really is in the club, and fans own it, as opposed to some American millionaire who just uses it to shuffle debts around, who probably doesn’t even care about football It’s just figures on a piece of paper
An asset to be stripped If you look at the amount of fans that turn up to home and away games it far outweighs the opposition And obviously with a lot of money being pumped into the club by the fans there’s a big weight of expectation Obviously with the history of Manchester United behind that as well there is that expectation of winning and doing well Ultimately they’ve got to remember where we are, you know? We’re in the Northern Premier League.
It’s an amateur level of football Most of these players have jobs outside of playing football I’m a carer I’m a joiner It can get tiring sometimes, but you’re able to manage it because at the end of the day, it’s the love of football that’s why you’re doing it, so you’re always able to perform as best you can I remember, I got asked to join them the year before and turned it down out of loyalty to my old manager and then I went to watch my best friend,
who plays for them in the playoff semi-final the year before I joined,
and the atmosphere was unbelievable kind of hairs on your arm standing up I just thought then, this is the place I want to be And it’s the closest I’ll get to full-time football, without actually being full-time The fans are unbelievable.
The set-up, the physios, the gaffer.. Everything about it is professional, but it’s semi-professional, if you understand what I mean People turn round and say
‘You’re still a non-league club’ We would’ve been a league club but our principle is we won’t have sponsors on the shirt I believe there were some big deals willing to be offered for us to have their name on the shirts but we said no You can say that’s cost us, but we’ve stuck to our principles We could’ve been up there by now but we’ve taken the long road and I think in today’s society,
everything is now The shareholders in firms,
they look at the short term measure people who vote for X-Factor, do it now, and we’re the long term We’ve got a vision, in the long term and we’ll eventually get there
and the long term vision works I think our level is as a league club I think our principles have stalled us at this level The fact that we don’t have shirt sponsorship, obviously the impediment of having to hire a ground rather than having our own revenue streams I think once we’re established in our own ground, we will progress on the field as well as off it Overall I’m always grateful to Bury,
because they gave us a ground when within the space of a few months we had to get a football club up and running find somewhere to play. And let’s face it, we’ve been playing in the Wembley of non-league football for 8 years When teams come here and play and it’s a special occasion for them We’ve generally played on good surfaces, and it’s a nice stadium so Bury have been pretty good to us,
so I’ve got no quibbles with Bury and I’m perfectly happy to be here next season for another season But of course once we’ve moved into our own stadium that will just change everything again the equation changes The kind of things we’ll be able to do on matchdays, the kind of things we’ll be able to put on and organise there.. The possibilities are endless once we get our own stadium It’s massively important, because we’re not FC Bury, we’re FC United of Manchester So it’s tremendously important to get back within the borough of Manchester The ground itself, it’s a 5.3 million new build. We’ve got the money We raised 1.7 million from a fanbase of 7 thousand, with a membership of 3 thousand in 17 weeks I don’t think that could be done anywhere else in the world That’s the true spirit of Mancunian rebellion and defiance Being involved at the club on the community side.. I get to see the excitement day in day out at the office, and I know our chairman.. well, president.. is working his hardest at the moment, and just to see his reaction when it’s built and the first day, you know, I want to be a massive part of that It’s the greatest team in non-league football to play for so when that stadium is built on the first day that atmosphere is going to be electric, so I hope I’m walking out as part of the team on that day Well obviously on a support basis, we can look at getting in to the football league There’s going to be lots of decisions.. hard decisions that need making because of the way the football club is structured, but the beauty of the club is the people who are making those decisions, are the ones who are paying through the turnstiles to watch them play so they’ll have a massive effect on where the club goes and that’s the way it should be I think we’ve kicked on from last year and we’ve easily cemented our place in the playoffs this year but I’m just hoping that we can get promoted, because we deserve it, as a club The fans, and the players have worked their tripes off this year so if there’s a God up there I hope he’s looking down on us in the next couple of weeks and we can get promoted Hopefully third time lucky! I mean, we lost in the last two playoff finals in the closing minutes of each game.. both 1-0 as well Maybe it can be our turn to win 1-0 this time! (Crowd chanting)
Marginson’s red and white army!! Neville tries to kick it into touch, but couldn’t get there That’s dangerous It’s a goal It’s a goal in the second minute for Hednesford Darren Campbell the captain.. well intercepted That’s a great ball It’s a second goal Jamie Osbourne scores a second goal That’s a killer goal So early in the game I think that’s a killer goal Norton!! Norton!! Get in there! They all look at the referee but he keeps his hands down! Come on reds! Mike Norton! Get in there lad! (crowd chanting)
We are going up, say we are going up! My motto has always been.. Alright lads! ..My motto has always been every time FC United walks out it’s sticking 2 fingers up at the way that
football is run So, for me, if they get promoted, fantastic, it’s another journey for us But if they don’t, come August next year, we’ll crack on and we’ll have another crack at it But by doing it, we’ll have a good time
We’ll have another journey It’s empowered a lot of people People have become football coaches. People have done all sorts of things from what we’ve done by owning our own club And it’s a tribute to true Mancunian spirit,
where we’ve said.. ‘You know what, we’re just going to do it this way’ It’s FCUM If you shorten it, it says ‘Fuck ‘em’ And that’s it. We’ll do it. One way or the other This isn’t a dream this is a practical way forward for football

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