Tuesday morning… and it’s been a long weekend.
It started on Thursday night, which was the race night organised by the Leigh branch, where we did some filming for the players presentation for those who received their one hundred FC United game ‘caps’. Congratulations to Jerome Wright, David Chadwick, Rob Nugent, Simon Carden, Sam Ashton, and Rory Patterson (who unfortunately couldn’t make it due to playing commitments with Droylsden), and also the Leigh Branch themselves for organising the whole thing so well. A great night, and well supported and enjoyed by everyone that was there.
Friday was the date of an arranged friendly between an FC United ‘legends’ side versus Rochdale Town (Castleton Gabriels as was). We decided not to attempt some kind of radio broadcast on the day, as experience has shown as that we only get a few dozen listeners for these impromptu friendlies, and we couldn’t guarantee cover or power at the ground anyway.
If we ever needed reminding of how far we have come in less than four seasons then this was it. Although Rochdale Town is a lovely little club run by some great people I wouldn’t fancy trekking over to the Castleton Sports Centre for a game on a cold and wintry January night. Even in April it felt a bit bleak, an exposed location, a biting wind and driving rain meant that the 250 or so hardy souls watching the game spent the time huddled under ‘bus-stop’stands and umbrellas.
In a game dictated by the weather conditions and the state of the pitch, FC United eventually ran out 4-3 winners courtesy of a couple a goals from Margy, including a screamer from the edge of the box, that I’m sure he won’t let anyone forget. Other faces in the team on the day included Daz Lyons, and Dave Brown.
A very pleasant Saturday night was spent in the company of a number of the people responsible for producing ‘Under the Boardwalk’. The radio crew and the UTB gang have developed a good relationship over the course of the season, with the ‘radioHead’ stuff in UTB, and the fanzine becoming a sponsor of the radio show. It’s not very often we get the chance to get together for a few beers, so the opportunity to do so was eagerly grabbed. Then of course there was the match on Monday, but more of that below..
Why am I wittering on about what I did over the weekend ?
Well, what staggers me is that somewhere, virtually every night of every week, an event of some kind is happening connected with the community of people that make up our football club. Whether it’s fund-raising or social events like those above, or match-days themselves, or committee meetings of some kind, or team training, or work in the community, and probably half a dozen other things I know nothing about. It just goes to show the sheer breadth and scope of what this thing of ours has developed into. That makes me immensely proud.
After the bit of a downer after yesterday result against Nantwich… that kind of thinking puts it all into perspective.
All credit to Nantwich yesterday, they came to Gigg Lane with a game plan, and stuck to it. A well organised defence, and sticking 8 or 9 men behind the ball for nearly all the second half, meant that they managed to deny us all 3 points. I was relatively useless during the second half commentary, because I was just too bloody nervous, especially when we hit the bar twice. Don’t forget in the main it was a very creditable performance by the team, Nantwich are 3rd in the league, yet we were the better team for long periods, and the video replay shows that we had a stonewall penalty appeal (incorrectly) turned down by the ref.
It was great to be joined by James Quinn before the game and at half time. You may know him as one of the two coppers in the sitcom ‘Early Doors’, the one with the high pitch laugh that cracks me up every time I watch it. We had been to see a couple of James’ short plays at Joshua Brooks the previous week, and Paul invited him to do a bit on the radio. James has been to a number of FC United matches and is a firm fan of the club. Both himself and John Henshaw will be performing one of his plays in CYCM before the Bradford game in a couple of weeks time. It’s a hilarious take on football managers, commentators, and television punditry and it’s well worth seeing. Get yourselves along to Malcolmses’ before 1.30pm on the day and don’t miss it.
So we go into our last two league games still needing six points, and with anxious eyes straying to other teams results. We can still do it.. but it’ll be the hard way, and hasn’t that always been the United way ?