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FC United v Chesterfield FA Cup First Round match - club statement

Getting to the first round of the FA Cup is a significant achievement for the club and its players.

FC United has been informed by the FA that our home FA Cup First Round Proper tie against Chesterfield FC has been selected to be broadcast live television and that it will take place on Monday 9 November 2015 with a kick off time of 7.45pm. Under competition rules the minimum adult ticket price for a first round match is £10.

When we were informed of this, the FC United board contacted the FA to inform them of our views, outlining the club’s historical opposition to changing kick off times from their traditional slots as this can be inconvenient to fans and detrimental to the match-day atmosphere. We also referred the FA to resolutions passed by FC United members regarding changing fixture times which instruct our Board to take this inconvenience and the following guiding principles into account when deciding whether to accept an invitation to move a game to be shown on TV:

1. The time of kick off proposed.
2. The travelling times involved for the fans (FC fans for away matches, opposition fans for home matches).
3. The impact of a no decision on the other club.
4. The benefits to our club to be derived from this exposure.
5. The impact of any additional money in helping the club achieve its aims.

Furthermore, our recent survey of members gives further guidance to the board if games have to be moved for whatever reason. If games have to be moved then members expressed a clear preference, with Friday evenings, then Sundays being the favoured days with other days receiving very little support. Out of all the options, Mondays are potentially the most punitive for supporters. Monday is a working day as is the following day and Monday night football is a TV invention.

While recognising that TV is important to football, the club also has a stated pledge to seek to change football for the benefit of supporters, without whom the game would not exist. Having considered the club’s stated views on this issue as expressed democratically by members, the Board of FC United of Manchester has refused to agree with the move our FA Cup 1st round game against Chesterfield to Monday 9 November 2015.

The FA has responded this morning to inform us that they insist on the game being moved according to the FA Cup competition rules and therefore we have no option but to hold the match on the Monday evening at 7.45pm. We are deeply disappointed by the FA’s stance and have made them aware of this.

FC United has a proud history of campaigning for change on issues affecting the game and its supporters. The history of that protest has always been about respect for the integrity of the game and not disrupting the match or players. In that spirit, on this issue we believe that we need to make a stand. Protesting at the moving of this match to a Monday is a continuation of the campaign against kick off times and ticket prices supported by fans of clubs in this country and abroad. Most notably FC Bayern Munich fans spent the first five minutes of their recent Champions League game against Arsenal ‘below stairs’ before taking their place in the stands.

A similar protest at Broadhurst Park is not practicable on health and safety grounds as there is nowhere for fans to congregate safely although there is still much we can do.

FC United recognises that there is an inevitable price to be paid for TV but we believe that the stick has been bent too far and it is right that we take a stand on this issue.

FC United’s usual price is £9. If the minimum adult price of £10 is applied, FC United will be issuing a £1 voucher to all adult ticket holders that they can spend on food and drink or merchandise at the ground. This offer will be extended to away supporters. FC United will pick up this cost and this will not affect the division of gate receipts with Chesterfield FC.

The match against Chesterfield will be an all-ticket game. Full details will be announced later today on our website.

First Posted ~ 12:06 Wed 28 Oct 2015
News ID ~ 6474
Last Updated ~ 01:47 Tue 16 Feb 2021