It is with deep sadness that we learned today of the passing of Tony Pritchard, who was a member of FC United's original steering committee and our first ever Chair of the Board back in 2005.
The members of the steering committee that was hastily assembled in May 2005 to create FC United all brought different skills and experience – combined they were able to pull off the almost impossible task of creating a football club from scratch in less than two months.
Tony (pictured here in the centre after signing FC United's historic Gigg Lane groundshare agreement with Bury FC in 2005) brought with him a gritty realism from running a large and successful business. This provided the perfect counter to the idealism in the room above O’Briens in Stretford as the committee took an ideal and turned it into a reality.
It is fair to say that he was one of only four or five people that you could say that FC United wouldn’t exist were he not involved at that stage. He built the club’s business plan and delivered the presentation that saw FC United accepted to the North West Counties Football League.
His contribution was recognised by the members as he was elected to the first board, which he chaired. He continued to deal with every topic with good sense, firmness and good humour and played a big role in guiding an inexperienced board and staff as the club developed.
Tony was great company, a huge United fan and anyone who spent time in a pub or curry house with him will remember his turn of phrases as wll as his dry and sardonic humour.
He was also very generous. When he heard that two United fans had been arrested in Southampton during an anti-Glazer protest in May 2005, he paid for their taxi from the police station, paid for a hotel room and bought them both dinner and drinks all night when they arrived. They had been prepared for a night in the train station!
Tony died far too young and will be sadly missed by his daughters Jade and Carmen, his family and friends, including the many he met at Manchester United and FC United.
Everybody at FC United offers their deepest sympathies.